Sunday, July 31, 2011

Forever Summer

The great American artist Winslow Homer captured some summer scenes for posterity. Share

Beware of False Prophets

Pope Benedict XV described the French revolutionaries, especially the constitutional bishops, as wolves in sheep's clothing.
Yet the liberty predicted by those prophets opened the door not to good but to evil; the fraternity foretold by those prophets did not hail God as the sole Father of all brothers; and the equality proclaimed by the would-be prophets rested not on the identical nature of our origins, nor on our common redemption, nor on the shared destiny of all men. These, alas, were prophets who preached an equality meant to destroy the distinction of class willed by God for our society; prophets who called all men brothers in order to eradicate the idea of the subjection of some men to others; prophets who proclaimed the freedom to do evil, to call darkness light, to confuse falsehood with truth, to prefer the former to the latter, to sacrifice the right and reason of justice and truth to error and vice. It is not difficult to see that these prophets, who presented themselves in sheep’s clothing, were inwardly, in reality that is, ravening wolves: ‘qui veniunt in vestimentis ovium, intrinsecus autem sunt lupi ravaces!’ And little surprise that against these false prophets resounded a terrible word: Beware! ‘Attendite a falsis prophetis!’ (Read entire article.)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The "Marie-Antoinette" Barbie

I would have loved this doll as a child.

Too bad they have her wearing that necklace, which she never owned and did not even like. More HERE and HERE. Share

A Medieval Garden

Have you ever seen one? Gabriela Delworth offers a glimpse. Share

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Empire of Brazil

What it was and where it went. There is a strong monarchist movement in Brazil so I find the following reflections to be very interesting:
The Emperor was an enlightened ruler, anxious to promote the development of his country, and keenly interested in the scientific and technical developments of his age. This brought him during his incognito visit to Europe in 1871 to visit the sinking of a new colliery a few miles from my home town. As a result it was named in his honour the Dom Pedro with the result that for the next century or so the Emperor of Brazil was commemorated by a coal mine on the outskirts of the small town of Normanton, between Pontefract and Wakefield.

That however is not the limit to my interest in this remarkable ruler, who deserves better recognition, both for what he achieved and for what his empire might have achieved had it not been overthrown. (Read entire blog post.)

Scary Movies

Why some children should not see them. A discussion from Esther in Hawaii.
When my son was little we watched The Picture of Dorian Grey as a family. It was the old black and white movie. My husband and I thought he would like it. We completely forgot about the colorized scene in the movie. That one scene terrorized our poor son so badly that he had nightmares for a long time. He is now twenty and he still cannot bring himself to watch that movie.

That movie was tame compared to some recent horror movies.

As kids, my husband and I had been big fans of old black and white movies, especially film noir and horror movies. We stupidly forgot how impressionable a young child is.

I do remember a traumatic experience of my own. When I was 12 years old, my aunt took my cousin and me to watch Mark of the Devil.  It was the most violent, scary movie I had ever experience in my sheltered life!  I do not think my aunt knew what it was going to be about.  We left after maybe 1/2 hour but that movie images stayed with me for a long time too.  (Read entire post.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dying Young

If Londoners were able to make it to age twenty-four they felt very lucky. (Via Hermes.)
The data from parish files shows how London was among the most dangerous and unhealthy places on the planet only 200 years ago. said the capital's records will cover a period from 1539 to 1980, including information on many of the 100,000 Londoners who died of Bubonic Plague between 1665 and 1666. (Read entire article.)

The Howards Revisited

A review of Robert Hutchinson's House of Treason by Stephanie Mann.
As the synopsis accurately states, the Howard family was certainly one of the most important noble families in England, but Hutchinson aptly describes the difficulty of staying on the right side of any of the Tudor monarchs. The Howard family definitely started out at a great disadvantage, since they had fought for Richard III! The factions at the Tudor Court and the desire for power, influence, and wealth are the sources of the drama involved, especially during the reign of Henry VIII, as Thomas Howard struggled against first Wolsey and then Cromwell for years and then the Seymour family at the end of his life to influence the king and maintain his favor. Even after his first two great rivals had fallen, Howard and his son found themselves out of favor and sentenced to death under Henry VIII's elastic definition of treason. Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey was executed, but his father survived simply because Henry VIII died before signing the death warrant.

Surrey's son also ventures too near the throne, dealing with Mary of Scotland and threatening Elizabeth's shaky hold on power; he is also executed. In the next generation, Philip Howard endures imprisonment and death when he returns to the Catholic Church after hearing Edmund Campion speak. The next generation holds on, in spite of one Howard's suspected Catholicism, during Elizabeth I's reign and the Howard family is secure, for a time, when James VI of Scotland comes to the throne. (Read entire review.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pius XII Saved 11,000 Roman Jews

The truth comes out at last. Pius XII was a diplomat of the old school who knew how to accomplish a great deal behind the scenes without tanks, riots, or propaganda campaigns. According to Zenit:
The U.S.-based foundation, founded by Jew Gary Krupp, announced the findings in a statement sent to ZENIT.

