Friday, July 31, 2009

St. Ignatius of Loyola

The brave Basque soldier-saint, author of the Spiritual Exercises, whose spiritual sons, the Society of Jesus, are in many ways responsible for the spread of Christianity to lands not even known a century before his birth, and for the revitalization of Catholicism in Europe in the face of the Protestant Reformation and rampant cynicism.

Dearest Lord,
teach me to be generous.
teach me to serve You as You deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight, and not to heed the wounds;
to labor, and not to seek to rest;
to give of myself and not to ask for reward,
except the reward of knowing that I am doing
Your will.

Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Some thoughts on neo-conservatism

I came across this piece in The American Conservative by way of The Western Confucian. Indeed, George Weigel's reaction to Caritas in Veritate gives me much to speak about what is, to my mind, the gravest impending problem in American Catholicism: neo-conservatism, or, perhaps more appropriately, neo-Bonapartism.

Napoléon Bonaparte, like the contemporary American neocons, was a conservative liberal; he scarcely cared much for the traditions of France outside the army, and resisted any effort to restore the monarchy of France. He stood firmly for the results of the French Revolution, with the caveat that it needed the law and order which only he and the army could provide after it degenerated into anarchy. And also like the neocons, he was an imperialist, believing that the rest of Europe would greatly benefit from what that band of drunken hooligans did in 1789 and determined to make it so through force of arms. Yet Napoleon was not content merely to wipe out political principalities; no, he and Pope Pius VII came into a very bitter dispute over the issue of control of the Church, which resulted in Napoleon's excommunication and Pius's kidnapping and imprisonment for six years.

It is plainly evident that the neocons want a civil religion; one need only read their intellectual forefather Leo Strauss, a cynical and atheistic Jew, who promoted civic religion as a sort of Marxian "opiate of the people," to lull them into complacency and ignorance of what his elitist and totalitarian cadre was actually up to. Perhaps they tried using the evangelical megachurches in the vast suburban wastelands without any memory or charm, and perhaps they still are, particularly those Norman Vincent Peale types who are becoming quite rich preaching a very cozy gospel in which a God without wrath brings men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the merits of a Christ without a cross, and everyone feels quite good about themselves. There is, however, a subset among them that desires to see the much more centralized, standardized Catholicism as the new civil religion, and in order for that to take place, they realize that they have a formidable foe in the Papacy, and in a Catholic tradition that does not see imperialistic liberal democracy as the eschaton, and indeed remembers Napoleon all too well.

More forthcoming shortly on this issue.

The soul of England lives in the public house

A reflection from The Telegraph, by way of The Monarchist.

I've noted in the past that the Hudson often seems wider than the Atlantic, i.e., that my native New England shares more in common with the westmost parts of Europe than it does with the rest of North America. That said, I love my taverns, those quiet, cozy holes-in-the-wall where I can meet friends and acquaintances over a pint or two of Guinness. And so many of them tend to be closing for a few months and opening under new management and with far less character than before (and with louder music of terrible quality), leaving my circle often with no place to gather comfortably.

As much a travesty as this is, however, these are only commercial establishments that hadn't even been open 20 or 30 years before their transformation. The English pub, on the other hand, is an establishment from time immemorial, part indeed of what makes England England. To see so valuable a part of English culture vanishing in favour of a bland and tawdry homogenization to some sort of suburbia, in which men graze like cattle rather than living as men, should put any defender of tradition--religious, cultural, or otherwise--up in arms. The House of Lords goes, fox-hunting goes, the public house goes; what will be next?

From the comment section here: "When the last inn closes, then go drown your empty selves, for you will have destroyed the last of England." Hilaire Belloc

My thanks to The Monarchist.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Voyages of Jacques Cartier

It is reported that I am a direct descendant of Jacques Cartier, the Breton navigator who was (excepting perhaps St. Brendan) the first European to sail the St. Lawrence, while under a commission from King François I. Believing the St. Lawrence to be the Northwest Passage, he claimed the lands about it for the King of France. These lands were the root of what we now call Québec. I think it a most appropriate day to recall my noble ancestor, so important to the history of these two lands under the patronage of St. Anne, and all my forbears to have resided in these great North Atlantic lands. Cartier's voyages can be read about here.

