Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis by the Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz is a jewel of historical fiction. While the 1951 film is excellent, it is dated; the novel, however, transcends time. The heartrending and vivid portrait of Roman life in the days of Nero combines a romance with the acta sanctorum amid breathtaking historical accuracy. The feelings of the young tribune Marcus Vinicius for the Christian maiden Ligia Callina are transformed by sacrifice and suffering from mere lust into profound love and devotion. In the meantime the early Church prepares to face a grueling ordeal at the hands of Nero. The brutality and decadence of Imperial Rome stand in glaring contrast to the indefatigable new sect, guided and instructed by Peter and Paul. The Christians must deal not only with the violence of the pagans but with some of their own members who betray and deceive. Indeed, part of the impact of the novel is the way it conveys continuity of the past with the present. Followers of Christ must struggle with their own sins and weaknesses as much as with the outside world which seeks to destroy them. It was not easy then; it is not easy now.

Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916) received the Nobel Prize for Quo Vadis. He was writing to encourage his Polish countrymen in their many difficulties, and combined superb story-telling with painstaking historical research. Although I prefer the book to the movie, I do not hesitate to recommend the latter. Among 1950's Biblical epics, Quo Vadis is outstanding. Peter Ustinov's performance as Nero is truly something worth watching; few actors could capture the same balance of comedy, pathos and unmitigated depravity. The sets are magnificent as well, and the flow of drama, quite piercing. It is a good way to glean both history and inspiration while being entertained. Share

The Golden Calf

From Catholic World Report:
Pope Francis, in Lumen Fidei, refers to the famous account of the Golden Calf, noting that one reason idols are attractive is because they are “the work of our hands” and that before an idol “there is no risk that we will be called to abandon our security”. And:

Idols exist, we begin to see, as a pretext for setting ourselves at the centre of reality and worshiping the work of our own hands. Once man has lost the fundamental orientation which unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires; in refusing to await the time of promise, his life-story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants. Idolatry, then, is always polytheism, an aimless passing from one lord to another. Idolatry does not offer a journey but rather a plethora of paths leading nowhere and forming a vast labyrinth. Those who choose not to put their trust in God must hear the din of countless idols crying out: "Put your trust in me!" 

Among the idols of our age are false autonomy, disordered liberty, and false freedom. The rotten fruits are all around us: greed and lust, contraception and abortion, fornication and adultery, pride and homosexuality. These reflect a multiplicity of desires, each promising freedom while never delivering on the promise, for our deepest desire can only be satisfied by and in God. And so satisfaction is sought in consumption, in having, in possessing, and in even trying to remake ourselves and our natures into something they are not and cannot be.

“When people become self-centred and self-enclosed,” says Francis in his new encyclical, “their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality.” This comes in the context of physical goods, but also applies to personal relationships. Once a disordered desire—for a thing, for a person, for an act—becomes the center of our lives, we must make everything else stand behind it and bow before it. When something or someone in God's creation becomes the center of our life and the focus of our passions, we must turn against God himself; in short, we become insane. Even though we can, by reason, recognize God's “eternal power and deity”, as the Apostle Paul told the Roman Christians, those who pursue lusts and impurity refuse to honor or worship him. “Claiming to be wise,” he states, “they became fools...” (Read more.)

America's Post-partum Practices

From The Daily Beast:
Some hundreds of years ago, Colonial Americans thought it fit for a woman who had just given birth to keep to her bed for three or four or more weeks. For the length of the “lying in” period, as it was called, the new mother would rest, regain her strength, and bond with the baby as her womanly attendants kept up the household. Several of these ladies would be relatives, and others not; none were paid, and all expected to be similarly cared for following their own deliveries. Then, in the 19th century, the last free land was settled, and everyone retired to her own room. As Richard and Dorothy Wertz write in Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America, “The era of social childbirth, with its volunteer woman-to-woman help, passed with the disappearance of the American frontier.” The “lie-in” wasn’t adapted or modified. And it certainly wasn’t replaced with anything.

