Darwin Undone By Geology
by Michael Fishwick
Sir Roderick Impey Murchison is a name that few are familiar with today. Yet during an illustrious career as a geologist he held senior positions in the Royal Society, which at that time was the world's most respected scientific society, and in the Geographical society. Indeed, the Murchison River in Australia and the Murchison Falls in Uganda are named after him, and it was Murchison who identified the Silurian system of the geologic column. It was also Murchison that predicted the discovery of Gold in Australia and he led a geographical survey of the Russian Empire at the invitation of Czar Nicholas.
A contemporary of Darwin, he owned an original edition copy of the Origin of Species that was sold at auction in June 2006. The Origin of Species caused quite a stir in its time, the effects of which we still live with today. Murchison's copy of the book is beginning to cause another stir amongst geologists and those interested in the history of scientific thought. For inside its pages are scribbled numerous notes and comments, many of them dismissive of Darwin as a credible scientist, and of his theory.
For instance, in the margins of one page where Darwin had been speculating that geological time was longer than previously thought - at the expense of the traditional understanding of Genesis - Murchison proclaimed, "No! No!". When Darwin prophesied that "he who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory", Murchison replies, "Good!". And an equally telling response is to be found scribbled next to the book's final paragraph. Darwin states: "...endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved". Roderick Impey Murchison replies candidly, "When and where?". www.theherald.co.uk/news/62172-print.shtml
Charles Darwin's great fear that geology would utterly destroy his speculative General Theory has proven to be correct. Although conventional geologists are still reluctant to admit it because of the deep hold that evolutionism has over them, it is becoming more and more scientifically untenable to assign an immense age to the Earth. The assumed principles that geological interpretation has been built upon have been destroyed-falsified on many occasions by laboratory experiment and by field observation. An online video that explains how and why this is so can be accessed at www.noevolution.org - the DVD can be purchased from the Kolbe Center webstore.
Another area of geological research and study that is often cited in support of long ages for the Earth has also bitten back with a deadly bite against evolution. The Peak Oil crisis is constantly in the news, telling us that oil supplies have reached critically low levels and will run out in the foreseeable future.
Fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas have always been cited in support of evolutionism because they were formed, it is said, by the gradual accumulation, burial and decay of immense deposits of rotting flora and fauna. Horizontal reservoirs formed from dead dinosaurs and vanquished vegetation in a process that has supposedly taken millions of years. This un-testable speculation has led to an unholy alliance between evolutionism and the multinational oil cartels. The two need each other to exist and to continue their stranglehold over the economic life and philosophical beliefs of much of the world.
Eugene Island 330 is a major oil reservoir in the Gulf of Mexico. Discovered in 1972, predictions for the decline of its estimated reserves have continually surprised scientific experts. The oil that is pumped out is largely replenished from an unknown source.
Similar observations led Russian researchers to formulate a new testable theory of oil formation. By 1951, what has been called the Modern Russian-Ukrainian Theory of Deep, Abiotic Petroleum Origins was born. In the next couple of decades the theory was validated through the vigorous quantitative work of chemists, physicists and thermodynamicists. For the last couple of decades, the theory has been accepted as established fact by virtually the entire scientific community of the former Soviet Union and backed up by literally thousands of published studies in prestigious, peer reviewed scientific journals. And, like Guy Berthault's vigorous work with sedimentation mechanics, for over fifty years the work of the Russian petroleum researchers has received scarcely a word of acknowledgement in the English language. As a rigorous analytic theory within the mainstream of the modern physical sciences, the East European theory differs fundamentally from the unobserved and un-testable evolutionary hypothesis of a biological origin of petroleum. The biological hypothesis requires that highly reduced hydrocarbon molecules of high free enthalpy and complexity (the constituents of crude oil) evolve spontaneously from highly oxidized biogenic molecules of low free enthalpy and complexity.
