Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The King's Touch

I knew the French and English monarchs prayed over those afflicted with scrofula but I did not know it was done in Scotland. When Charles I was crowned King of Scots in June, 1633, he continued the ancient ceremony. From The Scotsman:
Charles had already been crown by the English in 1626, this was the first coronation in Scotland since that of King James VI in 1567, and more notably, the first time an adult had been crowned as our monarch since that of James IV in 1458, who was 15, not an adult? Okay let’s go further back to King James I, he was 30, happy now? The abbey of Scone, traditional place of coronations up to 1424, had been destroyed, and for this occasion the ceremonial was located in the remains of Holyrood abbey, which had seen the coronation of King James II in 1437.

All that remained of the abbey was the nave, the remainder of the church having been demolished in 1570, and the structure was now restored for the occasion. Charles was baptised in the Chapel Royal at Holyrood Palace in 1600 by David Lindsay, Bishop of Ross, and created Duke of Albany, the traditional title of the second son of the King of Scotland.


While researching this I found an article about Charles and the “laying on of hands” a ceremony he performed while at Holyrood, a practice said to have been performed by all the Stewart monarchs but discontinued by the Hanoverian’s, Bonnie Prince Charlie though is said to have performed it during the 45. (Read more.) 
This is of particular interest to me since Louis XVI was a direct descendant of Charles I. King Louis treasured the ancient healing ceremony and celebrated it several times a year, not just at his coronation, as described in my book. Share

#MeToo for Every Woman

From Vatican News:
“Dear Asia, Meryl, Sharon, Uma, and all of you who have called the world’s attention to the scandal of the violence endured by women in the West”. So begins the appeal, an open letter written by the Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need. It appeared as a one-page, full color ad in a recent Italian edition of Vanity Fair. The letter goes on to say that thanks to the #MeToo initiative backed by these four celebrities, public opinion has been sensitized regarding the horror of rape, and other forms of sexual assault endured by women. The Pontifical Foundation then states that they have been helping persecuted Christians in every corner of the globe for over 70 years. In addition, the letter says, they “denounce the violation of the freedom of whatever faith”.

“We would like to introduce Rebecca, Dalal, and Sr Meena”....These are three of the faces of women who are persecuted because of their religious persuasion. Behind these faces tens of thousands of others remain hidden. “They are persecuted and assaulted without every receiving the slightest solidarity or visibility through social media or through other news outlets.”


Rebecca is a 28-year-old Christian who lives in Nigeria and was kidnapped by Boko Haram. “…they raped me, held me prisoner for 2 years. They killed one of my children and sold me as a slave…”.


Dala is now 21 years old and lives in Iraq. She experienced violence at the hands of Isis. “…I was 17 years old when I was kidnapped and sold as a sex slave to 9 different men within 9 months. My mother and sister are still being held prisoners by Isis”. (Read more.)

Faith-Based Films at Cannes

From The Hollywood Reporter:
Have the French found God?

Given the crop of projects being shopped at the Cannes film market that features Christian-themed narratives — notably An Interview With God, Samson and God Bless the Broken Road — and with Wim Wenders’ doc Pope Francis: A Man of His Word playing as an official selection at the festival, there are signs that fare once ignored by international buyers and Cannes programmers is receiving a warm welcome.

In addition, the U.S. breakout I Can Only Imagine is heating up the market, with Lionsgate scooping up rights for China, a once unthinkable territory for a faith-based film. The project’s producer Cindy Bond is selling overseas territories through her Mission Pictures International and has landed deals here on the ground for the U.K. (The Lighthouse Alliance) and Poland (Kino Swiat) after selling the film pre-Cannes in Latin America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore, Australia/New Zealand, South Africa, Korea, Russia and the Middle East. She is now negotiating for Scandinavia and Benelux.

Though I Can Only Imagine is the highest-grossing 2018 indie in the U.S. — with an $82 million haul so far — it doesn’t appear to be an outlier. An Interview With God, which stars David Strathairn and Brenton Thwaites, also is finding traction with foreign buyers. Film Bridge International’s Ellen Wander, who is selling the feature, is in the process of closing deals for the U.K., Australia, the Philippines, Germany and Latin America. (Read more.)

Monday, June 18, 2018

A New York Palace

From The Daily Beast:
In December 1878, The New York Times reported that the Vanderbilt of our concern—Cornelius II—had acquired two brownstones on the 57th to 58th Street block of Fifth Avenue for $225,000. He had been talking about building a new mansion and it was correctly speculated that this was a sign that his next big project had begun.

In 1882, the new Vanderbilt mansion was complete. It was fabulous, if modestly in line with the grandeur of the other mansions of the area. The outside was a distinctive red brick and limestone and it had already begun to have all the trappings of a French chateau (think crenellations and battlements and chimneys).

Over the next decade, the house would host more than its fair share of socialites and important players from around the world. Alice entertained lavishly in her new home. There were reports of the overflowing audience at a performance by a young piano prodigy who “showed his usual impulsive appreciation” of the treasures and finery that he saw on a tour of the house given by the young Vanderbilt children. He “would have wandered through the large apartments all day without tiring had he not been obliged to carry out his part of the programme.”

