Sunday, May 30, 2010

Trinity Sunday: Quicumque Vult

The creed that bears the name of St. Athanasius:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood into God. One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.

The real French national holiday: Jehanne la Pucelle

It is today the feast of Ste Jeanne d'Arc. According to genealogical research commissioned some years ago, I am a direct descendant of Jacques Darc (later du Lys), her father.

Her tale is among the most incredible in history and so well known that it scarcely bears repeating. It bespeaks the faith, loyalty, and chivalry for which France was renowned. Yet today's French seem to celebrate more the treason, apostasy, and bloodthirst that Bastille Day represents.

A pox on all that, I say. A proud diaspora Frenchmen, when I think of my motherland, I'd rather not think of my massacred Vendéen kinsmen, of the pillaged churches and martyred priests, or of the slain king, queen, and dauphin. Instead, I'd prefer to think of ma tante Jeanne.

King of England, and you, Duke of Bedford, who call yourself Regent of the kingdom France; you William de la Pole, Count of Suffolk; John, Lord Talbot; and you Thomas, Lord Scales, who call yourselves lieutenants of the said Duke of Bedford, do justly by the King of Heaven; render to the Maid who is sent here of God, the King of Heaven, the keys of all the good cities that you have taken and violated in France. She has come here from God to restore the royal blood. She is all ready to make peace, if you will deal rightly by her, acknowledge the wrong done France, and pay for what you have taken. And all of you, archers, companions of war, nobles and others who are before you; and if this is not done, expect news of the Maid, who will go to see your shortly, to your very great damage. King of England, if you do not do this, I am Chef de Guerre, and in whatever place I shall find your people in France, I will make them go whether they will or not; and if they will not obey I will have them all killed. I am sent here by God, the King of Heaven, each and all, to put you out of all France. And if they will obey I will be merciful. And stand not by your opinion, for you will never hold the kingdom of France through God, King of Heaven, son of Saint Mary; it will be thus ruled by King Charles VII, true heritor; for God , the King of Heaven, wishes it, and this to him is revealed by the Maid, and he will enter Paris in good company. If you will not believe the news from God and the Maid, in whatever place we shall find you, we shall strike in your midst, and will make so great a hurrah that for a thousand years there has not been one in France so great, if you do not deal justly. And you may well believe that the King of Heaven will send more strength to the Maid than you will be able to lead in all your assaults against her and her good soldiers. And when the blows fall we shall see who will have the better right from God of Heaven. You, Duke of Bedford, the Maid begs you and requires of you that you work not your own destruction. If you listen to her you will yet be able to come in her company to where the French will do the finest deed that ever was done for Christianity. And reply to this, if you wish to make peace at the city of Orleans; and if thus you do not do, you will shortly remember it to your great sorrow. Written this Tuesday, Holy Week. [March 22, 1429]

Ste Jeanne, priez que la fille plus aînée de l'église se souvienne de ses promesses de baptême.

Jhésus + Marie
Vive la France

Saturday, May 29, 2010


350 years ago today, the republican and Puritanical tyranny that was the Lord-Protectorate came to an end, as Charles II returned to London on his 30th birthday. The Merrie Monarch ruled for a quarter-century, rebuilding those national institutions which the Roundheads had so thoroughly desired to obliterate, allying himself to Louis XIV, and, having long held Catholic sympathies and even having attempted to rescind the penal laws, crossing the Tiber on his deathbed.

God save the King.

Sing a New Song, Please

In spite of the new and better translation of the Roman Missal, it seems that the earworm factories that are OCP and GIA are up to their old tricks yet again, making something holy and profound resemble a Disney movie or an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

The ever-insightful Jeffrey Tucker at the NLM has the story here.

