Thursday, May 25, 2017

Marie-Thérèse with Louis XVIII

Marie-Thérèse, Duchesse d'Angoulême, is shown seated at the side of her uncle Louis XVIII, as first lady of France. Behind her stands the Duc d'Angoulême, his father the Comte d'Artois, known as  Monsieur, Louis-Philippe d'Orléans, and Talleyrand. Although women could not inherit the crown, the Duchesse occupied a unique position not only as wife of the heir but as the only surviving daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. The painting depicts the presentation of the infant Henri de Bordeaux to the officers of the military by his mother, Caroline Duchesse de Berry. 

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Papal Audience

From The Telegraph:
Both the First Lady, Melania Trump, and the First Daughter, Ivanka Trump, accompanied the President to the high-profile engagement, and both chose to honour the traditional Vatican dress codes by wearing black, long sleeved dresses and veils - the former even choosing to honour her host nation by wearing Italian label Dolce and Gabbana. It was a somewhat unexpected move, especially given recent news that Pope Francis is keen to relax the strict dress codes to which women must conform to when attending private papal audiences. (Read more.)
Mrs. Trump and President Trump in the Sistine Chapel

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Children Prefer Books

From The Conversation:
There is a common perception that children are more likely to read if it is on a device such as an iPad or Kindles. But new research shows that this is not necessarily the case. In a study of children in Year 4 and 6, those who had regular access to devices with eReading capability (such as Kindles, iPads and mobile phones) did not tend to use their devices for reading - and this was the case even when they were daily book readers. Research also found that the more devices a child had access to, the less they read in general. It suggests that providing children with eReading devices can actually inhibit their reading, and that paper books are often still preferred by young people. These findings match previous research which looked at how teenagers prefer to read. This research found that while some students enjoyed reading books on devices, the majority of students with access to these technologies did not use them regularly for this purpose. Importantly, the most avid book readers did not frequently read books on screens. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

8 Ways to Simplify Each Day

From Sarah Laughland, actress and photographer:
 I know this seems like such a trivial one, but think about it. How much money do you spend on paper towels? Cloth towels absorb more, can stick around for years and turn into retro looks (Mom—I’m looking at you), and look way cuter in your kitchen. I keep a single roll of paper towels (biodegradable, if possible) around just in case. By only having one, I conserve and use them when absolutely necessary....

We spritz a bit of cleaner on our counters and call it a day. Well, I don’t know about you, but my food often sits on my counter and I surely don’t want to ingest what I just used to “clean” those surfaces. Powerful cleaners are for powerful messes, so what about your daily messes? Counters, sinks, toilets. Vinegar. I’m not kidding. Vinegar and then a wipe of lemon. It’s amazing. Clogged toilet? Vinegar & Baking Soda. It works like a dream. Pour some baking soda and hot water in the bowl, let it sit, then flush it down. You can buy vinegar in big jugs as well–so now you’ve cut costs, cut wasteful containers, and avoided toxic chemicals. Triple wins are the best. (Read more.)
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This Time They Came for Our Children

From PJ Media:
But this time it was teenage girls -- our children -- in that Manchester audience, murdered by a suicide bomber. If he had been more successful gaining entry, he might have killed several hundreds of them instead of, at this writing, only 19.

Have we learned anything?  Is this finally going to be enough?  Will we at last wake up?  You tell me that the next time you drop your young daughter off at a rock concert you're going to feel comfortable.  Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, libertarian, or ladeedah, you're going to have heart palpitations, I promise you.

Politicians blather on about how these terrorists are "cowards."  No, they're not.  Nothing cowardly about killing yourself for your vision of god, insane as it might be.  What they are is maniacally evil, the same kind of evil that marched innocents into gas chambers in the 1940s.  If you don't confront it, it goes on and on, just as happened then.

So what do we do about it?

Begin with this:

Ban the word "Islamophobia" from the English language.  It's the biggest lie of our time, invented to distract from the obvious  truth:  Islam has a monumental problem with the modern world that affects all of us.  Egypt's al-Sisi knows it.  Saudi King Salman seems now to know it.  Only the "useful idiots" in the Western left deny this blatant reality.  ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their ilk are the clear perpetrators, but the so-called liberals and progressives -- in their endless morally narcissistic virtue signaling -- are their enablers, actually their unindicted co-conspirators.  It's time we should indict them. (Read more.)
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A Viking Camp Discovered

From RT:
Archaeologists have uncovered an enormous Viking encampment in eastern England, a discovery that reveals much about the Norse armies that invaded Britain in the 9th century. The new study by the universities of York and Sheffield shows that the Torksey camp on the River Trent in Lincolnshire was larger than most contemporary towns. Home to thousands of Viking warriors and their families, a force much larger than previously believed, the Norsemen are thought to have wintered in the area before launching a larger invasion.

“The Vikings had previously often raided exposed coastal monasteries and returned to Scandinavia in winter, but in the later 9th century they came in larger numbers, and decided to stay,” Professor Julian Richards from the University of York said. “This sent a very clear message that they now planned not only to loot and raid – but to control and conquer.” (Read more.)
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

To Save the West

From Intel Huxley:
Europe and Christianity can not just be severed at the hip without a massive fallout. Why is this? Because Europe was built on the back of Christianity, even Rome herself was saved from massive degeneracy and filth by Christian values. Do not fall for the prideful lie that we can simply remove the cornerstone of European civilisation and not face any consequences. God will withdraw his blessings and you can see the fruit of that today.

Even from a purely practical standpoint, Islam has been the barbarian at the gates of Europe virtually since its inception. Only now, without the strong in-group that Christianity creates, has Islam seemingly positioned itself in such a way as looking to dominate where it had only failed in the past. Look at what our nations have turned into, yet people who complain about this plight still run further from the faith, some even blame Christianity for the very degeneration caused by its absence; the height of absurdity!

The only thing that is going to roll back the devastating changes that the west is undergoing, is a radical returning to Christ, and with it a total resurgence of Christianity. (Read more.)
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On the Danger of Removing or Destroying Historical Monuments

It began during the French Revolution, when they demolished the statues of the kings. The Communists perfected the trend of removing unpleasant reminders of Russia's imperial past, which spread from the taking down of statues to the erasure of politically incorrect persons from history books. By altering the historical record, Marxists and other revolutionaries have sought to control society. Erasing history transforms citizens into slaves, for their past has been stolen.