"Many have criticized Pius XII for remaining silent during the arrest and when trains left Rome containing 1,007 Jews who were sent to the death camp Auschwitz," Krupp stated. "The critics also do not acknowledge Pius XII's direct intervention to end the arrests of Oct. 16, 1943."

"New discoveries prove that Pius XII acted directly behind the scenes to end the arrests at 2:00 p.m., on the very day they began, but who was powerless to stop the ill-fated train," he added. According to a recent study by researcher Deacon Dominiek Oversteyns, there were 12,428 Jews in Rome on Oct. 16, 1943.

"Pope Pius XII's direct action saved the lives of over 11,400 Jews," Krupp explained. "On the morning of Oct. 16, 1943, when the Pope learned of the arrests of the Jews, he immediately ordered an official Vatican protest with the German ambassador, which he knew would no doubt be fruitless.

"The Pope then sent his nephew, Prince Carlo Pacelli, to meet with Austrian Bishop Alois Hudal. Bishop Hudal, head of the National Church of Germany in Rome, was by some accounts, sympathetic to the Nazi's and had good relations with them. Prince Carlo Pacelli told Hudal that he was sent by the Pope, and that Hudal must write a letter to the German Governor of Rome, General Rainier Stahel, to demand that the arrests stop." (Read entire article.)

Via Pedes Christi. Share

America's Religion

From The New York Review of Ideas:
And just how did Oprah become the purveyor of revelation for 48 million U.S. viewers? In Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon, Lofton writes that the Oprah show was born at a ripe moment in American history. In the 1980s when Oprah first aired, Americans started buying self-help and Feng Shui books. By the ‘90s there were self-help sections in Barnes & Noble––it was a New Age marketplace. It was in the mid ‘90s that Winfrey declared her program, “Change Your Life TV.” It transcended its talk-show contemporaries, The Phil Donahue Show and Geraldo, and adopted New Age jargon. “Now our mission…is to use television to transform people’s lives, to make viewers see themselves differently, and to bring happiness and a sense of fulfillment into every home,” Winfrey said in 2001. The products of Harpo have a purpose––to make lives better.

Most importantly is the message of Oprah: the “gospel of you,” writes Lofton. The gospel of you goes like this: Winfrey says she is no different from her fans. From dirt poor, to rich and famous, anyone can do the same. When you’ve discovered this (by listening to Oprah) and become a successful person––inherent within us all––it’s time to spread the message to those who haven’t heard it yet. And, here’s how to get started: treat yourself to great shoes that will inspire you to walk to that job interview. Take out a loan, whatever it takes. Get the job. Become an executive who believes in herself; someone who has agency. Then, tell someone else to do the same, because it feels so good. Does the Bible inspire you to do that? Great. Just don’t let it hold you back. If the word God doesn’t sit right, use Spirit, or Universe. This is Oprah Winfrey’s mission––to help her fans live their “best lives” and to discover their “inner fabulous.” What she preaches is a quest for the best you, as Lofton reiterates in a podcast interview with University of California Press (February 16th, 2011), “The good news is you! You’re amazing.”  (Read entire article.)

Via The Western Confucian. Share

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Children of the East End

A photographic record from about a hundred years ago. The world has long been a difficult place for small children. It was such dreadful conditions that gave rise to radical and utopian social and political movements. (Via Hermes.)
Dead animals littered the streets. Excrement and rubbish often blocked the drains. Diseases such as diphtheria, cholera and measles flourished.
A third of households were without a male breadwinner and women were forced to go out to work, leaving children as young as six to look after their younger siblings.

Older children ran errands, swept the streets, cleaned windows or helped to make matchboxes and paintbrushes. It was poorly paid, exhausting work, especially for malnourished children, but their contribution — small as it was — could help buy a little stale bread.
According to Erica Davies, director of the Ragged School Museum in East London: ‘These children tried very hard to survive while facing overwhelming odds.’(Read entire article.)

Frank Duff

My Protestant Irish friend Gareth Russell has an intriguing article about the founder of the Legion of Mary.
Duff founded the society in 1921, with its primary aim being to encourage devotion to the Virgin Mary and to provide practical charitable solutions to the problems of Ireland's many disadvantaged. Based heavily on the teachings of Saint Louis de Montfort, under Duff's leadership the Legion of Mary founded many organisations and establishments which were far, far ahead of their time in early and mid-century Ireland. He strongly opposed the industrial schools for abandoned children from lower-class backgrounds, a position which seems almost prescient when the catalogue of physical abuse inflicted upon Irish children in the industrial schools came to light towards the end of the twentieth century. In contrast to other sections of Catholicism in Ireland at the time, who favoured approaches like the infamous Magdalene laundries to "solve" the problem of mothers giving birth outside of wedlock, Duff and the Legion of Mary established the Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) Hostel in 1930 for unwed mothers to raise their children in a safe and welcoming Christian environment. (Read entire article.)


