Monday, February 29, 2016

The King's Room at Petit Trianon

From Marie-Antoinette's Paris via Vive la Reine. Share

The GOP Mission to Destroy Trump

I have learned over the years to never underestimate to ability of the Republican Party to shoot itself in the foot. Now that they have a really popular candidate they are doing everything to undermine him. Unbelievable. From the New York Times:
At least two campaigns have drafted plans to overtake Mr. Trump in a brokered convention, and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has laid out a plan that would have lawmakers break with Mr. Trump explicitly in a general election. Despite all the forces arrayed against Mr. Trump, the interviews show, the party has been gripped by a nearly incapacitating leadership vacuum and a paralytic sense of indecision and despair, as he has won smashing victories in South Carolina and Nevada. Donors have dreaded the consequences of clashing with Mr. Trump directly. Elected officials have balked at attacking him out of concern that they might unintentionally fuel his populist revolt. And Republicans have lacked someone from outside the presidential race who could help set the terms of debate from afar. The endorsement by Mr. Christie, a not unblemished but still highly regarded figure within the party’s elite — he is a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association — landed Friday with crippling force. It was by far the most important defection to Mr. Trump’s insurgency: Mr. Christie may give cover to other Republicans tempted to join Mr. Trump rather than trying to beat him. Not just the Stop Trump forces seemed in peril, but also the traditional party establishment itself. (Read more.)
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The Collapse of Gender Sanity

From The Public Discourse:
Men were built for fighting. Women were built for childbearing. It’s interesting to note how stubbornly true—even obvious—these statements remain, despite aggressive efforts to bury them. Modern people have a penchant for denying obvious things. Dysfunctional politics and political correctness have brought us to the point of potentially approving women’s inclusion in a military draft. The Senate Armed Services Committee recently entertained arguments in favor of requiring women to register for the selective service, and three candidates endorsed the plan in New Hampshire’s Republican debate. The trickle is turning into a stampede. Suddenly political correctness requires that we all agree that girls can fight just as well as boys. The problem is that it’s just not true. We need to return to some basic Aristotelian principles in order to explain why drafting women would be both imprudent and unjust. (Read more.)
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Sunday, February 28, 2016

In Full Regalia

Marie-Antoinette as a young Queen in full royal regalia. A portrait by Jean-Baptiste André Gautier d'Agoty, 1775. Share

The Struggle for Beauty in the Church

From Regina:
The laity under 60 (and some over 60) are interested in an architecture rich in meaning, symbolism and history.  They would like to reconnect with the great Catholic tradition and want churches to look like churches.   The younger clergy even more so, and they tend to be somewhat knowledgeable about art and architecture, so their tastes are often more refined....The pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI offered a positive appraisal of traditional piety, devotion and liturgy.  As people embraced those things, including Eucharistic adoration, they saw the congruence with the arts.  John Paul II’s Letter to Artists and Benedict XVI’s Spirit of the Liturgy (among others) are great examples of Papal documents which inspire new art and architecture which respects the tradition. Another factor is a natural tiredness for a dated architecture by the younger generations, and a desire for something with more depth, solemnity or mystery (which was generally missing). (Read more.)
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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Young Anne of Austria

Queen of Louis XIII, mother of Louis XIV. Share

The Chalice Well Gardens

From Myths, Legends, Books, and Coffee Pots:
The Chalice Well Gardens can be found in Glastonbury, along with Glastonbury Abbey and Glastonbury Tor - what a wonderful little town it is!

The Chalice Well Gardens are beautiful - especially on a warm summers days.The Gardens is a place where you can meditate. It is also a great place to take a book and spend the afternoon surrounded by tranquility while you get lost in another world.

The Well has been in use for over 2,000 years. The water from the well, which pumps a staggering 25,000 gallons a day, is said to have mystical healing properties. (Read more.)
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Edmund Burke: Father of Modern Conservatism

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
Edmund was born in Dublin, Ireland on 12th January 1729. His mother was Mary Nagle, daughter of a Catholic family from County Cork, while his solicitor father Richard, was a practicing member of the Church of Ireland who lived and worked in Dublin. (There is some evidence to suggest Richard had as a young man converted from Catholicism in order to progress his professional legal career which would have suffered if he remained Catholic during that era of Irish history). As happened in many such families in Ireland of those times, Edmund was brought up as an Anglican (Church of Ireland) while his younger sister Juliana was brought up in the faith of her mother. By maintaining dual religious adherences, families were thus able to protect family fortunes which could be lost due to the impositions of the Penal Code that had been passed by the Dublin Parliament in the aftermath of the Williamite wars at the end of the previous century. This pernicious Code impacted on Catholic, and to a lesser extent, Dissenter populations of Britain and Ireland. It effectively destroyed the old Irish and Anglo-Irish (mainly Catholic) aristocracy who had supported the Stuart cause. The Legal along with other key professions, was effectively closed to Catholics who constituted a huge majority of the population of the island.
Burke’s Catholic background was used on occasion by his political rivals to challenge his right to be an MP. It was alleged by some that he received his education in the Jesuit college in St Omer, near Calais, France, though there is no evidence that he ever even visited St Omer in course of his two visits to Paris as a mature man.
As told by an acquaintance, Frances Crewe:
Mr. Burke's enemies often endeavoured to convince the world that he had been bred up in the Catholic Faith, and that his family were of it, and that he himself had been educated at St. Omer, but this was false, as his father was a regular practitioner of the Law at Dublin, which he could not be unless of the Established Church: and it so happened that though Mr. Burke was twice at Paris, he never happened to go through the Town of St Omer.
All MPs serving in the House of Commons were required to take the Oath of Allegiance and abjuration, the Oath of Supremacy, and to declare against transubstantiation before they were allowed to take their seats. It is a matter of record that no Catholic MP from Ireland took these oaths during the eighteenth century. (Read more.)
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Mad Intelligence

An oldie but goodie from Fr. Rutler:
Public thinkers have been usurped by practical atheists who are politely styled “secularists.”  Essentially, the secularist is not without religion: rather, he has made a religion of politics and wealth, and rejects any religion that worships anything else. Now, to be secular is unavoidable for anyone who resides on this planet, except for astronauts and even they have to come back down to earth. But secularism distorts secularity, just as racism makes a cult of race. The secularist makes a religion of irreligion, and is different from the saints who are “in this world but not of it” because the secularist is of the world but not rationally in it. This explains why the secularist’s solutions to the world’s ills are so destructive. The secularist is isolated from what is unworldly and thus lacks the perspective that adequately measures things of this world.  In contrast, Saint Paul was a most worldly wise man and, not least of all because he knew of a “third heaven” where a man, possibly himself, “heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Cor. 12:4).