According to Matt Walsh:
The city of New Orleans completed its purge of its own history last week when a statue of Robert E. Lee was torn down. Throngs of historically illiterate people stood by and cheered as a monument to one of this country’s greatest generals was destroyed. On social media, many more applauded the move, demonstrating a level of disrespect and contempt for General Lee that his enemies on the battlefield did not even have. When General Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, the victors treated Lee and his men with dignity and honor. It took 150 years for Lee to become nothing but a cowardly, racist traitor, as he’s been described by the noted historians on Twitter.

I have long been of the opinion that one must refrain from forming concrete opinions of historical events and historical figures if one has never read a history book. And if the pitchfork mob would stop for a moment to read a book about Robert E. Lee, they would learn that he was far from the slobbering, slave-owning, treasonous bigot they make him out to be. Indeed, Lee never purchased a single slave. The slaves he inherited from his wife’s family, he freed long before the end of the war. Lee considered slavery to be a “moral and political evil,” which means he condemned it in harsher terms than even many of his northern counterparts ever did.

No, he did not consider the black race to be completely equal to the white race, but — contrary to the cartoonish portrayal of the Northern warriors for racial equality that you get from public schools — hardly anybody on either side believed in true racial equality. Lincoln thought the black race to be in every way inferior (“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races”), but, rather than enslaving them, he preferred shipping them all back to Africa. Lincoln also did not favor fighting a war to end slavery (“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it”), and in that way his opinion of the peculiar institution was practically identical to Robert E. Lee’s. (Read more.)
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Eighteenth-Century Undergarments

A primer on shifts, stays, panniers, pockets, stockings and garters. To quote:
Stockings then and now are pretty much the same in shape but not in materials since they could be made of woven as well as knitted silk or wool. My favourite part of 18th century stockings is the over-the-top decoration and the bright colours these people wore (and here I am with a closet full of black and grey clothes!). Since (obviously) there was no spandex back in the day, you had to use garters (ribbon or tape) to keep the stockings in place, and of course those must have a little colourful party too with embroideries, gilded threads, knitted materials, satin colours and phrases and monograms. (Read more.)
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Monday, May 22, 2017

Icon of the Martyrs of the Royal Family

I could not figure out who was portrayed in this icon at first glance. It is a Russian-style icon depicting Louis XVI, Louis XVII, Marie-Antoinette, and Madame Elisabeth. It is interesting to remember that Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette became friends with the Tsarevitch Paul and the Grand Duchess Marie when they visited France in the 1780's. The future Tsar and his wife were also greatly impressed by the virtue of Madame Elisabeth. There are people who accuse me of trying to make saints out of Louis and Antoinette but it seems I am not the only one. Actually, it is my intention merely to show how their Catholic faith gave them strength, which other authors tend to ignore. I personally believe that they displayed heroic virtue at their deaths, but the final decision lies with the Church. But God can glorify whomever He chooses. Share

Bill Nye, the Eugenics Guy

From The American Thinker:
The season finale of pop scientist Bill Nye's new Netflix show "Bill Nye Saves the World" suggested that the government should punish people who have too many children, for the sake of the environment.

"The average Nigerian emits 0.1 metric tons of carbon annually," noted Nye's guest, Dr. Travis Rieder. "How many does the average American emit? Sixteen metric tons." Rieder said Americans having an average of two children are "waaaay more problematic" than Nigerians having seven when it comes to preventing global warming.

"Should we have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world?" Nye asked.

“I do think we should at least consider it," Rieder said. Nye pushed him even further.
"Well, ‘at least consider it' is like, ‘do it,'" he opined.

The other two guests pushed back, however, pointing out that what Nye and Rieder were proposing came dangerously close to the eugenics policies of America's past, which ending up disproportionately targeting poor women and minorities. (Read more.)
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The Pope vs the Nazis

From The National Catholic Register:
In modern times, many seem eager to believe anything and everything negative regarding the Catholic Church, regardless of how bizarre the legend or conspiracy theory may be. One such theory is the supposed complicity of the Vatican and other influential Catholics toward Hitler’s Nazi regime. Of course, such a position completely collapses under the weight of solid historical investigation performed in such books as The Myth of Hitler's Pope: Pope Pius XII and His Secret War Against Nazi Germany by Rabbi David G. Dalin; Hitler, the War, and the Pope by Ronald Rychlak; and Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History by Rodney Stark.

In word and deed, both Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII were devastating opponents of Nazism, and the issuance of Mit brennender Sorge—largely written by the future Pius XII and issued during the reign of Pius XI—was the philosophical hallmark of that opposition to Nazism. By 1937, Pope Pius XI wanted to address the situation directly to German Catholics. Since this would be completely impossible, he did the next best thing. He issued this encyclical, whose title translates into English as “With burning anxiety.”

There were a number of unique aspects of the encyclical. First, its unique and original authorship in German was a sign of solidarity with faithful Catholics in Germany and as a reminder of exactly who the encyclical was holding in contempt. Second, Mit brennender Sorge exhibited something rarely seen in papal documents: anger. Consider the following passage:

The experiences of these last years have fixed responsibilities and laid bare intrigues, which from the outset only aimed at a war of extermination. In the furrows, where We tried to sow the seed of a sincere peace, other men - the ‘enemy’ of Holy Scripture — oversowed the cockle of distrust, unrest, hatred, defamation, of a determined hostility overt or veiled, fed from many sources and wielding many tools, against Christ and His Church. They, and they alone with their accomplices, silent or vociferous, are today responsible, should the storm of religious war, instead of the rainbow of peace, blacken the German skies.
(Read more.)
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Poetry in Bloom

From Victoria:
Botanical illustration is concerned with naturalistic studies of flowers, while botanical art embraces a much broader range of interpretation. Illustration defines, educates, and often is used to enhance or exemplify the written word. Botanical illustration is a specialized art—a world of beauty in which the nature of the subject matter is fascinating and ever-changing....Working with flowering plants requires patience, perseverance, and a certain amount of ingenuity in order to keep up with nature. Maintaining specimens long enough to complete drawings is a fundamental concern, and I am often driven to search for more samples. There are occasions when I have had to wait to complete a painting until the next year, or season.(Read more.)
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Two Cardinals Speak

From the National Catholic Register:
Cardinal Caffarra, who helped found the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in 1981, began by explaining that human history has always been a tale of confrontation between two forces: “The force of attraction,” that is the wounded Heart of the Crucified Risen One, and the “power of Satan,” the father of lies, the “murderer from the beginning” who seeks to extinguish truth in the heart of man.

