Romantic interiors evoke the charm of bygone days for visitors to Les Fleurs d’Olargues. International restaurateurs found their place in the French countryside—an oasis they share with those who come calling from near and far. Once a resting spot for travelers aboard the stagecoach that ran between Castres and Montpelier, this auberge in the French village of Olargues languished for a time after the introduction of the railroad. (Read more.)Share
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Americans on both sides of the abortion debate were horrified this week when delegates at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia burst into a raucous round of cheers and applause when Ilyse Hogue, president of the radical pro-abortion group, NARAL Pro-Choice America, admitted to having an abortion.Share
According to the abortion-loving media, the moment that Ilyse Hogue testified to having an abortion was an “historic first” for the DNC, as if her admission was something to be proud of. “To succeed in life, all we need are the tools, the trust and the chance to chart our own path. I was fortunate enough to have these things when I found out I was pregnant years ago. I wanted a family, but it was the wrong time,” Hogue said.
“I made the decision that was best for me — to have an abortion — and was able to get compassionate care at a clinic in my own community. Now, years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children.”
Even more disturbing was the way the audience reacted – with cheers and applause – reminiscent of how spectators cheered the slaughter of innocents in the Colosseum in the days of ancient Rome. Hogue’s testimony, and the audience reaction, was completely oblivious to the fact that this testimony was about the murder of a human life. Either they were allowing themselves to be completely blinded by the uber-disingenuous “pro-choice” label, or they just don’t care. (Read more.)
In 1785 two people, deeply devoted and unquestionably in love, were married in a secret ceremony at the bride’s house in Mayfair’s fashionable Park Street. The bride was Maria Fitzherbert, née Smythe, a 29-year-old, twice-widowed Roman Catholic woman and the groom none other than George, Prince of Wales, the man who would one day rule as Prince Regent and, eventually, King George IV.
The scandalous clandestine marriage was forbidden in law by the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, that stated:Share
‘That no descendant of the body of his late majesty King George the Second, male or female, (other than the issue of princesses who have married, or may hereafter marry, into foreign families) shall be capable of contracting matrimony without the previous consent of his Majesty, his heirs, or successors, signified under the great seal, and declared in council, (which consent, to preserve the memory thereof is hereby directed to be set out in the licence and register of marriage, and to be entered in the books of the privy council); and that every marriage, or matrimonial contract, of any such descendant, without such consent first had and obtained, shall be null and void, to all intents and purposes whatsoever.’
Those over 25 did enjoy a small loophole in that, if they were refused permission to marry, they could give notice of the intended wedding to the Privy Council. One year after that notice was given they would be allowed to marry, on condition that Parliament had not refused the match.
In keeping with his carefree, selfish character, George had neither sought nor gained permission from his father, George III, for the wedding. Though it’s unlikely that the permission would have been given, even if it had, any children that resulted from the marriage would have been forever disqualified from wearing the crown. (Read more.)
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Borgo Santo Pietro, once a stop for weary medieval travelers on a holy pilgrimage, now offers refuge of an upscale variety. The fully renovated thirteenth-century Tuscan-villa-turned- boutique-hotel features stunning views, acres of secret gardens, sensational cuisine, and the sincere desire of its staff to nourish body, mind, and soul. (Read more.)Share
John Adams once said that the U.S. Constitution “was made only for a moral and religious people.” He seems to have an ally in Harvard professor Clay Christensen, the scholar behind disruptive innovation theory.Share
Christensen, a Rhodes Scholar and the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the college’s business school, appeared in a video that is picking up steam on Youtube. The clip recounts a conversation the professor had with a Marxist economist from China. Christensen asked the Fulbright Scholar if anything had surprised him during his visit to the states. This was the response he received, as told by Christensen:I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy. The reason why democracy works, is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does. Rather, democracy works because most people most of the time voluntary choose to obey the law. In your past, most Americans attended a church or a synagogue every week, and they were taught there by people who they respected. Americans followed these rules because they had come to believe they were uncountable to society, they were accountable to God.(Read more.)
Friday, July 29, 2016
|By the waters of Babylon by Arthur Hacker, 1888|
1Upon the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept: when we remembered Sion:2On the willows in the midst thereof we hung up our instruments.3For there they that led us into captivity required of us the words of songs. And they that carried us away, said: Sing ye to us a hymn of the songs of Sion.4How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land?5If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten.6Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember thee: If I make not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy.7Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom, in the day of Jerusalem: Who say: Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.8O daughter of Babylon, miserable: blessed shall he be who shall repay thee thy payment which thou hast paid us.9Blessed be he that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock.—Psalm 136 (Douai version)
A Meditation on Psalm 136:
"Super flumina Babylonis."
The leaves have fallen.—Mary Magdalen of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, OCDS
The flowers have withered.
The rain comes down.
The year dies
In this garden of exile
Where we have hung up our hearts.
The clamor of Babylon roars
Beyond the wall;
For another sound.
For another song.
The horizon glow
Beneath clouds of lead
In a moment of yearning
O Jerusalem unseen!
Our eyes are blind to your
Which all around us shine.
The voices of the saints
Seem to pierce
The curtain of rain.
I watch for dawn.
For that morning of mornings
Of going home.
O City of God!
Compared to the possession of thee
There is no happiness!
Faced with the murder and beheading of seven of his monks by Islamists 20 years ago, the Archbishop of Algiers went one better than the Archbishop of Rouen this week. He didn’t talk about the slaughter of an elderly priest as the “unnameable”. He saw the road of Calvary. In fear of his own life amid a ferocious conflict, Monseigneur Henri Teissier, 67 years old and a French professor of Arabic, responded by celebrating mass for six nuns and monks all those years ago by reading from St Matthews, Chapter 25, verse 13: “Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.”Share
The tiny congregation had originally gathered that day in 1996 to remember one of France’s first religious martyrs in Algiers, Vicomte Charles de Foucauld, the soldier-turned-priest who was assassinated by an Islamist in Tamanrasset in 1916; his murder set an awful precedent for the killing of all French priests by those who claimed they were motivated by Islam. Surely Father Jacques Hamel would have known of him. The Vicomte was killed only 14 years before he was born. (Read more.)