Beginning in 1964, Soviet scientists carried out extensive theoretical statistical thermodynamic analysis. Their research established explicitly that the hypothesis of evolution of hydrocarbon molecules (except methane) from biogenic molecules, in the temperature and pressure regime of the Earth's near-surface crust, was glaringly in violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. They also determined that the evolution of reduced hydrocarbon molecules requires pressures of magnitudes encountered at depths equal to the mantle of the Earth. In other words, by using a mathematical model based upon the modern Laws of Thermodynamics, it has been proven that oil cannot possibly form under the conditions postulated by the evolutionary biological matter hypothesis.
It has been experimentally proven that oil is created from inorganic compounds at extreme temperatures and pressures present only near the core of the Earth! Petroleum - the archetypal fossil fuel - did not form from the remains of dead animals and plants, but from minerals at extreme temperatures and pressures.
The research teams mimicked conditions of more than 100 kilometers below the Earth's surface by heating marble, iron oxide and water to around 1500 degrees C and 50,000 times atmospheric pressure. This produced methane, the main constituent of natural gas, and octane, the hydrocarbon molecule that makes petrol. Other experiments have produced a cocktail of alkanes - methane, hexane, octane and so on - that are constituent to natural oil.
The empirical data from decades of research that prove the mineral origin of oil and its by-products, have been used to determine exploration and production with great success in Russia and neighboring lands.
The Western geochemist community and the petroleum industry were unable to deny the validity of the research. They reluctantly acknowledged that oil can indeed be created from minerals, but incredibly, they state that this has nothing to do with the oil that is pumped for consumption by the West. This, they say, was formed millions of years ago from rotting biomass and is fast running out so the price had better continue to rise! Viva evolution! www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/Energy.html
(Most of the information in this article was culled from a paper by Kolbe advisor Dr. Robert Bennett which will appear on the Kolbe website in the near future.)
EVOLUTION=SCIENCE? JUST A WILY RUSE AFTER ALL!
by Michael Fishwick
"In particular, I argue that in both evolution and creation we have rival religious responses to a crisis of faith - rival stories of origins, rival judgements about the meaning of human life, rival sets of moral dictates, and above all what theologians call rival eschatologies - pictures of the future and what lies ahead for humankind."
Upon reading these words you might naturally assume that they were penned by someone defending the truth of Creation as defined in Holy Scripture. Most of the time you would probably be right. But in a shockingly honest and accurate analysis taken from his recently published book - The Creation-Evolution Struggle - well known Evolutionist Michael Ruse has spilt the beans. See www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/RUSEVO.html.We have always been well aware that there is little testable science behind the wildly claimed 'proofs' of the Evolutionary Elite. Evolution is large on philosophy, small on essential scientific data.
Evolutionists have always tried to hide their philosophical systems in the dark whilst fiercely and incessantly claiming that only Evolution equals science. But now we have it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. It was all a crafty ruse, a wily subterfuge, a cheap trick.
Employing the scientific method upon the fundamental beliefs of Evolution quickly shows Evolution to be built upon philosophical beliefs, not scientific data. But is Michael Ruse correct in his assessment that Evolution equals religion?
In 1961, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Secular Humanism is a religion. This ruling has been confirmed more recently by Justice Harlan (1970) and Justice Scalia (1987). Footnote 11 of the Supreme Court decision talked about non-Theistic religions as follows:
"Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others."
The Footnote could easily have added Hinduism and the pantheism of Neo-Paganism. Integral to all of these religious beliefs is Evolution. Evolution is the central creed of what Footnote 11 described as "religions founded on different beliefs". Secular Humanists had already, in 1950, obtained tax-exempt status as religious organizations. Twenty years before this in his book - Humanism: A New Religion - Dr. C. F. Potter, honorary president of the National Education Association admitted:
"Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism."