This area of confrontation, the cardinal continued, is being fought in an interior and exterior dimension: within both the human heart and human culture.

He made clear that the Lord’s force of attraction “can only take effect on those who ‘are from the truth’ — those “profoundly available to the Truth, who love the truth, who live in familiarity with it.”
But “there is no truth” in Satan, he added, who seeks to kill truth in the heart of man by “inducing” him to unbelief. He is constantly refusing the truth; his action in society is to oppose the truth. “Satan is this refusal,” the cardinal remarked. “He is this opposition.”

Satan is therefore always working against the Lord’s strong force of attraction to Himself, seeking to “neutralize” it. And this battle within the human heart becomes manifest in society and culture, leading to “the culture of the truth and the culture of the lie.” (Read more.)

From CNS News:
In what he called "portentous times" for the Catholic Church and for the world, Cardinal Sarah condemned same-sex marriage, transgender bathroom laws, and attacks on the family as "demonic".
“All manner of immorality is not only accepted and tolerated today in advanced societies, it is even promoted as a social good,” the African cardinal said. “The result is hostility to Christians and increasingly, religious persecution.”

“This is not an ideological war between competing ideas,” Sarah told the D.C. gathering. “This is about defending ourselves, children and future generations from the demonic idolatry that says children do not need mothers and fathers. It denies human nature and wants to cut off an entire generation from God.”

“The entire world looks to you, waiting and praying to see what America resolves on the present unprecedented challenges the world faces today. Such is your influence and responsibility,” said the archbishop emeritus of Conakry, Guinea.

“I encourage you to truly make use of the freedom willed by your founding fathers lest you lose it,” he warned his American audience.

Quoting St. John Paul II that “the future of the world and the Church pass through the family,” Sarah pointed out that “this is why the Holy Father openly and vigorously defends Church teaching on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, reproductive technologies, the education of children, and much more.”

“The generous and responsible love of spouses made visible through the self-giving of parents who welcome children as a gift of God makes love visible in our generation. It makes present the perfect charity of eternity. ‘If you see charity, you see the Trinity,’ wrote St. Augustine,” the cardinal noted. However, a broken family can also be the source of deep psychological wounds, he said.

 “The rupture of the foundational relationship of someone’s life through separation, divorce or distorted imposters of the family such as co-habitation or same-sex unions is a deep wound that closes the heart to self-giving love into death, and even leads to cynicism and despair. These situations cause damage to the little children through inflicting upon them deep existential doubt about love….

"This is why the devil is so intent on destroying the family. If the family is destroyed, we lose our God-given anthropological foundations, and so find it more difficult to welcome the saving good news of Jesus Christ: self-giving, fruitful love.” (Read more.)
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A Defense of Beauty

From Crisis:
Culture means life. And for life to be truly flourishing in a teleological sense, Greek, Roman, traditional Jewish and Christian philosophy, always affirmed beauty as an integral aspect of the good life. In his masterpiece, Enneads, Plotinus opened his most famous section—on beauty—by writing, “Beauty addresses itself chiefly to sight; but there is a beauty for the hearing too, as in certain combinations of words and in all kinds of music, for melodies and cadences are beautiful; and minds that lift themselves above the realm of sense to a higher order are aware of beauty in the conduct of life, in actions, in character, in the pursuits of the intellect; and there is the beauty of the virtues. What loftier beauty there may be, yet, our argument will bring to light.” (Read more.)
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Life in Color

From Southern Lady:
For Jayne Morgan, art was always a part of life, but it wasn’t until she was filling out college applications that she realized the hobby she had excelled at throughout her childhood could become a rewarding career. Sitting at the family computer with her father, she wondered aloud what she should choose for her major, and without hesitation, he responded, “Art.”

“My dad’s mom was an artist—not professionally, but she painted—and she died when he was young, so I think he saw that side of her in me,” Jayne says of her father’s instrumental role in her success. She started out at the University of Alabama, but soon began craving an education more immersed in the artistic realm and transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design. (Read more.)
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Abortion Reversal

From American Thinker:
An American Thinker article last year described early results of abortion pill reversal therapy using progesterone.  Currently, more than 600 women have been treated with progesterone protocols to reverse the abortion pill, and the latest results of a new study (currently under review) by George Delgado and others of 600 women from the APR program show that 60-70% of pregnancies survive when the best protocols for abortion pill reversal are used. It has been known since the 1980s that some early pregnancies survive RU-486.  A new analysis of the original mifepristone literature in a second article by Davenport, Delgado, Harrison, and Khauv estimates the embryo survival rate after mifepristone, with current medical abortion doses, to be in the range of 25%.  This is important, because the large difference between 60-70% survival with progesterone reversal and the 25% survival rate if a woman just takes the mifepristone, omits misoprostol (the second drug in abortion protocols), and just waits means that progesterone reversal is an effective therapy.  Although abortion advocates have asserted that the more than 300 babies who are alive with progesterone therapy would have survived anyway, these new studies demonstrate that the progesterone therapy made the difference between life and death for these pregnancies. (Read more.)

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Communion on the Tongue

From LifeSite:
Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin has asked his entire diocese to begin receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, while kneeling, by next fall so as to increase “reverence” for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The bishop made his request at the conclusion of his homily at the April 11 Chrism Mass, where oils are consecrated for use in administering sacraments in parishes throughout the diocese.

"I’m going to ask that we move together towards greater reverence when receiving Holy Communion. I’m going to ask that people be encouraged to receive Communion on the tongue and kneeling," he said near the end of his homily.

"There is no question that Communion on the tongue is more reverent. And it doesn’t lend itself to a casual kind of behavior. I’m going to ask, beginning in the Fall, that our students are taught to receive Communion on the tongue," he added.

Until the 1960s, Catholics around the world received Communion kneeling and on the tongue. The practice of Communion in the hand grew out of a disobedience that can be traced back to Holland. Because of the widespread abuse of receiving in the hand, Pope Paul VI granted an indult for the practice in a 1969 letter from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship.

Brent King, the Madison diocese's director of communications, told LifeSiteNews that receiving Communion the traditional way, kneeling and on the tongue, increases reverence due to an “outward posture” of lowering the body which can translate to an “inward disposition” of humbling oneself before God.

