31 August 2015

Time to Rally the Faithful

I make no secret of my admiration for The Remnant Newspaper. Michael Matt has done much over the years to bolster the spirits of the traditionally-minded Catholics of the world, to promote the timeless Faith and the timeless Mass of the Church, and to chronicle some very difficult times, and for that he deserves our thanks.  He has always written from the position of one who supports tradition-- i.e., the handed-down faith of our fathers-- in all its forms and locations.  He supports the efforts of all who seek to preserve and promote the faith, whether in the SSPX, FSSP, ICRSS, other traditional groups, or in the novus ordo parishes and orders throughout the world.

He has provided a platform for some of the best Catholic writers and journalists of our times.  He has taken a ton of heat.

As I am a relative newcomer to tradition, I remember first making note of the Remnant's "pan-traditionalism", if you will, when Matt published an editorial calling for full-on support for the efforts of Pope Benedict XVI to restore the faith and liturgy.  This was roughly at the same time that the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, formerly affiliated with the SSPX, decided to reconcile with Rome and their ordinary.  These events weren't linked, of course, I just remember the timeline.  He, like they, took heat.

For my own part, I have always tried to be a "pan-traditionalist" as well, trying to support in my own small way whatever efforts have been made towards the restoration of the Mass and the Faith itself, having much sympathy for the SSPX, though I myself cannot justify my own attendance there at this time.  I am very happy and blessed to have an apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest nearby, and am thankful to God for it.  Not all have such an attractive option.  Being a member of the Institute has left my conscience free to consider the SSPX questions in a more academic light. Conceivably, of course, I may have to make practical decisions someday, but as it is I am morally sure I am where I need to be. 

Back to Michael Matt.  He has posted an excellent video calling for common effort among us all, whether of the SSPX or the "approved" societies, or of those within the "normal" structure, and for a concord of faith and charity so that we may stand strong in this and more trying times. Differing strategies but the same cause-- that of Christ and His Church.  I can't recommend this video highly enough.  Here is the link.  Please watch it. God bless you.

27 August 2015

Just Two More Victims in a Godless Nation of Death

The vile and narcissistic on-air murder of a young reporter and cameraman in Virginia yesterday hit me particularly hard, though of course considering the state of affairs in America it seems arbitrary to be so affected. We live in a nation that not only permits, but publicly funds, mass infanticide complete with sale of body parts for immoral "medical research."  Our fellow citizens kill each other to the point that it fails to shock.  Prosecutions and convictions are based not on law or public safety, but on political agendas. We fail to worship God, let alone to acknowledge the temporal Kingship of His Son. We no longer foster and protect virtues, even the purely natural.  On the contrary, vice is promoted and enshrined into law.

Closer to home, we see microcosm of the national problem: a brewing race war and a growing tyranny.  Life is cheap indeed.

Both the civil and the ecclesiastical authorities have ceded the field to demagogues.

We call evil good and good evil.  We are a nation of murderers, liars, adulterers, fornicators, and sodomites.

This cannot go on.



Yes, I guess I loved him too
I can still see him in my mind climbin’ that hill
Did he make it to the top, well he probably did and dropped
Struck down by the strength of the will
Ain’t nothin’ left here partner, just the dust of a plague
that has left this whole town afraid
From now on, this’ll be where you’re from
Let the dead bury the dead. Your time will come
Let hot iron blow as he raised the shade

Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
When your foot of pride come down
Ain’t no goin’ back

-- Bob Dylan, Foot of Pride

25 August 2015


"Never forget that sin is the only great evil in the world."-- the Feast of Saint Louis


May this great saint and ruler pray for his namesake city and archdiocese in these troubled times.  From Fisheaters:

Louis, the quintessential Christian Prince, was born in Poissy, France on 25 April 1215 to King Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile. His father died when he was just eleven years old, and he was crowned -- at Rheims, like almost all French Kings -- on the First Sunday of Advent in 1226. His very strong and pious mother acted as his regent, suppressing various revolts to secure her son's place. She acted as regent even after he reached the age of majority, and guided his career with strong Christian advice, forming his character in holiness. She would say to him, "Never forget that sin is the only great evil in the world. No mother could love her son more than I love you. But I would rather see you lying dead at my feet than know that you had offended God by one mortal sin" -- sentiments that he took to heart and would later pass on to his own successor.

