Friday, December 31, 2010
--The Enchiridion of Indulgences.
This passing year, in spite of the tone of the age, has given us much to appreciate: I shall remember particularly the birth of two French royal princes, the identification of Henri IV's head, and the Holy Father's historic state visit to England and Scotland as perhaps the greatest moments of the year for me. We of course cannot forget the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, nor the long anticipated announcement of the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
For all of this, and for the countless other blessings over the course of the year, and in gratitude for all those who so enriched our lives and went on to their eternal reward this year--among them Archduchess Regina von Habsburg, Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna of Russia, Paul Augustine Cardinal Mayer, Dame Joan Sutherland, and Henryk Górecki--I present Charpentier's Te Deum.
I bid a healthy, peaceful, prosperous, and holy 2011 to all.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
At this time the King was yet in the errors of his idolatry and went to war with the Alemanni, since he wished to render them tributary. Long was the battle, many were slain on one side or the other, for the Franks fought to win glory and renown, the Alemanni to save life and freedom. When the King at length saw the slaughter of his people and the boldness of his foes, he had greater expectation of disaster than of victory. He looked up to heaven humbly, and spoke thus: "Most mighty God, whom my queen Clothilde worships and adores with heart and soul, I pledge you perpetual service unto your faith, if only you give me now the victory over my enemies."
Instantly when he had said this, his men were filled with burning valor, and a great fear smote his enemies, so that they turned their backs and fled the battle; and victory remained with the King and with the Franks. The king of the Alemanni were slain; and as for the Alemanni, seeing themselves discomfited, and that their king had fallen, they yielded themselves to Chlodovocar and his Franks and became his tributaries.
The King returned after this victory into Frankland. He went to Rheims, and told the Queen what had befallen; and they together gave thanks unto Our Lord. The King made his confession of faith from his heart, and with right good will. The Queen, who was wondrously overjoyed at the conversion of her lord, went at once to St. Remi, at that time archbishop of the city. Straightway he hastened to the palace to teach the King the way by which he could come unto God, for his mind was still in doubt about it. He presented himself boldly before his face, although a little while before he [the bishop] had not dared to come before him.
When St. Remi had preached to the King the Christian faith and taught him the way of the Cross, and when the king had known what the faith was, Chlodovocar promised fervently that he would henceforth never serve any save the all-powerful God. After that he said he would put to the test and try the hearts and wills of his chieftains and lesser people: for he would convert them more easily if they were converted by pleasant means and by mild words, than if they were driven to it by force; and this method seemed best to St. Remi. The folk and the chieftains were assembled by the command of the King. He arose in the midst of them, and spoke to this effect: "Lords of the Franks, it seems to me highly profitable that you should know first of all what are those gods which you worship. For we are certain of their falsity: and we come right freely into the knowledge of Him who is the true God. Know of a surety that this same God which I preach to you has given victory over your enemies in the recent battle against the Alemanni. Lift, therefore, your hearts in just hope; and ask the Sovereign Defender, that He give to you all, that which you desire---that He save our souls and give us victory over our enemies." When the King full of faith had thus preached to and admonished his people, one and all banished from their hearts all unbelief, and recognized their Creator.
When shortly afterward Chlodovocar set out for the church for baptism, St. Remi prepared a great procession. The streets of Rheims were hung with banners and tapestry. The church was decorated. The baptistry was covered with balsams and all sorts of perfumes. The people believed they were already breathing the delights of paradise. The cortege set out from the palace, the clergy led the way bearing the holy Gospels, the cross and banners, chanting hymns and psalms. Then came the bishop leading the King by the hand, next the Queen with the multitude. Whilst on the way the King asked of the bishop, "If this was the Kingdom of Heaven which he had promised him." "Not so," replied the prelate; "it is the road that leads to it."
When in the church, in the act of bestowing baptism the holy pontiff lifted his eyes to heaven in silent prayer and wept. Straightway a dove, white as snow, descended bearing in his beak a vial of holy oil. A delicious odor exhaled from it: which intoxicated those near by with an inexpressible delight. The holy bishop took the vial, and suddenly the dove vanished. Transported with joy at the sight of this notable miracle, the King renounced Satan, his pomps and his works; and demanded with earnestness the baptism; at the moment when he bent his head over the fountain of life, the eloquent pontiff cried, "Bow down thine head, fierce Sicambrian! Adore that which once thou hast burned: burn that which thou hast adored!"
After having made his profession of the orthodox faith, the King is plunged thrice in the waters of baptism. Then in the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity---Father, Son, and Holy Ghost---the prelate consecrated him with the divine unction. Two sisters of the king and 3000 fighting men of the Franks and a great number of women and children were likewise baptized. Thus we many well believe that day was a day of joy in heaven for the holy angels; likewise of rejoicing on earth for devout and faithful men!