In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul wrote that “at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow.” 
King said if “we’re kneeling, we’re showing a reverence to what we actually believe, that the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ is present in the host.” (Read more.)
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Azalea City




From Southern Lady:
The people of Mobile, Alabama, have a way of cherishing the past while building upon it for the future. From restored hotels to revamped gardens, this South Alabama city continues to delight and amaze visitors with its history, Southern charm, and reverence for nature. The state’s third-largest metropolis sits on Mobile Bay along the Gulf Coast, where it has served as a military stronghold and a thriving port of call for generations. But Mobile’s roots run deeper than its roles in historic battles or commerce. Indeed, the master gardeners who reside within its county lines are legendary. (Read more.)
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Coup

From American Thinker:
During the last eight years, the far left and their cohorts in the Democratic Party were successfully on their way to transforming our Constitutional Republic from a country of laws into a country of men. They arrogantly believed the last election was theirs to be had with Hillary Clinton at the helm to continue Obama's legacy of "leading from behind." Their mission is the "transformation of our free market, our sovereignty, and our culture to a Socialist/Communist New World Order. They didn't count on billionaire Donald Trump, who had never before held office, to throw a wrench into their radical agenda by injecting himself into our body politic, and in return they are waging a relentless coup to have him removed from office.

They have termed this coup "The Resistance" and with the aid of our activist judicial system, educational institutions, Hollywood, the press, and social media; they are leading a full blown war against President Trump on various fronts. With the aid of the propaganda media establishment, akin to the old Soviet Union's Pravda, they proudly obstruct President Trump's every move. Their aim is impeachment, but to impeach they need to have grounds; thus, they have concocted a conspiracy theory of Russian collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians without a shred of evidence to support that theory.

Not a day goes by without an accusation by Democrats in search of a crime. When President Trump used an Executive Order to initiate his travel ban from countries known to be hotbeds of Islamic terrorism, the Left used the courts to stop his ban from taking effect. Although President Trump had the statutory authority to execute the ban pursuant to section 1182(f) and 1185 (a) of Title 8, they succeeded in halting the ban by filing their lawsuits in Federal District Court within the far left 9th Circuit (the most overturned court in the country), dominated by Clinton and Obama appointed judges, well known for its judicial activism and disregard of Constitutional principles. Consequently, Muslim refugees who cannot be vetted for lack of documentation continue to stream onto our shores and increase the risk of terror attacks on the mainland.

Currently the left is up in arms over the firing of former FBI Director, James Comey. The ACLU recently announced they will lead an investigation into the firing; yet not a word was heard from the ACLU when Bill Clinton fired FBI Director, William Sessions in 1993. It was only a few months ago when the likes of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid called for Comey's resignation. Socialist Maxine Waters from the left leaning state of California stated just a few days ago " I don't support Trump firing Comey, I would support Hillary Clinton firing Comey."  What we are witnessing is a schizophrenic narrative and a Democratic Party meltdown.

And if that isn't enough, our college campuses are actively silencing those who support President Trump with physical assaults, threats, and intimidation. Institutions of learning should provide an environment for the free exchange of ideas, but instead, young Conservatives are threatened with poor grades should they express support for President Trump and his conservative agenda. There is no diversity of thought on today's college campuses. It is fascism and group think that has taken root and those who differ are singled out as outcasts to be ridiculed and shunned at best or physically and verbally assaulted at worst. (Read more.)

From Townhall:
 This is a coup against us. It’s a coordinated campaign by liberals and their allies in the bureaucracy and media to once and for all ensure their perpetual rule over us. We need to fight it, here and now, so we don’t have to fight it down at the bottom of this slippery slope. It’s brazen. It’s bold. It’s insulting to our intelligence. They aren’t even trying to hide their lies anymore. Truth is irrelevant; this is a choreographed dance routine and everyone has his moves. Call it Breakin’ 2: Electric Leakaroo, except instead of trying to save the community center they’re trying to save their power and prestige.

To buy the media narrative on this latest Russian nonsense, you must believe:

1. That whatever was revealed was super-secret, though we don’t know exactly what it was. When in doubt, assume it’s on par with the nuclear codes!

2. That there was no good reason to share this info with Russia, like coordinating our fight against our joint enemy or to prevent another Russian airliner massacre. Because why would we want another power fighting ISIS or civilians not to be blown out of the sky?

3. That LTG McMaster, who literally wrote the book on soldiers standing up to misbehaving civilian leaders and displayed immense personal courage in battle, turned chicken and sat there silently as Trump monologued about this unknown mystery info of doomsday-level import.

4. That LTG McMaster lied on camera. Twice. And that Secretary of State Tillerson lied too.

5. That random anonymous sources in an intelligence community that hates Trump with a burning passion must be believed without question, though we don’t know their identities or their motives.

6. That these anonymous randos must be believed, even though they were not actually in the room to, you know, actually hear what happened. The traditional bar on hearsay is apparently now just a bourgeois conceit.

7. That when the Washington Post and the rest of the media publishes classified stuff (including intelligence provided by allies) leaked by anyone not named “Donald Trump,” it’s awesome. (Read more.)
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How to Land an Agent

For Indie authors. From Jane Friedman:
If your self-publishing effort has resulted in some recognition or sales, then you should query agents just as you would for an unpublished work, but mention in your query what success you’ve enjoyed with the project. It’s important to note when you released the book, what price it’s selling at, how many copies you’ve sold, how many reviews you have on Amazon or Goodreads, and your average rating. Do not send a copy of the book with your query. Instead, wait for the agent to indicate in their response what they’d like to see—the first chapter? First 50 pages? The entire book? Be prepared to send the work in manuscript format if requested.

If interested, the agent will closely scrutinize the work on Amazon and Goodreads—and probably thoroughly research your online presence—so make sure that you’ve spiffed up your website and are putting your best professional face forward. (Read more.)
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Thursday, May 18, 2017

At the Time of Her Marriage

Madame Royale, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.


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Louis XVI Trial and Execution Documents

Everything is now online. To quote:
We recently began digitizing the Louis XVI Trial and Execution Collection, a collection of more than 500 pamphlets on the imprisonment, trial, and execution of King Louis XVI of France. The pamphlets were collected at the time of their publication (primarily 1792-1793), and are housed in contemporary bindings with boards covered in pink pastepaper and blue paper spine labels. The pamphlets contain evidence against the king, defense of the king, public opinion on both sides of the issue, and moral and political reflections on judging and executing a king. As a whole, the collection provides a balanced view of a tumultuous period during the French Revolution, as France transitioned from a monarchy to a republic. Read all of the pamphlets in the Louis XVI Trial and Execution Collection on Internet Archive. They are always free to download, read, and repurpose!
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Why the Church Is In Decline in America

From Church Pop:
The influx of immigrants from Latin America hides the number decline. Even with this influx, every measurable indicator is down: baptisms, confirmations, marriages, priestly ordinations, numbers of men’s and women’s religious, children in parochial schools and religion programs. It is grim.