Homily for the Crown Prince

I know I have had a great deal of coverage about the death of Otto von Habsburg but the homily from his funeral Mass is worth pondering.
In his life Otto von Habsburg was confronted with a new situation due to the tremendous political turmoil, which was certainly not predestined for him as crown prince and successor to the throne. The tangent picture of the four-year-old child in white dress between his parents at the funeral of Emperor Franz Joseph passed all media during these days. When he was six years old, the Monarchy expired, and therewith the world, in which he should have had such a big task.
There are two attitudes which I admire and which he set -- since the breakdown of the old imperial world -- an example of it in his long lasting life: On the one hand the ability to let oneself in for completely new situations with alertness and without dread, on the other hand the courage and the decisiveness to adhere to that what he considered as his heritage and mission according to his birth. This explains partly the discrepancy of the judgements about him: too modern for the one side, too unconventional, too conservative for the other side, yes reactionary. According to my point of view, in reality he is a brilliant example of an unwavering fidelity, for the whole life, of his own unique vocation.

Otto von Habsburg has accepted his vocation in Christian faith, which he found exemplary in the life of his parents. He understood the heritage of his family as mission and vocation. He did not regret bygone times and he was not uninhibited by people who wanted to disgrace him or to see only the negative side effects. With his life he showed us, how we can take heart from "yesterday" for "tomorrow." We may also learn from him in matters related to the proper handling with the history in Austria. Learning has never been a shame.

It belongs to political correctness to categorise the idea of the Divine right of Kings as an old-fashioned one. Otto von Habsburg understood it primarily as responsibility according to the original sense. We cannot resign or delegate the responsibility in front of God how we treat that what is entrusted to us.

In 1971, Otto von Habsburg wrote about that what now, 40 years later, became reality for him: "When you are standing in front of your Creator, face-to-face, only the performance of obligation and good will is valid. God does not command from the person to present to Him a report of victories. He gives the success. He expects from us only that we do our best." (Read entire article.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mary Tudor: Old and New Perspectives

A book review from Mary Tudor: Renaissance Queen.
In the wake of an revival of interest in Mary Tudor, namely in her personal history and the religious policies of her reign, it is refreshing to have a study that steps back and reconsiders the foundations of the belief that Mary’s life and reign were abject failures. Readers of this blog do not need to be told that Mary has long been considered a disappointment – worse still, as a tyrannical or hysterical queen whose rule was marked by indefensible cruelty. Biographies of Mary briefly discuss the origins of this reputation but there has not been a full study into the history of Mary’s posthumous reputation and the changing nature of scholarship on her.

Fortunately ten historians have addressed this gap and produced one of the most important studies on Mary in recent years. This volume consists of a series of articles and an introduction, all original, nearly all controversial. Which naturally makes this book an impressive and exciting read! (Read entire review.)

Spain 1936

More reflections on the Passion of Spain.
Civil wars are terrible things, and the Spanish war of 1936-9 particularly dreadful. Nonetheless the fact that it occured reflects the tensions within Spain at the time. What took place was a battle not merely for power - Spanish nineteenth century history is strewn with such episodes - but of two wholly opposed world views. The horrific violence unleashed against the Church and any imagined supporters of the traditional Spain in the wake of the army's move illustrates what they were acting against - for many on the left this was the opportunity to create a new world order, with Spain as the laboratory. After five years of radical change and turmoil the Nationalists may have finally precipitated the conflict, but the actions in the name of the republic which ensued were post factum validation for the actions of the army and its supporters.

My sympathies have always been entirely with the Nationalists - my ideas were formed as a schoolboy reading Luis Bolin Spain:The Vital Years (Bolin arranged the aircraft to fly General Franco from the Canaries to Spanish Morrocco) and C.E.Lucas Phillips The Spanish Pimpernel. I have never had sympathy for the International Left and the "poor little rich kids" like John Cornford and Esmond Romilly (and his girlfriend Jessica Mitford) who decided to visit left-wing revolution in its nastiest form on Catholic, traditional Spain. I once tried to read some of Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, and was bemused to find that the hated "right wingers" were the official Communists...

Speaking of the regions of Spain it is interesting to reflect that the geographical division in the country during the war was essentially, though by no means exactly, that between Castille and Leon, on the Nationalist side, and republican control in Aragon, and the north-east. Similarly the Basque nationalism sponsored by the republic reflected ancient traditions of autonomy, and conflicted with the Catholic, and indeed Carlist, traditions of the north of the country. To understand the background to the conflict means stretching deep into the past of the country. (Read entire post.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Massacres in La Vendée

From Nobility:
Although a great number of children were sacrificed, the republicans seem to have made some attempts to save them. The entrepôt was a huge building, used before the revolution as a storehouse for merchandise. During the reign of terror it was turned into a prison, as its proximity to the river adapted it for the noyades*. There, on one occasion, a vast number of Vendean women were confined, many of them with babes at the breast; and it was announced that any women of Nantes who wished to save the children of the Vendeans might be admitted to the entrepôt, and that each might rescue one of the little creatures. A great number of charitable women rushed to the prison; and the Christian mother can alone picture to herself the scene which ensued. (Read entire article.)