One thing I have noticed a lot of well meaning Catholics doing when it comes to Donald Trump is to confuse personality with character. In our soft American parishes today we are used to hearing constant messages about being polite and nice often at the expense of any real substantive Catholic teaching. The problem is that there are plenty of people who are very polite, nice, and well-mannered on the outside, but corrupt on the inside. Very many politicians come to mind (think Hillary Clinton). They talk a very good game, but their actions are quite a different story.Share
Enter Donald Trump. Trump is the exact opposite of what almost every social justice priest at your local guitar Mass says a Christian should be. He’s brash, boasting, confident, tough, unyielding, demanding, and blunt. In our very feminine and politically correct Church of 2016, these attributes alone are enough to horrify sensitive Catholic parishioners and have them mistakenly assume the man is evil , immoral, and Satan incarnate.
Yet, if one has any experience with the Greatest Generation of men, the World War II generation, they will have known many men who were brash, tough, who cursed, who had a temper, but who on the inside were decent and good men and possessed natural virtue. And one thing is for certain, they got things done, and they didn’t complain. Sure they made mistakes, they sinned, they weren’t perfect. But sometimes you didn’t get to experience their true character under the gruff exterior unless you were with them on a daily basis. These were the men who fought our wars, who worked blue collar jobs. Many of them Catholic men. Were they all bad or evil men because they were tough, hard working, and no-nonsense? Hardly. Feminine does not necessarily equal holy. The God that said “Let the little children come to Me” also drove out money changers with a whip and called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers.” (Read more.)
Thursday, July 28, 2016
A simple menu makes porch entertaining a breeze. We put a Southern Lady spin on favorite regional fare with a lively version of pimiento cheese and a fruit-infused blend of that essential refresher, sweet tea. These simply fresh recipes—from a Creamy Basil Dip paired with vegetables to a delightful fruit salad—will have you ready for fun and fellowship in no time. Just save some room for our mouthwatering Lemon Coolers! (Read more.)Share
From First Things:
What has just happened at Saint-Étienne du Rouvray can only arouse horror and even anger at a hatred which is as cruelly cowardly as it is stupidly suicidal. After the terrorist attacks in France and in Germany, it is permissible to observe that this time these lunatics have not killed at random. Until now (and with the exception of one attempt, fortunately thwarted, against a church in Ivry), the fanatics had attacked aspects of the flattering self-image that we “citizens” have of ourselves: the iconoclastic insolence of Charlie Hebdo, the pagan cult of sport at the French National Stadium, the carefree pleasure of the Bataclan and the boho outdoor cafés of the Eleventh Arrondissement in Paris, the 14th of July fireworks in Nice celebrating a Revolution that has promoted great ideals but also the guillotine …From Dr. Taylor Marshall:
This, today, was something else altogether. The target of this revenge was not the West in general, nor its complacent and egotistical prosperity, which can seem insulting to the penniless inhabitants of the world beyond. The target of this revenge was the root of the West, the West’s living source, even when it is unremembered—namely Christianity, in the time and the place where, tacitly but invincibly, it becomes most explicitly and intensely real: the celebration of the Mass. (Read more.)
It is helpful to remember that from AD 60 till AD 313, receiving sacramental baptism meant that you were enrolled for martyrdom. Every parish and every diocese on the planet during those years could name martyrs from their midst. Every Christian community possessed martyrs: Jerusalem, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Carthage, Lyons, etc.(Read more.)
Martyrdom was so common that Christianity underwent a crisis of identity after Constantine legalized Christianity: Can Christians truly be Christian without the reality of impending martyrdom? The monastic revolution of the 4th and 5th centuries was a response to this identity crisis – the monastics sought to regain the danger and asceticism of carrying the cross.
For me personally, this is a moment of personal crisis. I wrote books about Christ. I record podcasts and videos about Christ. I talk about Christ frequently. But am I ready for this to happen to me:
…two Islamic State knifemen who cut the priest’s throat after bursting into a French church and taking nuns and worshippers hostage before being shot dead by police.
For Christians in the Middle East, such horrors are a part of daily life. From the Catholic Herald:
An 85-year-old priest has had his throat cut by an Islamic fanatic while saying Mass in a church in Normandy. For people in the West, this is a scene of almost unimaginable horror. Catholics in particular will be revolted and profoundly disturbed by a bloody killing perpetrated during the act of holy sacrifice around which our faith is built.Share
Catholics in the West, that is. For Catholics and other Christians in the Middle East, the atrocity at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray is far from unimaginable. They have been living with this sort of terror for years, while Western politicians and the liberal commentator looked away.
If I were to mention the Baghdad church massacre of October 31, 2010, how many of them would know what I was talking about? Come to that, how many Catholics are familiar with the details? On that Sunday evening, Mass in the Syrian Catholic church of Our Lady of Salvation was cut short by Islamist gunmen who took the congregation hostage, screaming: “All of you are infidels… we will go to paradise if we kill you and you will go to hell.”
One priest, Fr Thaer Abdal, was shot dead at the altar. In total, 58 innocent people were murdered. Their killers were members of an Iraqi faction of Al-Qaeda that had declared war on churches, “dirty dens of idolatry”, and in particular “the hallucinating tyrant of the Vatican”.
The Baghdad massacre was one of countless atrocities that have reduced ancient Christian communities in the Middle East to shriveled and terrified ghettos or underground churches. (Read more.)