The King showed vast zeal for his new faith. He built a splendid church at Paris, called St. Genevieve, where later he and Clothilde were buried. Faith and religion and zeal for justice were pursued by him all the days of his life. Certain Franks still held to paganism, and found a leader in Prince Ragnachairus but he was presently delivered up in fetters to Chlodovocar who put him to death. Thus all the Frankish people were converted and baptized by the merits of St. Remi....
At this time there came to Chlodovocar messengers from Anastasius, the Emperor of Constantinople, who brought him presents from their master, and letters whereof the effect was, that it pleased the Emperor and the Senators that he [Chlodovocar] be made a "Friend of the Emperor," and a "Patrician" and "Councilor" of the Romans. When the King had read these letters, he arrayed himself in the robe of a senator, which the Emperor had sent to him. He mounted upon his charger; and thus he went to the public square before the church of St. Martin; and then he gave great gifts to the people. From this day he was always called "Councilor" and "Augustus."From The Chronicle of St. Denis, I.18-19, 23
Elena Maria Vidal at Tea at Trianon quotes Yves-Marie Adeline, president of the Royal Alliance of France:
Et vu sous l’angle politique, “Noël” est le cri que les Français poussaient aux sacres et aux entrées des rois dans leurs villes: “Noël! Noël!”. Car l’Etat français est né un jour de noël 496, avec le baptême de Clovis qui lui ouvrit la confiance des Gaules en espérance d’unité.
(And seen under the political angle, "Noël" is the cry of the French in the holy places and at the entrance of kings into their cities: "Noël! Noël!" For the French state was born one day on Christmas 496, with the baptism of Clovis who won the trust of the Gauls in the hope of unity.)
Also on Christmas Day, in 800, Charlemagne, King of the Franks, became the first Roman Emperor to reign in the West in over three centuries. Richard at Le Fleur de Lys Too gives a good account:
On December 26, 795, Leo III was chosen Pope. The Roman populace did not like him; it accused him of various misdeeds; and on April 25, 799, it attacked him, maltreated him, and imprisoned him in a monastery. He escaped, and fled for protection to Charlemagne at Paderborn. The King received him kindly, and sent him back to Rome under armed escort, and ordered the Pope and his accusers to appear before him there in the following year. On November 24, 800, Charlemagne entered the ancient capital in state; on December 1 an assembly of Franks and Romans agreed to drop the charges against Leo if he would deny them on solemn oath; he did; and the way was cleared for a magnificent celebration of the Nativity. On Christmas Day, as Charlemagne, in the chlamys and sandals of a patricius Romanus, knelt before St. Peter’s altar in prayer, Leo suddenly produced a jeweled crown, and set it upon the King’s head.
The congregation, perhaps instructed beforehand to act according to ancient ritual as the senatus populusque Romanus confirming a coronation, thrice cried out: “Hail to Charles the Augustus, crowned by God the great and peace-bringing Emperor of the Romans!” The royal head was anointed with holy oil, the Pope saluted Charlemagne as Emperor and Augustus, and offered him the act of homage reserved since 476 for the Eastern emperor. If we may believe Eginhard, Charlemagne told him that had he known Leo’s intention to crown him he would not have entered the church. Perhaps he had learned of the general plan, but regretted the haste and circumstances of its execution; it may not have pleased him to receive the crown from a pope, opening the door to centuries of dispute as to the relative dignity and power of donor and recipient; and presumably he anticipated difficulties with Byzantium.
Lastly, in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having defeated the Anglo-Saxons at Hastings with an army of Normans, Bretons, Flemish, and Franks earlier in the year, was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey, also on Christmas Day. So was born England as we know it, a great nation cut from the same hardy cloth as France. The relationship and rivalry between these two nations is one of the greatest stories of our Western history.
It was an accident of faith that, at the very moment the crown was placed upon the head of this elected and consecrated King, his Norman guards, mistaking the customary acclamations of the spectators for a popular uprising, fell upon the people outside and put them to the sword while firing the surrounding houses, until their leader's appearance in his Coronation robes at the Abbey door quieted their barbaric fears.
Meanwhile the congregation had fled precipitately from the building. A few priests, however, had wisely remained, and the ceremony was concluded, with few onlookers, but without further interruption.
Nevertheless, even in this turbulent crowning the seeds were sown of future good. William, in his Coronation Oath, swore to "maintain the Church of God and all Christian people in true peace; to prohibit all orders of men from committing injustice and oppression, and to enjoin the observance of equity and mercy in all judgments."