What goes on inside certain maximum security prisons? Are we becoming like Argentina? Is this for real? Chris Hedges reports.
Tens of thousands of Americans are being held in super-maximum-security prisons where they are deprived of contact and psychologically destroyed. Undocumented workers are rounded up and vanish from their families for weeks or months. Militarized police units break down the doors of some 40,000 Americans a year and haul them away in the dead of night as if they were enemy combatants. Habeas corpus no longer exists. American citizens can “legally” be assassinated. Illegal abductions, known euphemistically as “extraordinary rendition,” are a staple of the war on terror. Secret evidence makes it impossible for the accused and their lawyers to see the charges against them. All this was experienced by the Argentines. Domestic violence, whether in the form of social unrest, riots or another catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil, would, I fear, see the brutal tools of empire cemented into place in the homeland. At that point we would embark on our own version of the Dirty War. (Read entire article.)
Via A Conservative Blog for Peace. Share

Now on Smashwords

The Night's Dark Shade has just been made available in several more e-book formats. The formats include Epub, for reading on Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, (including most e-reading apps such as Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions) and many other formats as well.

Trianon and Madame Royale will soon be available from Smashwords, too, hopefully within the next month or so.

In the meantime Trianon has been made available by in Epub. It can also be found on iTunes to be read on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iBooks and on your computer with iTunes.

All books are already on Amazon Kindle, HERE.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Montgolfier Chandelier

I found a wonderful blog with decorating ideas, old and new. Above is a chandelier like the one mentioned in the opening scene of the novel Madame Royale. Share

Handshaking Etiquette

From Miss Janice.
 In a social situation when a lady meets a man, the lady has the prerogative to extend her hand or not. The man should wait for the lady to extend her hand first. If she doesn't, then a handshake should not take place.

In business, it's based on military protocol, and gender is not a consideration. The person of higher authority is supposed to extend first. Not everyone in the business community knows that piece of etiquette. Give the person of higher authority a chance to extend first, and if he/she doesn't, then go ahead and extend your hand.

Due to cultural differences, physical capabilities, et cetera, do not insist on shaking someone's hand or make a big deal over it...just exchange greeting gestures politely. (Read entire article.)

I was always told that while gentlemen must remove their gloves ladies were allowed to leave their gloves on but Miss Janice says differently. Share

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hidden from View

This print, owned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is a 1777 colored etching of Marie Antoinette by Jean-François Janinet.
Vive la Reine has some rare portraits of Marie-Antoinette that are kept at American museums but are currently not on display. I wonder why?

Etching from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Firescreen embroidered by Marie-Antoinette at the Metropolitan Museum of Art  
An 1821 Sèvres bust of Marie Antoinette, Metropolitan Museum of Art

From The Walters Art Museum:
Portrait of Marie Antoinette circa 1774 by Peter Adolf Hall
From the National Gallery of Art: Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette Crowned by Love, 1775 (chalk with ink and watercolor) by Gabriel Jacques de Saint-Aubin
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Allegory on the Marriage of the Dauphin and Marie-Antoinette in 1770 by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin

Papal Zouaves and Slave Traders

How an officer of the papal troops fought against slave traders in the Congo.
A veteran of Castelfidardo, Mentana, Rome and Loigny, [Leopold Louis] Joubert went about the Lord’s work with a will. Arriving at Mulwewa mission in the present-day Congo in 1880, with his brother Zouaves, he fortified the place and began to train the locals as a home guard to fight Arab slave traders. (Read entire article.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Indoctrination and the Fair Education Act

Kyle Cupp of Journeys in Alterity discusses the new law in California. I found his insights helpful since I have been wondering what options are left for parents in California who do not want their children indoctrinated but have no other choice but the public school system. Kyle says:
Now I say the following as someone who believes in a handful of doctrines: If you’re a parent fearful of indoctrination at your school system, teach your child/children to see through indoctrination. Teach the boys and girls to think—critically and with a healthy dose of suspicion. Most kids already have the interrogative foundation for critical thought: they ask “Why?” and “How come?” to every statement some supposedly learned person makes.
Personally, this is how I was taught, and when I asked questions I was always given explanations by my parents. As a student I learned to sift arguments and draw my own conclusions based upon evidence. However, I do want to say that a lot depends upon the child and his temperament. Some children, in spite of their parents' best efforts, are more easily daunted by what is going on around them in the classroom. They are more easily swayed by peer pressure. It does not mean they have weak characters. It is just that different personality types have different approaches to learning and different ways dealing with the world. I have seen children from the same family react in totally unique ways to the same methods of education. Some children find it harder not to be absorbed into the system and for them nonconformity is more of a challenge. Therein lies the struggle which many parents already have for the souls of their children