This country is one of the only utterly lacking in a culture of postpartum care. Some version of the lie-in is still prevalent all over Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and particular parts of Europe; in these places, where women have found the postpartum regimens of their own mothers and grandmothers slightly outdated, they’ve revised them. The U.S. seems only to understand pregnancy as a distinct and fragile state. For the expectant, we issue reams of proscriptions—more than can reasonably be followed. We tell them what to eat and what not to eat. We ask that they visit the doctor regularly and that they not do any strenuous activity. We give them our seats on the bus. Finally, once they’ve actually undergone the physical trauma of it, their bodies thoroughly depleted, we beckon them most immediately to rejoin the rest of us. One New York mother summed up her recent postpartum experience this way: “You’re not hemorrhaging? OK, peace, see you later.” (Read more.)

Monday, June 29, 2015

In the Imperial Crypt

Here is a print depicting the Empress Maria Theresa hearing Mass in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna. Via Vive la Reine. Share

Super Star

Venus and Jupiter converge tomorrow. From the CSM:
Jupiter and Venus will merge into a dazzling "super-star" in the Western horizon by the end of June, NASA says.

The conjunction of the two planets has been building during the month of June and will culminate in a spectacular display on June 30. “Every night in June, the separation between Venus and Jupiter will visibly shrink,” says NASA. A conjunction is when two or more objects appear very close together on the sky.
On the evening of June 30, Venus and Jupiter will appear in the sky just a third of a degree apart. “That's less than the diameter of a full Moon. You'll be able to hide the pair not just behind the palm of your outstretched hand, but behind your little pinky finger,” NASA enthuses.

Sky & Telescope suggests that a similar rare conjunction of Venus and Jupiter may have been what's been called the "Star of Bethlehem" in 3-2 BC. (Read more.)

Via ETH. Share

A Judicial Putsch

From Tom Piatak at Chronicles:
As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his dissent, “If an unvarying social institution enduring over all of recorded history cannot inhibit judicial policymaking, what can?” In his dissent, Justice Scalia charged that Kennedy’s opinion lacked “even a thin veneer of law” and constituted a “judicial Putsch.” And as Justice Alito noted in his dissent, “Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of its authority have failed.”

John Adams famously wanted a “government of laws and not of men.” Today’s decision is yet the latest illustration of how far we are from that ideal. Indeed, in practical terms, the Constitution means whatever the swing vote on the Supreme Court says it means. That vote now belongs to Anthony Kennedy. And if you turn on most news programs or read most newspapers today, you will see little criticism of this state of affairs. Instead, you will encounter hosanna after hosanna to Anthony Kennedy and his decision. (Read more.)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

God, Gods, and Fairies

From First Things:
The question of God, by contrast, is one that must be pursued in terms of the absolute and the contingent, the necessary and the fortuitous, act and potency, possibility and impossibility, being and nonbeing, transcendence and immanence. Evidence for or against the existence of Thor or King Oberon would consist only in local facts, not universal truths of reason; it would be entirely empirical, episodic, psychological, personal, and hence elusive. Evidence for or against the reality of God, if it is there, pervades every moment of the experience of existence, every employment of reason, every act of consciousness, every encounter with the world around us. (Read more.)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Faith of Marie-Antoinette

Marie-Antoinette's journey of Faith will be discussed on BlogTalkRadio today at 3:00 pm Eastern Time. In her last letter the Queen said that the Catholic religion was the one which she had always believed and practiced, but like many people she had a faith journey in which her relationship with God grew and matured. Although faith is a private matter there is much we can learn from and about Marie-Antoinette and how her faith strengthened her in difficult times. Share

Spare us, O Lord!