I should note that, now that I have a readership (for which I am quite appreciative to you all), I will be celebrating one month in business here by posting more about my ancestry and heritage, and revealing some about the man behind the blog.

Vive le Québec!
Breizh Atao!

Mother of the Mother of God

Glorious Saint Anne,
Filled with compassion
For those who invoke you
And with love for those who suffer,
Heavily laden with the weight of my troubles,
I cast myself at your feet
And humbly beg you
To take the present affair
Which I commend to you
Under your special protection.

(Mention the request.)

Deign to commend it to your daughter,
The Blessed Virgin Mary,
And lay it before the throne of Jesus,
So that He may bring it to a happy issue.

Cease not to intercede for me
until my request is granted.

Above all,
Obtain for me the grace
Of one day beholding my God
Face to face,
And with you and Mary
And all the saints,
Praising and blessing Him
for all eternity.

Pray for us, St. Anne.
That we may be made worthy
Of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray

O Almighty and eternal God,
Who chose St. Anne
To bring into the world
The Mother of Your only Son,
Mercifully grant to us,
We beseech You,
Who devoutly honor her memory,
Grace to obtain through her merits,
The blessings of eternal life.
Who lives and reigns
The world without end.


Good St. Anne,
Mother of her who is our life,
Our sweetness and our hope,
Pray for me. Amen.

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Saint Anne is the patron saint of Québec and of Brittany. While studying in Québec City, I would take every opportunity I could to travel the 30 or so km downriver to the Basilica of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré, doubtlessly one of the loveliest churches of North America. The churches of Québec are prominently situated in every town and village, visible for miles, a very tangible reminder of the staunch Catholicism of this land before the Quiet Revolution, and Ste-Anne is no exception. Indeed, it is a massive church, appearing huge when first sighted from the autoroute several towns away, and, upon arrival, the grandeur and immensity thereof simply dwarfs one. I was indeed very blessed to have prayed in this glorious place and to have ascended the Holy Stair there.

Ste. Anne, St. Joachim, priez pour nous.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

While we're on Moor-Killers...

My thanks to Agnes.

¡Viva España!

¡y Viva Galiza!

¡y Viva el Rey! (photo by Aleph)

Friday, July 24, 2009

St. James/Santiago

Saturday is the feast of St. James the Greater.

Son of Zebedee and brother to St. John, St. James was called with his brother from his father's fishing boat by Jesus with the promise that He would make them "fishers of men." The brothers, together with St. Peter, became like an inner group among the Apostles, witnessing the Transfiguration and going with Our Lord to Gethsamane. He was the first of the Twelve to receive the martyr's crown, a request presaged by Jesus' words upon James and John requesting that they may sit one on His right and one on His left in the kingdom of heaven, and this after He had just prophesied His passion: "You shall indeed drink of the chalice that I drink of: and with the baptism wherewith I am baptized, you shall be baptized." He was beheaded by Herod Agrippa. That is when his story begins to become quite interesting.

The primary place of St. James' cult is Spain, specifically Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, a place that has come to be almost synonymous with pilgrimage. To this day, hundreds of thousands come each year to the Cathedral of Santiago, festooned with the scallop shell as the mark of the pilgrim, and always walking the last 100 km (or bicycling the last 200 km), to venerate the relics of Saint James. Pious tradition relates that St. James had preached to the Celtiberians before returing to Jerusalem for his martyrdom, and that his relics were miraculously translated to Galicia by angels. Pilgrims have come to this site since the time of Charlemagne, making this one of the great and ancient traditions of Christendom. Indeed, readers, the Camino de Santiago is one of the pilgrimages I hope to undertake in my lifetime.