Kyle links to a post on the blog The League of Ordinary Gentlemen which brings up some points about the aforesaid law in California which show it to be impractical as well as unacceptable. How does one teach about the historical contributions of "gay, lesbian and transgendered Americans" when before contemporary times there were no such categorizations. In the past there only men, women and acts of sodomy. Sodomy included several behaviors, same-sex activity being only one aspect of sodomy. Mr. Likko says:
What grade level would you aim the curriculum at? Are we going to spend a lot of time questioning the personal sexuality of people like Eleanor Roosevelt and J. Edgar Hoover? Neither of them ever came out of the closet. We often assume Ms. Roosevelt had a longtime woman lover, and rumors of Hoover’s transvestism have become something of a pound-on-the-coffin joke. We have no idea and no way of knowing if James Buchanan and William Rufus King were lovers, although that seems a credible theory. But, Buchanan shouldn’t be anyone’s idea of a heroic President; the only significant legacy of this Presidency was a Civil War he did nothing to prevent. The evidence for Abraham Lincoln’s purported affairs with men at various points in his life strike me as rather sketchier than the evidence for Buchanan.

To this notion, it seems to me that Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, J. Edgar Hoover, and Eleanor Roosevelt are all worthwhile enough historical figures to study for their public lives and public achievements, and by comparison their private lives are relatively uninteresting. The rebuttal is, “It’s useful to teach our kids that it’s fun speculate about the sex lives of powerful people long dead. Gets them interested in history!” but whether J. Edgar Hoover liked to get his frack on with other dudes or wear pantyhose under his dickies is frankly not nearly so important as his fifty-year history of blackmailing the entire U.S. government into keeping him in his role as America’s top cop.
Simply because in the past the private lives of famous people were indeed private, we have no way of knowing if they were truly homosexual or not. Even Walt Whitman's homosexuality has been debated. I do not know how many people at the time were aware of his alleged proclivities, his poetry being shocking enough for its earthiness. I remember reading Whitman in high school  but I never noticed the sexual overtones; it was not pointed out to me and I was too innocent to pick up on it. I was nevertheless able to appreciate his genius and originality and still do. So are Whitman's intimate inclinations going to be emphasized to small children in California, as if his work was about nothing else? What purpose is there in having small children indulge in lurid speculations about the boudoir habits of well-known historical figures? Isn't the human person more than a set of inclinations which may change over time or be reined in if self-control is exercised?

What the Fair Education Act is really about is exposing children to squalid information about the private lives of adults. It is information that they do not need to have in order to appreciate the life work of outstanding historical characters especially since it is material mostly based upon rumor and hearsay. When the classroom becomes filled with too much unnecessary and confusing knowledge then a genuine opening of the mind is hindered rather than fostered. Share

Can Farms Save the World?

A chef's view of the environmental movement from Food and Wine.
 The irony of the environmental movement is that agriculture has long been considered a separate issue. Environmentalism always carried with it the assumption that to use the land was to degrade the land. Of course the idea that land can be kept pure by separating it somehow—nature here, farming there—is foolhardy, at best. We would be better off looking for ways to use the land wisely, toward a kind of agriculture that is both inspired by and inseparable from nature. (Read entire article.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Abstract Expressionism and the CIA

I did not know the two were connected but I guess nothing should surprise me. Joshua Snyder puts it all together. Share

Janet Loxley Lewis

Novelist, poet, wife and mother.
Girl Help

Mild and slow and young,
She moves about the room,
And stirs the summer dust
With her wide broom.
In the warm, lofted air,
Soft lips together pressed,
Soft wispy hair,
She stops to rest,
And stops to breathe,
Amid the summer hum,
The great white lilac bloom
Scented with days to come. 
by Janet Loxley Lewis

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The American Drugstore

An essay by Julián Marías from Andrew Cusack. Share

From Guilt to Gratitude

A guide for mothers.
The more you OWN your mistakes, shortcomings, and realizations, the more you model it to your children. Essentially, you are giving them a way of accepting and languaging their own vulnerabilities. It is through these moments of “talking vulnerable” that we deepen our intimacy with our children. You want to have more of those conversations as they mature to become grown-ups. (Read entire article.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Southern Cooking on Film

Food and Wine reports on a new film.
"About 20 minutes into the movie, you're craving fried chicken," says director Tate Taylor. That movie is The Help, the new film based on Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel; it stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer and costars platter after platter of incredibly delicious-looking Southern food. The Help examines the complicated relationships between African-American maids and their white employers in 1960s Mississippi, and since the story crosses race and class lines, the cooking does too. There are scenes of ladies' luncheons with tomato aspic and cocktail meatballs, and scenes calling for soul food like collard greens, black-eyed peas and, of course, that craveable fried chicken. "Food is just everywhere," says Taylor. (Read entire article.)