How did we get here?

The major error was ditching the transcendent. We domesticated God. We became functional Arians. (This doesn’t mean racist, that would be Aryans.) It means we act as if Jesus was merely human, that He is a guru, self-help teacher, social worker extraordinaire.

To be sure, I am not talking about every parish. But as a Church in this country, we took our eyes off the ball.

Mass started looking less like the worship of God and more like a pep rally. Our churches stopped looking Catholic and were overrun by iconoclasts. We went from churches that exuded Catholic belief visually, to ubiquitous ‘sacred spaces’ that looked more like theaters.

Some places ran with the theater aspect. Worship transformed to entertainment. What I got out of it became much more important than what I put into it.

By ripping out the transcendent heart out of worship, we reduced Mass. It is little wonder that belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist plummeted. It is little wonder that priestly vocations plummeted. While the generation that ushered these things love them, the subsequent generations fled in droves.

With worship emptied of the transcendent, Catholic life soon followed. Devotional life in parishes dried up. Parish churches became Mass stations. It has been heartening to see a rise in Eucharistic Adoration.

With the focus off the transcendent, awareness also plummeted. Confession lines disappeared. Families shrunk as we started contracepting ourselves out of existence. The loud din of children gave way to seas of gray. Accommodation of the secular culture went largely unchallenged. Causes replaced action. The works of mercy declined as a false idea of social justice rose in its place. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Last Empresses

A diamond brooch with miniature portrait of the two last Russian Empresses: Maria Fyodorovna and her daughter-in-law Alexandra Fyodorovna. Share

The Media Double Standard

From The Conservative Review:
 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, and national security adviser General H.R. McMaster categorically denied that the president revealed classified information to the Russians. Early Monday morning, President Trump tweeted that he did share “facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety” with Russian officials at that meeting. It is unclear if the information Trump shared was classified, as reported by the Washington Post. Conservative Review Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin addressed the report on his radio program Monday night, making several key points.

“Remember, the whole point here is to take out Trump,” Levin said. “The whole point is to destroy the man’s character and his reputation. ‘He must be an incompetent boob.’ ‘He shoots from the hip.’ ‘Maybe he’s even working with the Russians, giving them information’ – it’s just so absurd.”

“Did Barack Obama ever have a situation like this?” Levin asked, noting the rabid media coverage of every single Trump misstep. “The media frenzy never existed. It never occurred. It just didn’t happen.”

Remember Operation Fast and Furious? The IRS scandal? Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress? The surveillance of journalists like James Rosen? Solyndra? Bowe Bergdahl?

Remember when Hillary Clinton kept classified information on an unsecure private email server that was hacked by multiple foreign agencies? 

Where were the media earthquakes for those scandals? (Read more.)
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What Makes a Gentleman?

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
Gentlemen were, in general, members of the upper classes. But beyond that, how did one recognize this elusive species?

Although many would site land-ownership as their defining feature, this was not fully the case. Not all landowners were gentlemen and not all gentlemen were land owners. The primary quality of a gentleman was that he did not sully his hands with work. His income came from other, more noble sources: passive income from rent and investments and honorariums offered by grateful recipients of their services. Note this was critically different than being paid for one's services. If one was paid for their work, his standing as a gentleman would fall into question. An army officer received an honorarium for his service whilst a common soldier was paid (and not very well at that, but that is another issue altogether.)

A large number of gentlemen were born to the designation. The eldest son of a gentlemen had the potential to inherit the means that made his father a gentleman and that would make him a gentleman as well—a landed estate. The all-important estate was more than a simple farm. It was a tract of land large enough to provide the potential for rental incomes and income from agricultural and land based products like wood or coal, thus funding a gentleman’s life.

So, how much land did it take to get one’s head above the gentlemanly line? In general, a yeoman farmer owned from one to three hundred acres of property that produced £40-50 a year. Over three hundred acres, and a man had a shot at being a gentleman.

What about the younger sons born to gentlemen? If the estate only went to the eldest, could the younger ones manage to be gentlemen, too?

The answer is yes. That is where the ‘honorariums offered by grateful recipients’ clause comes in. There were certain professions for which the practitioner was not directly paid for their services, making them 'gentlemanly professions.' These professions were: the church, the law (as a barrister, not solicitor), medicine(as a physician, not a surgeon) and service as a military officer. All required a significant investment in the way of education or purchase of a commission, and provided an income disconnected from sullying one’s hands with work. (Read more.)

And what is the definition of a modern gentleman? To quote:
 1 A Gentleman Has Good Manners: Here, we agree with the dictionary. A gentleman is courteous, polite, and respectful. He says please and thank you, waits his turn in line, and treats others as they wish to be treated. He is an equitable conversation partner.
2 A Gentleman Has High Standards. High standards push people to do the best they can, and gentlemen set them for themselves. A gentleman expects a high standard of quality, value, and functionality from the things he buys to the things he does. He expects as much of himself as he does of other people.
3 A Gentleman is Well Dressed: This one shouldn’t be a surprise. A well-dressed man is appropriately attired based on the season, the occasion, and his own style. Dressing well isn’t a matter of money for a gentleman, but rather of careful curation of clothing and accessories based on his means, the occasion, and his tastes. His dress demonstrates that he recognizes the power of clothes the impression they make, and the role they play in society. Clothes are used to convey a gentleman’s respect for his host, his office, or for the host of an event, but not to shock, evoke jealousy, or show off. Dressing well is a point of pride for a gentleman because it demonstrates his personality and taste.
4 A Gentleman is Imperfect. This may be the most important characteristic on the list. The term “gentleman” isn’t meant to be an unattainable ideal; it takes into account basic human nature, in which we all make mistakes, choices, and judgments every day. The difference lies in that a gentleman does not believe himself to be perfect, but instead takes ownership and responsibility for the things he can control: his actions, knowledge, and approach to the world. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Metternich

