Friday, April 23, 2010

Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.

In peace there's nothing so becomes a man

As modest stillness and humility:

But when the blast of war blows in our ears,

Then imitate the action of the tiger;

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,

Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;

Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;

Let pry through the portage of the head

Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it

As fearfully as doth a galled rock

O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,

Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.

Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,

Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit

To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.

Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!

Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,

Have in these parts from morn till even fought

And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:

Dishonour not your mothers; now attest

That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.

Be copy now to men of grosser blood,

And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,

Whose limbs were made in England, show us here

The mettle of your pasture; let us swear

That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;

For there is none of you so mean and base,

That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,

Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:

Follow your spirit, and upon this charge

Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

William Shakespeare, born this day 1564, died this day 1616
Henry V, act III, scene i

Sunday, April 18, 2010

God Save the Pope

Tomorrow we shall mark five years since the accession of Joseph Ratzinger to the See of St. Peter as His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Even had he never been elected, his stellar career in service of God, the Church, and the faithful would have proven him one of the most remarkable churchmen of the past century, from young theologian and luminary of the council to leader of the reaction against the postconciliar radicals to Cardinal-Archbishop of Munich to Prefect of the CDF, close friend and confidant of John Paul II, and seemingly at times "auxiliary pope," if such a thing existed.

Then come the events of March and April 2005: while the long-serving and much-beloved John Paul II faces his eternity, then-Cardinal Ratzinger speaks of the "filth" in the Church, so conveniently forgotten today. Then John Paul dies, and Ratzinger gives the homily at his funeral Mass to likely the largest assembly of global notables ever. After that, before the conclave that would elect him, he delivered his memorable address regarding the "dictatorship of relativism."

I recall that during those few weeks I was reading Introduction to Christianity, as part of the theological scholarship I was then undertaking. Quite impressed, I resolved to write to the author after a new pope had been elected and installed, thinking that he would likely retire to Bavaria. Then came the white smoke and the habemus papam. It was a champagne and cigar night for me.

In this day, however, the disgusting vituperation of much of the press against the Holy Father smacks of the worst of Know-Nothingism. Agitated rabble-rousers speak of a "leering old villain in a frock," painting the Vicar of Christ as an enabler of perverted priests and criminal manager-type bishops who cover their tracks. Tell that to Marcial Maciel.

Of course, all the critics of the Pope and the Church have to offer is the tyranny of hopelessness, lies, materialism, and utilitarianism. Facts don't seem to matter in their new moral panic, their secular inquisition, more vindictive and prejudiced than any tribunal ever convened under ecclesiastical auspices. Thus, against the bitter screeds of these malcontents, I raise my voice, solitary though it may be, in defence of Pope Benedict XVI, a truly humane and thoughtful man, against today's answer to Bastille-stormers.

Therefore, happy anniversary, Holy Father. Run not for fear of the wolves, for upon the Rock whose see you hold, the Lord established His Church, and promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I, for one, shall stand with you, even if it may mean my death. Accept today the gift that I offer within this spiritual bouquet.

I exhort you all, dear readers, offer your gift of prayer to the Pontiff here.

Dieu le Roy!
Viva il Papa!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Christus Resurrexit, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Te Deum laudamus:
te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem
omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli;
tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim
incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra
maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum
sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem,
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni:
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum,
Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te;
Et laudamus Nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua,
Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.

To all my readers, a most happy and blessed Easter.