The contemporary attacks on Christianity, moral and political, are redolent of the Decian persecutions, and yet an instinct of much of the secularist media is reluctance to report, let alone condemn beyond formulaic protocols, the beheading of Christian infants, the crucifixion of Christian teenagers, the practical genocide of Christian communities almost as old as Pentecost, and the destruction to date of 168 churches in the Middle East.  Very simply, this rhetorical paralysis betrays a disdain for Judaeo-Christian civilization and its exaltation of man in the image of God with the moral demands which accrue to that. Their operative philosophy, characteristic of those who are empirically bright but morally dim, is that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” There is, for instance, the alliance of the inimical Pharisees and Herodians to entrap Jesus (Matt. 22:15-16). That is the logic of the asylum where very smart people are also very mad. For Christ the Living Truth, it is worse than clinical insanity: it is, using his dread word, hypocrisy.

Many European sophisticates, such as the “Cliveden Set,” promoted the Nazis. Even some prominent Jewish voters and other minorities supported them, until the Nuremburg Racial Laws of 1935. This was so because the Nazis were seen as a foil to the Bolsheviks and a means to social reconstruction.  Conversely, many Western democrats over cocktails supported the Stalinists because they were perceived as the antidote to the Nazis.  The U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph Davies, 1936-1938, wrote a book Mission to Moscow that whitewashed the blood on the walls of Stalin’s purges. In 1943, with the active cooperation of President Roosevelt, Warner Brothers made it into a film that was hailed in the New York Times by Bosley Crowther as a splendid achievement, praising the ambassador’s “Acute understanding of the Soviet system.” If the Nazis seemed an antidote to the Bolsheviks and vice versa, those unleashed bacilli nearly destroyed the world.  Satan is a dangerous vaccine.

Secularists play down Islamist atrocities because they seek to eradicate the graceful moral structure that can turn brutes into saints.  Heinous acts are sometimes dismissed as “workplace violence.”  There even are those in high places who pretend that Islamic militants are not Islamic and foster the delusion that false gods will not demand sacrifices on their altars.  These elites are like Ambassador Davies who said, “Communism holds no serious threat to the United States.”  Naïve religious leaders who live off the goodwill of good people, will even say that Christians and those who oppose them share a common humane ethos, a similar concept of human rights, an embrace of pluralism, and a distinction between political and spiritual realms.   Secularists who imagine good and evil as abstractions, do not consider the possibility that hatred of the holy will take its toll in reality. By ignoring the carnage committed by the twentieth century’s atheistic systems, they fit the definition of madness as the repetition of the same mistake in the expectation of a different result.

That mad kind of intelligence is offended by the precocious audacity of Winston Churchill writing in The River War at the age of twenty-five: “were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it [Islam] has vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”  For the secularist whose religious crusade against religion does not understand the world or its history, prophecy is the only heresy, and his single defense against false prophets is feigned detachment.  Indifference is the fanaticism of the faint of heart.  By not taking spiritual combat seriously, and by seeking an impossible compromise with the opposite of what is good, human wars cannot be avoided. There are different kinds of war, and only prudence tempers both pugnacity and pacifism. James Russell Lowell opposed the Mexican War and approved the Civil War, but with a sane intelligence: “Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof; it is temporary expedient, often wise in party politics, almost sure to be unwise in statesmanship.”
(Read more.)
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Galland and The Thousand and One Nights

From Catherine Curzon:
Whilst visiting Constantinople towards the end of the 17th century, the intrepid Gallard came into possession of a manuscript of The Tale of Sindbad the Sailor. Impressed by the thrilling narrative, he published a successful translation of the story in 1701 that enjoyed immediate success in his native land. 

Recognising the financial possibilities of the public's interest in such tales, he set about a translation of a 14th-century Syrian manuscript of tales from Mille et Une Nuit  or, in English, One Thousand and One Nights. This translation would eventually become a hugely influential twelve-volume masterwork some 13 years in publication, with the concluding volume appearing posthumously.

Gallard's work on the manuscript was further supplemented by more stories that were related to him by Hanna Diab, a monk from Aleppo. Diab shared a number of tales to the author that were incorporated into later volumes of his One Thousand and One Nights series. Some of Galland's stories appear to be of somewhat dubious origin and no Arabic manuscripts have been found that tell the tales of Ali Baba or Aladdin, leading to speculation that the enterprising Galland made these up himself! (Read more.)
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Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Oldest Irish Pub in New York

From Irish Central:
The walls are covered with old artwork and newspaper articles, the floors covered with sawdust, and the seriously professional bar staff, many Irish, do give it a feeling of being “Old New York.” Apparently no piece of memorabilia has been removed from the establishment since 1910 and, based on the jumble that confronts you when you enter, that’s entirely believable. Each piece is a treasure – from Houdini’s handcuffs, which remain on the rail, to the priceless turkey wishbones hanging from the dirty oil lamp above the bar. The story goes that some local boys being shipped out to France during World War I celebrated their final meal with their families, a turkey dinner, and each brought the wishbone to the bar. The plan was that they would return and claim their wishbones. The wishbones that remain are those of the young men who never returned. When I last visited, the barman told the me the story, with great earnestness, and made no attempt to conceal his contempt for the city health inspectors who recently suggested that it be removed from the bar. They wouldn’t dream of it. (Read more.)
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Professional Household Staff

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
Not everyone who worked in a household was considered a servant. During the Regency Era, the wealthiest of households might employ a number of individuals who were considered, not servants, but professionals, firmly part of the middle class. Not surprisingly, these positions were held by men, although some might argue, the governess approached this stratum as well. 

These professional positions included the chamberlain, land steward, and house steward. All required education; reading, writing and managing accounts were necessary skills for these positions.  Specialized knowledge in legal contracts, farming and animal husbandry might also be required. Many men who held these positions were often trained in the law as well. They might have been law clerks or solicitors prior to their employment with the household. Only the largest estates required, or could afford, these services.
(Read more.)
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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Queen in Court Dress

From Vive la Reine: "A portrait of Marie Antoinette by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, 1779." This is one of the first portraits that Marie-Antoinette's mother the Empress thought was a fair likeness of the daughter whom she had not seen in nine years and would never see again.. The Queen is wearing court dress, although notice she wears few jewels, if any. Share

A License to Kill

From The Federalist:
Simon Binner killed himself on camera at a Swiss suicide clinic last October. His death aired last week as part of a BBC documentary on dying. Once we tried to stop people from committing suicide. Now we watch.
Advocates say it is “compassionate” to prescribe death-inducing chemicals to the terminally ill, thereby giving them a choice to end their lives “on their own terms.” They speak of dignity as if it were a condition of the body, rather than a quality of the soul.

