Sous le ciel de Paris



Sous le ciel de Paris
coule un fleuve joyeux
il endort dans la nuit
les clochards et les gueux
sous le ciel de Paris
les oiseaux du bon Dieu
viennent du monde entier
pour bavarder entre eux.  [1]

From time to time I remember that old record my mother used to listen to, more or less half a century ago. The voice of Ives Montand, the accordion, the violins could give a dead man enough energy to get up and dance, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 … Montand, I learned once from one of my uncles, was not a Parisienne, not even a Frenchman. He was born near Pistoia, not far from my great-grandfather’s hometown. His family fled to France when Mussolini began to persecute the local Communists. Montand’s life is proof that an Italian man can become anything his heart is after, even to seduce Marilyn Monroe.

In those days French songs, and the impossible guitar licks of Django Reinhardt, filled my imagination along with the adventures of Tintin, and Professor Mortimer (of Blake et Mortimer fame) who starred in the very first time-traveling story I read a few years before visiting H. G. Wells’ Time Machine, or that strangely beautiful Himself in Anachron by Cordwainer Smith. Mortimer was also the first to show me a Paris without the Eiffel Tower, a post nuclear war Paris. From Mortimer I learned that the most horrible future a Frenchman could imagine was a world where Paris was destroyed and the French language was horribly misspelled. From my brief contacts with French civilization I learned that Paris was important for the soul, almost an archetype of what a city should be.

Blake et Mortimer
Blake et Mortimer

When the news of the November 13 attacks reached us here in Buenos Aires, I thought first of the strange coincidence that it was a Friday the 13th. Later I learned that the attackers were residents of Seine Saint Denis, and thought of another strange coincidence: St Denis was that saint whose beheaded and resurrected body walked a mile or so holding his own head. That must be one of the most macabre miracles performed by any saint and certainly worthy of being in the American Halloween hall of fame. Then I thought of the asteroid discovered by NASA[2] on the evening of the feast of St Denis, the “dead comet” that flew by planet Earth on Halloween. In addition to those disquieting characteristics the darn thing had the shape of a skull. And then … thirteen days after the eerie asteroid fly-by a group of Muslim terrorists shot nearly five hundred people in the city of St Denis killing 130 people.

Before this horrible attack we had the bombing on the Russian airliner that fell on the Sinai, and even a few days earlier we learned of the two hundred little children slaughtered by the same band of savages in Syria. Also in Paris, earlier today a group of young Muslims attacked a Jewish professor with knives. The number of victims is growing by the hour. In Holland the local parliament heard a proposal to ban Mohammed’s religion, close or destroy all mosques, and to deport all Muslims, even those whose only legal passport is Dutch. The French president, a Socialist, has declared the highest state of emergency short of the state of siege, declared that France is at war, and used words like annihilation to describe the kind of action he has in mind for the perpetrators of Friday’s attack.

Going back in history to the days of Lepanto, one cannot avoid noticing that France, England, and Germany — the countries more affected by the Protestant Reformation — where most conspicuously absent from the European coalition that was to face the Muslims in battle. The brave men under Don Juan de Austria were Maltese, Genovese, Venetians, Neapolitans, Spanish, Sardinians, and Sicilians which is a long way to say a bunch of Roman Catholics ready to fight under a new banner coming from the newly discovered American continent: a faithful reproduction of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They had gathered just enough strength to face the formidable Ottoman Armada. Back home Pope Pius V and nearly every Roman Catholic alive were praying the Holy Rosary.

Fortuitous mistakes were made, the wind miraculously favored our men, and the enemy was thrown into confusion: it was a complete victory. That was the last major Muslim attempt for a while — until September 11, 2001 to be precise. But the non-Catholic countries of Europe were absent and one of them was France. French Illuminism was still to come, and the French Revolution, the beheading of the King and Queen of France, and of the Marquis the Lavoisier; this last perhaps the greatest European scientist of the age. Notice the words beheading and scientist.

St Denis

In time France — the land of St Denis, St Joan of Arc, and so many other glorious saints — developed a strong enmity with the Christian faith. After World War II many Muslims immigrated to France and became numerous there. I cannot avoid thinking that one of the reasons to accept such immigration was the desire to stick it to the Catholic Church, the eternal archenemy of modern French intellectuals.

Well, the time to reap the harvest has arrived. France, once the favored daughter of the Church, has placed herself in mortal danger by accepting huge numbers of men and women who will never become French and will never cease to hate the country that so generously received them. The Lepanto that the French refused to fight has come to them and to all of Postmodern Europe.

This is perhaps “the beginning of pangs of distress” and we are going to experience more barbaric attacks worldwide but we already have a way to fix this mess. We have to do the same thing that all the European Roman Catholics did five centuries ago, when the Christian West had real men like Don Juan, Don Miguel de Cervantes, Andrea Doria, and so many other brave and manly Christians. All of them, great warriors that they were, kneeled down and prayed the Holy Rosary trusting their lives in battle to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Recently Our Lord came to visit a Nigerian bishop, a worthy son of the Catholic Church, and reminded him of the amazing power of the Rosary as a spiritual weapon. Monsignor Oliver Dashe Doeme — of the Diocese of Maiduguri, in northeastern Nigeria — saw Christ in a vision he received while praying. In the vision Jesus didn’t say a word at first but extended a sword towards Monsignor, who in turn reached out for it. As soon as Bishop Doeme received the sword, it turned into a Rosary. Then Jesus said three times: “Boko Haram is gone.” Boko Haram is a Muslim terrorist organization operating in Nigeria and other neighboring countries.

One does not need to study theology to understand the vision. Since the time Monsignor Doeme had this revelation, Boko Haram has been in retreat. If you, dear reader, did not connect the dots a let me propose the following:

Let us pray the Holy Rosary often, making sure to repeat after each Our Father: “The enemies of Christianity are gone.” And then hold on for dear life for the world is about to turn.[3]


[1] Beneath Parisian skies/ flows a river of joy/ to lullaby the tramps/ and beggars to sleep/ Beneath Parisian skies/ the birds of our good Lord/ from all over the world come/ to chat with each other.

[2] Asteroid 2015 TB145.

[3] “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against Him Who sits upon the horse and against His army.   And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone. And the rest were slain by the sword of Him Who sits upon the horse, the sword that issues from His mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” The Apocalypse of St John 19:19-21.