In 1230, he outlawed all forms of usury and compelled usurers to contribute toward the Crusades when their debtors could not be found to be compensated (later under his reign, in 1240, would come the famous disputation of the Talmud in Paris, after rulers and churchmen discovered what blasphemies the Talmud taught. Copies of the Talmud were burned in great fires in the streets of Paris).

Louis married at age nineteen, in 1234, taking to wife Marguerite of Provence, with whom he had eleven children -- five sons and six daughters. He went on a Crusade in 1248, and fought nobly and with great honor, forbidding his men to kill prisoners and always expecting them to act as Christians. But he lost the battle and, weakened by dysentery, was captured in Mansoura, Egypt. During his captivity, he sang the Divine Office every day with two chaplains and conducted himself with such honor as to impress his captors. When the Sultan was killed by his own emirs, he was set free, but didn't immediately return to Europe; instead, he went to the Holy Land, and remained there in order to help fortify the Christian colonies, not returning until 1254, during which time his mother died.

Very dedicated to the cause of peace, he not only arbitrated and made treaties with Henry III and James I of Aragon, but did much to curb a lot of the petty, feudal warfare that caused so much harm. He was a great patron of learning, the arts, and architecture, and under his patronage, the Sorbonne was founded; abbeys built; the choir, apse, and nave of St. Denis Basilica -- which contains the tombs of almost all French Kings -- were refurbished, etc. His crowning architectural glory, though, is Ste. Chapelle, the beautiful chapel with the walls of stained glass that sits on the tiny Ile de la Cité right in the middle of Paris, in the Seine River (the same island where Notre Dame Cathedral is found). This chapel was built to house a part of the Crown of Thorns and a piece of the True Cross which he purchased from Emperor Baldwin II in Constantinople, and it became St. Louis's personal royal chapel.

Glorious and fruitful was his reign! Indeed, having dealt with economic woes by expelling the usurers from France, King St. Louis ruled over a time that became known as "the golden century of Saint Louis."

He was most famous, though, for his charity, humility, and concern for the poor. He built many hospitals, among them the hospital known as "Quinze-vingt" ("Fifteen-Twenty") -- a hospital for the blind and whose name comes from the fact that it could care for 300 patients. He built homes for reformed prostitutes. Every day, he met with the poor personally and saw to it that they were fed, inviting them to dine with him, and washing their feet in imitation of Christ at the Last Supper. He gave special attention to the indigent during Advent and Lent. All who knew him admired him; no one spoke ill of him and he spoke ill of no one else. His biographer, Joinville, wrote, "I was a good twenty-two years in the King's company and never once did I hear him swear, either by God, or His Mother, or His saints. I did not even hear him name the Devil, except if he met the word when reading aloud, or when discussing what had been read."

He was also very devoted to the cause of Justice, and eliminated the feudal method of conflict resolution through combat, replacing it with arbitration and judicial process. He eradicated his ancestors' "King's Court" and established popular courts in which he, himself, would hear his subjects' grievances.

In 1270, he went off on another Crusade, this time in an attempt to convert the Emir of Tunis after being inspired by acting as godfather to a Jewish convert. Again, his Crusade failed, and again he became sick with dysentery. This time, though, he did not recover. He died at three in the afternoon on 25 August 1270. His last words were those of Christ: "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit." He was canonized in 1297, 27 years after his death, and was succeeded by his son, Philip III. His line continued after him until the French Revolution, when King Louis XVI was guillotined on 21 January 1703. At this act of regicide, the Abbe Edgeworth said, "Son of St. Louis, ascend to Heaven!"