The scientists wanted to know the likelihood the abbess was correct in her claims, and was this level of accuracy just purely from chance? Here is how they explained their analysis:Share
Our statistical approach is based on the model of the game Battleship where a two-dimensional grid (similar to an Excel spreadsheet) is formed by all the claims known to the author on one axis and the herbs (those still used today) on the other axis. Modern herbal indications (medical uses) are represented as ‘ships’ which the medieval author tries to hit by randomly tossing a ‘missile’ into the grid. The hypergeometric distribution gives the probability that x ‘correct’ indications (‘hits’) could be drawn from the set of N herb/claim combinations with n ‘shots’, and the number of ‘ships’ (today’s herb/claim attributions) is M.They focused their study on 85 plants that are being used today for medical purposes. It found that there were 212 health claims by Hildegard from this group, and 30 of them would be correct according to contemporary standards. If she had been making the claims up randomly, only between 6 and 7 of her cures would have accurate.
The study finds the probability of this happening just by chance is 1 in 10,000,000. They conclude:
The hypothesis that Hildegard could have achieved her ‘correct’ claims by chance is to be clearly rejected on the basis of the highly significant level of our new statistical procedure. The finding from this approach that medieval medical claims are significantly correlated with modern herbal indications supports the importance of traditional medicinal systems as an empirical source.They add that European researchers should also be more open to the possibility that herbs might be responsible for a larger variety of remedies – typically these plants are now only associated with one or a small number of medical treatments. (Read more.)
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Among those who admit that romance literature is pornography, there is a tendency to consider it “soft-core” (some also downplay it as “mommy porn“). This implies that it is less potent and less dangerous than the “hard” visual stuff that fries the brains of men. When viewed from a male perspective, it makes sense to classify “pornmance” as “soft” pornography. Men are more visual than women, so they respond more strongly to photographs and video. To men, images are like crack cocaine, and literary pornography is mere marijuana. But for women, the opposite is true. Women are less visual, and so less attracted to the internet pornography that is irresistible to men. For women, visual pornography should be considered a light beer while the emotionally charged “pornmance” novel is 70-proof liquor, hard-core pornography. And there are many “romance alcoholics.” Women get addicted to romance books in the same way that men get addicted to photographs and videos. In 2011, one psychologist reported that she was “seeing more and more women who are clinically addicted to romantic books.” Like other addictions, “pornmance” novels mess with women’s brains and wreak havoc in their lives. According to therapists, these books can cause women to become dissatisfied with their marriages, to become “dangerously unbalanced,” and according to a pornography addiction counselor, to have affairs. (Read more.)Share
Bede mentions the bearing of weapons and riding a stallion as ‘attributes of the elite male warrior class’ so to ignore this, even if it may be a social or cultural stereotype, would be to ignore at least an essence of the historical fact. Likewise, Sundkvist says the horse is ‘the most important animal of the Old Scandinavian cult’. They ‘played a part in sacrifices and divination, were emblems of sovereignty and symbolised a warrior-ideal’. To support these comments, an array of Old English words abound that refer to horses and their upkeep:Share
Stodfaldas – stud folds/paddocksThere are also several mentions of the importance of horses in a variety of literature from, or in reference to, the Early Medieval period or thereabouts. These further substantiate horses as means of owning and showing wealth and a deeper spiritual connection with the divine. It is worth noting here that in Germanic culture white horses were linked to nobility and kingship, while red (chestnut) horses were linked to Frejya and fertility. (Read more.)
Stodmyra – stud mares
Stodhors – stud stallions
Stodðeofas – stud thieves
Hengest – stallion
Horsa – horse
Horsþegn – horse thegn/thane
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
We’ve seen how the ancient Celts gave women certain inheritance and property rights, how some early Celtic women led their people, and how marriage laws gave women some rights. Women were also able to abandon their husbands after the first year of marriage if she wasn’t satisfied with her spouse. So women in ancient Ireland had more rights and privileges than their counterparts in Rome or Greece. But until Patrick brought the Christian idea of equality between the sexes, it was still a man’s world. It’s a truly Christian idea that every person is considered equal to every other. (Read more.)Share
Bishops Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, posted a message on Facebook that was so popular it received over 1,000 shares:
VP Pick, Tim Kaine, a Catholic?The Virginia politician is on record as trying to have it both ways — saying he is both a “traditional Catholic” and a strong supporter of abortion. (Read more.)
Democratic VP choice, Tim Kaine, has been widely identified as a Roman Catholic. It is also reported that he publicly supports “freedom of choice” for abortion, same-sex marriage, gay adoptions, and the ordination of women as priests. All of these positions are clearly contrary to well-established Catholic teachings; all of them have been opposed by Pope Francis as well.
Senator Kaine has said, “My faith is central to everything I do.” But apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life.
From The National Catholic Register:
I want to ask one of these politicians, "Why are you personally opposed to abortion? Is it because you believe that abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent person? If not, why are you personally opposed to abortion? It's just…it's yucky? Like you're personally opposed to yogurt?" If abortion doesn't kill a human life, I agree with the pro-choicers: it is an intolerable oppression of women's freedom and women's bodies to tell them what to do. If that's their body and not somebody else's body, you have no right to tell them what to do. But if it's somebody else's body, they have no right to kill that other person. (Read more.)
From Life Site News:
Catholic priest asked that pro-abortion Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine “do us both a favor” and not show up in his Communion line.Share
“I take Canon 915 seriously. It'd be embarrassing for you & for me,” tweeted Dominican Father Thomas Petri, the vice president and academic dean of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies. Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law instructs that those “persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. ... Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law...Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense” (CCC 2270 - 2272). (Read more.)
Monday, July 25, 2016
In a world consumed with greed and obsessed with success, Chip and Joanna Gaines set a different example. Together, they remind the world that there is another way. The Gaines are a beautiful picture of what happens when you live to give, instead of receive.Share
Chip and Joanna Gaines have renovated hundreds of homes in Texas and are widely renowned for their unashamed faith in Christ, love for their family, and generosity. Hand-in-hand, the dynamic duo has built an empire from the ground up — all the while, giving glory to God. They recently shared that their primary goal in life is to keep Christ first and foremost in their lives.