I think it is time for all Christians in America to pray the Litany of the Saints.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. 
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us. 
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us. (repeat after each line)
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Holy Mary, pray for us (repeat after each line)
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
St. Michael,
St. Gabriel,
St. Raphael,
All you holy angels and archangels,
All you holy orders of blessed spirits,
St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All you holy patriarchs and prophets,
St. Peter,
St. Paul,
St. Andrew,
St. James,
St. John,
St. Thomas,
St. James,
St. Philip,
St. Bartholomew,
St. Matthew,
St. Simon,
St. Thaddeus,
St. Matthias,
St. Barnabas,
St. Luke,
St. Mark,
All you holy apostles and evangelists,
All you holy disciples of our Lord,
All you holy innocents,
St. Stephen,
St. Lawrence,
St. Vincent,
SS. Fabian and Sebastian,
SS. John and Paul,
SS. Cosmas and Damian,
SS. Gervase and Protase,
All you holy Martyrs,
St. Sylvester,
St. Gregory,
St. Ambrose,
St. Augustine,
St. Jerome,
St. Martin,
St. Nicholas,
All you holy bishops and confessors,
All you holy doctors,
St. Anthony,
St. Benedict,
St. Bernard,
St. Dominic,
St. Francis,
All you holy priests and levites,
All you holy monks and hermits,
St. Mary Magdalen,
St. Agatha,
St. Lucy,
St. Agnes,
St. Cecilia,
St. Catherine,
St. Anastasia,
All you holy virgins and widows,
All you holy men and women, saints of God, intercede for us. 
Be merciful, spare us, O Lord. 
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord. 
From all evil, deliver us, O Lord. (repeat after each line)
From all sin,
From Thy wrath,
From a sudden and unprovided death,
From the deciets of the devil,
From anger, and hatred, and all ill-will,
From the spirit of fornication,
From lightning and tempest,
From the scourge of earthquakes,
From plague, famine and war,
From everlasting death,
By the mystery of Thy holy incarnation,
By Thy coming,
By Thy nativity,
By Thy baptism and holy fasting,
By Thy Cross and Passion,
By Thy Death and burial,
By Thy holy Resurrection,
By Thine admirable Ascension,
By the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete.
On the day of judgment.
We sinners, we beseech Thee, hear us (repeat after each line)
That Thou wouldst spare us,
That Thou wouldst pardon us,
That Thou wouldst bring us to true penance,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to govern and preserve Thy Holy Church,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all ecclesiastical orders in holy religion,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy Church,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant peace and unity to all Christian peoples,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to ring back to the unity of the Church all who have strayed away, and lead to the light of the Gospel all unbelievers,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service,
That Thou wouldst lift up our minds to heavenly desires,
That Thou wouldst render eternal blessings to all our benefactors,
That Thou wouldst deliver our souls, and the souls of our brethren, relatives, and benefactors from eternal damnation,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,
That Thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to hear us, Son of God,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. 
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us. 
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us. 
Lord, have mercy on us. 

Our Father, etc. (inaudibly) 
V. And lead us not into temptation 
R. But deliver us from evil.

Old House Features

Remember dutch doors, sleeping porches, transom windows, laundry chutes, and root cellars? It looks like they might be making a comeback! From Bob Vila:
Popular with the 18th-century Dutch settlers of New York and New Jersey, so-called Dutch doors are split horizontally in the middle; open just the top to keep out animals while letting in light and air. Making your own is straightforward. Saw any wood door in half, then attach each half to the door frame with two hinges apiece. A simple sliding bolt joins the top and bottom as a single, solid panel. (Read more.)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Psalm 42

Psalm 42. Iudica me Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me. Quia tu es Deus fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti, et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?

"Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man. For thou art God my strength: why hast thou cast me off? And why do I go sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me?" Share

Coronation of Maria Theresa

On June 25, 1741, the young Habsburg Archduchess was anointed and crowned Queen of Hungary at the cathedral in Pressburg. Share