And, though he may not have intended to have done so, he and his successors did actually accomplish something of this kind their strength of purpose, jealousy of all rivalry from their own coevals and immediate subordinates, and their strong Norman sense of law, order, and precedent made England a country in which something more than barbaric feudal anarchy could grow to maturity.
The King's Peace began to establish itself in the most remote and turbulent places; presently it penetrated into the fierce anarchical valleys of Wales and even crossed St. George's Channel.
That bloodstained, flame-lit Christmas Day in the Abbey was the beginning of British history as we know it today. The future of a new kind of world, and of an empire and firm peace wider and stronger even than that of fabulous, fallen Rome, was in it. more
Vive le Roy!
Vive le Roy!
Vive le Roy!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Before I leave to my revels tonight, I should like to send you all my Christmas greetings and my thanks for your loyal readership and support throughout the year.
"Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception, was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh." So reads the Christmas martyrology. The long-promised Emmanuel is given us tonight by the means of the womb of our Virgin Mother, the Bread of Heaven is laid in a manger tonight. Let us rush to greet Him in His humble stable, the song of the Holy Angels on our lips: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will!" May the joy of the coming of the Christ Child fill our hearts, change our hearts, and grant us the peace beyond all understanding in this festive Christmastide and throughout the coming year.
Thus, to you all, Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, Fröhliche Wiehnachten, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad, as the case may be.
May God bless us, every one!
JOYEUX ET SAINT NOËL!
Uploaded by thechouan. - Discover videos of people, family and friends.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
With their morale boosted by messages of thanks and their bellies fuller than normal, and with still so much Christmas booty to hand, the season of goodwill entered the trenches. A British Daily Telegraph correspondent wrote that on one part of the line the Germans had managed to slip a chocolate cake into British trenches.
Even more amazingly, it was accompanied with a message asking for a ceasefire later that evening so they could celebrate the festive season and their Captain's birthday. They proposed a concert at 7.30pm when candles, the British were told, would be placed on the parapets of their trenches.
The British accepted the invitation and offered some tobacco as a return present. That evening, at the stated time, German heads suddenly popped up and started to sing. Each number ended with a round of applause from both sides.
The Germans then asked the British to join in. At this point, one very mean-spirited Tommy shouted: 'We'd rather die than sing German.' To which a German joked aloud: 'It would kill us if you did'.
December 24 was a good day weather-wise: the rain had given way to clear skies.
On many stretches of the Front the crack of rifles and the dull thud of shells ploughing into the ground continued, but at a far lighter level than normal. In other sectors there was an unnerving silence that was broken by the singing and shouting drifting over, in the main, from the German trenches.
Along many parts of the line the Truce was spurred on with the arrival in the German trenches of miniature Christmas trees - Tannenbaum. The sight these small pines, decorated with candles and strung along the German parapets, captured the Tommies' imagination, as well as the men of the Indian corps who were reminded of the sacred Hindu festival of light.
It was the perfect excuse for the opponents to start shouting to one another, to start singing and, in some areas, to pluck up the courage to meet one another in no-man's land.Read more here of the most famous Christmas truce of the Great War in 1914. More soldiers' accounts of the truce can be found here. Apparently this didn't only happen in the first year of the war either; see here.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. Today too, we have many reasons to associate ourselves with this Advent prayer of the Church. For all its new hopes and possibilities, our world is at the same time troubled by the sense that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function. Consequently the forces mobilized for the defence of such structures seem doomed to failure.
Excita – the prayer recalls the cry addressed to the Lord who was sleeping in the disciples’ storm-tossed boat as it was close to sinking. When his powerful word had calmed the storm, he rebuked the disciples for their little faith (cf. Mt 8:26 et par.). He wanted to say: it was your faith that was sleeping. He will say the same thing to us. Our faith too is often asleep. Let us ask him, then, to wake us from the sleep of a faith grown tired, and to restore to that faith the power to move mountains – that is, to order justly the affairs of the world.From the Holy Father's address on the occasion of Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia.
Read the rest here.
Viva il Papa.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
During this time she [Gloria von Thurn und Taxis] also became very involved with the Catholic Church. In 1991 she made her first visit to Lourdes, where she worked as a volunteer with the sick and dying who go there in hopes of a miraculous cure. On a trip to Florence six years later, she became enthralled with Monsignor Michael Schmitz, the vicar-general of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a conservative Catholic organization dedicated to restoring the Latin Mass. She also cultivated a friendship with the Bavarian-born Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, one of the most powerful figures in the Vatican. In 2000 she moved to Rome, enrolled Prince Albert in a private school there, and with her good friend the Italian princess Alessandra Borghese began hosting liturgical concerts in churches, attended by Cardinal Ratzinger. She arranged to have the famous Regensburg boys' choir, which had been directed by Ratzinger's older brother, Georg, who is also a priest, sing for Pope John Paul II at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence. In April 2005, when the cardinal was elected Pope Benedict XVI, Germans started referring to Princess TNT as the new Pope's best friend.