I know how brutal dying can be. I’m a hospice volunteer, and I helped care for my own dad as he wasted away from terminal cancer. The fear of helplessness or suffering and the desire to end a person’s suffering is only human.
Enabling suicide, however, is not humane. In the five U.S. states and as many western countries that have legalized physician-assisted suicide, such laws have opened a Pandora’s Box of unintended consequences that are anything but compassionate or liberating. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Elisabeth of Württemberg

A princess who married one of Marie-Antoinette's many nephews. Joseph II was very fond of her. I wonder if in some ways she replaced the little daughter whom he lost. From Madame Gilflurt:
Elisabeth was one of a dozen offspring born to Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg,  and his wife, Sophia Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt. Like so many children of her class, it was intended from the start that she would make an expedient political marriage and negotiations swiftly began to secure her a fiancé. The groom-to-be was eventually named as Francis, nephew of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II and the man who would one day hold that title himself.

When Elisabeth was 15 she travelled from Brandenburg to Vienna and took up resident with the sisters of the Salesianerinnenkloster. In her new home she converted to Catholicism in preparation for her marriage and completed her education. Here she remained until 1788 when, on 6th January, she married the twenty year old Francis. As the couple settled into life together the new Archduchess swiftly became a favourite of her new husband's uncle, Emperor Joseph II, who had brokered the marriage to his nephew. He found her charming and refreshing company and she came to view Joseph in a grandfatherly light, spending long hours in his company. Her affection was of great comfort to the Emperor; his health was falling and he had faced a series of high profile political failures that left him disillusioned and unhappy. (Read more.)
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The Rise of Trump

From PJB:
Buchanan, former speechwriter and White House adviser to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, is legendary amongst conservatives for his insurgent Republican presidential campaigns during the 1990s, which laid the intellectual groundwork for the conservative nation-state movement. Buchanan has been credited with presaging the revolt which has manifested itself in the 2016 election and for correctly predicting the consequences of mass migration, ideological free trade, and military adventurism — predictions which were largely dismissed at the time he made them.

This week, Trump seemed to scandalize the collective consciousness of professional Republicans with his Saturday debate performance in which he launched a full-throated assault on Bush Republicanism. Trump repudiated all three pillars of Republican globalism: namely, military adventurism, immigration multiculturalism, and trade globalism. (Read more.)
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Understanding the Bible

From Scott Eric Alt:
Or a Protes­tant might say, If it is true that the Mag­is­terium is needed for you to prop­erly inter­pret the Scrip­tures, then why has it not given an infal­li­ble inter­pre­ta­tion of every verse?

Such a ques­tion in fact begs the ques­tion, in that it assumes sola scrip­tura with­out prov­ing it. The per­son who asks seems to think the only pur­pose of an infal­li­ble Mag­is­terium, if such a thing exists, is to give the defin­i­tive inter­pre­ta­tion of Scrip­ture. Once it has done that, it has no fur­ther pur­pose and may recede and leave Chris­tians to the Bible alone.

But that is not the pur­pose of the Mag­is­terium. Its pur­pose is to main­tain the integrity and unity of the faith, and to keep Chris­tians united in one body. That does not require it to inter­pret all 31,000-plus verses of Scrip­ture. In a few cases it does do so, as with Matthew 16:18. Or it tells us that the woman clothed with the sun (Rev­e­la­tion 12:1) is Mary. But its real pur­pose is to define faith and morals such that the unity of the Church is pre­served. To that end, it need not bind scrip­tural exe­ge­sis in tight chains; it need only keep it within cer­tain bounds. It tells us not how Scrip­ture must be inter­preted so much as how it may not be inter­preted. You may not inter­pret Romans 3:28 to deny the neces­sity of works in sal­va­tion. That is the dif­fer­ence: A Catholic dri­ves within the lanes; a Protes­tant is on a road with­out lanes, get­ting into wrecks. (Read more.)
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Monday, February 22, 2016

Baptism of Mary I

Via Tiny-Librarian:
The little princess was christened three days after her birth. The nobility of England gathered at the royal apartments to form a guard of honour as the baby emerged from the queen’s chamber in the arms of the Countess of Surrey. Beneath a gold canopy held aloft by four knights of the realm, the baby was carried to the nearby church of the Observant Friars. The way to the church had been cleaned, graveled and covered with rushes and the ceremony was carried out with all the pomp and circumstance required.

The procession of gentlemen, ladies, earls and bishops paused at the door of the church, where, in a small arras covered wooden archway, the baby was greeted by her godparents, blessed, and named Mary after her aunt, the Duchess of Suffolk, Henry’s favorite sister. Queen Katherine and her sister-in-law were on very good terms and would remain so, but the Queen was no doubt pleased at the choice of name for religious as well as family reasons. Mary (María) was also the name of her sister the queen of Portugal.

Acting as Mary’s godmothers was her great-aunt, Katherine of York, Countess of Devon, and the Duchess of Norfolk. Her godfather was Henry’s chief minister, Cardinal Wolsey. After prayers were said and promises made, Mary was plunged three times into the font water, anointed with the holy oil, dried, and swaddled in her baptismal robe. As Te Deums were sung, she was taken up to the high altar and confirmed under the sponsorship of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury. Finally, with the rites concluded, her tittle was proclaimed to the sound of the heralds’ trumpets:
God send and give good life and long unto the right high, right noble and excellent Princess Mary, Princess of England and daughter of our most dread sovereign lord the King’s Highness.
Once the ceremony was complete, the little princess was returned to her mother in the Queen’s chamber at Greenwich Palace. (Read more.)
 More HERE from author Stephanie Mann. Share

Potages d'hiver

Winter soups from Under the Gables:
The idea of potage is to throw whatever you might have on hand in your fridge, sauté it, add water and some herbs as you like, and throw it in the blender. Perhaps it is a modernized version of the concoction referenced in the nursery rhyme "peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old." In those days, they threw everything in the pot and ate from the pot, threw more stuff in the pot, and ate some more....

Potage d'hiver is apparently now a French soup, and I love to make it in winter. Usually I take onions, leeks, carrots, celery, turnips, a small red potato or two, and a parsnip. In this case, I couldn't find any turnips, so I used what I had on hand:  onions, leeks, celery, and carrots sautéed in the pot with olive oil, then plain frozen peas, cauliflower, and broccoli added with water, and some herbes de provence and a lot of freshly ground pepper. Let that simmer for an hour or more, and then blend it up. It's a good stick-to-your-ribs lunch. I usually eat it plain, but any kind of garnish would be fine: cheese or garlic croutons, shredded cheese,  a dollop of yogurt or sour cream. (Read more.)
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Towards an Organic Christian Society

From Return to Order:
An organic socio-economic order takes into consideration life’s spontaneity, unpredictability and creativity. Return to Order presents and celebrates organic society and its corresponding economy as a refreshing contrast to modern economy. Organic society is full of vitality and moods; nuance and meaning; poetry and passion. At the same time, an organic economy is full of dynamism and capable of great production. In fact, such a social order is so important that we do not hesitate to call it the heart and soul of an economy.