Marriage and the Supreme Court

From Christine Niles:
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - The U.S. Supreme Court is about to issue a history-making ruling on marriage, with the opinion for the case Obergefell v. Hodges expected to be handed down any day now. At stake is whether the states will retain the right to define marriage on their own terms, as they always have in the past, or whether the Supreme Court will impose a straight-jacket ruling on all 50 states redefining marriage.
Obergefell is a consolidation of cases from four states — Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky — with gay residents of each state suing their respective state bans on gay "marriage." At the heart of the analysis are two questions:
  • Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
  • Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
More specifically, the Court will examine whether a fundamental "right to gay marriage" can be found in either the Due Process Clause or the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
John Bursch, former solicitor general for the state of Michigan (a devout Catholic and married father of five), is arguing on behalf of the states' right both to refuse to license same-sex "marriages" and to refuse to recognize the same from other states. Mary Bonauto, representing the opposition, is arguing that the Constitution implicitly contains a fundamental right to gay "marriage" under the Fourteenth Amendment. Bonauto is also a Catholic, and is in a lesbian "marriage" with her longtime partner with whom she is raising twin daughters.
The lower court decision on appeal before the Supreme Court had upheld the states' bans on gay marriage, encapsulating its reasoning thus:
What we are left with is this: By creating a status (marriage) and by subsidizing it (e.g., with tax-filing privileges and deductions), the States created an incentive for two people who procreate together to stay together for purposes of rearing offspring. That does not convict the States of irrationality, only of awareness of the biological reality that couples of the same sex do not have children in the same way as couples of opposite sexes and that couples of the same sex do not run the risk of unintended offspring. That explanation, still relevant today, suffices to allow the States to retain authority over an issue they have regulated from the beginning.
Because marriage has traditionally been reserved to each individual state's sphere of governance, and because the states have a rational basis for restricting marriage only to a man and a woman (namely, procreation and children), according to the appellate court, it has no authority to define policy in this area, and therefore ruled in favor of each state's right to define marriage according to legislative will.
But Bonauto is arguing that the U.S. Constitution trumps states' rights in this case. Both the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses have been used in the past as a "catch-all" for various fundamental rights — most notoriously the Due Process Clause, which ushered in a so-called right to abortion in the 1973 case Roe v. Wade. (Read more.)

The Sacrament of Penance and Hollywood

From The Catholic Thing:
A prime example of Hitchcock’s creative incorporation of his Catholicism occurs, for example, in his 1953 movie I Confess, where Montgomery Clift portrays a priest charged with murder. He cannot defend himself properly, because he cannot reveal the confession of the true murderer. Plot twists involving the seal of the confessional have long fascinated many writers, including scriptwriters, because of the potentially high stakes: imprisonment or execution on the one hand versus possible damnation on the other.

Another classic movie showcasing confession is John Ford’s The Fugitive, his version of Graham Greene’s powerful novel The Power and the Glory. The book portrayed a whisky-priest-turned-martyr during the Mexican persecutions of the 20th century, which produced many real-life martyrs such as Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro. (Ford’s priest is torn by doubt and cowardice rather than alcohol and lechery.) The priest is trapped into revealing himself through an appeal to hear a dying man’s confession.

And there are also some good books worth consulting on Catholic movies and moviemakers. A good place to start is Catholics in the Movies edited by Colleen McDannell. In addition, the recently published Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends, by Mary Claire Kendall and Dolores Hart, presents some amazing stories of Catholic converts and reverts in Tinsel Town. (Read more.)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Racism and the Confederate Flag

I have a confession to make. My ancestors in Alabama kept slaves and I am a daughter of Confederate soldiers. It is easy to be self-righteous about an evil institution when one's ancestors were from a part of the world where slavery was non-existent. On my father's side I am descended from Irish Catholic agricultural workers who were having a devil of a time making a living, and were often treated as slaves in their own country. On my mother's side, I am descended from English and Scottish Protestants who had large land holdings in the South and used slave labor. But most of the population of the South did not have slaves. Slaves cost a great deal of money and most people in the South could not afford to keep them. So when they fought for the Confederacy, they were not fighting for slavery but for States' Rights.

Slavery is a sad fact of our national history but it is as much a part of our history as D-Day and the Gettysburg Address. America was built by the labor of slaves and immigrant workers who were often treated worse than slaves. To erase all memory of it is dangerous for it erases an evil which should keep us humble and vigilant as citizens of a free country.