Honestly, if we'd all just agree to use Latin once again, this wouldn't be an issue. Oremus in linguam latinam.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Announcement of the birth of two French princes

Thanks to the Mad Monarchist for this news:

Finally, some very happy news indeed from New York City, it was announced that, yesterday morning, HRH Prince Luis Alfonso de Bourbon, Duc d’Anjou (rightly King Louis XX of France to legitimists) and his wife Princess Marie Margaret welcomed twin boys into the world; Prince Luis and Prince Alfonso. They were born by c-section and mother and sons are said to be in “perfect condition”. Heartfelt congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Anjou and the latest additions to the venerable French Royal House.

From what I can gather in the newspapers, based on my poor understanding of Spanish, Prince Louis is the Dauphin.

Vive le Roi!
Vive la Reine! Vive le Dauphin! Vive le Prince Alphonse!

With immense thanksgiving for their happy birth, I entrust the health of the princes to the prayers of their great ancestor St Louis, of Ste Jeanne d'Arc, and of the martyred Louis XVII.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

against a "personal relationship with the Lord Jesus"

While it is fresh in my mind, I'd like to put forth this excellent essay of The Ochlophobist. It deals with the widespread importation of the phenomena of American Evangelicalism into Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and is thus very relevant to my thinking about the varying religious cultures of this era, which I will be visiting in the near future in my ongoing series of essays.

I'll spare my elaboration on this for my own subsequent essay, but this puts to voice many misgivings that I've had regarding evangelicalism and its contemporary influence on the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Red Toryism

I've long followed Phillip Blond's career, having had quite the acquaintance with the Radical Orthodox theological movement with which he was involved. When Blond moved from theology to specializing in political philosophy, I certainly paid attention.

The "Red Tory" thought that Blond espouses is, without doubt, one of the most significant ideas currently being debated, and holds much promise for anyone seeking to reintegrate our increasingly atomized and anemic society. I encourage anyone who shares the same passion that I do in this regard to read carefully this recent article from The American Conservative.

"The Unknown Citizen," by W.H. Auden

In continuation of my theme regarding the dissociation of society, I present this poem that I've lately not been able to get out of my head:

(To JS/07/M/378) This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be

One against whom there was no official complaint,

And all the reports on his conduct agree

That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint

For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.

Except for the War till the day he retired

He worked in a factory and never got fired,

But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.

Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,

For his Union reports that he paid his dues,

(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)

And our Social Psychology workers found

That he was Popular with his mates and liked to drink.

The Press are convinced that he bought a Paper every day

And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.

Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured

And his Health-card shows he was once in a hospital but left it cured,

Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare

He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan

And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,

A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.

Our researchers into Public Opinion are content

That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;

When there was peace he was for peace when there was war he went.

He was married and and added five children to the population,

Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation,

And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.

Was he free? Was he Happy? The question is absurd:

Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

Argentine Bicentennial

In commemoration of one of the coolest countries on earth.

¡Viva Argentina!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fanaticism, part 2: The Tower of Babel

Today's installment in my ongoing series concerning fanaticism will depart from the internecine Catholic churchmanship dispute (to be resumed later), and will focus instead on the relationships among the world's cultures in an age of globalization, "multiculturalism," and mass migration, with an eye towards the just fulfilling of the Church's missionary mandate.

It is first either a marvel of history or a work of Divine Providence that the peoples of Europe should have adopted the faith of Christianity, a faith (secularly speaking) of Semitic origin, so thoroughly that Hilaire Belloc's assertion that Europe is the Faith is no radical statement, but merely a ratification of what was already thought globally. Consider that as well in the light of the fact that Europe, apart from the Mediterranean region, was, in the Julio-Claudian times in which Christ and His Apostles lived and preached, a sparsely populated hinterland of the Empire.

Moreover, by act of the Ecumenical Council of Jerusalem, this came not through the adoption of Judaic laws and customs. Indeed, attempts to "Judaize" the gentile converts of the primitive Church were likely among the first heresies to affect Christianity. As far as sunsequent European culture goes, I should scarcely have any need to relate much. We know in our blood that the customs of our pagan ancestors were not truly replaced, but perfected. Anyone who thinks otherwise ought to rename the days of the week and months of the year, and should cease from decorating his house with evergreens in Christmastide and from telling his children stories about fairies.