To the adjective organic, we add the august adjective Christian. An organic order cannot be reduced to a natural manner of organizing society. It must be founded upon Christian virtue if it is to promote fully the common good. When virtues—especially the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance—are practiced in an organic society, everything enters into a proper balance and rhythm because each acts in accordance with his nature. This is the foundation for true order and also the true progress and prosperity that is so needed today. (Read more.)
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Sunday, February 21, 2016

2017: The Centenary of Fatima

From Roman Catholic Man:
On Sunday May 13th, 1917, the children were pasturing their flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, which was about a mile from their homes. They were playing when suddenly a bright shaft of light pierced the air. The lady spoke to them and said: “Fear not! I will not harm you.” “Where are you from?” the children asked. “I am from heaven” the beautiful lady replied, gently raising her hand towards the distant horizon. “What do you want of me?”, Lucia asked. ” I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want.” 

It was Mary’s final appearance, on Oct. 13, 1917 (exactly 33 years, to the day, after Pope Leo XIII’s vision), that became the most famous. An estimated 70,000 people were in attendance at the site, anticipating the Virgin’s final visit and with many fully expecting that she would work a great miracle. As everyone gazed upward, and saw that a silvery disc had emerged from behind clouds, they experienced what is known [as] a ‘sun miracle.’ Not everyone reported the same thing; some present claimed they saw the sun dance around the heavens; others said the sun zoomed toward Earth in a zigzag motion that caused them to fear that it might collide with our planet (or, more likely, burn it up). Some people reported seeing brilliant colors spin out of the sun in a psychedelic, pinwheel pattern. The whole event took about 10 minutes.

With these apparitions at Fatima, God asked for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope in union with all of the bishops of the world. Our Lady of Fatima said that if the Consecration of Russia was done, Russia would be converted and there would be peace. However, if the Pope and the bishops did not obey the request, Our Lady said that Russia would spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church and of Holy Father, the martyrdom of the good and the annihilation of nations.

I find it interesting that Our Lady appeared in Fatima with these warnings exactly 100 years before the 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolt (1517-2017). (Read more.)

2016 is the centenary of the apparition of the angel at Fatima. The angel said he was the Guardian of Portugal, and  the Portuguese always believed their guardian was St. Michael. From Unveiling the Apocalypse:
On the centenary of the apparitions of the Angel of Peace to the shepherd children of Fatima, it should be worth contemplating the famous private revelation given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, requesting the king to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 17th June, 1689. The requested consecration wasn't carried out, and as a consequence on 17th June 1789, exactly 100 years later, the Third Estate proclaimed itself as the National Assembly, which stripped the king of his legislative powers during the French Revolution.
Sr. Lucia received a number of private revelations which referenced this apparition, indicating that the consecration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was similarly comprised of a 100 year period. This has led many Catholics to conclude that the upcoming centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 2017 is of crucial importance to the Secret of Fatima itself.
A comparison between both requests for consecration was made during an apparition to Sr. Lucia at Rianjo in 1931:
They did not wish to heed My request! Like the King of France, they will repent and do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors throughout the world, provoking wars, and persecutions against the Church; the Holy Father will have much to suffer.
This apparition was also referred to in the appendix of Sr. Lucia's autobiography:
Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command, they will follow him into misfortune. It is never too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary. (Sr. Lucia, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, p199)
(Read more.)
Here is the Vow of Louis XVI to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
 You see, ô my God! all the wounds which tear my heart, and depth of the abyss into which I have fallen. Evils without number surround me on all sides. My personal misfortunes and those of my family, which are dreadful, overwhelm my heart, as well as those which cover the face of the kingdom. The cries of all the unfortunate ones, the moaning of oppressed religion resounds in my ears, and an interior voice still informs me that perhaps Your justice reproaches me with all these calamities, because, in the days of my power, I did not repress the license of the people and the irreligion, which are the principal sources; because I served the weapons of heresy which triumphed, by supporting it by laws which doubled its forces and gave it the audacity to dare all.
(Read more.)
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The Virtue That Has No Name

I think it's called chivalry. From The American Conservative:
The strategic victims are tiresome in the extreme, but what interests me more is the special virtue of those who aren’t like that, who don’t look for payback, who won’t administer the last vicious kick to a fallen opponent, who don’t look for people to sue and who in their own quiet way contribute to the rule of law. I do not have a name for their virtue.

It partakes a little of magnanimity, of the kind shown by Ulysses Grant and his army at Appomattox. The circumstances of his meeting with Robert E. Lee were so extraordinary, and Grant’s conduct so exemplary, that Americans today cannot fail to be moved when they recall it. Unless they happen to be social justice warriors. Grant observed Lee’s splendid new sword and privately decided that he would not ask Confederate officers to surrender their weapons, lest he embarrass Lee. The surrender signed, Lee left the Court House on his horse, quietly observed by a group of Union officers who were moved to tears by the pathos of the scene.

Union General Joshua Chamberlain took the surrender. Wounded twice in the days before Appomattox, he remained in command and drew up his brigade to greet the Army of Northern Virginia as it marched past for the last time. As it did so, Chamberlain ordered a “carry arms” salute for a worthy foe. The Confederates were led by General Gordon, at the head of the old Stonewall Brigade, who reared his horse and dropped his sword in a return salute, which was carried on down the line on both sides.

What Chamberlain and Gordon had done was an act of chivalry, and chivalry is also a virtue of those who do not rush to the courthouse. We saw the same kind of chivalry in the novels of Patrick O’Brian and in old Western movies where the marshal and outlaw each waited for the other to draw first. This in turn was how the British and French fought in Voltaire’s account of the Battle of Fontenoy (1745). As both sides approached each other for battle, the English officers saluted the French by taking off their hats. The French officers returned the compliment, and an English captain called out “Gentlemen of the French guards, give fire.” For the French, Count d’Androche replied, “Gentlemen, we never fire first. Do you fire,” at which the English finally obliged. (Read more.)
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Discipline Your Imagination

From Catholic Exchange:
Among your faculties there is one that, unless it is disciplined and kept in control, is apt to do more to make a fool of you and lead you wrong than any other. It was Nicolas Malebranche, the French thinker, who coined the phrase “the fool of the house” to describe the imagination.

