Sunday, September 22, 2019


On this Sunday we share this masterfully crafted perspective from a favorite of the TKC comment section as he shares some of the most BRILLIANT AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING writing on the topic of faith life that we've seen in Kansas City for years.

Chuck: A Eulogy For An Old Friend And The Latin Mass

A friend of mine is dying. His energy is sapped, his faculties are scattered and his memories of war, visit and torture him in his dreams. He yearns now, as darkness approaches, comfort from above as his time comes close.

Long ago, in middle age, I suffered through an existential crisis similar to, I believe, Ernest Hemingway. In his book, "A Farewell To Arms" (Written here, in Mission Hills Kansas), at one point, the protagonist, Fredrick, sits beside a fire, reviewing his desperate situation and sees ants on a log, some escaping, but most, being consumed by the flames. He is holding, in his hand, a tin cup of water that he is no longer thirsting for, yet, does nothing and the ants perish.

Throughout Hemingway's oeuvre, a leitmotif is an indifferent God.

" Hemingway mockingly portrays God as an alcoholic who does not care about the lives of the ants any more than he cares about the lives of humans. This depiction by Hemingway purveys his dubious feelings about the existence of a God and furthers his suggestion that with death all around humanity, life is impermanent and nothing, not even a God, can change this basic truth." - Seth Cassel

At the age of 62, an alcoholic who realized his best days were behind him and unable to cope any more with his life long depression fostered by uncertainty, Hemingway took a shotgun and blew his brains out. I think the "ant" story, was his suicide note. An "Indifferent God", the genesis of his depression, the inability to diverge from the Ecclesiastical "Duality" that permeates Western thought and of course, the Western Canon forced him to pull the trigger and stop the pain. An agent of his own destruction, his contributions to that same Canon reinforced his myopia.

IQ and education, is no determinate, ever, of any relief, when it comes to understanding the nature, purpose and mystery of life.

The mystery itself, is the answer in my opinion. Religious ideology is an impediment to the relief Hemingway sought and so despaired of, on that last day, alone, after such a singular and accomplished life.

Raised as a Catholic, even at a young age, I reveled in the mystery, the unknown, the possibilities of some unspoken, hoped for insight accorded by the High Priests, the High Mass, the Vestments, the Chalice, the Symbolism, but, most of all, the sui generis, sine qua non, that was the foundation for the ceremony itself, the dead, dead, dead language of the ancients. Latin. "Kyrie, eleison", or, "Lord Have Mercy."

We should and can not wait anymore for mercy and redemption from an ethereal, unknowable, indifferent being. We live our lives, whether we know it or not, according to the famous French philosopher, Blaise Pascal's "Gambit". He is well known for the wager he says, we all make, in our daily efforts to appease that unknowable, indifferent entity. He posits, that humans, bet, with their very lives, that God either exists or does not.

"Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell)."

The original "Hedge Bet".

None of my friends knew it at the time, but the end of the Latin Mass, was the end of Catholicism for us. The mystery itself of the Latin Mass, emulating, unknowingly, the mysteries ever so present in Oriental dharma were the doorway to knowledge that in no way can be transmitted by way of religious writings, didactic dialogue and the presence of "Holy Men". The "Spirituality" that would seem to be the goal of all religions will escape us all, if we don't see the connection between unknowable mystery and an unknowable ceremony which forces, or encourages us to look within.

Words fail me with my friend. They are of no use. They must have failed with Hemingway's friends too.

28 years ago, tomorrow, The Dead Sea Scrolls were finally made available to the public complete with much of the Apocrypha. They are of a mystical bent and offer insight into the nature, purpose and mystery of life. Occidental and Oriental Mystics throughout the ages have found solace from within, not in a literal, or metaphorical Cathedral and the organizations that supported same.
I wonder at Hemingway, who, born a Protestant, converted to Catholicism and still, with mystery beckoning, comfort still available in his church, died alone in a field with a gun in his hand.

I worry for my friend, as it he slips slowly and daily into that "Good Night" if he sees past that "door". I hope, as we are faced with death, we can enlarge our view of ourselves and see our lives and our so called "sins" in a light through an oculus provided by our god, or gods and forgive ourselves in anticipation of the end.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant Chuck. THANK YOU for writing that!

Jameson said...

I remember when The Star had a Faith section, they used to have some stuff that was nearly this good. No more, it's all coupons and politics. This one actually gets people thinking. Appreciate it Chuck. You are one Hell of a writer.

Anonymous said...

Of course the Latin mass was the end of the Church. Just look at their fate since they got rid of it. Maybe a sign of that they were wrong on that one.

Anonymous said...