King Louis's remains were laid to rest, like those of almost all French Kings, in the Basilica of St. Denis (now a northern suburb of Paris). The Basilica was sacked during the infamous Revolution and its royal tombs were emptied into a mass grave -- with some of the tombs themselves being destroyed, including that of St. Louis (the tomb-smashing was stopped when an archaeologist of the time urged the revolutionaries to consider them "works of art"). In 1817, the mass grave was opened and all of the bones were placed in a single ossuary, with the names of the monarchs recorded.

St. Louis is the patron of builders, kings, large families, and Crusaders (and, of course, St. Louis, Missouri). He is represented in art by the Crown of Thorns, crown, scepter, and the fleur-de-lis. 

__________________
Saint Louis, pray for us! 

24 August 2015

Meatless Friday Monday: Draxx Them Sklounst Edition

For no reason.  Content advisory: 2 minor vulgarities, view at your own risk.

Finding the Time for Writing the Things That Are Close to My Heart

That night, after he had recited his verse, I remarked it was too bad he did not find more time for writing the things that were close to his heart.

"I wish I could," he said almost wistfully, "and each day I plan for the morrow to be the day I begin, but always there is some obstacle and the day goes and another dawns and I still have not begun. The world, the flesh, and the devil seem to be in constant conspiracy against me."

Now, as Dan spoke, Archer, the pharmacist turned novelist, rose abruptly and left us, saying it was time for him to get upstairs and to work. Dan watched him go with admiration.

"The Lord surely has Justus under His wings," he said, quoting the Ninetieth Psalm. "He is afraid neither of the business that walks about in the darkness nor the noonday devil."

The business that walks about in the darkness did not bother Dan too much. But the noonday devil persecuted him tirelessly.

"He is the daylight devil, the worst of all the fiends," Dan declared. "Wine cannot drive him away as it can the demons of darkness for wine cannot exorcise in the sunlight. It has been said that Satan's best trick is to prove he does not exist. I do not think so. I think his best trick is to assure us he is a gentleman. And his next best trick is to persuade us he is unimportant, is just passing by. That is the noonday devil.

"The smiling gentleman devil I can resist. Urbanity has never been persuasive with me. But the noonday fiend is primitive. He distracts, disrupts, takes away purpose and patience and time. He works through incidentals and accidentals. He seeks to involve us in trivia, to trip us up with inconsequential detail, so that we will be unable to do a day's work worthy of our soul.

"He suggests naps in the middle of the day, inspires acquaintances to drop in just to say hello, turns ankles, and tears trousers. He sends the toothache that leads to days with the dentist, breaks shoelaces, gives that boil just under the collar, makes us wait in the barbershop, and sees to it that the automobile battery is dead. He promotes corns and bunions and inspires the long telephone talker when lunch is on the table. He makes the leak in the roof, the rug that slides, and the closet door that won't shut. He snaps the pencil point and the rung of the chair.

"He writes letters marked personal and important' advertising yachts for sale, sends a pair of socks in two sizes, and puts the morning paper at the wrong door. He loses pens and wallets, stops watches, sours the cream, hides the dictionary, breaks fingernails, rings the front doorbell, rings the back doorbell, mislays eyeglasses, gives an itch, gives an earache, sticks with a pin, smashes the window, pulls off a button-- and so on and on, incessantly and relentlessly disrupting and interrupting, persecuting and torturing through endless infinitesimals. He creates frustration and drives to despair.

"He provides explanations for our defections and excuses for our sins. He wastes the minutes that waste the hours, the days, the years, until death is on us and nothing is done. He involves life, complicates it, dissipates it. He seeks so to fritter our labors away that we shall achieve nothing of merit for the salvation of our soul."