The Passion of Spain

"Soeur Espagne, sainte Espagne... tu as choisi!
Onze évêques, seize-mille prêtres massacrés... et pas une apostasie!" 
~ Paul Claudel, "Aux martyrs espagnols"
Rorate Caeli reports on the carnage of seventy-five years ago.
Exactly 75 years ago, the tensions within the Spanish Republic reached unbearable levels and the alzamiento of July 18 began. The greatest persecution of Catholics since late Antiquity was about to begin in the territory retained by the Communist-inspired forces, and would be particularly brutal in the first six months of the conflict. (Read entire article.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Passing of an Age

Crown Prince Otto at his parents' coronation in Budapest in 1916
 Blessed Emperor King Karl, Crown Prince Otto and Empress Queen Zita in Budapest in 1916
Archduchess Regina and Archduke Otto at their wedding in 1951   
Regina, Otto and children
 H.I.R.H. Otto von Habsburg-Lothringen
Otto's funeral procession passes the Hofburg Palace where he lived as a child.
 Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of....
And the new sun rose bringing the new year.
from Tennyson's "The Passing of Arthur"
Otto von Habsburg has been laid to rest on the Capuchin crypt with his ancestors, among whom is the great Empress Maria Theresa. Otto never commanded vast armies as did his forebears; the battle he had to fight was all the more heroic because he had no army...and for a large part of his life, no country. He fought against both Fascism and Communism as systems which seek to destroy and enslave the human soul. Today his heart is being buried in a Hungarian monastery, according to another Habsburg family tradition. Charles Coulombe, who corresponded with Otto for many years and met him on more than one occasion, writes of the Archduke thus:
The Archduke’s political causes were almost entirely defeated. From that standpoint, his career must be regarded as a failure. But it was not merely a long series of defeats for Otto von Habsburg, but for general sanity and decency. We all share the effects of his life’s tragedy, even as a victory for him in any of his political struggles would have benefited us all. If he was defeated, he at least acquired an enormous fan base: the Paneuropa Union, the Union of Austrian Catholic Student Fraternities, the Order of St. Lazarus, and Austrian, German, Hungarian, and Czech monarchists, to name a few. The Archduke was made an honorary citizen of countless towns and cities throughout his former realms and was received publicly (as a “Highness”) by Pope Benedict XVI.

And now this witness to all that has befallen the West since the Great War is gone...His son, the Archduke Karl, will attempt to fill his father’s shoes. God help him to do so.

Our stumblebum rulers are greedy, stupid, evil, insane—or all four at once. Contemplating their deeds and persons could easily lead one to think that leadership is the birthright of the mentally defective or the criminally malicious. But the Archduke Otto, both in his teachings and his work, was living proof that it need not be that way. He taught me that holding onto one’s principles in the face of overwhelming odds is not only praiseworthy, it is possible.
The Archduke's passing signals the end of an era, an era which saw the end of Christendom. By his life and teachings Otto pointed the way to light in spite of the encroaching darkness. His death, from both a spiritual and material point of view, should not be seen as a defeat but as a challenge to preserve what remains and restore what has been lost.

Please see the video of the funeral procession and read the eye-witness observations from

Magnificent photos of the funeral Mass at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, HERE and HERE.

The entrance rite at the Capuchin crypt, HERE and HERE.

The official website, HERE.

The following is a translation of a German article:

The Strange Marriage of Mary Benson

Mary Benson, the mother of one of my favorite historical novelists Robert Hugh Benson, had an irregular private life in spite of being the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury. According to an article in the Mail Online:
Together she and the Archbishop had raised six children — among them poet Arthur Benson, who wrote the words to Land of Hope and Glory, and E. F. Benson, whose Mapp and Lucia books still enjoy a cult following today. Outwardly they seemed the most respectable of families and yet, as the fascinating new biography by Rodney Bolt reveals, she spent much of her married life conducting affairs with other women.
(Read entire article.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Archduke Otto's Last Journey

 Archduke Otto and his wife Archduchess Regina lie in state at the shrine of Mariazell
H.I.R.H. Archduke Otto, the last Crown Prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire has over the last few days been returning to the imperial city of Vienna to be laid to rest in the Capuchin crypt with his ancestors. The New Beginning has photos of the journey. The funeral is today. There is an interesting article on the political reaction which says:
As Vienna prepared for the funeral of Otto von Habsburg on Saturday, an ambivalent mix of nostalgic sentiment and republican criticisms highlighted that Austria is still a country grappling with its imperial past.
The final putting to rest of the last Habsburg crown prince is set to end two weeks of elaborate wakes, masses and processions. The oldest son of the last Austro-Hungarian emperor died on July 4 in his adopted home of southern Germany. A requiem is scheduled to take place in Vienna's main cathedral, with Austrian President Heinz Fischer, an army honour guard and assorted European royals in attendance. The remains of von Habsburg and his wife Regina, who died last year, will then be carried to the family crypt in a procession, accompanied by conservative groups wearing historic military uniforms. The heart of Otto, the son of Charles I, is to be entombed a day later in Hungary.