The Gaines shared, “Our family has made a commitment to put Christ first, a lifestyle our parents modeled for us very well. They showed us how to keep our marriage and family centered around God. As for ‘Fixer Upper,’ we have been surprised at the impact of our faith through the show. We haven’t been overtly evangelical, but the rich feedback we have received on family and love all source from our faith. Jesus said the world would know His disciples by their love for one another, and we’ve glimpsed this in practice and strive for it every day.”(Read more.)
Sunday, July 24, 2016
If you have a child that isn’t writing well yet that is okay! There are ways to work around that. You can involve them in the process by asking them what they’d like to say, scribing it for them and then having them sign their name. (Read more.)
- It causes your child to reflect on what they have received and who they have received it from.
- It teaches them what gratitude looks like because yes, showing gratitude does take a little bit of effort.
- It allows them to practice their writing skills.
- It causes other people to feel good because not only do people like to be appreciated but most people also enjoy receiving notes from children.
- It provides the perfect opportunity to teach your children about addresses, the postal service and how to properly address an envelope.
Last week I wrote about volume I of The God of the Gulag, Jonathan Luxmoore’s study of the 70-year Communist persecution of Christians in Russia and Eastern Europe. Having now read volume II, “Martyrs in an Age of Secularism”, which roughly covers the period after the death of Stalin in 1953 until the collapse of Communism in 1989-1990, I asked Luxmoore: what had inspired him to undertake such a long and often harrowing labour?Share
He tells me there are four reasons. He thinks that the full story of the persecutions has never been told before – only accounts within individual countries. Again, he wants readers to understand that recent martyrs of Communism are no different from those in the early Church who had suffered under the Caesars; “these are modern figures like St Perpetua”. He also feels that attempts to conceal or play down Communism’s violent past should be challenged and brought into the open. And he thinks it important to record the changes in Communist methods during these decades, which required different kinds of Christian witness.
Does Luxmoore think the Vatican could have played a more effective role in combating Communism in the early period, during the pontificates of Pius XI and Pius XII? He reminds me that they had regarded Communism as a sudden savage subversion of history which would not last. It was Paul VI, elected in 1963, who realised that “it was here to stay” and that therefore the Church would have to work with it.
How would he describe the role of Cardinal Wyszynski of Poland, compared with that of Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary? Luxmoore feels the former had a clearer grasp of what was happening when the Communists took over. Mindszenty had been shocked to find himself arrested, whereas Wyszynski played a long hand, refusing to be pushed into “a straitjacket” of opposition.
Finally I ask: who stands out as a particularly heroic individual? Luxmoore replies unhesitatingly, “Janina Jandulska, a 30-year old invalid from Ukraine, who organised a rosary group from her village home. She was arrested in 1936 and accused of running a subversive political organisation. She was shot in her wheelchair. Like the ancient Blandina, she had stood up to her adversary.” (Read more.)
Saturday, July 23, 2016
If we’re concerned with voting according to Catholic principles, I honestly wonder how this election is an open question. Objectively speaking it takes five minutes on Google to determine that Trump is reasonably friendly to the prolife cause in tangible ways like influencing the judiciary (google his specific list of nominees which directly led to Priests for Life endorsing him), chipping away at Planned Parenthood’s abortion business and political power, as well as seeking specific economic reforms (look at his policy platform) that would improve position of poor families thus reducing the need for abortions.
In addition, Trump is vehemently anti-war in all but narrowly justified cases like fighting the Islamic State. He’s been complaining about Iraq and Afghanistan as long as Bernie Sanders. Also, all evidence points to his ending Obama and Hillary’s horrible multi-country drone war and policy of causing civil wars in Libya and Syria.
Thus the two nonnegotiable triggers that have swayed almost all conscientious Catholics I know into voting either Republican or Democrat in every election in my lifetime, being pro-life and anti-war, are met here. The USCCB, not that they have much credibility in this arena, says you should not vote for a candidate who exhibits clear objective complicity with evil, and can abstain from voting at all if all candidates are objectively and clearly complicit. I don’t see that satisfied here, but even if it was, what are conservative Catholics’ objective reasons for not voting Trump? Do they have valid, rational reasons or can they simply not stomach the social shame the left has placed upon supporting Trump? Is being able to tell liberal friends that they didn’t vote for Trump worth having Hillary control the executive branch and judicial appointees for 4-8 years? (Read more.)
And here is A Message for Christians about Donald Trump. Share
The man who wrote what Liberals use as the definitive book on community organizing admits to having no virtue. So he destroys communities, using his kind of people. Take Hillary Clinton for example. Hillary loved Alinsky's work so much that she actually wrote her senior thesis at Wellesley College on his work, his most notable product being the bible of Liberalism: Rules for Radicals. Obama loved Hillary's work so much that he made her Secretary of State, or what I like to call America's Marketing Department. Why stop at America, when you can ruin the world. Alinsky dedicated Rules for Radicals to Lucifer:
Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins -- or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer.
Another Alinksy disciple, America's very own Barack "You didn't build that" Obama, built his community organizing model around that of Alinsky, including not worrying much about the results. (Read more.)Share
Friday, July 22, 2016
A home is not only where the next generation is initiated into human life. It is also where each of us must find a space congenial to every-day life. A house is where humans live; a home is where they truly come alive. Christoper Alexander, an architect, is keenly aware of the deep connection between patterns in space and patterns of living. The connection is reciprocal. How we live in a certain space, the patterns of our actions, will affect the physical structure of that space. Likewise, the physical structure of a space–and this includes everything from size of the room, furniture arrangement, window placement, color schemes, and much more–will affect the quality of actions in that space.Share
Alexander paints a picture of a ‘living pattern’: “And what of a party around a kitchen table, people drinking together, cooking together, drinking wine, eating grapes, together preparing a stew of beef and wine and garlic and tomatoes which takes four hours to cook–and while it cooks, we drink, and then, at last we eat it.” Such a pattern of behavior, we might say, gives life to a room. And likewise, a room can be well-designed and arranged so as to encourage such a pattern of behavior. This does not require great financial resources; it does require attention to what patterns of living we want to foster, and how to foster them. (Read more.)