Need I even to mention the numbers of missionaries following, often even preceding, explorers and conquistadores venturing to all corners of the world in the Age of Discovery? They did this for the purpose of preaching to the Gospel, not of making Europeans out of non-Europeans. The gentleman of Japan would no more have to lay aside his kimono, or the gentleman of India his turban, than the Scot would have to lay aside his kilt, or the Basque his beret. The purpose of this was not a monocultural hegemon, but a Church more truly universal, more truly Catholic, and a world united in the context of the Catholic faith under the principle of solidarity and in pursuit of the common good.

Of course, Catholic doctrine balances that solidarity with the principle of subsidiarity, which dictates that political power operates best at the lowest possible level. Thus, the headman or chief of a village or tribe is much more knowledgeable about what is good for that village or tribe than a bureaucrat in a remote capital is, and a prince of a nation which may become annexed by an empire is far more qualified to rule that nation directly than the emperor or his government.

Interestingly, in the age of the Great Powers, this is what tended to happen. There were abuses in some times and places, no doubt, but my historical research shows that this is the exception more than the rule. Princes continued to rule as clients of the emperor, and the cultures of the tribes and peoples within the colonies were interfered with as little as possible. The work of the imperial powers seemed in all rather benign: building roads, railways, canals, and harbours to facilitate trade, opening native agriculture and artisanship to the broader global market; collecting customs on foreign trade, enriching both the crown and the native princes and chiefs (and consequently their people) who were entitled to a share in the colony's revenue; promoting public health by reclaiming marshes, inoculating against smallpox, and establishing hospitals; promoting education, establishing universities and technical schools, and subsidizing those primary schools established by missionaries; and establishing regiments for the defense of the colony recruited from among the natives. For those outside cities (which are invariably rather cosmopolitan), the presence of the imperial power was scarcely felt, and when it was, it was benevolent: their legal issues were tried in their own courts (with the caveat that no penalty contrary to humanity could be exacted, and with right of appeal to the imperial power); their traditional economic way of life continued, albeit with access to more productive ways of agriculture and a broader market in which to sell their surplus and from which to buy during leaner years; malaria and other diseases were no longer death sentences; and education and missions offered the natives greater integration with global civilization, and the opportunity to develop those talents by which they may better serve their tribe and their culture. The only things extirpated were those more barbarous practices such as cannibalism or slavery.

Indeed I am aware that I have violated a great principle of the orthodoxy of political-correctness in asserting that European imperialism was largely beneficial, but let us examine that orthodoxy more closely, particularly in light of what came to pass after the Second World War, when the powers of Europe came to quit their overseas colonies. Under the banner of the "Non-Aligned Movement," so-called to differentiate them from the Soviet sphere of influence, socialists, generally those of a Trotskyist or Fabian variety, came in to fill the power vacuum in these new counties left by the departing Europeans, and the results have generally been dismal. After all, I'm sure we are all aware of the socialist attitude toward culture. Occasionally, though, an anti-communist would come into power, with no pretenses toward restoring the traditional order, but rather toward establishing a centralized military autocracy. Thus, the world has seen a succession of Idi Amins, Ho Chi Minhs, Mobutus, Nassers, Saddam Husseins, Pol Pots--and these are just those who immediately come to mind. Moreover, independent kingdoms that were not part of any Western sphere of influence had their traditional rulers deposed, replaced with a situation much worse. I mention here Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Mohammad-Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran, and Gyanendra of Nepal. The present situation in Thailand as well looks eerily familiar. The results of this have been many: war, genocide, famine, disease, massive migrations, human trafficking, drug abuse, slavery, poverty, and the breakdown of traditional communities, ways of life, and economies, with the attendant psychological and sociological ailments.