However, the tale of St. James scarcely ends with the establishment of the pilgrimage, for when the pilgrimage began, most of Iberia was under the rule of the Muslim Moors. It is reported that the vastly outnumbered Christian army of Ramiro I of Asturias made battle against the Moorish Emir of Córdoba in 844 near Clavijo in La Rioja, and that St. James miraculously appeared to lead the Spaniards to victory, earning him the soubriquet "Santiago Matamoros," St. James the Moor-Slayer. Thence arrived the Spanish war-cry, "¡Santiago y cierra España!" (Saint James and strike for Spain!) This war-cry was shouted as the Iberian peninsula was reconquered from the Muslims; it was uttered at sea in the Gulf of Patras where the ships of Spain and the Holy League through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary defended Rome and Western Europe from Turkish invasion; it resounded as Cortés and the Amerind tribes allied to him ended Montezuma's empire and the barbaric human sacrifices therein, that Our Lady may place her image on a simple Aztec peasant's cloak, and make Spanish the native language of more Catholics today than any other language; it was heard as a Galician general routed Soviet-supported anti-clerical republicans in an attempt to preserve a Catholic Spain and a Spanish monarchy; it begat a great Catholic empire, the first on which the sun never set, giving us such great and holy saints as Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Ignatius of Loyola. Therefore, we pray Santiago to lead us to victory again today, to intercede with Our Lord that the enemies of His holy Church yet again be routed, and that we may once more be that Christendom that flocked to his holy shrine in Galicia.

¡Santiago y cierra España!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Andreas Hofer

Both Elena Maria and the Mad Monarchist have posted on Andreas Hofer and his armed rebellion in the Tyrol against Bony the Ogre and his puppet régime in Bavaria. I definitely agree that Hofer should be a better-known figure today.

On this note, I've long noted the similarities between Bonapartism and American neocoservatism, a subject which I hope to elaborate here at some future time.

My thanks to Elena Maria and to the Mad Monarchist.

Does the Pope Smoke?

An aficionado of the weed myself, I am all too often appalled at the anti-tobacco puritanism that has become so rampant throughout the Western world. Seriously, if one has too much a problem with smoke in one pub, then he ought to patronize another pub--just as if one's favourite beer is not on tap at one pub, he would go to another pub where it is. However, in contrast to this quite reasonable arrangement, holier-than-thou, know-it-all bureaucrats have stepped in so as to tie the hands of publicans and such. I understand that, for this and several other reasons, the classic institution of the English pub is in dire trouble presently.

Therefore, it's somewhat heartening that Prima at Gregorian Rite Catholic has posted this.

Thank you, Prima

Kingdom of Jerusalem

Thus conquered Godfrey, and as yet the sun
Dived not in silver waves his golden wain,
But daylight served him to the fortress won
With his victorious host to turn again,
His bloody coat he put not off, but run
To the high temple with his noble train,
And there hung up his arms, and there he bows
His knees, there prayed, and there performed his vows.

--Torquato Tasso, Jerusalem Delivered

The Mad Monarchist speaks more of Godefroy de Bouillon and of the hard-fought work of Christendom, the foundation of the kingdom which the heads of nearly all Europe's princely houses claim in pretense here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

National Day of Belgium

On this day in 1831, Leopold, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha publicly swore allegiance to the constitution of the newly independent state of Belgium, becoming its first king. The reigning king, Albert II, is his great-great-grandson. Matterhorn gives an account of his life here.

My thanks to Matterhorn.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Drapeaux de nos pères, partie II

I ought to begin today by providing a link based on yesterday's post. Various royal, military, and naval flags used under the French ancien régime may be found here. One will notice the very prominent use of white, particularly of the white cross, and of the fleurs-de-lys.

The tricolour flag, in present usage, was a combination of the revolutionaries' colour of red with those of Paris, white and blue. With the exception of the 15-year Bourbon Restoration (1815-1830), the tricolour has been the national flag in some form or another. During the Restoration, the flag "argent, semy 43 fleur-de-lys or" was used. The question of the flag of France became quite prominent in the early days of the Third Republic, which was devised after the defeat by the Germans at Sedan, the deposition of Napoléon III, and the civil strife caused by the communards in Paris and other cities. The election of a monarchist majority to the National Assembly in 1871 meant that the Third Republic was likely fated to be more short-lived than the four year long Second Republic of 1848-1852. After the Legitimist and Orleanist parties had come to an agreement on his succession, the National Assembly offered the crown to Henri, comte de Chambord, grandson of the last Bourbon king Charles X. Henri accepted, but on one condition: that the white flag of the Restoration be used as the national symbol and that the tricolour be retired. Needless to say, Henri never took the throne of France. Neither did any of his legitimist heirs, nor even a prince of the Orléans house. France has been a republic ever since.