From Shannon Selin:
Clemens (or Klemens) von Metternich was born in Coblenz on May 15, 1773. He came from an old aristocratic family whose members had held many high offices in the Holy Roman Empire. After studying philosophy, law and diplomacy, he followed his father into a diplomatic career. Metternich was appointed Austrian ambassador to France in 1806, after Austria’s humiliating defeat at the Battle of Austerlitz and considerable loss of territory in the Treaty of Pressburg.
My position was a peculiar one. I was placed at the most prominent post for observing the movement of which the Emperor of the French was the centre. I represented at his court a great monarch, whose kingdom had yielded under the force of circumstances, but which was ready to rise on the first opportunity. I was penetrated with the feeling of danger to my country, if it entered on a new war with France without having more probable chances of success; and I conceived that my task consisted in playing the part of a quiet and impartial spectator – impartial, so far as this might be possible to a man of feeling, at a an epoch when the world was passing through a social transformation…. My impartial attitude gained me the confidence of the most prominent men of different parties, beginning with Napoleon himself. (1)
Metternich saw Napoleon frequently. He wrote in detail about these encounters in his memoirs. In Metternich’s view, France needed discipline and Napoleon was the man to provide it.
There is no more useless labour than to point out that Bonaparte was an excellent man. He is in no wise wicked as this word is understood in common life. He has too much practical understanding for that. He is a very strong man, and in the different setting of another age, he would have become a very great man. (2)
Napoleon was less impressed with Metternich. At one gathering he reportedly unloaded him onto his sister Caroline (who became one of Metternich’s lovers) with the remark:
Entertain this simpleton, we are wanted elsewhere. (3)
When war resumed between France and Austria in early 1809, Metternich was arrested and briefly confined as a reprisal for the Austrian detention of two French diplomats. Napoleon defeated Austria at the Battle of Wagram (July 1809). He took more territory and money from her in the Treaty of Schönbrunn. It was while Napoleon was at Schönbrunn Palace to negotiate the treaty that a 17-year-old German patriot named Friedrich Staps was caught planning to assassinate him with a kitchen knife – an encounter to which Napoleon refers in Napoleon in America. Staps was arrested and executed. (Read more.)
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From Carson to Colbert

From Stream:
Those who mock the Trump motto, “Make America Great Again,” who claim they don’t understand how anyone could think America was ever great, might begin to understand what many of us mean, in at least this one way: Prior to the Age of the Left, during which we have lived since the mid-1960s, there were places in America where Americans could enjoy life and one another without politics intruding, not to mention hate-filled politics like Colbert’s.

Americans could watch sports events without athletes showing contempt for the American flag and the national anthem; without sportscasters and sports writers labeling as racist anyone who used the team name “Redskins”; without sports shows injecting politics into their programming, as ESPN does now so often that many sports fans no longer watch it.

It was an America where elementary teachers referred to their students as “boys and girls.” Today, teachers in more and more states are directed not to use those terms, as some 6-year-old may not identify as a boy or a girl. (Read more.)
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The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart

From La Stampa:
Much has been written over the years about Fatima especially concerning the third secret, and the meaning of the prophecy of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. It must be stated that unfortunately, Fatima has been misunderstood at times; some are fixated by the “political” nature of its message concerning Russia—when in reality the spiritual message is the heart of it. If Russia was the original warning, it was because it would be the first manifestation of militant atheism which has now spread throughout the western world under various forms. To see Russia as some magic formula for the future is to misunderstand the biblical sense of prophecy. Another erroneous interpretation is to see the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart as the gateway to a millenarian style era of peace; a temporal triumph which in reality would be nothing more than a cessation of hostilities before the apocalypse at the end of the world. The Gospels clearly tell us that good and evil will always remain; as Gaudium et Spes taught: “For a monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man. The battle was joined from the very origins of the world and will continue until the last day, as the Lord has attested.” So to what does Fatima refer? Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State was explicit in his remarks prior to leaving for Fatima this weekend: “the prophetic mission of Fatima is to remind the Church what she is, what she must continue to be, a church that announces in today’s world, a community that proclaims new heavens and earth and which awaits, almost anticipates them.”

If we look at a succession of papal writings, we see how Cardinal Parolin’s comments are pin point accurate. Blessed Paul VI saw the Second Coming of Jesus symbolically anticipated in the October 13th 1917 miracle of the sun: “It was eschatological in the sense that it was like a repetition or an annunciation of a scene at the end of time for all humanity assembled together.” St. John Paul II in his homily at the Shrine in 1982 spoke of the new heaven and new earth which will come at the end of the world: “We look towards him who sits upon the throne and says ‘Behold, I make all things new’ (cf. Rev 21:15). And together with the Evangelist and Apostle we try to see with the eyes of faith “new heavens and new earth.” And on March 25, 1984, the day in which St. John Paul II consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he also recited a little known prayer before the Statue of Our Lady imploring the coming of a “new world.”  (Read more.)
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Monday, May 15, 2017

Georgian Gardens

Marie-Antoinette loved the English-style of gardens. From All Things Georgian:
Also designed by prominent architect Sir John Vanbrugh, Blenheim Palace was built between 1705 and 1733. The large grounds were extensively remodelled by Capability Brown between 1764 and 1774.
‘All this scenery before the castle, is now new-modelled by the late ingenious Mr. Brown, who has given a specimen of his art, in a nobler style, then he has commonly displayed. His works are generally pleasing; but here they are great. About a mile below the house, he has thrown across the valley, a massy head; which forms the rivulet into a noble lake, divided by the bridge, (which now appears properly with all the grandeur of accompaniments) into two very extensive pieces of water. Brown himself used to say, “that the Thames would never forgive him, what he had done at Blenheim.” And every spectator must allow, that. On entering the great gate from Woodstock, the whole of this scenery, (the castle, the lawn, the woods, and the lake) seen together, makes one of the grandest bursts, which art perhaps ever displayed.’ – Observations on the Mountains and Lakes of Cumberland and Westmoreland by William Gilpin (1786).
(Read more.)
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Communion at the Altar Rail

From the National Catholic Register:
I was recently given another theological explanation of the action of receiving Holy Communion at the altar rail while studying the New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism with my daughter. And it blew my mind for about a week. We were in Lesson 28 on Holy Communion, directly following the lesson on the Sacrifice of the Mass, when I paused at this sentence: “At Holy Communion, when we go up to the Banquet Table (the altar rail), Our Lord comes to us. I had always thought of the Banquet Table as the main altar where the priest makes present Christ’s sacrifice. It had never occurred to me that the altar rail was something more than a divider from the sanctuary, but that it is actually an extension of the altar—the people’s altar. It is the place where we bring our own sacrifices as we wait to be united in communion with Our Lord and with each other, the Church.