Army lieutenant general Christian Segur-Cabanac expressed no qualms about organizing the military honours for the late 98-year-old, whose princely title expired when nobility was abolished in 1919. 'This is about ending the frictions in the Austrian republic's dealings with the Habsburgs,' the general said of the guards' deployment. He referred to the recent decision by parliament that finally allows Habsburg family members to run for president. However, some criticism has mounted over the elaborate ceremonies. The left-wing Republican Club said the family event seemed to resemble a state funeral, pointing out that von Habsburg never held an official position in Austria. Others argued that the pomp is simply an expression of nostalgia for the 'good old times,' before the empire covering much of eastern Europe fell apart after World War I
Here is a letter of condolence from Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to Otto's oldest son, Karl von Habsburg:
To His Royal Highness, Archduke Karl of Austria:

With deepest sympathy have I learned about the passing of your father, His Royal Highness Archduke Otto of Austria. In this hour of sadness at your painful loss, I am united with you and all the royal family in prayer for the dead. During his long and full life, Archduke Otto has been a witness to the changing face of Europe. Trusting in God and aware of a significant heritage, he has been a committed European tirelessly working for freedom, for the unity of peoples and for a just order in this continent. May the Lord reward him for his diverse acts for the good of mankind and give him the fullness of life in his heavenly kingdom. Through the intercession of Mary, the mother of God, I offer an Apostolic Blessing to all family members and to all who mourn Archduke Otto, and who pray for his eternal salvation.

Benedictus PP. XVI

Southern Gentlemen

Miss Janice wonders where they have all gone, saying: "It's so important that boys are taught proper social etiquette and also dining etiquette at a young age. These are skills they can use now and for the rest of their lives." Share

Friday, July 15, 2011

A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin, and Winnie-the-Pooh

 Photos of Christopher Robin Milne (1920-1996), son of A.A. Milne; author and bookseller.

 More HERE.

(Via Hermes) Share

Eating Together

There are many benefits to sharing the family meal at the table.
When life gets busy, it can be easy to slip into the rut of eating on the run and neglecting to take time to sit down together. Yet this is something we should be striving to avoid. There are a whole host of benefits that comes with taking the time to eat dinner together, at the table.
It need not be anything fancy. Or require one of you to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen. The benefits of eating together are there to be had regardless of the quality of your food. Takeaway pizza shared at the table can be just as beneficial as a home cooked meal. As long as you clear away distractions and make the time to focus on each other, and of course the food. (Read entire article.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Mother Forgives

A mother forgives the Revolutionary who killed her son.
When the Chouans first took up arms, there lived as portress in the chateau of Thuré a poor widow woman named Madame Huneau. She was known to all the country round for her works of mercy. Having acquired some practical knowledge of medicine, she was a constant attendant upon the sick-beds of the poor; and when her skill was insufficient to effect a cure, she soothed and comforted the dying with the consolations of religion, for she was of an exemplary devotion.

She had an only son, too young to take any part in the insurrection; but he contrived to be useful to the Chouans by carrying their correspondence and watching the movements of the Blues. The partisans of the Republic in the neighborhood, suspecting the cause of his frequent absence from home, laid wait for him; and as he was returning one evening from one of his expeditions, he was shot in the avenue of the chateau, and within a few paces of his mother. At the same time a man rushed through the bushes, and made his escape. Her skill, poor woman, was useless, for he was mortally wounded; but, in resignation to the will of God, she gave herself up with greater diligence to her works of charity. (Read entire article.)

E-Books: The Future of Self-Publishing

The future is NOW. Author Ellen Gable gives some helpful advice.
With tens of thousands of Kindle (and other) e-readers being sold daily, they are fast becoming the wave of the future! The Kindle reader is also available as a free application for PC, iPod, iPad and iPhone, so it’s not necessary to spend money to be able to read a Kindle book.

Amazon currently offers Kindle publishers 70 percent royalty (for most books) and there are virtually no up front costs. Of course, there are other advantages to having your self-published book available on the Amazon Kindle. (Read entire post.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blessed John Paul II and Our Lady

From Fr. Angelo:
In Catholic tradition this relationship of Mary with the Church has been called Her universal mediation of graces, though today in many Catholic circles the use of this language had come to be considered unfashionable and “unecumenical.”  In reality, the terminology is entirely consistent with scripture, because God did send His son through the mediation of a woman, as St. Paul says.  Jesus became a member of our family through Mary, so that we might become members of His family through Mary.

St. Paul’s statement puts Mary between God and our adoptive sonship.  That is what we mean by Marian mediation.  In fact, in the encyclical letter, Blessed John Paul II expressly states: “She puts herself ‘in the middle,’ that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother” (21).

The great pope of this Marian age, not only made it fashionable to speak about Marian mediation again, he gave our understanding of this role of Our Lady his characteristic personalist touch.  He calls it Her “active and exemplary presence in the life of the Church.”  Just as he says “she puts herself ‘in the middle’ . . . in her position as mother,” so he indicates that this middle position is a kind of “active and exemplary presence.”  Our Mother is with us and She acts from within and with power.