Occasionally, the tricolor has been defaced with another heraldic design to symbolize a certain group, movement, or military unit. The only time a defaced tricolour was the national flag was under the Vichy Régime, which featured the fasces. However, the most famous by far was the tricolour defaced with the croix de Lorraine or patriarchal cross, used during the Second World War by the Free French Forces. This symbol derives from the arms of Lorraine and no doubt recalls Lorraine's finest daughter, Ste. Jeanne d'Arc, and her great work of pushing a foreign invader from French soil. The use of the croix de Lorraine was suggested by Georges Thierry d'Argenlieu, who became chief of staff of the Free French Naval Forces. A veteran of the First World War, Thierry d'Argenlieu became a Carmelite friar between the wars, taking the religious name Frère Louis de la Trinité. He was mobilized upon the declaration of war, fled to De Gaulle while eluding the Germans, and was given leave to serve as a fighting officer by his religious superiors due to the dearth of qualified naval officers among the Free French. Andrew Cusack relates his story here.

However, perhaps my favourite defaced tricolour is one presently used by traditional Catholics and by the Scouting movement in France, one that ought to be rather familiar to anyone who has undertaken the Pentecost Chartres pilgrimage. The Sacred Heart of Jesus has long been important in the Catholic Church, but perhaps nowhere more than in France. Indeed, the promotion of devotion to the Sacred Heart was one of the finest works of the French school of spirituality, and resulted in its spread throughout the entire Church. In 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The text on this flag, «espoir et salut de la France», means "hope and salvation of France," something indeed the Sacred Heart was in the days of its growth, when France was much troubled by the heresies of Jansenism and Gallicanism. How much more today then, when the spawns of these heresies seem triumphant! This very symbol was worn as a badge into battle by the Vendéens rebelling against the Revolution, and after them the Chouans, the Tyroleans, the Spanish Carlists, the Mexican Cristeros. Wherever one finds Catholics resisting heresy, and the anti-clericalism and brutality that invariably follow it, one will find the Sacred Heart. This majestic banner is a call to France, the eldest daughter of the Church, never to forget that day when Clovis rose from the font, the first Catholic king in a decayed empire full of Arianism, never to forget how Charles Martel fought off the Moors, never to forget how Charlemagne, after uniting almost all of Western Europe into a common Christendom, was crowned Roman Emperor by the Pope, never to forget the glorious liberation of Jerusalem. In short, that France may never forget her glorious destiny, her divine vocation, to be the defenders and promoters of the Church throughout the world, a bulwark against her enemies, omnipresent in this day and time. Sadly, like all the world, she has faltered in this.

However, the present département of the Vendée has apparently not forgotten neither its destiny nor its history. This is the present coat of arms of Vendée; the flag is half white and thus does not show up well here. The Sacred Heart of Jesus linked with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, surmounted with a royal crown. One wonders why the laïcistes and the politically correct types haven't raised a stink yet. On second thought, one needn't wonder; my first thought after writing that was, "Over my dead body." No doubt there are many who would say the same to any attempts to alter so dear a part of their heritage. Most especially a people who suffered an unacknowledged genocide because of their resistance to the same laïcistes trying to undermine their way of life.

The last image I'll display here is from French Canada, and it is indeed yet another Sacred Heart flag. Legend says that this flag was carried at the victory at Carillon (Fort Ticonderoga) in 1758, though this is highly unlikely. Note the white cross of mediaeval French banners, as well as the fleurs-de-lys. However, rather than the gold fleurs-de-lys of the royal banners, those of this flag are white, as this developed from a flag honouring the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is a variation of the "Carillon flag" designed in 1902 and used unofficially; a version without the Sacred Heart was also flown. The present Québécois flag, the fleurdelisé, was developed from this in 1948; before that the Union Jack flew over the Parliament Building. Also notable here is the distinct Canadianism of the garland of maple leaves, even more notable when one considers that the present maple leaf flag of Canada was not designed until 1965, long after this flag.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Drapeaux de nos pères, partie I

Last week, while commemorating the Vendée, I reproduced here an image of their banner. Matterhorn, whom I cited in my article on the Romanovs, left a compliment as to its beauty, this immaculate white banner which flapped proudly in the breeze as though it were a small piece of France's baptismal garment while observing both dreadfully the horrors inflicted on the people and the countryside by the infernal columns and proudly those true sons of Catholic France courageously fulfilling their Christian duty. So I decided that tonight I'd write a little series on ancient flags of France.