There are some simple rules governing modern American political conventions. If you speak at the convention, you endorse the nominee. If you can't endorse the nominee, you don't go. You certainly don't use a prime time speaking slot to try to sabotage your party's fall campaign.Share
A number of Trump's foes have refused to endorse him, even though they had all pledged to support the GOP's nominee. All, except one, chose to stay away from Cleveland. The only absentee to come under any criticism for skipping the convention is John Kasich, and that is only because he is the governor of Ohio. If Kasich were the governor of Michigan or Pennsylvania instead, his absence would generate no more comment than Lindsey Graham's.
Last night, of course, Ted Cruz ostentatiously broke all these rules. It was self-promotion masquerading as principle. It explains why almost no one who works alongside Cruz in Congress has anything good to say about him.
And it may backfire. Cruz's antics last night will certainly drive up the ratings for tonight. If Pence's terrific speech from last night is any indication, Trump's speech tonight will be good. And if Trump does deliver a masterful speech tonight, with tens of millions of American watching, it will be the political equivalent of a grand slam. (Read more.)
A fanatic is a person obsessed with one idea, a monomaniac ruled by one dominant compulsion that governs all his thoughts and actions. He is enslaved by one predominant passion that dictates all his motives and decisions. Ruled by revenge, Captain Ahab in Moby Dick is determined to hunt and kill the white whale that inflicted the loss of his leg. Ruled by hatred and driven by wrath, Shylock the money lender demands his pound of flesh when Antonio fails to pay his loan on the due date. Ruled by avarice, King Midas asks the gods for the golden touch to increase his fortune although he is the wealthiest of kings. In this narrow pursuit of one ruling idea, the fanatic ignores the greater world surrounding him and blinds himself to the rest of reality. Like Procrustes, who cut off or stretched the legs of his victims to fit exactly his notorious bed rather than adapt the bed to the size of the legs, the fanatic exaggerates his one idea and lets it become the be-all and end-all.Share
In a chapter entitled “The Maniac” from Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton explains that the fanatic’s thinking is too “rational” in the sense that he overlooks many other considerations and ignores other evidence that surrounds him. The fanatic’s extreme mental concentration on one thing leads to madness at the expense of openness to larger universal truths that lead to wisdom: “Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists seldom.” To think with rabid intensity on one subject consumes the mind to an unhealthy degree of concentration. It warps a person’s mind, making him pay undue attention to one matter and ignore objects of larger importance. The fanatic makes himself the center of the universe as only his passions count. As Chesterton remarks, “Are there no other stories in the world except yours, and are all men busy with your business?” To be haunted, obsessed, and enslaved by one rigid idea ultimately distorts a person’s humanity. A fanatic lives and dies for one thing only, whether it is revenge, money, work, pleasure, or fame. To think like a monomaniac eventually leads to thinking only with the head and without the conscience or the heart. Ironically, the overworking of the mind on one narrow subject breeds some degree of insanity: “The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason,” writes Chesterton. (Read more.)
Thursday, July 21, 2016
The Garden of Allah long before I did; she highly recommended it, saying, "I saw a movie you would really like. There are nuns in it, and Marlene Dietrich." When I eventually saw the film, her words were proved to be true. The Garden of Allah is a haunting film, subtle yet ravishing in primitive Technicolor. The idea of sultry Marlene Dietrich portraying a pious spinster may seem too far-fetched at first. Marlene pulled it off admirably, perhaps because she had a certain singularity about her, and such a deep reserve, in spite of her image. Charles Boyer is always excellent when depicting a tormented soul.
The 1936 film was based upon a forgotten novel, popular in its time. The heroine Domini, played by Marlene, is on the verge of a breakdown following many years of caring for her invalid father, who has died. She returns to the convent where she was educated, seeking guidance. The Mother Superior advises her to make a pilgrimage into the desert. Garbed in what can only be described as Dior desert chic, Domini ventures into the Sahara, which is called "The Garden of Allah" by the Bedouins. There she meets the Boyer character, whom she thinks is merely a neurotic Russian ex-patriot with a major grudge against the Catholic Church. In spite of his weirdness, or maybe because of it, she is drawn to him.
In The Garden of Allah the desert setting plays as much a part as any of characters. It is the emptiness and the hazards of the desert which bring the various persons into confrontation with each other, and with their inner selves. The redemptive side of the love of a man and a woman is strongly highlighted. In The Garden of Allah it is the woman who must encourage the man towards his true vocation, at great cost to herself. It is in the desert that love blossoms, but it is love made holy only by sacrifice. Share
The 2016 platform reiterates the GOP's support for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, clarifying that the 14th Amendment protects unborn children from being deprived of life, liberty of property without due process of law. That plank has been part of every Republican platform since 1980, when the Grand Old Party met in Detroit to nominate Ronald Reagan for president.Share
However, the party made history by encouraging states to defund Planned Parenthood – the nation's largest abortion provider – by name, as well as further penalizing the sale of fetal organs. The platform reads:
We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.The GOP also backs efforts “to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions or sell the body parts of aborted children.”
The platform, which mentions “abortion” 37 times, formally supports state and federal laws prohibiting “the cruelest forms of abortion, especially dismemberment abortion procedures, in which unborn babies are literally torn apart limb from limb.”
Six states have banned dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, which account for 95 percent of all second-trimester abortions. (Read more.)