The altar is the place of sacrifice in the Church, and as Christians we are all called to participate in that sacrifice. When we bring our personal offerings to God in the Mass, we are bringing them to the suffering Christ on the cross.
The Council of Trent taught this:
In this divine sacrifice that is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the Cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. [...] For, the victim is one and the same; the same now offers himself through the ministry of priests who then offered himself on the Cross; only the manner of offering is different. (DS 1743, Council of Trent, Session 22, Ch. 2)
Christ offers himself through the priest, and we are the very witnesses of this sacrifice when we assist at the Sacrifice of the Mass. And Christ desires us to bring ourselves closer to him and to actively participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass by making an interior offering of our acts of reparation, our daily struggles, and our prayers for others. We can make our prayers at the Offertory and during the Eucharistic prayer, but also when we present ourselves for Communion. Therefore, going up to the altar rail and receiving our sacrificed Lord at the people’s altar is the appropriate and beautiful consummation of our own individual offerings united with that of Christ on the Cross. (Read more.)
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Americans and Tobacco

From Shannon Selin:
Observing from the visitors’ gallery of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Trollope, like Hodgson, found it
really mortifying to see this splendid hall, fitted up in so stately and sumptuous a manner, filled with men sitting in the most unseemly attitudes, a large majority with their hats on, and nearly all spitting to an excess that decency forbids me to describe. (4)
Even at the White House, “[c]onversation, tea, ice, music, chewing tobacco, and excessive spitting afford[ed] employment for the evening,” according to Henry Bradshaw Fearon, who toured America in 1817-1818. To Fearon’s regret, the practice was not confined to the nation’s capital.
I disapprove most decidedly of the obsequious servility of many London shopkeepers, but I am not prepared to go the length of those in New York, who stand with their hats on, or sit or lie along their counters, smoking segars [cigars], and spitting in every direction, to a degree offensive to any man of decent feelings.
Fearon also complained about the taverns in Louisville, Kentucky, where “there is not a man who appears to have a single earthly object in view, except spitting and smoking segars.” (5) British farmer William Faux was equally “well pleased” to turn his back “on all the spitting, gouging, dirking, duelling, swearing, and staring of old Kentucky.” (6)

In Philadelphia, Scottish politician James Stuart lodged in a very good hotel, to which he would have returned, “but for the smoking and chewing of tobacco, which never ceased in the reading-rooms. The chewing and spitting were carried to such a height, that it was difficult to escape from their effects.” (7) (Read more.)
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Anne with an E

The new rendition of the Canadian children's classic gives the tale of Anne of Green Gables a needless feminist slant. According to Vanity Fair:
Still, none of the many, many other Anne adaptations stray so disastrously far from the spirit of Montgomery’s original books—and the result is a gloomy series with grim, life-or-death stakes draped over the bones of something beloved, warm-hearted, and familiar. The milestones are still there—currant wine, broken slates, puffed sleeves—but seen through a glass darkly. Brave as the concept may be, it falls flat—and feels particularly unwelcome in an already grim 2017. For more specifics on what Anne with an E gets so terribly wrong, read past the spoiler warning (for a hundred-year-old story) below.

The first (as in, within the first minutes of the first episode) radical departure Anne with an E takes is to rather graphically depict—via chilly flashbacks—the years of abuse Anne sustained before she came to live with the Cuthberts. This is, admittedly, the most logical leap Walley-Beckett’s version takes: Anne’s life was bleak and lonely before she came to Green Gables. In the original book, L.M. Montgomery laid it out ever-so-delicately:
“O-o-o-h,” faltered Anne. Her sensitive little face suddenly flushed scarlet and embarrassment sat on her brow. “Oh, they meant to be—I know they meant to be just as good and kind as possible. And when people mean to be good to you, you don’t mind very much when they’re not quite—always. They had a good deal to worry them, you know. It’s very trying to have a drunken husband, you see; and it must be very trying to have twins three times in succession, don’t you think? But I feel sure they meant to be good to me.”
It’s no wonder that Anne with an E was inclined to make that subtext a bit more explicit. But while Anne likely did suffer some torment during her tenure with the Hammond family, Anne with an E ramps up the trauma by having Mr. Hammond die of a heart attack brought about by beating the tar out of poor Anne. (Read more.)
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The Mysterious Miss Austen

From Jane Austen 200:
Presented in partnership with Jane Austen’s House Museum, this landmark exhibition will explore Jane’s life, work and her relationship to Hampshire. The county was not only Jane Austen’s birthplace (and where you can visit her grave today), but its people, landscape and the society in which she moved provided inspiration for her novels, classics such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility.

The exhibition will include around 50 items – paintings, watercolours, prints, illustrations, manuscripts, letters, clothing and other objects – all generously loaned from private and public collections in the UK and abroad.

The centrepiece of The Mysterious Miss Austen will be the six portraits of Jane. The pencil and watercolour sketch by Cassandra Austen (circa 1810) and the hollow-cut silhouette by an unknown artist from circa 1810-15 will be familiar to many from their usual home in the National Portrait Gallery, London. However, the other portraits, all from private collections, will probably not be known to visitors: one has not been seen in public for more than 40 years.

Among other treasures on show in The Mysterious Miss Austen will be the manuscript of an alternative ending to her final novel Persuasion, in her own hand, on loan from the British Library. Persuasion, which deals with love lost and second chances, was written in 1815-16 when Austen’s health was failing (it was published posthumously in 1818). The two chapters which will be on display in Hampshire are unique as the only surviving manuscript pages of a novel Jane Austen planned and completed for publication. She subsequently became dissatisfied with this first ending and rewrote the chapters in the published form we have them today. But this first ending offers visitors a chance to glimpse in intimate detail the novelist at work. (Read more.)
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Fatima, the House of Israel and the Mystery of Carmel

From Unveiling the Apocalypse:
After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel. (Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, pp172-173)
The primary historical and religious importance of Mount Carmel is in connection to the prophet Elijah, given that this was the location of the legendary battle between the champion of Yahweh and the prophets of the Phoenician deity Baal Melqart. Indeed, this contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal appears to have been the symbolic archetype for the battle of Armageddon foretold in the Book of Revelation. The word Armageddon is derived from the Hebrew Har Megiddo - the "mountain of Megiddo". A curious aspect of this phrase is that there is no "mountain" in the immediate vicinity of Megiddo, which is in fact situated on a plain at the foot of Mount Carmel. The actual fortress town of Megiddo was situated on a small mound (or Tel) on the plain of Megiddo, strategically located at the head of the Carmel Ridge, overlooking the Valley of Jezreel. The section of hills behind Tel Megiddo (called the Menashe mountains) are actually a lower eastern extension of Mount Carmel. So the most likely point of reference for the "mountain" of Megiddo, is in fact Mount Carmel - the location of the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:20-40. It is here that Elijah emerged victorious over the prophets of Baal, and successfully managed to steer the wayward Israelites back to orthodox praxis.