During all your waking hours, pictures are forming themselves in your imagination, whether you are conscious of them or not. Your memory recalls past scenes as they were. But the imagination comes into play and changes those former scenes and experiences into new shapes. When you daydream, for example, you see yourself in new surroundings, you are the hero of remarkable adventures and achievements that never were or will be, and you pass through admiring throngs and are hailed as heroes are hailed. Things that never happened and never will happen may thus become more real to you than reality itself, so that you may fall into such a deep reverie as not to notice what goes on around you. (Read more.)
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Saturday, February 20, 2016

An Interior with Portrait of Maria Theresa

From Vive la Reine: "Interior with Portrait of Maria Theresa by Johann Hamza, 19th century or early 20th century." Share

The Indispensable Minimum

From Catholic Exchange:
“Parents have the most grave obligation,” reads the Code of Canon Law, “to do all in their power to ensure their children’s physical, social, cultural, moral and religious upbringing.” In other words, our grave obligation as far as the Faith is concerned is comparable to our obligations regarding food and shelter: Provide what is necessary for our children to thrive and flourish – to give them a good start on making it on their own. “Why?” Fr. John Hardon asks of this grave obligation to form our kids in the Faith. “In order to prepare them for eternal life in heaven. The only reason under God that parents even should bring children into the world is to prepare them for heaven.” Thus, it’s not my job to keep my children on the straight and narrow trajectory toward eternal life, but rather to prepare them for undertaking that task themselves.

For insight on how to carry out that grave duty, let’s turn to Dreher again. He writes that the average American Catholic worshiper “may find himself having to hold on to the truths of his faith by exercising his will and his imagination to an extraordinary degree, because what he sees happening around him does not convey what the Church proclaims to be true.” This might be news to Dreher and the folks at Pew Research; it ain’t news to the Church.

Indeed, it’s been that way from the beginning, starting with the Apostles themselves – including especially St. Peter, the first pope and betrayer-in-chief. There’s always been a disconnect between the visible Church – the one we ourselves inhabit in the here-and-now, the one with fallible, petty, sinful human beings in it like you and me – and the invisible Church “spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners,” as C.S. Lewis described her. Using the voice of Screwtape, a senior demonic tempter, Lewis goes on to characterize the Christian’s experience of that disconnect in this way:

One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. All your patient sees is the half-finished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate. When he gets to his pew and looks round him he sees just that selection of his neighbours whom he has hitherto avoided. Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune, or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.

Sound familiar? Of course! It’s a great description of what the average Catholic has to go through every weekend, and it’s precisely why “exercising his imagination and will,” as Dreher puts it, is so crucially important. We’ll always come up against hypocrisy and dryness in the practice of the faith, regardless of location or epoch. Yet if, with God’s grace, we persevere – imagining that God might succeed in making even us saints and willing to seek after truth no matter the cost – then neither circumstances nor setbacks can ultimately deter us. “If once they get through this initial dryness successfully,” the more seasoned Screwtape warns his demon apprentice regarding a young Christian, “they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt.” (Read more.)
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Conversations on Downton Abbey

I recently joined author and blogger Genevieve Kineke on her radio program to discuss the historical realities behind the show Downton Abbey. From Feminine-Genius:
I thoroughly enjoyed a two-part conversation with Mary-Eileen Russell on Downton Abbey -- NOT the plot per se (so no spoilers!) but on the lives of women in the early part of the 20th century. There is so much to unpack, both upstairs and downstairs, but a good understanding of history allows us to consider the world at the cusp of the women's movement -- and what drove it. (To Listen Click Here.)
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Trump and the Pope

I guess it was inevitable that they would clash. But this article offers wise insights. From Catholic Vote:
At times like this, it’s helpful to return to the Catechism. Here again is what the Church teaches on immigration:

2241 “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.”

The Pope is a pastor, not a presidential candidate. The Pope has rightly called on nations and leaders to focus on the human dignity of the immigrant. But Catholic teaching also emphasizes the obligations of civil leaders and of those migrating. Both have rights and duties that must be respected.

We can’t help but conclude that the exchange between the Holy Father and Trump is regrettable. We wish it didn’t happen, and fault the media for setting up the controversy. Trump will now use the comments to further inflame the debate — in a country with a long history of prejudice against Catholicism and the papacy. Meanwhile, Catholics who want a secure border and enforcement of our laws will be told the Pope is against them.  

The immigration debate needs more clarity and light, not more heat. And the papacy deserves more respect than the flippant comments from Trump.  

CV is committed to an immigration solution that secures our borders, protects our national security, and is welcoming of legal immigration.  We can welcome the stranger, secure the border, and demand that our laws be respected at the same time. (Read more.)
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What Our Ancestors Would Think of Us

From Anthony Esolen:
“Where is the sweetness of young love?” they ask you. “Don’t people get married anymore?” You point their attention to their streets. There are families in every house. Sometimes it’s a grandmother and grandfather whose children have moved “away,” to the next block over, or across town, or, since this is America, to the neighboring county. Otherwise it’s a mother and father with children, and the children are everywhere. If the weather is fair, you can hear the music of their games. A boy covers his eyes with his hands and leans against a telephone pole, counting down from 100 by fives, till he cries out, “Ready or not, here I come!” Or is that a ball that’s scooting through the “outfield” down the pavement, while the kids cry, “Go, go, go”? What crime can such a place fear, when the streets and alleyways and back yards and porches are governed by spies more restless than any the CIA have ever trained, not to mention their grandmothers rocking on their porches and chatting with one another? Tell them that that is gone. (Read more.)
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Red Shawl

From Vogue:
For some reason lost in the mists of time, Le Brun kept a red shawl in her studio and draped it around a variety of her subjects. It shows up as a sash in a self-portrait; enhancing the gowns of Countess von Bucquoi and Princess Yusupova; fluttering behind the artist’s daughter in Julie Le Brun as Flora; and encircling Count Emmanuel Nikolayevich Tolstoy in 1823. (Read more.)
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A Social Conservative Case for Trump

Trump is holding firm to his pro-marriage and pro-life convictions, and continues to be very supportive of our veterans. I disagree with Dreher that Trump is amoral. He has morals; they may not be the same as Dreher's, but he has them, and high standards as well. He is not always a gentleman in his manner of speaking but he loves America and wants it to be strong. Too many gentlemen have let America decline. He has been accused of xenophobia but all he wants is for people to obey the law and come in through legal channels. I do not know what it wrong with wanting the immigration laws respected. Both my parents and three of my grandparents all obeyed immigration laws when they came here. From The American Conservative:
Religious liberty is where the real fight is, specifically the degree to which religious institutions and individuals will have the freedom to practice their beliefs without running afoul of civil liberties for gay men and women. This is where having a friendly administration matters most to religious and social conservatives. And this is an area where religious and social conservatives are in the most danger of being bamboozled by the GOP Establishment.
Why? Every single one of the GOP candidates will say the right thing (from a social conservative point of view) on religious liberty. But will they deliver? Don’t you believe it. The Indiana RFRA fight was the Waterloo of social conservatives. Big Business has come down decisively on the side of gay rights, and forced Gov. Mike Pence and the state GOP lawmakers to back down. They forced Gov. Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas to back down. As I cannot repeat often enough, I was told last fall by multiple sources in a position to know that the Congressional Republicans have no intention of making religious liberty an issue going forward. For one thing, they don’t want to be called bigots, and for another, the donor class is against it. I don’t doubt that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz (at least) would like to protect religious liberty, but I am convinced that they are too beholden to the donor class to do anything more than make speeches.

