Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: Heaven

Predestination

Predestination

Et oratio eius fiat in peccatum.

The Hell predestined for this Pharisee
Will seem like Heaven to his darkened eyes.
Whores all around will offer flattery.
How righteous he will feel then – and how wise!
His endless stream of self-deceiving lies
Will fill a sea of grinning confirmation.
The vulgar habits I myself despise
Will bathe in unrelenting celebration.
Nevertheless, this will be deep damnation.
The face he views forever in the sky
Will not be God’s. Contentment in that station
Will prove a curse, though chuckles never die.
This is a game that hypocrites can’t win.
Their prayers are turned serenely into sin.

–Tom Riley

Step Away

Step Away

I step away. I leave your fate to chance—
Or else to Heaven, as you may prefer.
This isn’t such a complicated dance.
I step away. I leave your fate to chance.
I watch indifferent things as they advance
And unintended pains as they occur.
I step away. I leave your fate to chance—
Or else to Heaven, as you may prefer.

–Tom Riley

Blessed Silence

Blessed Silence

Thank Heaven that
the angel Heaven sent had
nothing to say!

–Tom Riley

De Lazaro Parabolico

De Lazaro Parabolico

Across the Great Abyss you view your foes.
In life, you always knew this day would come.
I’m preaching justice here. How wearisome
My mortal voice must sound, its highs and lows
So distant from the aural wine that flows
Where you reside! Indeed, I would be dumb
And keep my words from adding to the sum
Of human chattiness: this goodness knows.
But, oh, I need to comment on your joy
In lines that number twice the holy seven
Even if klutzy errors do annoy
The well-tuned ears of those who know the Leaven
Of Paradise! I’m glad for you, dear boy:
The best revenge is looking down from Heaven.

–Tom Riley

Skyward Fist

Skyward Fist

Why shake your
skyward fist if Heaven in
truth is vacant?

–Tom Riley

See the source image

Nox Diabolorum

Nox Diabolorum

(in memoriam P.S.R.)

My sainted mom was born on Devils’ Night.
We celebrated after dark for years.
The things kids do that night are never right—
But often merit adolescent cheers.
My sainted mom was on the verge of tears
Much of those nights, I’m sure. When kids raise hell,
No mom’s concern for offspring disappears.
I know she prayed – and, boy, did she pray well!
Devils like Little Tom would love to tell
Such saints as her to pray their evil asses
Out of the pit. Can sanctity compel
Mercy to rain upon the wicked masses?
Can woman saved uplift bad boy – or man?
If anyone can manage it, she can.

–Tom Riley

See the source image

In Caelo Regnat

In Caelo Regnat

 

What reigns in Heaven can’t be written down.
No text can bind that all-pervasive fire.
For what’s above some feel a fierce desire—
But composition, lad, makes you a clown
Wearing an idiotic parchment crown.
If you would hear the Gods’ transcendent choir,
From literary efforts please retire!
In alphabetic oceans cease to drown!
Cease to indulge your yen for definition:
What can be put in writing shouldn’t be
If actual enlightenment’s your mission.
Don’t dare encumber immortality!
Be wordless in your pertinent contrition!
Sign here, lad, if at long last you agree!

 

–Tom Riley

Popular Culture

Popular Culture

 

Saw an angel
fall from Heaven – listening to
the latest hits.

 

–Tom Riley

 

Paradise Lost - Gustave Dore - WikiArt.org

No Middle Flight

No Middle Flight

 

 

You wrote the finest sonnets, and the worst.
Yet in your epic you declined to rhyme.
You drew the noble sense out every time
Into eternity. They almost burst,
The lines you charged with force, and fiends accursed
Battered against the boundlessness sublime
That they mistook for limits. Set to climb
A mountain, you took wing and then rehearsed
The liberty of Heaven. I’ve been taught
To name you heretic. Such petty souls,
Daring to issue every ouch and ought
That gnaws their nerves! They dwell in self-shaped holes
And celebrate the nothing they have wrought.
They lack the scope to comprehend your goals.