Damn good read. And yeah, I remember when The Star used to publish stuff like this, when the paper was actually worth reading. Sorry for your troubles Chuck. You're a damn good man and I may not agree with you politically 100% of the time but no question that I respect where you're coming from.

Super Dave said...

Nice Job Chuck

Silvestor orgalthorp said...

Sorry about your friend chuck. One of the hardest thing to go through as we get older is watch, one by one, our friends and family die.
The sad thing about Hemingway is that he never realized what he gave to world with the gift he had. The same can be said of millions of people I guess.
He wrote one the best stanzas in literature when writing about ..”for whom the bell tolls”. It’s how we respond when we hear that bell that has always fascinated me.
I only hope I have the courage of my first wife. As she was dying with cancer, I never saw her cry or complain
One day I came in the house and she was smoking a cigarette and drinking booze. With a smile on her face she said, “I’m not going to see God without a stiff drink”.

Byron Funkhouser said...

Complete nonsense.

The Catholic Church is the biggest terrorist organization the world has ever known. Their crimes against humanity are legendary.

There is no after-life.

Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Hemingway is no example. His alcoholism and repeated head injuries exacerbated his dementia. Roughly stated, he was bonkers.

Anonymous said...

9:48 you forget that Billy the Catholic hater Tammeus took over the faith section. That's when it started to crumble...that and him allowing atheists to literally threaten people on his MODERATED blog. I don't think the Star wanted the potential legal liability.

Anonymous said...

You should hope not Byron you lying, thieving cheat. Fuck off cocksucker!

Great job Chuck!

Anonymous said...

Byron Funkhouser, who is an old guy posting from a coffee house in Raytown, is a poster child for the type of atheist hate monger who uined the Bill Tammeus blog. And the crimes committed by the atheists with the actual political power to kill Christians... by the MILLIONS...are NOT legendary. To be blunt, "Byron", you are stupid.

chuck said...

Thanks for the kind words.

Anonymous said...


They know not who they are.
They know not where they came from.
They know not where they're going.

"Life" as most know it, is a aimless journey in a world full of meaningless distractions.

Now go waste your afternoon watching the Kansas City Chiefs, owned by a billionaire Texan who receives welfare from the taxpayers of Jackson County. Go to the game and waste your dollars on parking, tickets, food/drink, and merchandise that's all exorbitantly priced. Support millionaire professional athletes, many of whom are low-IQ violent offenders and drug abusers. Tune in to local media and read/watch the talking heads trip over themselves in praise of this corrupt sports monopoly, while they attempt to sell advertising to enrich themselves. Note the vacuous politicians who wear their red jerseys while pandering to the indoctrinated sheeple who bleat on cue.

Under no circumstances should you go for a walk, read a book, meditate in silence, help a neighbor, eat a healthy meal, spend time with your spouse/child, or reflect upon The Golden Rule.

Anonymous said...

1:10, the KANSAS CITY ATHEIST COALION will NOT tolerate such talk...if they can find out who you are, they will take your picture and try to smear you on social media. I know two people who experienced that. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Oh look Byron is out of jail again.

Anonymous said...


Typical overblown mediocrity from Chuck.

Anonymous said...

^^^ typical overblown stupidity from an extremely jealous soy boi!

Anonymous said...

Blaise Pascal was a tax official, lawyer and wealthy member of the petite noblesse , who also had an interest in science and mathematics. He was trained in the law at Paris and received his law degree in 1610.

Tracy Thomas said...

Excellent piece, Chuck.

Pearls before mostly swine here, but that's ok. What counts is getting it out there.

Proud to call you my friend.

chuck said...

Thanks Tracy.



Anonymous said...

Get used to your friends dying chuck. They’re old just like you. It happens. Can’t happen fast enough for you and your worthless generation. Take comfort in the fact that none of you mattered and none of you and yours will be missed. The world will be better without any of you in it bye!

Tracy Thomas said...

5:21--this is the kind of crap that will eventually force Tony to hit the delete button on you. Permanently. That will mark the Death of the Trolls. Eventually, you will be forced to register, and if you misbehave by wasting everyone's time, you will be blocked. Deservedly so.

If you cannot comment on the subject, then do not post ad hominem attacks about other commenters.

You have no concept of how lucky we are to even have this blog. Most cities don't. Their newspapers, like ours, are dead or dying. But nobody has stepped up to fill the void, the need to communicate and share IDEAS. Not anonymous insults.

I feel sorry for anyone living within earshot of your sad existence.

Anonymous said...

^^^Umm sorry, this is a free speech zone. If you don’t like what’d said, you can fuck right off now. That’s what living in America means. You don’t like that? Take your bitch-ass to Venezuela. I’ll post what I want, when I want, and you’re powerless to damn thing about it! Believe that!

Anonymous said...

Oh snap!!! Tracy Thomas just got knocked the fuck out!!!!!!

chuck said...