He was quiet a moment when he finished. Then, suddenly, he got to his feet, rising with a resolution rare to him.

"I think, perhaps, if you good friends don't mind, I'll go upstairs and see if I can't get my book started." He turned solemnly to me. "You're right. I must try to find time to write the things that are close to my heart."

He said good night and, erect with determination, left the room.

I was quite pleased that I had had some effect on him. But my pleasure was short lived. Doris, after Dan had gone, told me in her realistic fashion that I should not be misled by Dan's resolutions.

"Dan makes these dramatic decisions once or twice a week," she explained. "He goes up to his study to work-- and a half hour later I find him up there siting back in his armchair sound asleep."

This was a blow to my conceit. Nonetheless, that night as I rode home alone on the streetcar (Briggs not having returned from taking Doris home) I could not persuade myself that Dan was merely being lazy. I could see on this second visit what I suspected on my first, that he was troubled, at war with himself. Everything about him, his books, his music, his manner of life, and, paradoxically, even his bright talk and his ebullient good spirits tended to be proof of this. There was more, I felt certain, than conversational invention in his fear of the noonday devil.

--from Dan England and the Noonday Devil, by Myles Connolly

21 August 2015

If You Don't Know America Yet, This is America

Anthony Esolen at Crisis Magazine. Excerpts:



I live in a country that gave birth to an organization conceived in lies and dedicated for the purpose of murder. It is called, with a wry irony that escapes us, “Planned Parenthood.”… They at “Planned Parenthood” will do nothing for your parenthood at all.

They will kill the baby in your womb, that they will, and make a nifty living from it.

[…]

I live in a nation conceived in liberty, raised high in empire, and fallen into moral lassitude, impotence, and automatism. God help me, but I still believe that my countrymen are better than the follies they believe. But no puddle in the alley behind the fire escapes is so muddy, so rank, and so shallow as are their souls of my countrymen, if I am to judge by their own unwitting testimony.

[…]

I live in a nation whose form of government is predicated upon a trust in the intelligence and the good sense of ordinary people, to accomplish the ordinary ends of life for themselves, their children, and their neighbors. 

Therefore all oversight of local schools has been snatched from them; sweet and community-building customs have been discarded or suppressed; and children are taught to despise what their forefathers believed and said and did, or rather they never really learn what they believed, they never hear what they said, the worst construction is placed upon what they did, and sins they never committed at all are attributed to them, so as to clear the way for the new and improved—toothpaste, elections, deodorant, marriage.

[…]

In my nation we deny truths that lie in front of our eyes. Any fool can figure out that a man is not a woman, a cesspool is not a womb, a drug that thwarts the natural action of an organ is not medicine, an orphan is not a privileged member of an alternative family, pictures of people doing vile things are not the same as speech, and a law whose substance no one can know (because it is too vast, or vague, or incomprehensible) or rely upon (because it is subject to the caprice of inventive judges) is not a law at all. Any fool; but we are not any fool, just as Michelangelo was not any artist. We have judges who legislate, legislators who defer to bureaucrats and judges, and executives who do what they will. We call it “democracy” because the technology of elections is still in place, a monstrous Rube Goldberg array of machines, fed by thousands of polls and billions of dollars, cranked and kicked and oiled and fueled by a swarm of parasites, all to spit out a president whose platitudes are as flat as Kansas, with never a tornado-tossed house to fall upon the Great Leader’s head and set the Munchkins free.

Feast of St. Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantal

Today is the feast day of the patroness of the Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest, disciple and friend of St. Francis de Sales, Foundress of the Visitation nuns, and patron saint of my little daughter.

St. Jane de Chantal, pray for us!

Christ the King Must Reign, or Anarchy Follows

"Historical change, from bad to worse, represents everything that came after 1914. Everything that came after 1914 was a degradation from its degraded antecedent."