AirBnB was created with the idea that people would open up their home to travelers as a bed and breakfast or that they would allow others to rent their home when they, the host family, was away. In theory, it’s a great idea. However, as pointed out in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, that’s not quite the reality of the business. Rather than staying in someone’s personal home, in most cases, guests stay in an apartment that has been purchased by the owner specifically for AirBnB rentals. While this was fine with us (and slightly less creepy), according to HBR, it’s having devastating effects on the housing market in several US and European cities where “residents” are no longer actually living in the homes, and real estate prices are driving middle income families out of local neighborhoods. We could certainly see how this was the case as most of the places where we lodged were in residential areas rather than hotel and tourist centers. (Read more.)Share
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
It is uncanny how much this moment in history resembles the conflict between Elijah and Jezebel; between the power of God and the satanic lie of Baal. Are we under the demonic influence of Jezebel?Share
Jezebel first appears in 1 Kings 16, when she marries Ahab, king of Israel. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, the king and high priest of the Baal worshiping Sidonians. Baal worship was closely associated with obsessive sensuality and often involved sex acts. Jezebel, as a daughter of this perverse kingdom, was raised in an atmosphere where sex was a path to power and influence (sounding familiar yet?).
Ahab, King of Israel, was completely subdued and dominated by Jezebel (a type of modern man?). Jezebel then introduced the worship of Ashtoroth to Israel. This god/goddess was a power-hungry goddess of love and sensuality. Priestess-prostitutes filled her shrines and serviced her worshippers. The lure of these legal, readily available erotic encounters was more than the men of Israel would resist. By Jezebel’s influence, most Israelites, the northern kingdom, left the worship of God for Baal and Ashtoroth. The prophet Elijah laments that only 7000 men in the entire nation were not swayed by her control (How many men have left God – exchanged the power of supernatural grace for sensual pleasure – by simply clicking on to easy access porn sites? How many men have either abandoned their family or refuse to get married at all?).
The Jezebel spirit is born of rebellion (1960s? Now?). The Spirit of Jezebel is basically a controlling spirit working through the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (The counter forces to these are poverty, chastity and obedience).
Other ways a Jezebel spirit can gain power of a nation …
Is any of this sounding familiar? It should. This almost perfectly describes the Motus Operandi of most of the liberal secular ruling class in power today.
- Puts power and politics ahead of people
- Baal worshippers would propagate child sacrifice (today’s abortion)
- Operates through fear and intimidation (Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals)
- Intolerant of Word of God (Banish God from public sphere, loss of religious freedom)
- Allows seduction to prevail
- Twists truth; Lies
- Usurps the law
- Propagates sorcery; Black magic (New Age, Reiki, crystals, horoscopes, ouija boards, luck charms, etc.)
What are our altars to Baal? When we work, not to live, but live to work so that we can buy more material things, we are building an altar to a false god. When we desire popularity or notoriety and pledge to do anything to get that attention, we are building that altar. When we allow drugs, alcohol, pornography or any other addiction to rule our lives, we are putting another brick in the altar that resides within our hearts. When we put others on a pedestal, such as famous athletes, movies stars, or even someone we know personally, we are building an altar to worship someone other than God. When we are constantly worried about how we look, how we are perceived, or how much others like us, we build an altar to ourselves; we become Baal. (Read more.)
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
This is the most critical presidential election in the history of the United States. Hillary Clinton, a corrupt, radical pro-abortion, anti-Share
Christian career politician threatens to change the face of America forever. If elected, she will name three to four Supreme Court justices, cementing Roe v. Wade into the Constitution and losing the court for generations if not forever. Hillary Clinton opposes home schooling and believes it is the government’s right to educate children and not the parents. She will restrict religious speech and persecute Christians who refuse to support her radical social agenda. She will promote illegal immigration and allow millions of unvettted illegal immigrants into our country. The illegal population will vote democrat far into the future so that no conservative can have a viable chance to be elected president. All Catholics have a moral obligation to vote for the only viable alternative to Hillary Clinton in this election: Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is the first Republican candidate for president to publicly offer a list of Supreme Court justices he will pick from. All of the names have been vetted by undeniable pro-life organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. Neither Mitt Romney nor John McCain offered such assurances. Donald Trump has also promised to ensure protections for religious free speech and against punitive governmental action for citizens acting out of sincere religious conviction. In addition, he has just named Mike Pence, a pro-life leader and champion of religious rights as his running mate. There is absolutely no moral justification for any Catholic to vote for Hillary Clinton or to assist Clinton in wining the presidency through not voting or voting for a non-viable third party candidate. The stakes are too high. The price of defeat this November means and anti-Christian executive and judicial branch with no opposition party in congress to offer any effective resistance into the foreseeable future. In other words, not voting for Trump in this election is choosing to commit suicide for our nation and our families. (Read more.)
The very last word here, stille, is an interesting word to describe her - it's not commonly used for people, I think. It's almost synonymous with mild, the first element of Mildred's name, but with an added suggestion of quietness or stillness. 'Mild' today has unfortunate overtones of weakness, perhaps of excessive softness, but the Old English word doesn't - it's a thoroughly regal word, its sense something like 'gentle, kindly, moderate' and (when applied to rulers or to God) 'merciful, gracious'. Mildred's full name (Mildþryð) means 'gentle strength' - as Etheldreda, Æþelðryþ, means 'noble strength' - and it's not supposed to be an oxymoron.Share
Mildred is Thanet's only saint, and she seems to have been genuinely popular in the area; even operating in the same general sphere as the much more glorious St Augustine, she managed to outshine him. For instance, legend said when she returned to Thanet from France to join her mother's nunnery, she landed at Ebbsfleet (the same place Augustine had landed - that's the ancient Ebbsfleet and not the modern one) and left the print of her foot permanently in the rock where she disembarked. That rock was considered a relic and kept in its own chapel, where miracles of healing took place. (Read more.)
Monday, July 18, 2016
Please listen to Mercy Unwrapped, HERE. More HERE. And HERE, a powerful testimony.