Honestly, thanks Tracy, but harsh language, calumny and scorn are all part of this blog and it really has no effect on me.

I welcome the passion of hatred that proves the mark achieved, the rhetorical proof of life on the written page in lieu of actual violence, which many times in life, I encountered by way of my big mouth.

It beats a broken nose and a black eye.


Fans come in all sizes and shapes.

6:01 and 6:08 would never miss a single word I write and we all know it.

Anonymous said...

^^^I could do without anything you have to say chuck. I concur with 5:21. Sorry. Not sorry.

Anonymous said...

Very well stated, Chuck!
The hate fueled comments simply underscore the ignorance and evil among us.
Tracy is first class.
Just a small point...The Kyrie, the oldest prayer in the Ordo Missae, is Greek.
You need to come to Mass with me someday!
Dominus vobiscum! ;-)

Anonymous said...

"take your bitch ass to venezuela." that is a dummkopf or someone pretending to be a dummkopf, so no one will care when surplus military tanks are used.

Anonymous said...

Evelyn, a modified dog
Viewed the quivering fringe of a special doily
Draped across the piano, with some surprise
In the darkened room…
Source: Musixmatch
Full lyrics



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Evelyn, a modified dog
Viewed the quivering fringe of a special doily
Draped across the piano, with some surprise
In the darkened room
Where the chairs dismayed
And the horrible curtains
Muffled the rain
She could hardly believe her eyes
A curious breeze
A garlic breath
Which sounded like a snore
Somewhere near the Steinway (or even from within)
Had caused the doily fringe to waft & tremble in the gloom
Evelyn, a dog, having undergone
Further modification
Pondered the significance of short-person behavior
In pedal-depressed panchromatic resonance
And other highly ambient domains...
Arf she said


Bob said...

@ 5:21, You lead a very sad existence as someone that hates anyone older than yourself. What you are missing are the voices of experience. The current younger generation does not value the wisdom and experience we older generation bring and willingly share. We see your path in life as a dangerous one for you and the majority of your generation.
Unfortunately this existence is foisted upon you by the democrat party. They tell you that they will give you a debt free life. No student loan debt. They will mail you $1000 a month for nothing from you. They will give you free healthcare, and much much more. They promise you everything but have you ever noticed they produce nothing for you? Why haven't they given you Medicare for All? Why haven't they given you relief from student debt? Why haven't they given you a Green New Deal? Why haven't they producesd a racist free society? Because there isn't enough wealth in America to give you any of those things. It does not exist and it never will. Don't hate the rich, work to become one of the rich yourself. The value of what you have is what you pay for it. Something that is free doesn't really matter in value to you.
There are only two sets of people in this world that will ever give you something for nothing and not expect something in return....Your parents and grandparents, those older people. Now I am giving this advice to you but it is so valuable you can't afford it, take it anyway as you will be a better person for it.

Anonymous said...

well after that speech you can still hate the rich

Anonymous said...

expensive clothes will become more expensive, mid-priced clothes will be........... more affordable 😀

Anonymous said...

the chic mthr fckrs gaze upon the plaza with a tan and quick little feet.

Anonymous said...

@Bob 8;07-too long didn’t read. Do better.

Anonymous said...

the craziest occurrence is sly's dick is now pinstriped!

Bob said...

@ 8:35 When someone only has the mental capacity to ready horoscopes I am not surprised you didn't read it. No wonder you didn't finish high school.

Anonymous said...

^^^Bob-you’re boring.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tony

Thank you Chuck

Thank you Tracy

And thank you TKC, the only “must read” left in KC!!!

Pax Vobiscum said...

The Latin Mass is still being said at St. Paul's off Linwood at Flora.
Many Dioceses are offering the Latin Mass.

Anonymous said...

tantum orgo
makes your hair grow...

Byron Funkhouser said...

Chuck is non compas mentis cronica simplex.

Anonymous said...

^^^^^^^^Says the guy out on bail.

AbsolutelyNoOne said...

Lovely. Yet...

"Words fail me with my friend. They are of no use."


Put as much effort into honoring your friend's *mystery* as you have put into your poetic sorrow. Enlarge your view of your own self--look into your friend's eyes, see his existence as equal to yours and find the words--you're "brilliant" with them, after all. If you cast sympathy from a silent distance, he will feel the separation. Concern over what may be considered his "limited insight" is not the point of your presence at this time. Perhaps he does connect unknowable mystery and ceremony--you don't know--but is still, simply, afraid. Use your gift.

I promise--he also yearns comfort from YOU.

So just give it to him and don't tell the blog about it. We're mere exercises in impermanence, ourselves.

Pour a little water.

Anonymous said...

^^^^ Duh.... incoherent babbling.