In 1973, Dr. Chester Pierce, Professor of Education and Psychiatry at Harvard University gave a lecture at Denver, Colorado which left his audience in no doubt at all to the objectives of the Evolutionary creed of Humanism:
"Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill, because he comes to school with certain allegiances towards our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a Supernatural Being, toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It's up to you teachers to make all of these sick children well by creating the international children of the future." www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1962
The teaching of Evolution and Humanism in public schools was challenged in the 1980's and 1990's by Christians under the 'Establishment of Religion' clause of the First Amendment. Unjust and hypocritical judges ruled that Secular Humanism is a religion for 'Free Exercise' clause purposes but not in regard to the 'Establishment' clause! This flies in the face of the Supreme Court ruling of 1961, not to mention the open acknowledgement by leading Humanists that it does indeed constitute a religion. For instance, Paul Kurtz, publisher of Prometheus Books, a leading Humanist conduit, states in the preface of the 'Humanist Manifestos I & II, published by his own company in 1973, that Humanism is a "philosophical, religious and moral point of view."
Under the guidance of the notorious and nefarious American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Secular Humanism - and hence Evolution - now claims that it is not religious but 'scientific' in order to worm its way out of problems under the 'Establishment of Religion' clause.
In the French language a 'ruse de guerre' means a war stratagem. Michael Ruse has found the honesty and the courage to break out of the box and indirectly hint that this is indeed the strategy that Evolutionists have been following in order to denigrate cutting edge science that relies on empirical data to prove the scientific truth of Genesis. He is to be commended for his sincerity in this matter, all the more so because it serves to highlight the vicious attacks directed against scientific endeavour by some of his (r)evolutionary colleagues.
Michael Ruse continues later in his book:
"My area of expertise is the clash between evolutionists and creationists, and my analysis is that we have no simple clash between science and religion but rather between two religions."
If this is indeed the case then logically neither Evolution nor Creation have any place in the science curriculum. Science classrooms should be limited to the study of empirical data and the use of the scientific method. If Evolution continues to be taught in the science classroom then Creationism must be taught in those very same classrooms.
What's good for the goose is good for the gander!
A number of Science fairs around Ireland are attempting to indoctrinate young people with the creed of Evolution. Vast amounts of money is being spent to push the Darwinian propaganda to school children. These series of articles will counter and refute those who support Evolution.
Evolutionists are becoming rather worried about the distinct lack of success at indoctrinating American students with the wonders of their mythological creed. Notwithstanding the support of biased judges in U.S. Courtrooms, they have decided that they must launch a propaganda offensive to try and win the hearts and souls of the coming generations of young Americans.
This was recently illustrated by a well publicized symposium entitled 'Anti-Evolutionism in America: What's Ahead?' Under the auspices of this symposium, a special event was held for pro-evolution teachers, bussed in from all over America. According to well respected Professor of Anatomy, and Creation lecturer, Dr. David Menton, teachers had been accused, throughout the main symposium, of a dismal failure to teach evolution. But during the special session, "teachers were warmly praised for their noble efforts"! www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0311aaas.asp
One of the principal speakers at the special session was none other than the notable Jesuit priest, Rev. Fr. George Coyne, who heads the Vatican Observatory at Castel Gandolfo, Italy. He is closely associated with the John Templeton Foundation, an extremely wealthy organization that seeks a Hegelian synthesis between religion and science.
Unfortunately, the Church was misrepresented before the speaker had even reached the podium. He was introduced as a leading authority on Catholic views about evolution, and while it is true that he is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, it is also true that this body, in the words of Archbishop Luigi Barbarito, "has no authority in matters of faith and doctrine and expresses only the views of its own members who belong to different religious beliefs." (See 'The Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Crisis of Faith' in our Articles section). The fact is, no Catholic priest has doctrinal authority over the Magisterium, and the position of the Church is to be found in its Traditional teaching and Holy Scripture. The Council of Trent and Vatican Council I both stated explicitly that Holy Scripture must be interpreted in agreement with the unanimous belief of the Fathers of the Church. All of them teach that Genesis I-XI is an historical account and must be understood in the literal historical sense. Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical 'Humani generis', whilst allowing discussion and research of the development of the body from living matter, warned against the Theory of Evolution:
"Now Catholic theologians... cannot afford to ignore or neglect these more or less erroneous opinions. Rather they must come to understand these same theories well, both because diseases are not properly treated unless they are rightly diagnosed, and because sometimes even in these false theories a certain amount of truth is contained, and, finally, because these theories provoke more subtle discussion and evaluation of philosophical and theological truths." http://webtools.kolbenet.com/shopcart.php?n=2&p=detail&i=358
A number of important points are raised by Fr. Coyne. We will limit ourselves here, to commenting upon those that concern the question of origins and science. A video presentation of the entire speech, 'Evolution and Catholic Teachings', can be viewed at www.aaas.org/programs/centers/pe/evoline/index.shtml
At a time when many secular commentators are beginning to recognize the important role played by the Church and the faithful in the development of science, it is very sad to see prelates of the Church denigrate and dismiss Catholic science, and the science of Creation. "...the literal interpretation of Scripture; that is a plague in our midst.." Tom Bethell, for instance, who is senior editor at the 'American Spectator' and a well respected science commentator, is not Catholic as far as we are aware*. Yet, Mr. Bethell donates an entire chapter of his book 'The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science' to defending the historic role of the Church in this regard. Do two thousand years of Catholic existence, dogma, tradition and piety really count for nothing?