That brings us to Donald Trump. He has said publicly that he will make protecting religious liberty a priority. Does he mean it? I have no idea, and you don’t either. He is no religious conservative. But he is a populist who doesn’t care what the donor class thinks, because he is not indebted to them. It is reasonable to think that religious liberty stands a better chance with Trump in the White House than any other Republican. (Read more.)
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Checking on the Parents

From California Catholic Daily:
The federal government is seeking to create a new bureaucracy that would intervene in family life and could even see state-appointed monitors conduct routine home visits to assess a child’s well-being. The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published a draft document which outlines a plan that will treat families as “equal partners” in the raising of children, opening the door for government intrusion at all levels. The paper describes how government employees will intervene to provide, “monitoring goals for the children at home and the classroom,” and that if parents are failing to meet the standards set, “evidence-based parenting interventions” will be made to, “ensure that children’s social-emotional and behavioral needs are met.” The program bears the hallmarks of a controversial scheme in Scotland, set to take effect later this year, under which a “shadow parent” appointed by the government would monitor the upbringing of every child until the age of 18. The document also extends the understanding of the word “family,” to include, “all the people who play a role in the child’s life,” a definition that could include not only teachers but government monitors. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Roses in the Winter

From InsideChic:
Roses in an alternative color, like this brilliant mango, are particularly pretty. They look great in this white-washed tray and rustic bark containers that remind me of chocolate. I filled the tray with the most delicious chocolate-covered almonds and then peppered it with chocolate red hearts. It doesn’t have to stay as a unit. You can take out the mini bouquets and put them around the house, in different corners of the room, or even display them in a row on a mantle.

Instead of a big blob of a rose arrangement, you can do a petite bouquet, like this breathtaking lavender rose in a silver mercury glass. Very feminine and girly, it’s the perfect arrangement to treat yourself or a girlfriend to!

Delicate tea roses in celadon pots embedded in a basket of moss creates a springy, garden look. The scale has a sweetness to it. Again, the bouquets can live together in the tray or beautifully alone. Tea roses add a lovely fragrance to the house too. (Read more.)
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The Supernatural Faith of Justice Scalia

From Catholic Pop:
As you may have heard by now, Justice Scalia was found dead in a hotel room early February 13th, apparently having died of natural causes. He was 79 years old. Most people know him as one of the most influential conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices in recent memory. Depending on your politics and morals, that makes him either a hero or a villain.

What isn’t as well known about him, though, is that he was a life-long faithful Catholic, and one who, though reaching the heights of worldly success in his field, took seriously even those doctrines which are held in the most contempt by the modern world.

“This kid was a conservative when he was 17 years old. An archconservative Catholic,” a high school friend said about him. “He could have been a member of the Curia. He was the top student in the class. He was brilliant, way above everybody else.”

Perhaps the time he most opened up about his Catholic faith publicly was in a wide-ranging interview he did with New York Magazine in 2013, from which the exchange at the beginning is from. “Yeah, he’s a real person,” Scalia continued, speaking of the Devil. “Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.”

The interviewer asked if Scalia had ever personally seen evidence of the Devil.

“You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.”

“What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way. […] He got wilier.”

Scalia sensed the interviewer was taken aback by his literal belief in the Evil One.

“You’re looking at me as though I’m weird,” Scalia said. “My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil?”

“I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.”(Read more.)
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Holiness and Mental Illness

From Vultus Christi:
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is reported to have said that the Crown of Thorns is the emblem of all who suffer from depression, anxiety, or any form of mental illness. Mother Teresa’s observation gives a particular relevance to today’s feast. One hears of saints who suffered from all sorts of physical maladies. Rarely does one hear of saints who suffered mental illness, but they do exist and probably in a much greater number than one would think. The classic reference is, of course, Saint Benedict Joseph Labre who has been variously diagnosed as a social misfit, an eccentric, and even a schizophrenic, but there are many others. I think of the hypersensitive Saint Thérèse who, in her childhood, suffered from “nerves” and, in her final illness, struggled against the temptation to despair. I think of her father, Saint Louis Martin, who was committed to the Bon Sauveur asylum for the mentally ill in Caen, and of her sister Léonie who, after enduring abuse from a family servant, was emotionally fragile all her life. Mental and emotional illness are not an impediment to holiness. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun in New York

Now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755–1842) is one of the finest eighteenth-century French painters and among the most important of all women artists. An autodidact with exceptional skills as a portraitist, she achieved success in France and Europe during one of the most eventful, turbulent periods in European history.

In 1776, she married the leading art dealer in Paris; his profession at first kept her from being accepted into the prestigious Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. Nevertheless, through the intervention of Marie Antoinette, she was admitted at the age of 28 in 1783, becoming one of only four women members. Obliged to flee France in 1789 because of her association with the queen, she traveled to Italy, where in 1790 she was elected to membership in the Accademia di San Luca, Rome. Independently, she worked in Florence, Naples, Vienna, St. Petersburg, and Berlin before returning to France, taking sittings from, among others, members of the royal families of Naples, Russia, and Prussia. While in exile, she exhibited at the Paris Salons.

She was remarkable not only for her technical gifts but for her understanding of and sympathy with her sitters. This will be the first retrospective and only the second exhibition devoted to Vigée Le Brun in modern times. The eighty works on view will be paintings and a few pastels from European and American public and private collections. (Read more.)
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Gracious Plenty

From InsideChic:
For most of the 1980s and ’90s, our grandmother, Elizabeth Maxwell, rented a tiny brick house hidden behind a grander home on Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Her stocky dwelling had served in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as the separate kitchen house for the large stucco mansion directly in front of it—detached, so that the occasional hearth or chimney fire wouldn’t engulf the entire property. The place was perfectly suited to our Gran, partly because of its size—she’d been widowed since 1971—but more so because she was a passionate cook and an ardent recipe collector and she loved to entertain.