I must first note that there was no real national flag per se until the adoption of the tricouleur during the French Revolution; the flags before that time would either have been the kings' personal banner or the naval ensign. The first of these personal banners was the storied oriflamme, seen here in the hands of Philippe Auguste. This flag is a sacred relic of St. Denis, the patron saint of France, as it is said that its red colour results from it being dipped in the blood of the martyred saint (from whom as well is the war-cry of France, "Montjoie St. Denis!") In times of peace, the oriflamme remained in the reliquary of the abbey of St. Denis. Like many ancient relics, the story of its origin is rather convoluted, and the mediaeval texts do not agree with one another, with many dating it to Charlemagne, considering a gift from the Pope to Charlemagne, and even linking it to the lance of Constantine, part of the reliquary of the Holy Roman/Austro-Hungarian emperors. Whatever the origins of the oriflamme, however, it was seen as a holy gift, and a sure sign of God's grace on the king and the king's men, and always led them into war.

In general usage, however, the three fleurs-de-lys of the king's coat of arms were adopted into what would be nowadays called a national flag. "Azure, three fleurs-de-lys or" is still used in the heraldry of Île-de-France and several other régions and départements of France. I am personally proud to fly this drapeau on eminent occasions.

During and after the Hundred Years' War, however, white flags came to be used more often, in honour of the white flag carried by Jeanne d'Arc (which also contained several fleurs-de-lys and prominently the words "Jhesus Maria." Often used as well was a white cross, usually on the same blue background of the pictured flag. Add a fleur-de-lys to each quarter of that, and you have the flag of Québec, on which more later.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

O Most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein You are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, I humbly beseech You from the bottom of my heart to succor me in this necessity. There are none that can withstand Your power.

O show me herein You are my Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

O show me herein You are my Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

O show me herein You are my Mother. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in Your hands.

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in Your hands.

Sweet Mother, I place this cause in Your hands.

With thanksgiving that the Holy Father's accident was not severe and that he weathered his surgery well.

The Romanovs

Perhaps it is that I inveigh too often against the liberal revolutionaries. Indeed they were premised on materialism, but the last wave of modern revolutions took place in the name of "dialectical materialism," that is, Marxism or Communism. And these were indeed the most miserable and bloody of all. The first nation to be destroyed by this beast was Russia, as anyone who has studied the Gulag system, the Holodomor in the Ukraine, the Eastern front of the Second World War, or the works of the late Alexander Solzheitsyn could tell you. Indeed, the same Russia that gave us such transcendant and mystical pieces of religious art such as Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil and the great icons of the Trinity and Our Lady of Kazan.

On this date in 1918 were killed Tsar Nicholas II and his entire family by firing squad in Yekaterinberg. The Tsar's reported final words are reported to have been, "You do not know what you do," quite reminiscent of among the last words of Christ on the cross. The prayer written by his daughter, the Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, who with her mother and sister Tatiana served as a Red Cross nurse during the ugly carnage of the First World War, shows the magnanimity, piety, and Christian courage of the Imperial Family in the face of martyrdom, the same shown by Louis XVI of France, by Queen Marie-Antoinette, and by Charles I of England:

"Send us, Lord, the patience, in this year of stormy, gloom-filled days, to suffer popular oppression, and the tortures of our hangmen. Give us strength, oh Lord of justice, Our neighbor's evil to forgive, And the Cross so heavy and bloody, with Your humility to meet, In days when enemies rob us, To bear the shame and humiliation, Christ our Savior, help us. Ruler of the world, God of the universe, Bless us with prayer and give our humble soul rest in this unbearable, dreadful hour. At the threshold of the grave, breathe into the lips of Your slaves inhuman strength — to pray meekly for our enemies."

The Russian Imperial family was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.

We would do well not to forget Our Lady's request at Fátima that we pray for this holy yet troubled land.

More on the Vendée

Richard at Le Fleur de Lys too has posted more about the genocide in Vendée here.

Dieu le Roy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Caritas in Veritate

The new papal encyclical.

I'll add commentary after I've read it.