* Editor: We have since become aware that Mr. Bethell is a Roman Catholic. EAR 4/25/06
Your deeds, O Lord, have made me glad; for the work of Your hands I shout with joy, O Lord, how great are Your works! How deep are your designs! The foolish man cannot know this, And the fool cannot understand.
A Creature that Defies Evolution
comments by Michael Fishwick
The following article was published in the March 2006 issue of Catholic, a monthly newspaper, published by the Transalpine Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, Golgotha Monastery Island, Papa Stronsay, Orkney Islands, Scotland, KW17 2AR, under the pen name "Idiota." Some minor grammatical changes have been made in order to make spelling more familiar to an American audience.
THE BOMBARDIER BEETLE
The bombardier beetle is a small insect that is armed with a shockingly impressive defense system. Whenever threatened by an enemy attack, this spirited little beetle blasts irritating and odious gases, at a temperature of 212 degrees F, from two tail pipes right into the unfortunate face of the would-be aggressor! Dr. Wermann Schildknecht, a German chemist, studied the bombardier beetle to find out how it accomplishes this impressive chemical feat. He learned that the beetle makes its explosive by mixing together two chemicals (hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide). The beetle is able to store these two chemicals indefinitely, until it needs to use them. Whenever our beetle is approached by a predator, such as a frog, it squirts the stored chemicals into the two combustion tubes, and at precisely the right moment it adds another chemical, which functions as a catalyst. The catalyst makes it possible for the hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide to react together, which they do with such great violence that the beetle can squirt the mixture of hot chemicals into the attacker's face.
It is a devastating defense. The beetle is tiny, but the gasses it can squirt out are so hot and so fast that they cause a small explosion. A hungry frog, or even a mouse, could easily be so startled and hurt that the lucky beetle will get enough time to run away.
This little beetle is one of the wonders of God's creation, which happens to make an excellent piece of evidence that atheistic evolution is totally wrong. How could such a marvelous and complex mechanism have evolved piecemeal over millions of years?
Where is the survival advantage in storing what, from the beetle's point of view, are pretty large amounts of two rather unhealthy chemicals? It can not be to deter predators, because that would only apply to the modern beetle, not its semi-evolved ancestor. No doubt an atheist who reads biochemistry books could dream up some sort of an answer to that question, possibly a detail of the beetle immune system or some such thing. Those of us who believe in the truth of Genesis could be forgiven for suspecting that the atheist is begging the question - assuming that his theory is true. There have to be large amounts, otherwise the frog is not deterred and the beetle isn't evolving. It is, of course, argued that these chemicals provide a survival advantage even in small amounts because they make the beetle taste bad. Nonsense! A partially munched-up and spat-out beetle leaves no descendents. Predators can not pick and choose between slightly mutated/evolved beetles that taste bad and less lucky beetles that taste better - they will either go for any of that beetle population or none of them. There is, therefore, no survival advantage in a tiny chemical mutation.
What about the development of the catalyst? There is no need to evolve a catalyst unless you already have the two chemicals you are trying to catalyze. And it has to be exactly the right kind of catalyst, or else the two chemicals would not react enough, or not react at all, or maybe poison the beetle, all of which are not survival advantages.