So by appearing as Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the close of the vision experienced by the shepherd children during the Miracle of the Sun, the Blessed Mother was alluding to the prophetic ministry of Elijah and the conversion of the Jews - which would once again be brought into focus during the her vision of the cross of light at Tuy in 1929. It seems to be beyond coincidence that the Miracle of the Sun had taken place just before the publication of the Balfour Declaration calling for a Jewish national homeland in Palestine; or that the Battle of Megiddo in 1918 took place just under a year later, the consequences of which led to the land of Palestine falling under the British Mandate, eventually resulting in the restoration of the land of Israel in 1948. Could it be that Our Lady had chose to appear at Fatima at this moment in history not only to warn of the dangers of the spread of Communism, but also to indicate the opening of the path that would eventually lead to the conversion of the Jews, and consequently, to the Second Coming of Christ?

The secrets of Fatima were predominantly concerned with the impending onslaught of the Second World War, which ultimately resulted in the extermination of one third of the world's total Jewish population in the concentration camps of the Third Reich. It was through the perpetration of this most unspeakably heinous act that eventually led to the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948, when paralleling the Resurrection of Christ, the Jewish people eventually emerged victorious on the other side of their collective crucifixion. For the modern Jewish people, the path to the Promised Land was truly the way of the cross. But it seems that the restoration of Israel was preordained, since it was only through once again establishing themselves in the Holy Land that will eventually allow for the Jews to witness the great sign of the cross appear over Jerusalem, when they will confess Jesus as the true Messiah as a result of the ministry of the Elijah to come. (Read more.)
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fatima and the Holocaust

Our Lady appeared wearing the yellow star. To quote Emmett O'Regan:
 This attention to detail was obviously of great importance to Sr. Lucia, who must have considered every last feature of the apparition to be of deep symbolic importance. And the fact that she insisted that the star was yellow and not gold in colour immediately conjures images of the yellow star that would be forcibly imposed upon the Jewish population of the Third Reich. Every Jew in Nazi-occupied Europe was forced to wear a yellow Star of David with the word Jude (or its equivalents in other countries, e.g. Juif, Jood, etc.), which was intended as a "badge of shame" in order to distinguish them from the rest of the population.

In the previous post, we have already noted how after Sr. Lucia's death on the 13th Feb, 2005, a connection was made between the star on the tunic of Our Lady of Fatima and the Star of Esther, in an article titled Hidden Revelations: The Star of Esther and the Secrets of Fatima by Marianna Bartold. It will be worth recapping the main thrust of this argument again here, as the central theme of the biblical story of Esther is her role in rescuing the Jewish people from the threat of total annihilation - which in many ways prefigures the looming threat of a Jewish Holocaust in the 20th century. In her article (linked to above), Bartold connects the star depicted on the tunic of Our Lady of Fatima to the biblical tale of Esther, the famed Jewish Queen who interceded to save her people from destruction on the 13th of the month of Adar - an event which is still remembered by Jews today during the festival of Purim. Bartold notes that the Hebrew month of Adar roughly corresponds to February in the Gregorian calendar, highlighting the significance of this connection in relation to the date of the death of Sr. Lucia on 13th Feb, 2005. Because of a use of a lunar calendar system, the Hebrew months shift back and forward slightly each year, as opposed to the Gregorian calendar which has dates that are firmly fixed. So the 13th February would certainly be the best (and perhaps only) date in the Gregorian calendar that could be used to symbolically point to the 13th Adar. (Read more.)
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The Problem with Marxism

From New York Magazine:
The problem with Marxism, I argue, lies in its class-based model of economic rights. Liberalism believes in political rights for everybody, regardless of the content of their ideas. Marxists believe political rights belong only to those arguing on behalf of the oppressed — i.e., people who agree with Marxists.

Zimmer begins by insisting that self-described Marxist regimes such as the Soviet Union, Maoist China, Cuba, North Korea, etc., all of whose leaders were immersed in Marxist thought, were not real Marxists at all. (Zimmer: “[T]hese authoritarian monstrosities had virtually nothing to do with [what] Marx himself said or did.”)

Zimmer proceeds to explain why the liberal idea that everybody should enjoy the same right to express their political idea is a failure, and lays out the Marxist concept of what free speech should really mean:
Marxists value free speech because they are committed to building a society where all can decide matters of public concern democratically, as genuine equals. Thus, the Marxist has a consistent way of explaining why speech that aims to dominate or marginalize others should be challenged rather than protected: it is contrary to the very values animating our commitment to free speech in the first place.
This explains why, to quote Jelani Cobb, “the freedom to offend the powerful is not equivalent to the freedom to bully the relatively disempowered.” It also provides a principled, consistent basis for opposing and disrupting the public acts of openly racist organizations that seek to subordinate, harm, scapegoat or marginalize others. 
[T]he (socialist) goal of cooperating and governing public life together as full equals gives us a principled criterion for deciding which forms of expression deserve protection and which don’t.
Zimmer is articulating the standard left-wing critique of political liberalism, and all illiberal left-wing ideologies, Marxist and otherwise, follow the same basic structure. These critiques reject the liberal notion of free speech as a positive good enjoyed by all citizens. They categorize political ideas as being made on behalf of either the oppressor class or the oppressed class. (Traditional Marxism defines these classes in economic terms; more modern variants replace or add race and gender identities.) From that premise, they proceed to their conclusion that political advocacy on behalf of the oppressed enhances freedom, and political advocacy on behalf of the oppressor diminishes it.

It does not take much imagination to draw a link between this idea and the Gulag. The gap between Marxist political theory and the observed behavior of Marxist regimes is tissue-thin. Their theory of free speech gives license to any party identifying itself as the authentic representative of the oppressed to shut down all opposition (which, by definition, opposes the rights of the oppressed). When Marxists reserve for themselves the right to decide “which forms of expression deserve protection and which don’t,” the result of the deliberation is perfectly obvious. (Read more.)
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