 

 

–Tom Riley

Plagiarism and Hypocrisy the Shea Way

Plagiarism and Hypocrisy the Shea Way

 

 

Catholic blog-monger Mark Shea predictably joined the chorus of leftist voices excoriating Melania Trump for the plagiarism in her convention speech — and predictably did it with the patented Shea sneer, telling his readers how “hilarious” the moment was according to his superior evaluation.  The truth is, though, that Shea is himself a casual plagiarist.  He plagiarizes in another blog post, entitled  “Good to See a Consistent Prolife Ethic.”  But before I demonstrate Shea’s plagiarism, I have to examine what plagiarism actually is.

My sister Kate is the world’s foremost expert on Fulton J. Sheen.  All right, I guess that’s an evaluation, not an unchallenged fact.  But I like phrases such as “the world’s foremost expert” and try to use them whenever I can.  At any rate, my sister is the author of the definitive biography.  It is a version of her doctoral dissertation.

Before she published it, however, she was involved in a conflict with a priest in the Archdiocese of New York who had published his own book on Sheen.  It was a version of his master’s thesis.  Being a Sheen scholar, my sister took a look at the new biography — and found that it had been plagiarized from her dissertation.  She pursued the plagiarizing priest, at some expense, with the zeal of a true academic — until his book was removed from print and revisions to his thesis required if he expected to retain his degree.   There’s a special place in Heaven for scholars who hunt down purveyors of intellectual dishonesty in that fashion.

Here’s the point, however.  Father Plagiarist did not steal my sister’s words.  He could argue that he did not even steal her original ideas.  Rather, he stole her research.  He went through her dissertation and notes in order to acquire Sheen quotes he could use for his own thesis without going to the trouble of reading the requisite books himself.  Hey, it saved time for a busy clergyman!

It was plagiarism nevertheless.

And this is exactly what Shea does in the blog post mentioned above.  He gives a link to an Evangelical blogger opposing the death sentence for the surviving Boston Marathon bomber.  Then he praises the late Elie Wiesel and gives a quotation from that luminary regarding the death penalty.  But the quote is stolen directly, without attribution, from the Evangelical blogger whom Shea recommends right above.  He does this for exactly the same reasons that Father Plagiarist did it.  He wants to save time. He wants to give the impression that he knows something about Elie Wiesel,  whereas in reality “Pop Goes the Weasel” is more his speed.  He is being intellectually dishonest, just as Father Plagiarist was.

Shea gives abundant evidence at the close of his post that he couldn’t tell Elie Wiesel from Loretta Lynch — even, most likely, at Wiesel’s grave site.

Furthermore, this seems like an habitual act.  I am not a Shea follower.  I am not even a regular reader from a hostile viewpoint.  Friends send me occasional Shea outrages by Facebook message or by e-mail.  And I did flog myself through a couple of his books, if only to assure myself that such stuff could indeed be brought out by Catholic publishers.  But I’m pretty sure that, if I took the time to survey the length and breadth of Shea’s blundering bloggery, I would find many more examples of the same offense.

Now it is easy to imagine Shea’s groupies rushing to defend him.  Hey, cut the poor guy some slack!  He’s writing as a blogger, not an academic.  He’s not claiming any degree on the basis of his remarks.  He has to produce a lot of these insubstantial posts every day.  He probably didn’t know that what he was doing constituted plagiarism, and therefore no culpability can be attributed to him.

And I myself can readily excuse Shea on the grounds of stupidity, of which he possesses a plentiful supply.  Like the Peking homunculus, he has the brain of a barnyard animal.  I’m sure he doesn’t have any clear idea of what constitutes plagiarism.

But the excuses that could be made for him sound to me suspiciously like the excuses that could be made for Melania Trump or for her speechwriter.  And I’d rather excuse Melania.  She’s a lot easier on the eyes.  Sue me.  I’ve always been a sucker for a pretty face.

What’s more, Melania isn’t condemning Shea for his plagiarism.  Excuse him?  She hasn’t even noticed him — and wouldn’t notice him if he jumped up and down in front of her, jiggling his flab and waving his suety arms.

But Shea, the brute, is condemning Melania.  He even sneers at those who would “make excuses” for her.  Shea is not only a plagiarist.  He is a hypocrite.

I believe the proper destination for hypocrites is the Eighth Circle of Hell.  I’m working from memory here, but I will state that my remembered source is Dante.

I wouldn’t want to involve myself in a plagiarism.

 

 

–Tom Riley