Aside, for all the American rhetoric about the Cold War and the evils of communism, their global record in the late 20th century is decidedly mixed. They said they care so much about the spread of communism in Vietnam; then why weren't they at Dien Bien Phu when there was an opportunity to arrest it in its early stages? If Nasser were a strong ally of the communists, then why is Eisenhower telling the British and the French to withdraw from the Suez Canal that Nasser was illegally trying to nationalize?

But look now at the contemporary situation in America itself, and truly over an American-dominated globe. Do you see the humane universalism spoken of earlier, or do you see an artificial hegemon enforced not by social or religious bonds but by the forces of political and economic control, the fruits of a global group who looked upon the powers held by the Politburo with envy, desiring such for themselves? I surely see the latter, and I call it the Tower of Babel. It is a forcible uniformity of thought, that thought usually being that international socialism is the pinnacle of civilization. It is a forcible uniformity of culture, that culture having very little profundity and often quite insipid, disregarding both earthy and ethereal elements; rather, it is something to be sold, the stuff of Coca-Cola, Big Macs, and Michael Jackson. And it serves not the common good anywhere, for the administrators of this régime seem to have lost any idea of what it is to be human, and they serve not men, but only their dreams of raw totalitarian power. Thus, generally through economic and political means, they engineer the means of production away from those who will not serve in their system. They engineer through "education" their captive publics to be docile and servile cogs in their utilitarian and mechanistic system. They engineer anything human and enobling out of mankind, subtly undermining churches, families, nations, and tribes, that they and they alone may have absolute control over their brave new society, as though they were in the place of gods.

I spoke gloriously of Western culture earlier. However, are we living today as our ancestors lived? What remains of our own culture? Indeed, it's a mess here, but we've had it much easier than elsewhere. I give this as perhaps the prime example of the fanaticism that has come to drive contemporary humanity to its knees. Indeed, if you doubt the fanaticism inherent therein, check out some of the Mad Monarchist's fan mail.

And this is among the many reasons why I am a monarchist. Our traditional ways have served us very well in the past, and throne and altar were always a cogent defense against the outward impositions of malcontents who seek the ill of society due to their own petty reasons or their fanaticism. The power of the monarch calls for his responsibility to the people, for indeed he is of the people (not "The People," that inviolable construct in whose name societies are destroyed), and his very charge is always to promote the common good rather than the mean small mind of partisanship, which invariably relegates itself into unthinking fundamentalism.

Thus concludes this episode. In about a week's time, I shall be publishing my next installment in this series dealing with the equally fanatical movement that has grown out of the opposition to international socialism: Islamism.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Leonida Georgievna, Grand Duchess of Russia (1914-2010)

Requiescat in pace.

Speaking of Russia, the once chilly relations between Pontiff and Patriarch seem to have thawed. With hope, the prayers we have been offering for Russia since Our Lady first requested them in the fateful year of 1917 are at the point of being answered.

I commend the repose of the Grand Duchess's soul, and my prayers for the reunion of Christendom, to the prayers of the Imperial Martyrs, of Servant of God Lucia of Fatima, of Venerable Jerzy Popieluszko, and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The decline of the academy

Patrick Deneen shares his thoughts regarding the sorry state of the Western university at The New Atlantis.

With thanks to Arturo Vasquez for the link.


Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.

Veni, pater pauperum,
veni, dator munerum
veni, lumen cordium.

Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes animae,
dulce refrigerium.

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies
in fletu solatium.

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium,
Amen, Alleluia.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I have lately noted that in both political and religious spheres civil dialogue seems to be dying out, and with it that great imperative of civilization, respect. In place of the understanding that those of different classes, regions, backgrounds, temperaments, etc., will understandably have different motivations and different emphases, latter-day ideologues simply tend to assume that everybody is merely like them, or on the path to becoming them. Those who would dare put forward a principled dissent, even if accord with the others much of the time, suddenly become at best outsiders to be pitied, and at worst malefactors to be hated. Needless to say, herein are the roots of totalitarianism and hatred, as any student of the last bloody century would realize, but when such is ever mentioned, the ideologues will fall back on an exceptionalist argument, i.e., "It's fine of we do this, but not if others do, because our cause is just." Put aside the fact for a moment that all but the most thorough cynics consider their cause just.