‘Knowledgeable’ probably wasn’t on your list of most desirable traits in a potential friend, but think about it. Nobody likes awkward silence. Lulls in conversation tend to come about when there’s nothing to talk about, but writers are often repositories of information ranging from the random to the hilarious (and inevitably the tedious). When you’re at a party, sit next to the writer and you’ll hit the conversational jackpot: they’ll not only be up to date on the latest world events, but will also fill you in on what Kim Kardashian’s booty has to do with feminism. (Read more.)Share
Sunday, July 17, 2016
I wish to underline a very important fact here: God, not man is at the centre of Catholic liturgy. We come to worship Him. The liturgy is not about you and I; it is not where we celebrate our own identity or achievements or exalt or promote our own culture and local religious customs. The liturgy is first and foremost about God and what He has done for us. In His Divine Providence Almighty God founded the Church and instituted the Sacred Liturgy by means of which we are able to offer Him true worship in accordance with the New Covenant established by Christ. In doing this, in entering into the demands of the sacred rites developed in the tradition of the Church, we are given our true identity and meaning as sons and daughters of the Father.
ShareIt is essential that we understand this specificity of Catholic worship, for in recent decades we have seen many liturgical celebrations where people, personalities and human achievements have been too prominent, almost to the exclusion of God. As Cardinal Ratzinger once wrote: “If the liturgy appears first of all as the workshop for our activity, then what is essential is being forgotten: God. For the liturgy is not about us, but about God. Forgetting about God is the most imminent danger of our age.” (Joseph Ratzinger, Theology of the Liturgy, Collected Works vol. 11, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 2014, p. 593).We must be utterly clear about the nature of Catholic worship if we are to read the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy correctly and if we are to implement it faithfully. For many years before the Council, in missionary countries and also in the more developed ones, there had been much discussion about the possibility of increasing the use of the vernacular languages in the liturgy, principally for the readings from Sacred Scripture, also for some of the other parts of the first part of the Mass (which we now call the “Liturgy of the Word”) and for liturgical singing. The Holy See had already given many permissions for the use of the vernacular in the administration of the sacraments. This is the context in which the Fathers of the Council spoke of the possible positive ecumenical or missionary effects of liturgical reform. It is true that the vernacular has a positive place in the liturgy. The Fathers were seeking this, not authorising the protestantization of the Sacred Liturgy or agreeing to it being subjected to a false inculturation.I am an African. Let me say clearly: the liturgy is not the place to promote my culture. Rather, it is the place where my culture is baptised, where my culture is taken up into the divine. Through the Church’s liturgy (which missionaries have carried throughout the world) God speaks to us, He changes us and enables us to partake in His divine life. When someone becomes a Christian, when someone enters into full communion with the Catholic Church, they receive something more, something which changes them. Certainly, cultures and other Christians bring gifts with them into the Church—the liturgy of the Ordinariates of Anglicans now in full communion with the Church is a beautiful example of this. But they bring these gifts with humility, and the Church in her maternal wisdom makes use of them as she judges appropriate. (Read more.)
The sinner who abandons himself to sin without striving to resist temptations, or without at least asking God's help to conquer them, and hopes that the Lord will one day draw him from the precipice, tempts God to work miracles, or rather to show to him an extraordinary mercy not extended to the generality of Christians. God, as the Apostle says, "will have all men to be saved" (1 Tim. ii. 4); but He also wishes us all to labor for our own salvation, at least by adopting the means of overcoming our enemies, and of obeying Him when he calls us to repentance. Sinners hear the calls of God, but they forget them, and continue to offend him. But God does not forget them. He numbers the graces which He dispenses, as well as the sins which we commit. Hence, when the time which He has fixed arrives, God deprives us of His graces, and begins to inflict chastisement. I intend to show, in this discourse, that, when sins reach a certain number, God pardons no more. Be attentive. (Read more.)Share
Saturday, July 16, 2016
If Moslemism is a heresy, as Hilaire Belloc believes it to be, it is the only heresy that has never declined. Others have had a moment of vigor, then gone into doctrinal decay at the death of the leader, and finally evaporated in a vague social movement. Moslemism, on the contrary, has only had its first phase. There was never a time in which it declined, either in numbers, or in the devotion of its followers.Share
The missionary effort of the Church toward this group has been, at least on the surface, a failure, for the Moslems are so far almost unconvertible. The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a Christian is much like a Christian becoming a Jew. The Moslems believe that they have the final and definitive revelation of God to the world and that Christ was only a prophet announcing Mohammed, the last of God's real prophets.
At the present time, the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming a hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power. Moslem writers say, "When the locust swarms darken vast countries, they bear on their wings these Arabic words: 'We are God's host, each of us has ninety-nine eggs, and if we had a hundred, we should lay waste the world with all that is in it.'" (Read more.)
The terrorists, though, have succeeded in turning the police agents sent to spy on them and forcing them to commit suicide attacks to expiate their sins. This has become depressingly familiar; as Ryan Gallagher reported recently, perpetrators already known to the authorities committed ten of the highest-profile attacks between 2013 and 2015.Share
The terrorists, in other words, are adding insult to injury. By deploying police snitches as suicide attackers, terrorists assert their moral superiority and power over western governments. The message may be lost on the western public, whose security agencies and media do their best to obscure it, but it is well understood among the core constituencies of the terrorist groups: the superiority of Islam turns around the depraved criminals whom the western police send to spy on us, and persuades them to become martyrs for the cause of Islam.
These attacks, in other words, are designed to impress the Muslim public as much as they are intended to horrify the western public. In so many words, the terrorists tell Muslims that western police agencies cannot protect them. If they cooperate with the police they will be found out and punished. The West fears the power of Islam: it evinces such fear by praising Islam as a religion of peace, by squelching dissent in the name of fighting supposed Islamophobia, and by offering concessions and apologies to Muslims. Ordinary Muslims live in fear of the terror networks, which have infiltrated their communities and proven their ability to turn the efforts of western security services against them. They are less likely to inform on prospective terrorists and more likely to aid them by inaction.