The French Revolution

So here it is now, Bastille Day, the day on which I proposed the second part of my series indemnifying the liberal revolutionary thinking that is now a global cliché, and I've not yet even finished the first part. So it goes when one is too perfectionist a writer, I suppose.

But one may imagine I would laud France on this, her national feast, eh? Quite the contrary. Behold the true workings of liberté, égalité, et fraternité:

I am proudly of French heritage no doubt; how could one not be proud when one's ancestral nation is the Eldest Daughter of the Church, when one is a direct descendant of one of the siblings of the saintly Maid of Orléans? But France, while one of the mightiest nations on earth, fell prey to the empty promises of liberal revolutionaries, who stem from the rebel heresy of Protestantism (which had already committed one regicide, Charles I of England) and the philosophical errors of the Renaissance and the "Enlightenment." Both of these are premised on the rejection of the magisterial hermeneutical interpretations of both Scripture and patristic texts and the work of the classical philosophers which had defined Christendom, all in favour of amoral cynicism, of an anti-humanistic utilitarianism which they cloaked under the name of "humanism," of a preference for the return of such petty tyrants as Caligula and Nero over such Christian kings as Charlemagne and St. Louis IX. Christendom came from the ashes of the Roman Empire, no doubt, and for over a millennium, none would have dared go back to the days when martyrs were thrown to the lions. Until these Whigs, these Jacobins, these bloodthirsty heretics had the pipe dream that they might be able to cobble something together out of their own vain imaginations, and killed our society.

Now, we've lost our imagination, our literature, our arts, and even a decent sense of our humanity that this French Revolution has overrun the world. And our religion, which interjects the sacred into our everyday live, into our public life? Relegated to a merely private affair, on a par with any other religion or subculture or "lifestyle" movement.

Perhaps, though, my venom precedes my rationality. I'll instead speak of why I'm so venomous. My name, Palardy, originates from the Vendée, the province utterly obliterated by the revolutionaries. The Vendée rose against the revolutionary government upon the murder of King Louis XVI in 1793, after the Civil Constitution of the Clergy had removed loyal priests from the parishes and replaced them with glorified civil servants, and the army had begun to conscript young men to fight those foreign powers threatening to end the revolution by invasion. After the French Army was initially routed, the Vendéen peasants, discontent to submit to this new order, fled into the woods, and a brutal guerrilla insurrection began, and spread to nearby Brittany. The revolutionary army in the end thwarted it in ways too brutal even to mention, in which I'm absolutely certain that the "Rights of Man" that they praised to high heaven were completely honoured. Yeah, right.

And so always to anyone who prefers to be Catholic, to maintain that the social kingship of Christ will always trump the power of the state, to maintain their ancient traditions, and such. Modernity brought no real progress, only more misery. And only to bolster the power of a handful of cynical malcontents.

Eh, well, enough fury for one evening.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Blessed John Henry Newman

Apparently it's now official.

I exhort you all, readers, to read carefully his speech upon his elevation to the cardinalate, posted by Rorate Cæli and linked to above. These are prophetic words no doubt, and sound as fresh and clear today as they did 130 years ago.

Here the Holy Father speaks of Newman.

Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

End of day

I never did quite get around to my article on legitimate government, did I? Indeed, sometime soon, and sometime about Bastille Day. Be that as it may, for the United States of America; if not for her history, if not for her present reality, for her promise in years yet to come, for her veterans, like my father and my grandfather, and for her folk, I raise my glass.

God save us all.

Founding of Québec

On July 3, 1608, a party led by Samuel de Champlain landed below an imposing height at the place upstream of the Île d'Orléans where the St. Lawrence narrows from a broad estuary to a navigable river. There Champlain built a settlement and began fortifying this strategic location. From here, he set about exploring the area, making alliances and warring with native tribes, and establishing additional habitations elsewhere along the river. This was Québec City, and its establishment was the beginning of the vast French holding known as New France, which stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Hudson Bay, from Newfoundland to Saskatchewan, containing in their entirety both major inland waterways of North America, the Mississippi and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system.

I attended university in Québec, and must encourage you, readers, to visit if you've not yet done so, and see for yourselves that la Nouvelle France still lives to this day.

Vive le Québec!
Vive l'Acadie!
Vive la Louisiane!