Mary’s mediation of graces is described by some theologians as functioning in a physical way, which is simply to say that it produces its effect by means of a kind of power.  Blessed Pope John Paul does not contradict this, but rather emphasizes that this power does not simply pass through Our Lady as though She was a conduit of spiritual energy, as it were, but her mediation is a function of Her spiritual motherhood by which She deeply and personally helps to constitute, maintain and augment a filial relationship between us and God, our Father.  Grace is the life of God and Mary is mother in the order of grace.  She is present in our lives in an “active and exemplary” way.


The toxic tourist attraction.
As Ukraine prepares to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster next month, its legacy remains as divisive as ever, however. Opponents of nuclear power insist that Chernobyl proved once and for all that the technology is unsafe. They argue that no more nuclear power stations should be built – ever.

"Chernobyl was a warning for the future," said Valery Makarenko, the first Soviet TV reporter on the scene. "It was not just a banal disaster, it was a message that nuclear power is not safe. It is time to think, consider alternatives, and bring the industry under tight international control. Otherwise, humankind will destroy itself." Proponents of nuclear energy, however, claim the fallout from Chernobyl was actually not as bad as first thought and pin the blame on shoddy Soviet management practices. Safety standards are much higher now, they point out, and nuclear power is cheap and clean compared to fossil fuels.

As evidence that the effects of radiation are not as bad as critics contend, they cite how wildlife has staged a remarkable comeback in the area around Chernobyl. Audits in the past have shown that the 18-mile exclusion area or "dead zone" around the plant is now home to 66 different species of mammals, including wild boar, wolves, deer, beavers, foxes, lynx and thousands of elk. (Read entire article.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Margaret Clement

Stephanie Mann reports on the foster daughter of St. Thomas More, a highly educated and brave lady.
Margaret Giggs Clement, ward of St. Thomas More, died in Mechelen, Belgium on July 6, 1570. She and her husband, Dr. John Clement, lived in the Low Countries in exile from Elizabethan England. She was one of the most learned women of the Renaissance, having benefitted from the fine education Thomas More thought the girls, as well as the boys, in his household should receive. She studied Galen for example and her treatment helped More recover from a tertian fever. (Read entire article.)


Archbishop Sheen advises on how to deal with the scandals of this world, saying:
There are scandals. For example, some Catholic husbands and wives are unfaithful; some Catholic politicians are more crooked than those who have no religion; some Catholic boys steal; some Catholic girls worship the same saints as pagan girls: movie heroes or band leaders; some Catholic industrialists are selfish and hardhearted and totally indifferent to the rights of workers; some Catholic labor leaders are more interested in keeping their leadership by annual strikes than in cooperating for social justice. Then in the Papacy, there is Alexander VI.

What does all this prove, but that Our Dear Lord has espoused humanity as it is, rather than as we would like it to be! He never expected His Mystical Body the Church to be without scandals because He Himself was the first scandal. It was a terrible scandal for those who knew Him to be God to see Him crucified and go down to seeming defeat, at the moment His enemies challenged Him to prove His Divinity by coming down from the Cross. No wonder He had to beg His followers not to be scandalized by Him. If the human nature of Our Lord could suffer physical defeat and be a scandal, why should there not be scandals in Our Lord’s Mystical Body made up of poor mortals such as we? If He permitted thirst, pain and a death sentence to affect His Physical Body, why should He not permit mystical and moral weaknesses such as loss of faith, sin, scandals, heresies, schisms, and sacrileges to affect His Mystical Body? When these things do happen, it does not prove that the Mystical Body the Church is not Divine in its inmost nature, any more than the Crucifixion of Our Lord proved He is not Divine. Because our hands are dirty, the whole body is not polluted. The scandals of the Mystical Body the Church no more destroy its substantial holiness than the Crucifixion destroyed the substantial wholeness of Christ’s Physical Body. The Old Testament prophecy fulfilled on Calvary was that not a bone of His Body would be broken. His flesh would hang like purple rags about Him, wounds like poor dumb mouths would speak their pain with blood, pierced hands and feet would open up torrents of redemptive life – but His substance, his bones, they would be sound. So with His Mystical Body. Not a bone of it shall ever be broken; the substance of Her doctrines will always be pure, though the flesh of some of her doctors fail; the substance of Her discipline will be sound, though the passion of some of her disciples rebel; the substance of Her faith will always be Divine though the flesh of some of her faithful will be so carnal. Her wounds will never be mortal, for Her Soul is Holy and Immortal, with the Immortality of Love Divine that came to Her Body on the Day of Pentecost as tongues of living fire.

Coming to one of the major scandals, let it be asked: “How could a wicked man like Alexander VI be the infallible Vicar of Christ and head of His Mystical Body the Church?” For an answer, go to the Gospel text where Our Lord changes the name of Simon to Rock, and then made Him the Rock on which He built what He called “My Church.” Our Lord on that very occasion made a distinction very few ever think of: He distinguished between infallibility or immunity from error, and impeccability or immunity from sin. Infallibility is inability to teach what is wrong; impeccability is inability to do wrong. Our Lord made the Rock infallible, but not impeccable. (Read entire article.)