There was breathless reporting on how Mrs. Vanderbilt had decorated her quarters with soft mood lighting and a vast array of exotic flowers draped around the stairway, woven up columns, decorating paintings, and displayed in “extensive and beautiful” floral arrangements in order to entertain a French delegation for a breakfast. And, of course, there were balls. For one soirée thrown for 250 guests in 1891, a tapestry was arranged to separate the vestibule where guests arrived from the main hallway. When each attendee was ready to make their entrance, the tapestry curtain would separate, and the honored guest would step through.

It was an impressive mansion where many visitors “oohed” and “ahed” over the decor and design. But when several different branches of your very rich family are all building their massive homes—or, rather, palaces—on the same street, you have to wonder, is yours impressive enough? The answer to that question for our Vanderbilts was a resounding “no.” Only seven years after they moved into their grand home, The New York Times was reporting that Vanderbilt had purchased two more brownstones on the same block so that he could expand the home that was “already a favorite for society people to visit.” He would eventually acquire and tear down five homes, and his mansion would end up stretching the entire city block.

According to the book Fortune’s Children written by a later Vanderbilt relative, it was “common belief that Alice Vanderbilt set out to dwarf her sister in law’s Fifth Avenue chateau, and dwarf it she did.” By early 1893, the renovations were in full swing. The Vanderbilts were eager for the expansion to be completed as quickly as possible, so they arranged for more than 600 workers to labor day and night on the site under the light of electric lightbulbs when necessary. The job was scheduled to be completed in 18 months, although Vanderbilt allowed a two-month extension. The talk of the town was all about the new mansion being built, but the Vanderbilts wanted to keep their plans a secret. So they erected a giant wall along Fifth Avenue to shield the progress of the workers from the prying eyes of passersby. Even with this privacy guard, it was clear a massive project was underway. In the end, two major walls of the home were completely removed to make way for the addition and the still-new interiors were gutted.

By the end of the year, the house was complete and the reveal was jaw-dropping. The New York Times weighed in with the judgement that “it is a structure that would command admiration in any land of palaces and castles grand, for in its design, its noble proportions, and its artistic finish it is, in reality, a palace.” (Read more.)


The Child Migrant Crisis

It's more complicated than the mainstream media is describing it. From The National Review:
The latest furor over Trump immigration policy involves the separation of children from parents at the border. As usual, the outrage obscures more than it illuminates, so it’s worth walking through what’s happening here. For the longest time, illegal immigration was driven by single males from Mexico. Over the last decade, the flow has shifted to women, children, and family units from Central America. This poses challenges we haven’t confronted before and has made what once were relatively minor wrinkles in the law loom very large.

The Trump administration isn’t changing the rules that pertain to separating an adult from the child. Those remain the same. Separation happens only if officials find that the adult is falsely claiming to be the child’s parent, or is a threat to the child, or is put into criminal proceedings. It’s the last that is operative here. The past practice had been to give a free pass to an adult who is part of a family unit. The new Trump policy is to prosecute all adults. The idea is to send a signal that we are serious about our laws and to create a deterrent against re-entry. (Illegal entry is a misdemeanor, illegal re-entry a felony.)

When a migrant is prosecuted for illegal entry, he or she is taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals. In no circumstance anywhere in the U.S. do the marshals care for the children of people they take into custody. The child is taken into the custody of HHS, who cares for them at temporary shelters. The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entity or another crime. The migrants generally plead guilty, and they are then sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day, although practices vary along the border. After this, they are returned to the custody of ICE.

If the adult then wants to go home, in keeping with the expedited order of removal that is issued as a matter of course, it’s relatively simple. The adult should be reunited quickly with his or her child, and the family returned home as a unit. In this scenario, there’s only a very brief separation.Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children. (Read more.)

Children were held in cages under the Obama administration. From The Daily Caller:
 “It was kept very quiet under the Obama Administration. There were large numbers of people coming in. The Obama administration was trying to keep this quiet,” Cuellar told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield. Whitfield displayed a 2014 image of migrant children held in cages at a detention center, and Cuellar said that he released similar photos of children separated from their parents.

Cuellar added that the number of children being held at the border right now is similar to the amount during the Obama administration. “We still see the numbers,” he said, adding that “not all of them are being separated. Some of them are coming alone.”

“Keep in mind that under the law, you can separate a child if that person, the adult, is not the real parent or the custodian because sometimes we see situations where they’ll bring a child because they know of the policy that we have over here with children.” Cuellar scrutinized the zero-tolerance policy for separation, suggesting criminal adult immigrants have previously taken advantage of it. (Read more.)