Yesterday, July 3

On this date on 987, amidst the great Carolingian dynasty passing from the world stage, Hugues Capet is crowned King of the Franks by Adalberon, Archbishop of Reims, and so became the eldest son of the Church. His descendants would hold the kingship of France until its destruction (and still do in pretence), among many other crowns throughout history. Juan Carlos, King of Spain, and Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, are male-line descendants of Hugues and are thus, properly speaking, members of the Capetian house. The senior member of the house according to the Salic succession, and therefore pretender to the throne of France, is Louis-Alphonse, duc d'Anjou, known among his supporters as Louis XX.

Vive le Roy!
Vive la France!

July 4

The celebration of American Independence. We would be wise not to forget who made this so.

After noting some more historical anniversaries, which I did not remark upon yesterday due to my being inclined otherwise, I shall preempt my ecclesiastical series to speak some about legitimate government.

My thanks to Skiteufr and the Cajun.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thoughts on Vatican II

As promised, I'll now present some musings on the Second Vatican Council and its mixed legacy.

Two words were often thrown about by journalists during the conciliar time: aggiornamento and resourcement. Aggioramento is from the Italian and means, roughly, a bringing up to date, and entered the general lexicon through a pre-conciliar speech of John XXIII. Ressourcement is from the French and indicates a return to sources. I believe its popularity derived from the work of French patristic scholars in the era of Pius XII.

I'll focus on aggiornamento for now, as we've seen far more of it over the past half-century than we have ressourcement. Aggiornamento, as it's been practiced, implies an opening to the contemporary world. Certainly we've seen that, so much indeed that the Catholic Church as too often seen as an institution of the Zeitgeist rather than an eternal and timeless reality. A certain sensus fidei on the part of laymen and clergy alike has been lost, leaving a Church in many regards indistinct from Protestantism. Ecumenism was a main goal of the aggiornamentoniks, and the reintegration of Christendom is a laudable goal to be prayed and worked for, but 95% of it nowadays is done on the relativistic terms of the liberal Protestants. Dialogue with the secular culture and the academy is likewise important, but it's too bad that our Catholic universities have scarcely a Catholic ethos any longer. Let's face facts: some excellent goals were made, but those charged with the Church's endless "dialogues" usually merely assume the worldview of those with whom they're making the dialogue. Therefore, it's no longer a true dialogue, but a grand opportunity for defection--and not really a defection, but treason, as they remain in our own ranks, spewing their civilly respectable, politically-correct, vile drivel out on the faithful either to poison their minds or make them run for the church door.

Nowhere is this treacherous destruction of our own identity more evident than in the ill-conceived liturgical reforms which nauseate me still. This is not necessarily to lionize the Tridentine Mass, the present extraordinary form of the Roman Liturgy, for that too can be said shabbily, but with the Novus Ordo, shabby seems to be the norm. Gone suddenly were the Latin and plainchant of yesteryear, with much of the liturgical art that adorned our church buildings, with much of the ceremony that adorned and oriented our lives, replaced with spare meeting-halls, unsingable and sappy guitar songs--an ugly, charmless religion mangled by Puritans, who robbed us of the former touchstones of our lives and replaced them with ephemeralities. The charm, mystery, and magic of the Church that I first experienced as a wee lad while lighting candles before the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary was gone, replaced by yet another consumer product, and not a very good one at that.

As a personal note, readers, how I've languished in the past, enduring Disney-movie music and almost incoherent pep-talk homilies to make my way through to receive Our Lord in the Sacrament, knowing that a "meditation," an insipid puppy-love song with no theological merit whatsoever would be playing when I returned to kneel at my pew and would bother any true meditations out of my head at the time! But I'll not bring up this maddening inappropriate liturgy out of context, which is the general loss of Catholic culture and imagination through this faulty, and ironically ever so passé, aggiornamento of the Second Vatican Council. Something worthy of being reclaimed, this culture, eh?

Therefore, my next brief essay will touch on the ressourcement--not so much what it meant in conciliar days, but the ressourcement which His Holiness proposes to lead now, with perhaps some reference to other bloggers whom I am finding to be a gold mine of information regarding the happenings in Rome, likely at this very moment.

Canada Day

Just a quick test to see if I could upload an image. Happy Canada Day to all my friends and guests from up north, a land in which I was very pleased to reside for a few months some time ago.