I'll offer first perhaps the most outrageous example of this behaviour: Fred Phelps. Fred Phelps hates homosexuals. I'm not speaking about a principled position that homosexual activity is affectively disordered and that the inclination thereto is a temptation that should be chastely borne through life, as we all have our crosses to bear; no, I'm speaking of irrational, frothing-at-the-mouth hatred. Indeed, Phelps' hatred of homosexuals is so strong that it appears he has come to despise everybody else who does not hate homosexuals as much as he does (which is probably everybody outside of his family). Phelps and his clan even go on to picket the funerals of dead war veterans, causing incredible offense to their families, friends, and fellow servicemen, under the assumption that they died to protect homosexuality. However, I doubt this is the first thing, or even the tenth or twentieth thing, on a young person's mind when they decide to enlist in the military. Regardless, in Phelps' warped mind, the United States government is tainted because it does not have to same opinion as he, and thus anyone in its service is fair game for his rude and disgusting attacks.

This may perhaps have been an extreme example, I acknowledge, but I hope it serves to illustrate the fundamentalistic and antisocial mindset into which our society is degenerating. I noted that the recent debate regarding the Arizona immigration law was dominated by nativist propaganda on the one hand and multiculturalist propaganda on the other, both seeming only to repeat slogans rather than saying anything of substance. If I were to say that massive immigration in the face of a scarcity of work available is leading to a socio-economic crisis, but that I also think the new law opens the door for potential civil-liberties violations, then I'm bigoted for the first part, and un-American for the second. Nobody wants to consider this statement, for they have already seemingly convinced themselves with but a minimum of thought that they are right, and will continue arrogantly to consider themselves so even in the face of any argument.

I'm finding this very pronounced in the realm of religion as well. Any observer of contemporary Catholicism has seen that three camps, "churchmanships," to borrow a word from Anglican parlance, have developed of late within the Church: liberals, neoconservatives, and traditionalists. All three seem to think themselves better Catholics than the others, a vanguard of the next spiritual wave to sweep this earth. Of course, this presumption is scarcely confined to Catholics; look at born-again evangelicals, Muslim Wahhabists, New-Agers, and radical atheists/secularists. I’ll leave these aside for a moment, for as egregious as all cases of religious arrogance are, they are particularly so within a church that calls itself Catholic. I read these words on a comment page of A Conservative Blog for Peace not long ago, and these perhaps provide a good summation of the issues at hand (mildly edited for content):

I think for many traditional (not just traditionalist) Catholics, that is, people in traditional cultures like Arturo's Mexican one and the Slavs (from more than one group), Italians and a few Puerto Ricans I know, the anonymity at St Gargantua's is not a problem because they have family, big time. They don't need or want the parish church invading their space (like the people I know who show up for baptisms, First Communions, confirmations, weddings and funerals, end of story).

I wouldn't like the alienation - 'nobody gives a s***' - but wouldn't mind it so much around 1962. That is, if the religion at St G's - even if the building were new Jetsony space-age modern and not bad Gothic or pastiche baroque - were being held to a minimum of orthodoxy by the text and rubrics, the Tridentine Mass holding it all together. As somebody said of US Navy equipment, designed by geniuses to be run safely by morons. (All bets were off with the Novus Ordo. They should have just translated the services, full stop.) The people go for half an hour - to follow along in their missals and receive Communion at the early Low Mass, to pray their rosaries and/or read their novenas, to leave a candle and a dollar at their lucky saint's feet, to pay their religious taxes/fire insurance by showing up (could be out breaking the commandments the night before but won't miss Mass and probably would die for the faith), to keep their parents off their backs - and then go watch the game and after that go to Nonna's for Sunday dinner. Not fake 'parish community' stuff: like the South Philly nonna Thomas Day met during 'the sign of peace' at St Rita's on Broad Street, they don't believe in that s***.