Obviously, such an arrangement would never arise apart from intelligent foresight and planning. Nevertheless, let us assume that our beetle somehow managed simultaneously to develop the two chemicals along with the all important catalyst. Atheistic fantasy still has not explained how to create a beetle without God. Our beetle still needs to evolve the two combustion tubes, and a precise communications and timing network to control and adjust the critical direction and timing of the explosion. Are we to imagine that for thousands of generations these carefree little beetles went around blowing themselves to pieces until finally they mastered their new found powers? But what would be the motivation for such disastrous, trial-and-error, piecemeal evolution? Everything in evolution is supposed to make perfect sense and have a logical purpose, or else it would never develop.. But such a process does not make any sense at all, and to propose that the entire defense system evolved all at once is tantamount to declaring that something can come from nothing without Divine power. Like all God's works, this particular something is far better designed than the best of 21st century technology.
Nature abounds with countless such examples of perfect co-ordination. Thus, we can only conclude that the surprising little bombardier beetle is a strong witness for special creation, for there is no other rational explanation for such a wonder.
Darwinian evolution absolutely must proceed by small mutations, each of which must provide a very notable survival advantage to the population of the 'advanced' mutants over their lesser brethren. One should bear in mind that it is hotly debated whether so much as one single advantageous mutation has ever been proved - and yet harmful mutations happen all the time!
No one has documented in real scientific journals how a partial development of this wonderful defense system could provide a partial defense, because it is obviously a fantasy based upon the rejection of God..
All of the parts are necessary to provide any defense at all, and all of the parts are absolutely useless to the beetle if any other part is missing. Since the partially developed defense system clearly never existed, the beetle originally must have been created just as it is now, with the complete defense mechanism..
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. His eternal power also and divinity: so that they are inexcusable. Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified Him as God or given thanks: but became vain in their thoughts. And their foolish heart was darkened. For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." [Romans I, 20-22]
KOLBE CENTRE FOOTNOTES
. Darwinian evolution philosophically assumes that the primary mechanism of evolution is chance. By referring to logical purpose, the author is considering that to be preserved, in Darwinian terms, a mutation must confer some sort of useful role in an organism. The alleged mechanism of chance is philosophical, and not a scientific hypothesis, because it is unobservable and untestable. Non-Darwinian evolutionists assume ultimate purpose in evolution, but they still fail to provide a scientific mechanism for the fairytale of macro-evolution. Theistic evolutionists, such as Michael Behe, attempt to mix and match - chance and purpose, macro evolution and God - and end up with a position that is untenable to the Faith and to the known corpus of scientific data.
. Catholic Professor of Biochemistry, Michael Behe, adds in his best selling book 'Darwin's Black Box' that: "Not only does the defensive apparatus of the bombardier beetle depend on a number of interacting components, but the cells that produce hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide depend on a very large number of components to do so; the cells that secrete catalaze are very complex; and the sphincter muscle separating the collection vesicle from the explosion chamber is a system of systems".
. Two wonderful video productions - 'Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution' - are available from the Kolbe Center Webstore. They are a great source of education and enjoyment for children and adults alike. http://webtools.kolbenet.com/shopcart.php?n=2&cat=videos
ELEISON COMMENTS CLXXI (Oct. 23, 2010) : INTERIOR CAVE
Visiting Subiaco put me in mind of two lines of Latin verse which situate in succession four founders of great religious Orders in the Church. Besides sweeping over three quarters of Church history, the lines also suggest why so many a Catholic soul today is hanging onto the Faith by its finger-tips.
Here are the lines:- Bernardus valles, colles Benedictus amabat,
Oppida Franciscus, magnas Ignatius urbes.
A free translation might be:-- Bernard loved valleys, Benedict took to the hills
Francis worked towns, cities Ignatius tills.