In 1997, Gran’s landlady and friend, Elizabeth Young, who lived in the big house, became a widow too, and for several years the two of them were very much in demand on the South-of-Broad reception, wedding, and cocktail circuit, attending a party—if not two, and often three—most nights. Heels clacking, pocketbooks swinging, they’d set out around 6 p.m. in Mrs. Young’s black Taurus, always parked in front of the wrought-iron gate, for a leisurely evening of open bars, cheese bites, finger sandwiches, and shrimp every which way.

People would casually remark—We dont know where they get the energy! At their age!
(Read more.)
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Syriac Christians and the Oldest Music on Earth

From Newsweek:
At the end of the road, the monastery was overflowing: this was one of the great festivals for Syriac Christians in Iraq and beyond. There was feasting and prayers, and the singing of Syriac chant, perhaps the oldest extant music in the world, a sacred and archaic call and response in a language that would have been understood by Jesus.

This time, eight months later, they drive by night while, behind them, Mosul burns. The fathers stay eyes-front, following the rear- lights of the car ahead. Children are quiet but awake. There is no laughter and no singing, no cars toot their horns. The monastery is dark, lit only in flashes from the headlamps. Otherwise, it is only by the smell of the oleander, and the steady cooling of the air, that they know they are on the road to Mar Mattai.

Among them is Sarmad Ozan, formerly a young deacon in the cathedral in Mosul, where he sang the daily liturgy. When ISIS captured the city, the cathedral clergy thought they would stay. In a few days, however, ISIS issued its infamous decree: convert to Islam, pay a tax on unbelievers or die. Sarmad, his fellow clergymen and this band of 50 Christian families fled to find sanctuary in their mountain stronghold.

They leave behind the bodies of brothers and fathers, and the shelled--out ruins of their shops and houses. They also leave behind much of what it meant to be a Syriac Christian.

The ancient cities of Nimrud and Nineveh that they visited proudly to show their children the glories of the Assyrian empire from which they claim descent – soon these will be bulldozed by ISIS. They leave behind the treasures of Assyria in the Mosul museum – ISIS will loot the smaller antiquities for the black market and smash the statues too big to sell. And on the way to Mar Mattai, they pass the monastery of Mar Behnam: its gates are already barred by ISIS. From the steeple flies the black flag. In a few months, it will be destroyed.

What they carry with them is their liturgical music. It preserves strains of the earliest religious chants of Mesopotamia and of court songs sung for Assyrian emperors 2,000 years before Christ. Its antiquity is matched by its simplicity: clergy and congregation sing together, dividing between boys with high voices and older, bigger men who sing more deeply. Beyond this there is no distinction of note or pitch, and no melody. The call and response format is thought to enact a conversation between man and God.

Tonight, they will again sing the old songs. They make for the inner rooms: the hermits’ cells burrowed into the cliff--face; the Saints’ Room, with its reliquaries set in niches in the rock; the chapels dug deep into the holy mountain.

There, crammed into the rough caves, Sarmad and the other deacons push to the front and stand in a line. They are joined by the old monks and the priests, in black cassocks and embroidered skull-caps. The priests start the singing in deep voices, then the deacons and younger men answer at a higher pitch. Now the other men in the congregation fall in, back and forth, call and response, as it has been for millennia.

It grows quicker, and louder, filling the small rooms in the belly of the monastery. But Sarmad hears something else – the congregation are weeping as they sing. Because tomorrow, or soon after, they will leave for the Kurdish territories, for the refugee camps and then for abroad, in Sarmad’s case for Newcastle in the north of England, where he was when I spoke to him; and they may never hear this music again. (Read more.)
You can listen to the Syriac liturgical music here

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Monday, February 15, 2016

The Dream

From Vive la Reine: "The Dream by Gustave Jean Jacquet, 19th century."


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Charlotte Moss and the Art of Collage

From InsideChic:
About 30 years ago, designer and author Charlotte Moss, left Wall Street and emerged as a “Decorator to Watch” on the pages of House & Garden. Her dynamic interior design business has attained international recognition as a model of Southern style, wit, hospitality and, of course, luxury. She was recently named to Elle Décor’s Grand Masters list of top designers. A truly creative person, she shared her passion for her favorite hobby with us: collage. (Read more.)
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George Washington and the French Revolution

How our first President avoided the trap. To quote:
The new president saw that his country was deeply indebted and politically divided. Though France was America’s first ally, most U.S. trade post-independence was with Britain. The finances of the newly established federal government, set up by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, depended greatly on customs duties from foreign trade. But Britain angered many Americans by refusing to abandon its military forts on U.S. territory stretching from present-day Michigan to upstate New York along the Canadian border. The British also encouraged American Indian attacks on U.S. settlers. During such tension of the 1790s, some people — including a member of Washington’s Cabinet — got swept up in the emotion of France’s revolutionary fervor.

“Was ever such a prize won with so little innocent blood?” Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson wrote in a 1793 letter to William Short, an American diplomat in France. “My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to the cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated.”

That year was flush with: Louis XVI’s execution. France’s declaration of war vs. Britain. France’s fight against Spain, whose empire bordered America. (Read more.)
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette Engraving

From Vive la Reine: An 18th century engraving of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. [source: Gallica] Share

Women in Combat: The Ultimate Barbarism

First abortion...and now women in combat. One barbarism leads to another. Women of America need to rise up in outrage. Not only are so many women deprived of motherhood by abortion, but now we are literally being sent into hand-to-hand combat. Any civilizations that puts its mothers in the front lines is doomed. From The National Review:
...Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio each embraced the idea that women should register with the selective service, making it possible for America to draft women into ground combat. The argument for registration is based on the new Pentagon policy opening up all combat jobs to women. Women have served in non-combat roles for decades without any serious push for selective-service registration ensuing. In fact, the Supreme Court, in Rostker v. Goldberg (1981), has used the fact that men and women have different roles as justification for rejecting constitutional objections to the all-male draft.
We have repeatedly condemned the Obama administration’s decision to open all combat roles to women, and we have mainly done so by citing a combination of contemporary studies and historical experience to make the case that gender-integrated ground-combat units are less effective than their all-male counterparts. But that is not the only argument. Indeed, there are other fundamental reasons to oppose not just the presence of women in the infantry but their forcible conscription into its ranks. Such a policy inverts natural law and the rules that have grounded our civilization for thousands of years.