-- Evelyn Waugh, as quoted by Dr. David Allen White
 
"The modern world is living on dwindling cultural capital, on inherited institutions deformed by having been cut off from the living faith that was the source of their authority."

--The Life of Evelyn Waugh, by Douglas Lane Patey

Someone Finally Nails Conservatives for the War on Women

Gavin MacInnes has written this brilliant piece at TakiMag on the war on women that conservatives have waged since the 1960s.  Men certainly have won it.  Please read this, but only if you can handle some coarse expressions-- used for effect.  And please turn on your irony-detectors.

Because underneath it all is a devastating survey of the carnage from the fall of civilization.

A Necessary and Meritorious Act by Bobby Jindal

Anyone who reads this blog for .7 seconds knows I am not a believer in the kabuki political theatre of presidential politics.  But Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a Catholic, deserves credit for broadcasting the truth, and holding this mirror up to our sick society:

Bobby Jindal Plays Planned Parenthood Videos on Massive Screen Outside Governor’s Mansion

20 August 2015

An Insight into Human Nature and Social Justice



"I believe that man is, by nature, an exile and will never be self-sufficient or complete on this earth, that his chances of happiness and virtue here remain more or less constant through the centuries, and, generally speaking, are not much affected by the political and economic conditions in which he lives, that the balance of good and ill tends to revert to a norm, that sudden changes of physical condition are usually ill, and are advocated by the wrong people for the wrong reasons, that the intellectual Communists of today have personal irrelevant grounds for their antagonism to society, which they are trying to exploit. 

I believe in government, that men cannot live together without rules, but that these should be kept at a bare minimum of safety. That there is no form of government ordained from God as being better than any other, that the anarchic elements in society are so strong that it is a whole time task to keep the peace. 

I believe that inequalities of wealth and position are inevitable and that it is therefore meaningless to discuss the advantages of their elimination. Men naturally arrange themselves in a system of classes and that such a system is necessary for any form of cooperative work, more particularly the work of keeping a nation together. 

I believe in nationality, not in terms of race or divine commissions for world conquest, but simply this: Mankind inevitably organizes itself into communities according to its geographical distribution. These communities, by sharing a common history, develop common characteristics and inspire a local loyalty..."

-- Evelyn Waugh, Robbery Under Law  

(N.B. written as one paragraph, I have split up the sections merely for easier reading online)

19 August 2015

How Long, O Lord, Can We Stand?

Planned Parenthood clinic cuts through dead baby's face to extract his intact brain

Nothing New under the Sun



57 1 That all existing things are subject to decay and change is a truth that scarcely needs proof; for the course of nature is sufficient to force this conviction on us. 2 There being two agencies by which every kind of state is liable to decay, the one external and the other a growth of the state itself, we can lay down no fixed rule about the former, but the latter is a regular process. 3 I have already stated what kind of state is the first to come into being, and what the next, and how the one is transformed into the other; so that those who are capable of connecting the opening propositions of this inquiry with its conclusion will now be able to foretell the future unaided. And what will happen is, I think, evident. 5 When a state has weathered many great perils and subsequently attains to supremacy and uncontested sovereignty, it is evident that under the influence of long established prosperity, life will become more extravagant and the citizens more fierce in their rivalry regarding office and other objects than they ought to be. 6 As these defects go on increasing, the beginning of the change for the worse will be due to love of office and the disgrace entailed by obscurity, as well as to extravagance and purse-proud display; 7 and for this change the populace will be responsible when on the one hand they think they have a grievance against certain people who have shown themselves grasping, and when, on the other hand, they are puffed up by the flattery of others who aspire to office. 8 For now, stirred to fury and swayed by passion in all their counsels, they will no longer consent to obey or even to be the equals of the ruling caste, but will demand the lion's share for themselves. 9 When this happens, the state will change its name to the finest sounding of all, freedom and democracy, but will change its nature to the worst thing of all, mob-rule.

--Polybius, Rise of the Roman Republic, 57:1-9