In chronological order (slightly upset here by the demands of the Latin hexameter), St Benedict (480-547) sought God in the mountains (Subiaco, Monte Cassino); the Cistercians, galvanized by St Bernard (1090-1153) came down to the valleys (notably Clairvaux); St Francis (1181-1226) roamed amidst the small towns of his day, while the Jesuits of St Ignatius (1491-1556) led the apostolate of the modern city. One might say the modern city took its revenge when Jesuits, with Dominicans, led the collapse of Vatican II (e.g. de Lubac and Rahner, S.J.; Congar and Schillebeeckx, O.P.).
For is not the progression from hill to city a progression from being alone with God to being only with man ? Industrialism and the motor-car make the modern city with its soft life possible, but in doing so they generate a daily environment steadily more artificial and cut off from God's Nature. With the material comforts increase the spiritual difficulties. In fact big city life is becoming so inhuman that the liberal death-wish may soon bring on the Third World War, to devastate urban and suburban life as we know it. Then if, for a variety of reasons, a Catholic cannot take to the hills, how does he stay out of the mental institutions ?
One answer is logical. He must live with God, inside himself, in an interior cave, leaving the world to rush all around. He must turn his own heart into a hermitage and at least his home, if he can, into something of a sanctuary, while respecting all natural family needs. That does not mean living in an unreal world of one's own, but in the real world of God within, as opposed to the fantastical world of the Devil without, pressing on us from all sides.
Similarly, the Newchurch has closed countless monasteries and convents since Vatican II, which leaves rather fewer openings for a soul which may think that it hears an interior call from God. Has he led them up a blind alley, or has he let them down ? Or is he maybe calling them to lead a religious life within, turning their little flat in the big city into a hermitage, and their godless office into a field of apostolate, by means of prayer, charity and example ? Our world is in grave need of Catholic souls that radiate outwards their inner peace and calm with God.
I&A held a very successful picket outside the London HQ of Marie Stopes. The following is their report.
Following our successful pro-life activity outside the London HQ of the British
Pregnancy Advisory Service in Bedford Square on 14th August, supporters of
Integrity and Action descended upon Marie Stopes London HQ in Whitfield Street
during the afternoon of Saturday 16th October.
Fourteen I&A supporters led by a chaplain, Fr. Matthew Clifton, SSPX,
arrived outside Marie Stopes House to find several courageous souls already
stationed there as part of the international 40-Days-for-Life campaign.
These, and other, brave souls are maintaining a prayerful presence outside the
Marie Stopes headquarters day and night for 40 days, ending on 31st October.
The unexpected arrival of our group during the 40-Days campaign was warmly
welcomed and Fr. Clifton led everyone for a couple of hours in the singing of
the rosary interspersed with some impressive polyphony from the assembled choir
in between decades.
Many pro-life leaflets were handed-out, as always, and pavement counselors were
on hand to speak with women on their way to the abortuary and to provide them
with hope and information about practical help that is available to distressed
mothers and their unborn children.
An excellent column from His Lordship Bishop Williamson.
ELEISON COMMENTS CLXX (Oct. 16, 2010) : BLESSED CAVE
How absurd it is to separate grace from nature ! The two are made for one another ! How much more absurd to conceive of grace as though it makes war on nature ! It makes war on the fallen-ness of our fallen nature, but not on the nature, coming from God, which underlies that fallen-ness. On the contrary, grace exists to heal that underlying nature from its fallen-ness and falls, and to elevate it to divine heights, to a partaking in the very nature of God (II Pet. I, 4).
Now nature without grace may lead to Revolution, but grace scorning nature leads to a false "spirituality", for instance Jansenism, which also leads to Revolution, Of the gravity of this Protestantising error, which sets grace against nature instead of against sin, I was reminded on a seven-day visit to Italy which took in a visit to four mountainous sites, to which four great medieval Saints, all in the Breviary and the Missal, fled, to get close to God -- in Nature. They were, in chronological order, St. Benedict (March 22, Subiaco), St. Romuald, (Feb.7, Camaldoli), St. John Gualbert (July 12, Vallombrosa), and St. Francis of Assisi (Oct.4, la Verna).