I encourage you to read the rest of this at Vanity Fair, as it really lays out well much of what a Catholic aristocrat should be.
For an example of Princess Elisabeth's writing on the Church, go here.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Each Antiphon begins with "O" and addresses Jesus with a unique title which comes from the prophecies of Isaias and Micheas (Micah), and whose initials, when read backwards, form an acrostic for the Latin "Ero Cras" which means "Tomorrow I come." MORE
- O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
- attingens a fine usque ad finem,
- fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
- veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
- O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
- qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
- et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
- veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
- O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
- super quem continebunt reges os suum,
- quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
- veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
- O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
- qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
- claudis, et nemo aperit:
- veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
- sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
- O Oriens,
- splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
- veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
- O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
- lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
- veni, et salva hominem,
- quem de limo formasti.
- O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
- exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
- veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Twenty decades have now passed, and throughout that period the Vendée uprising and its bloody suppression have been viewed in ever new ways, in France and elsewhere. Indeed, historical events are never fully understood in the heat of their own time, but only at a great distance, after a cooling of passions. For all too long, we did not want to hear or admit what cried out with the voices of those who perished, or were burned alive: that the peasants of a hard-working region, driven to the extremes of oppression and humiliation by a revolution supposedly carried out for their sake-- that these peasants had risen up against the revolution!
The great Solzhenitsyn never ceased to raise his voice against the moral vacuum of the modern deracinated world, perhaps nowhere better expressed than in his 1978 address at Harvard University:
Harvard's motto is "Veritas." Many of you have already found out and others will find out in the course of their lives that truth eludes us if we do not concentrate with total attention on its pursuit. And even while it eludes us, the illusion still lingers of knowing it and leads to many misunderstandings. Also, truth is seldom pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter. There is some bitterness in my speech today, too. But I want to stress that it comes not from an adversary but from a friend.
Thank you, Aleksandr Isayevich.
Vive le Roy.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Keep forever under thy powerful patronage
the purity and integrity of Our Holy Faith
on the entire American continent. Amen.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us,
keep us under thy mantle and be our salvation.
It is suggested that three Hail Marys be recited for North, Central and South America.
-Pope Pius XII
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Living standards in medieval England were far above the "bare bones subsistence" experience of people in many of today's poor countries, a study says.
"The majority of the British population in medieval times could afford to consume what we call a 'respectability basket' of consumer goods that allowed for occasional luxuries," said University of Warwick economist Professor Stephen Broadberry, who led the research.
"By the late Middle Ages, the English people were in a position to afford a varied diet including meat, dairy produce and ale, as well as the less highly processed grain products that comprised the bulk of the bare bones subsistence diet," he added.
Read more at Le Fleur de Lys Too. In the meantime, some Old English music in honour of Our Lady on the feast of her Immaculate Conception:
Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.Blessed Pope Pius IX
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Dorothy explained why perhaps other Catholics would not understand the Catholic Workers when they criticized capitalism and recommended distributism, even reporting them to the Bishop: "We were not taking the position of the great mass of Catholics, who were quite content with the present in this world. They were quite willing to give to the poor, but they did not feel called upon to work for the things of this life for others which they themselves esteemed so lightly. Our insistence on worker-ownership, on the right of private property, on the need to de-proletarize the worker, all points which had been emphasized by the Popes in their social encyclicals, made many Catholics think we were Communists in disguise, wolves in sheep's clothing."
Dorothy continued, "The Vatican paper warned us recently of regarding Americanism or Communism as the only two alternatives. It is hard to see why our criticism of capitalism should have aroused such protest" (William Miller, Dorothy Day: a Biography, Harper and Row, 1982, p. 428).Dorothy quoted Joseph T. Nolan from Orate Fratres on the support of Popes in their encyclicals for the CW position: "Too long has idle talk made out of Distributism as something medieval and myopic, as if four modern popes were somehow talking nonsense when they said: the law should favor widespread ownership (Leo XIII); land is the most natural form of property (Leo XIII and Pius XII); wages should enable a man to purchase land (Leo XIII and Pius XI); the family is most perfect when rooted in its own holding (Pius XII); agriculture is the first and most important of all the arts and the tiller of the soil still represents the natural order of things willed by God (Pius XII) (Catholic Worker, July-Aug. 1948). More
Hat tip to Joshua Snyder at The Western Confucian.