The terrorists, in short, are winning the intelligence war, because they have shaped the environment in which intelligence is gathered and traded. But that is how intelligence wars always proceed: spies switch sides and tell their stories because they want to be with the winner. ISIS and al-Qaeda look like winners in the eyes of western Muslim populations after humiliating the security services of the West.
As a result, western European Muslims fear the terrorists more than they fear the police. The West will remain vulnerable to mass terror attacks until the balance of fear shifts in the other direction. (Read more.)
Friday, July 15, 2016
By the time we get to Obama, the Democratic party had become home to the richest and most well-educated Americans. Close to 70 percent of professionals voted for him in 2008, as did a majority of those making $200,000 or more per year. There are more Democrats than Republicans currently representing the hundred richest congressional districts. The successful people in today’s global economy, a mostly white cohort that makes up 20 to 25 percent of the population, are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans. The party of FDR is no longer the little guy’s party. It now advances the economic and cultural interests of post-Protestant WASPs, a consolidated cultural identity that, although populated mostly by white Americans, includes others who share their elite status.Share
At the same time that the successful upper end of society was coming to lean Democratic, another dynamic was at work on the other end. The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act dramatically increased immigration from Latin America and Asia, populating America with new vulnerable constituencies. Over time, this provided a ready population to slot into the role of the downtrodden, allowing the Democratic party to sustain a sense of itself as the defender of the weak. (Read more.)
The first matter of note was that this was a joint coronation. King Richard and his wife, Queen Anne Neville, were crowned together. This had only happened three times before. Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine had enjoyed a dual coronation on Sunday 19th December 1154, though they had perhaps not enjoyed their subsequent relationship quite as much. Edward I was crowned alongside Eleanor of Castille on 19th August 1274 and his son Edward II had his wife Isabella of France crowned beside him on 25th February 1308. The joint coronation of Richard and Anne was a first in 175 years.Share
The absence for so long of a couple being crowned together was in part a testament to the upheavals of the previous century or more. Edward III had taken his father’s throne at a young age. His heir had died less than a year before he was to, leaving his 10 year old grandson to reign. Richard II was to be punished for his tyranny when the unmarried Henry IV removed him. Henry died aged 46, leaving his unmarried son to be crowned King Henry V. When that warrior king died, his son was only 9 months old. Henry VI’s insipid rule brought about the Wars of the Roses and saw Edward IV seize the throne, crowned at 19 before he met Elizabeth Woodville. It was his son, aged 12, who had been due to be crowned on 22nd June. So, perhaps, this joint coronation of a settled, mature couple, Richard being 30 and Anne aged 27, promised much. They had a son to act as their heir. The omens were promising. This was something new at a time when the country did not want old problems.
On Sunday 6th July, King Richard and Queen Anne processed from White Hall to Westminster Hall, walking on a carpet of vibrant red cloth. The master of the ceremonies that had now begun to unfold was Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Another matter of some significance. John Howard had been granted the offices of Earl Marshall and High Steward of England, making him the man traditionally positioned to oversee the coronation. Buckingham, though, had handed Richard his crown and he was determined to be the second most significant man in attendance. It is questionable whether second was ever enough for this proud man. The coronation set a precedent of spoiled indulgence that was soon to overflow into rebellion. (Read more.)
Thursday, July 14, 2016
|The Storming of the Bastille|
In a world not gone psychotic about sex, the people involved would be promptly and severely disciplined. Where in the United States in 1950, even in the most liberal and agnostic universities, would the orgiasts not have been suspended or expelled? But now, nothing; the sense of disgust is gone.Share
Or rather it has not gone, because it cannot really ever be obliterated from our systems. Gangrene smells bad to us. We can, however, make a fetish of the disgusting: we can pervert ourselves so that we delight in what is foul precisely because it is foul. That was the “genius” of the Marquis de Sade, the unacknowledged master of ceremonies of the French Revolution. What had been unspeakable became a matter of pride: raping women and little girls while slitting their throats, inserting explosive cartridges into their orifices, slaughtering people and then stripping them and placing their corpses in obscene forms of copulation, causing the elder liberal Malesherbes to watch as his children and grandchildren were decapitated one by one…. There is no end to perversion, once the barrier of disgust has been publicly breached. It is not merely that you do not hide it anymore. You take pride in it. You put it on parade. You must: your own repressed disgust compels you.
Our sins are, for now, less likely to shed blood, other than that of the unborn children served up to Moloch for what the Supreme Court is pleased to call our autonomy and economic planning. For now. But consider the depths we have already achieved. One Dan Savage, about whom the least one can say is that he is a psychological wreck, whose advice column is filled with creepy-boy obscenities and creepy-boy delight in sickness, whose least disgusting sin is to promote adultery to stave off sexual boredom—he is a thousand times more likely to address your middle-school students and to be praised by their teachers, than is a saintly man or woman of God. (Read more.)
Obama should tell Black Lives Matter to stop the hate. But though he has shown no reluctance to lecture white America, he has rarely shown the same stern judgment with black America. Now there is no denying that urban black communities are among the most heavily policed. Why? As Heather Mac Donald, author of The War on Cops, writes of a city she knows well:Share
"Black people make up 23 percent of New York's population, but they commit 75 percent of all shootings. . . . Whites are 33 percent of the city's population, but they commit fewer than 2 percent of all shootings . . ."These disparities mean that virtually every time that police in New York are called out after a shooting, they are being summoned into minority neighborhoods looking for minority suspects."As these percentages are unlikely to change, we are going to have more collisions between black males and white cops. Some will end in the shooting of black criminals and suspects and, on occasion, innocent black men. Some are going to result in the death of cops.
Mistakes are going to be made, and tragedies occur, as with the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, killed in Cleveland while waving a toy pistol. But if there is to be a social explosion every time an incident occurs, like the deaths of Trayvon Martin, shot while beating a neighborhood watch coordinator, and Michael Brown, shot in Ferguson after trying to grab a cop's gun, America is going to be permanently polarized. And there is no doubt where the majority will come down, and who will be the near-term beneficiary. (Read more.)