From Camaldoli and Vallumbrosa, high in the hills around Florence, two monastic Orders took their name and origin in the 11th century. In la Verna, high in the Tuscan Apennines, St Francis received the stigmata in 1224. All three locations are now reached with relative ease in bus or car, but they are still surrounded by forestland, and they are high enough above sea-level that they must be bitterly cold in winter. That is where these Saints went to commune with God, far from the comfort of cities with their "madding crowd", still madding enough even in the rather smaller cities of those days.
Perhaps the site which struck me most was Subiaco, an hour's car journey east of Rome, where St Benedict as a young man spent three years in a cave perched on a mountainside. Born in 580 A.D., as a young student he fled from the corruption in Rome, and took to the hills at the age of 20 or, some say, 14 ! - if so, what a teenager ! From about 1200 A.D. a full-scale monastery began to be nested in the mountainside around the spot made sacred by this young man, but one can still guess what he found there in his search for God: clouds and sky above, the torrent rustling in the valley far below, nothing but wild woodland on the mountain-face opposite, and for company nothing but the birds wheeling to and fro off the steep cliff-face... alone with Nature ... God's Nature... alone with God !
Three years, alone with God... those three years so enabled one young Catholic to possess his soul, with Christ, in Nature, that his famous Benedictine Rule enabled the collapsed Roman empire to mutate into soaring Christendom, now in turn collapsing as "Western civilization". Where are the young Catholics today, who will save Christendom by re-possessing their own souls by re-possessing, with Christ, their nature ?
Mother of God, inspire our young men !
EMPLOYERS are importing thousands of workers for ordinary jobs from outside the EU, despite record unemployment levels here.
The number of non-EU workers being hired has surged to more than 6,600 so far this year, new figures show.
Workers from outside Ireland and the EU are being hired for jobs on farms, in hotels, restaurants, bars, nursing homes, takeaways, insurance companies, pharmacies and leisure centres.
A large number of the workers are also employed in nursing homes, with permits also issued for workers in guesthouses.
The surge in numbers comes despite rules that insist companies can only hire overseas if they can't get the staff at home or in the EU. The number of people signing on the dole here is just under 450,000.
The figures will raise serious questions about why companies are so desperate for foreign workers -- and whether it is because they are often cheaper and non-unionised.
There are also restrictions on hiring lower-paid workers. But they do not seem to be preventing employers hiring staff in industries where wages are relatively low.
This time last year, only 5,822 work permits had been issued for the first time or renewed, but by September this year, the figure had risen to 6,621, a 14pc increase.
While the numbers are well down on the Celtic Tiger era, in one month alone this year the number of permits granted almost touched 1,200.
In recent years, Irish workers have been rejecting the lowest-paid jobs, although this may change as the labour market continues to worsen.
The rules from the Department of Enterprise are very blunt: permits can only be granted when an employer has "made every effort to recruit an Irish or European Economic Area national for the post".
Recruitment specialists said yesterday that specific language skills were needed for some of the roles, and these were not available in Ireland or the EU.
But they could not explain the large number of overseas workers needed in areas like catering, education, agriculture/fisheries and various service industries.
The Department of Enterprise figures showed that while healthcare and medicine were key areas for recruiting foreign workers, service industries, which cover everything from hairdressing to insurance, also appeared central to the high demand.
For example, in June 1,194 permits were issued, with the largest demand coming from services industries, considerably ahead of healthcare.
The geographical background of those getting permits was highly concentrated, with Indians awarded 1,780 permits, followed by citizens of the Philippines with 1,101 permits and China with 288 permits.
Those awarded permits can only work for the employer sponsoring them initially, but there are ways to change to another employer later on.
The original application can be made by the employee or the employer.
The system was established under the Employment Permits Act of 2003 and 2006.
There have been complaints in recent months by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) that some unnamed employers were exploiting workers.
The Minister of State in charge of labour affairs, Dara Calleary, recently condemned "any practices by employers that may result in non-compliance with employment rights, entitlements or any other mistreatment of employees".
Mr Calleary pointed out that those employers who contravene employment permits legislation may be liable for fines ranging from €5,000 up to €50,000.
(Joseph Mary Plunkett)