Men should protect women. They should not shelter behind mothers and daughters. Indeed, we see this reality every time there is a mass shooting. Boyfriends throw themselves over girlfriends, and even strangers and acquaintances often give themselves up to save the woman closest to them. Who can forget the story of 45-year-old Shannon Johnson wrapping his arms around 27-year-old Denise Peraza and declaring “I got you” before falling to the San Bernardino shooters’ bullets? Ground combat is barbaric. Even today, men grapple with men, killing each other with anything they can find. Returning veterans describe countless incidents of hand-to-hand combat with jihadists. In his book about the Battle of Ganjgal, Into the Fire, Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer describes just such an encounter with a Taliban fighter. The Taliban tried to capture Meyer, and they ended up wrestling in the dirt. (Read more.)
And please do not use Israel as an example. Israeli women soldiers have their own units and do not fight side by side with men. To quote:
When critics attempt to justify the Pentagon’s decision to open all combat jobs to women — or drafting women into those roles — by referring to the Israel Defense Forces, they’re betraying considerable ignorance. Israel’s history with women in combat is vastly overblown, its present policy is more restrictive than the Pentagon’s, and it’s in a fundamentally different strategic situation than the United States. To the extent there’s a valid comparison with the United States, Israel’s history should stand as a cautionary tale for American policy-makers.
It is true that women fought as part of the Haganah, the Jewish militia that defended Jewish settlements during the struggle for survival prior to and following World War II. But, as outlined in a comprehensive paper for the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, this policy — born of desperate necessity as Jewish citizens defended their homes and villages from genocidal assaults — also showed the limits of gender-integrated units. Mixed-gender units had higher casualty rates, and Haganah commanders stopped using women in assault forces because “physically girls could not run as well — and if they couldn’t run fast enough, they could endanger the whole unit, so they were put in other units.” Indeed, when the IDF was formally established, women were soon put into an “Auxiliary Corps.” When the IDF engaged trained Arab armies in some of the most vicious conventional combat engagements in the modern era, it did so with all-male combat units. As reported in the Leavenworth paper, Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion justified the changes with a statement of sheer common sense: 
There is a fundamental difference between the Haganah and the IDF. Until November 1947, the Haganah was for local defense. There was a need to defend the place of settlement and the call to defense included everybody who was capable. But an army is a totally different thing. In war, an army’s main task is to destroy the enemy army — not just defend. When we protected the home with rifle in hand, there was no difference between boy and girl. Both could take shelter, and everything he knew — she knew. But in an army and in war, there is a reality of inequality in nature, and impossible to send girls to fighting units. Yet an army also needs non-combat units. And women are needed for appropriate professions to strengthen the nation’s fighting force by releasing men from those tasks for combat.
(Read more.)
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Socialism Is Not Cool

From Ave Maria Radio:
Law professor and Instapundit Glenn Reynolds reminds us: For all of human history, extreme poverty has been the norm. “Globally, we’ve changed that ‘normal condition’ by the spread of free markets and free inquiry, which have led to a global growth in knowledge and skills that has made almost everyone rich by human historical standards,” Reynolds wrote in USA Today.

Socialism has been proven not to work in Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, and Greece for example. A quote from Yeonmi Park – an escapee from North Korea – published a book titled In Order To Live, A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. Park has said to have lived a privileged life in North Korea. In an interview conducted she was asked what this “privilidged life” meant. She replied,
“That I could eat three times a day. Not having a car, not having 24-hour electricity, but having some candy or an apple once a month. Basically, I didn’t get killed by the [North Korean] famine so that means I was pretty lucky.”

In these socialist countries this is the norm. A socialist system means everyone is equally poor. According to Trading Economics, the personal income tax in Greece is at 46 percent. Do socialists want equality that much that they’re willing to drag everyone down with them? Socialism has been proved time and time again to not work, however millennials are still advocating for it in America – the land of freedom and opportunity. Dear socialists – people in places like Greece love socialism so much that they’re risking their lives to get away from it. Don’t let America come to this as well.
So, free college, free healthcare, free everything. Sounds great in theory, right? According to The Wall Street Journal, Bernie Sanders’s tax plan will cost $18 trillion. That’s almost double our U.S national debt which has been acquired since 1775. And where will Bernie Sanders acquire this excessive amount of money? Taxes – your hard earned money. (Read more.)
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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Wyeth to Wyeth

From Under the Gables:
"My father was a terrific technician. He could take any medium and make the most of it. Once I was making a watercolor of some trees. I had made a very careful drawing and I was just filling in the lines. He came along and looked at it and said, 'Andy you've got to free yourself.' Then he took a brush and filled it with paint and made this sweeping brushstroke. I learned more then from a few minutes of watching what he did than I've ever learned since." ~Andrew Wyeth, as quoted in "Wyeth's World," by Henry Adams, Smithsonian Magazine, June 2006 (Read more.)
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Men and the Mystery of Femininity

From ChurchPop:
It’s a big mistake to think that the number one reason the mighty women of yore adorned their heads with lace was to prevent men from lust. Chapel veils, or mantillas (manta means “mantle” or “cloak”), are beautiful pieces of black or white lace draped over a woman’s head as a reminder to the world that God was born of a woman, that God has betrothed himself to his Church, and the Church is a sacred vessel. God can touch a woman in a way he cannot touch a man. He can fill her with life. The number one reason why head coverings are awesome is because only sacred vessels are veiled, and women are sacred.

In the Old Testament the Ark of the Covenant is veiled behind the curtain because it is holy. In the New Testament, as I have illustrated before, the Virgin Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant to the umpteenth degree. Like the old golden chest, she is a sacred placewhere the Lord’s presence dwells intimately with his people. Except now, it’s God in the flesh. The God who is everywhere was in Mary, his divine presence radiating out from her, the Light of the World waiting to be born. And this is why Mary is always veiled.

When attending Mass or in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, a woman covers her head because she is a life-bearing vessel. Think about it. The chalice is veiled until the consecration because it holds the living blood of Christ. The ciborium in the tabernacle is veiled between Masses because it holds the living Body of Christ. The monstrance is traditionally covered in a canopy during procession because it holds the living Christ. Life-bearing vessels are veiled because they are sacred. By divine decree, the source and summit of all life was once in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The incarnation, God’s great shout out to motherhood, is the climax of creation.

Mothers are a menace to the assembly line.

They remind us that we are alive.

This is why Satan hates mothers almost as much as he hates chapel veils. He hates everything for which they stand. Mother’s are an eschatological sign, a reminder that God has not given up on the world. The veil reminds us that God did not leave us naked, shivering in the garden. The veil is a celebration of the fact that the curse has been reversed. We are not our own, we are Christ’s. As his Bride, Mother Church is called to be fruitful and to multiply, preaching the Good News and baptizing, bringing Christ’s life to the world. (Read more.)
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