Not utopian parishes of nice upper-middle-class suburbanites like on EWTN, orthodoxy meets neoconservatism meets Protestant bonhomie. Or traddie shrines full of enthusiasts, the church as Jansenist perfectionist cult or simply dominated by the barking mad. ('Purity cult' is a fave putdown of Episco-liberals for Episco-conservatives as you know; while wrong much of the time they have a point here.) 'The Catholic Church: here comes everybody.’

Perhaps I could rightly pass for a traditionalist, but I don’t think I am your conventional traditionalist, for, indeed, this is the tradition I hope to be preserved: here comes everybody, within the context of the orthodox doctrine and practice of the universal church. How contrary this is to the pseudo-gnostic sects of spiritual or intellectual élitehood, the “purity cults” we see developing all over the world nowadays, and also, how contrary to the wisdom of the Apostles’ insistence that Greeks (and later Romans, Franks, etc.) need not adopt the culture of the Jews to become Christians! Social coercion to fit people into a specific mould of man is not just discourteous; it’s absolutely alien to our tradition, leading to a sense of smugness, superiority, and bigotry. Are not the greatest saints consistently aware of the fact that they are sinners? We will not see perfection this side of the New Jerusalem, and such thinking of oneself as perfect, so perfect indeed that it’s not enough that someone professes the faith, but rather that they become more like you, is akin to what the philosopher Eric Voegelin (very relevant in this regard) termed “immanentizing the eschaton.” And if they do not see the light upon being exposed to Joan Chittister, EWTN, or the Tridentine Mass, then they’re “cultural Catholics” or poor lost souls to be pitied.

All of this can easily be resolved by following one of Christ’s cardinal commandments, which is lamentably the most difficult to follow: Love thy neighbour. All in all, we’re out for the same things in this world. Of course we will do this imperfectly, for such is human nature, but the incredible cohesion and sense of social responsibility that will return to us will in the end make life better for everyone. This extends into the political realm as well. People who do not support the wars are not generally traitors. People who do not support government social spending are not generally nasty. People who do support these things are not generally imperialists or socialists, respectively. The fault in our civic discourse nowadays is that opposing viewpoints are very scarcely well-understood or respected, often leading to the supposition that those holding them are somehow stupid, evil, or mentally ill. In the political realm, however, it seems usually not pity that people feel, but contempt. With the state apparatus more powerful than at any time before, and with state control a means by which the powerful might socially engineer populations into their vision of utopia, the continuation of the lack of respect in today’s society calls forth a vision of a rather grim future, of shouting apparatchiks consistently at war with other shouting apparatchiks, with the bonds of social cohesion, the sense of duty and loyalty to society, and the individual’s connection to a larger society progressively eroding, leaving atomized and alienated individuals prey to mass movements promoting a false sense of collective identity.

I will continue my thoughts in this regard anon.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Le Vert Galant

400 years ago, Henri IV of France and Navarre, the first Bourbon king of France, was stabbed to death by François Ravaillac.

Vive Henri quatre,
Vive ce Roi vaillant!
Ce diable à quatre
A le triple talent:

De boire, de battre,
Et d'être un vers galant;
De boire, de battre,
Et d'être un vers galant.

Au diable guerres
Rancunes et partis,
Commes nos pères,
Chantons en vrais amis:

Au choc des verres
Les roses et les lys;
Au choc des verres
Les roses et les lys.

Chantons l'antienne
Qu'on chant'ra dans mille ans;
Que Dieu maintienne
En paix ses descendants

Jusqu'à c'e qu'on prenne
La lune avec les dents.
Jusqu'à c'e qu'on prenne
La lune avec les dents.

Vive la France!
Vive le roi Henri!
Qu'à Reims on danse
Disant comme à Paris,

Vive la France!
Vive le roi Henri!
Vive la France!
Vive le roi Henri!

With thanks to Madame Delors.