Meanwhile, American citizens are separated from their children, without public outcry. From PJ Media:
 Americans are in an uproar about illegal immigrant parents and children separated at the border. The level of hysteria surrounding this topic has reached a fever pitch with senators like Chuck Schumer mugging distraught for the cameras at every opportunity. While the shrill voices shriek loudly about the rights of Mexicans and other assorted border jumpers, American parental rights are being stripped from them, unconstitutionally, every single day. (Chuck Schumer has yet to freak out about it on national television.) American parents have lost their due process and Fourth Amendment rights, and most of them don't even know it. Most anyone who has been visited by Child Protective Services can testify to the absolute terror that the state can inflict on a family for very little or no reason at all.
Right now in the state of Mississippi, Michael Chambers is missing his little girl, Belle. When Belle was around two years old her mother abandoned her in the care of her grandmother. Chambers took custody of her after that. Lacking resources and the ability to track down his ex to serve her with custody papers, Chambers just took care of his daughter like a father should. Like many single parents, personal disputes often result in one parent harassing the other through any means possible. Belle’s mother would occasionally call Chambers and shortly after the calls CPS would show up knocking on his door. The social workers where he lived understood the nature of the calls but when he moved to Warren county, things changed. (Read more.)
More HERE and HERE. And Ben Shapiro has a lot to say HERE. Share

Wash-houses and Laundries

From Geri Walton:
Because eighteenth and nineteenth century houses generated lots of laundry, laundry facilities were an important part of any home. Sometimes laundry facilities were completely separate from a house and located near the Stables, but it was a chore to move the entire laundry of household to an area far from the house. One reason laundry facilities might be located next to the Stables was because it was difficult to attach Drying or Bleaching grounds near a house. Part of the decision about laundry locations was often based on the number of inferior servants tasked with accomplishing the chore. Additionally, if the mistress of the house or the head laundress wanted to supervise laundry operations more closely, and if drying outdoors was dispensed with, indoor drying might be used it. Among the areas associated with laundry were the Wash-house, Laundry, Drying-room and Hot Closet, Linen-room, and Soiled-Linen Closet.
  • Wash-house: For a country home a Wash-house was usually 20 to 30 feet by 15 to 20 feet wide. It needed to allow steam to escape and fresh air to be admitted, which meant numerous air-flues, louvered ventilators, etc. needed be provided. If a Wash-house was attached to a house, it needed to be placed far away from the lawn and rooms families used so as to avoid permeating such areas with laundry smells. Wash-houses usually had a dresser containing several wash trays with hot and cold water. These trays had a plug and a way to let the water drain. There was usually some sort of grated washer to scrub clothes with wooden boards in front of them. Sometimes boilers supplied hot water and sometimes some sort of washing/wringer machine (the first patent for these was in 1691) was available. There was also a large table to help fold clothes and a stone floor with a drain to allow water to flow away. In front of the wash trays were standing boards to ensure stable footing for the laundry maid. Additionally, it was also nice to place such a room near the Coal-cellar or have a special coal or wood bin close by.
(Read more.)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Conversion of John Wayne

John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit  

From OSV:
How did this thrice-married, hard-drinking, larger-than-life megastar make his leap to Catholicism? Faith danced around John Wayne all of his adult life. All three of his wives had been raised Catholic, and all seven of his children were brought up in the Church. His first wife, Josie, who prayed for Duke’s conversion till the end, convinced him to attend numerous parish events with her. He sometimes complained to friends that he was up to his neck in Catholics, but perhaps as he interacted with genuine, faithful people, misconceptions and prejudices fell away. Did the classic church potluck plant seeds of conversion?

Despite his early upbringing in the Presbyterian Church, Duke never had any denominational loyalty and was impatient with the infighting of Christianity. Wayne’s son Michael thought his father was a man who quietly believed in God even as he shunned church attendance. “There must be a higher power,” Wayne said in the year he died, “or how does all this stuff work?”

Catholic priest Fr. Matthew Muñoz, who knew Wayne simply as “Granddaddy,” hints that obstacles to his grandfather’s conversion toppled slowly as Wayne grew in knowledge of Catholicism. “After a while,” Fr. Muñoz said, “he kind of got a sense that the common secular vision of what Catholics are and what his own experience actually was were becoming two greatly different things.”
In the mid-1960s, Duke was fighting a persistent cough. His wife urged him to have it checked, and since he needed to renew an insurance policy anyway, he had a physical. When he returned to the clinic the next day for results, he was subjected to an extensive round of X-rays. As he waited, he ran into the technician who’d performed the tests. The young tech revealed what he thought the star already knew: it was lung cancer. (Read more.)


From Sara Carter:
Former FBI Director James Comey was blasted by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office for his actions during the bureau’s ‘midyear’ investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct government business and the investigation found evidence that other members of the FBI deliberately took official action in an attempt to keep President Donald Trump from holding elected office.

Horowitz’s 500 page report, a summary of which was obtained by this reporter and other news outlets, also gave extensive and in-depth details of the dis-function within the bureau and Department of Justice from the beginning of the investigation in July, 2015 until Comey ended the probe into Clinton during the summer of 2016.

One of the most damming pieces of evidence was a never before seen text message from embattled FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok to his paramour former FBI Attorney Lisa Page where he suggests that he will not allow Trump to become president. (Read more.)
More HERE. Share