Taking down every Confederate battle flag will not change what was. And I can assure you that no man who fought under that flag would have condoned the craven massacre of grandmothers and other devout people gathered to study the Holy Bible in a house of worship. Here is what the Sons of the Confederacy have to say on the matter:
On the night of June 17, 2015, an attempt was made to break the spirit of all South Carolinians.

The deranged mind of a horrendous individual, entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, and took the lives of nine admirable individuals. This historic House of God became the scene of a brutal massacre beyond understanding. We all contemplate, why did this happen?

Perhaps this is a question that cannot be answered. What kind of a world are we leaving behind for our children, when you can’t go into God’s House without the threat of being gunned down? This is, in fact a crime of hate and an act of terrorism. It is reported that the culprit’s craving was to bring about “civil” war and division between Black and White citizens of the Palmetto State. This did not happen. We will not allow it to happen. South Carolinians will stand together hand in hand regardless of race, creed, or skin color to prevent it from happening. South Carolina will not cower to the evil deeds of one hateful being.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans extends our heartfelt sympathy to the families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy. We stand with the citizens of Charleston as they come together to mourn the loss of these beloved individuals. We pray that God will grant them comfort and peace during this time of despair. Emanuel Church proclaims compassion, peace, and justice throughout the historic Grand City of the South. This congregation stands for what is right and is a force against evil. Hatred has reared its ugly face in our country masquerading as political correctness. What God has ordained as righteous and just will always be righteous and just. What God has ordained as evil will always be evil. No man, government, or principality has authority to change the will of God.

Hatred is evil. Recent acts in Charleston are just plain evil. South Carolinians have chosen to defeat evil by offering love and support of each other, rather than disobedience, distrust and destruction. Disobedience and destruction only breeds yet more hatred and evil.

Historical fact shows there were Black Confederate soldiers. These brave men fought in the trenches beside their White brothers, all under the Confederate Battle Flag. This same Flag stands as a memorial to these soldiers on the grounds of the SC Statehouse today. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a historical honor society, does not delineate which Confederate soldier we will remember or honor. We cherish and revere the memory of all Confederate veterans. None of them, Black or White, shall be forgotten.

The SC Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans has a stringently enforced Hate Policy. We will remove any member who expresses racist hatred sentiments. Anyone with ties to racist organizations will not be granted membership. The perpetrator of the vile act in Charleston has never been a member or associated with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Unfortunately some other subversive organizations distort Confederate symbols in an attempt to make them stand for hatred and disillusion. The SCV vehemently opposes the ideals and actions of such organizations.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans has both Black and White members. In our eyes there is no difference. Our membership is made up of descendants of Native-Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Christians and Jewish who took a stand for the Cause they believed was right. The love and defense of the South’s symbols, culture, and heritage is not hate. It is knowing and understanding of the truth.

Not knowing your heritage is ignorance. (Read more.)

Leonardo's 500 Year Old Instrument

From Engadget:
Leonardo da Vinci invented numerous devices that he never built, including the viola organista -- a machine-like instrument that combines a harpsichord, an organ and a viola da gamba. This 500-year-old idea is now a reality, however, thanks to Polish musician Slawomir Zubrzycki. His 5,000-hour project faithfully recreates da Vinci's concept, using a keyboard to press steel strings against moving wheels wrapped in horse hair. The results are sweet-sounding, despite the seemingly odd approach; as you'll hear in a debut performance after the break, Zubrzycki effectively becomes a one-man string ensemble. While it's doubtful that you'll ever find a viola organista in the local music shop, the one-off creation proves that da Vinci knew how to blend technology and art. (Read more.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

An Elegant French Interior

From Victoria:
Through the viewfinder of her own camera, transplanted American Corey Amaro guides us through the four-hundred-year-old French home she has painstakingly designed as a haven for hand-me-down treasures and flea-market finds.

 “The sense of love” is among the prized possessions in Corey Amaro’s home, she says, along with “an angel that my grandmother brought with her when she left the Azores and came to America alone when she was 14.”

This home is hidden off an alley in a one-thousand-year-old fishing village so anchored in history, it boasts roads built by the ancient Roman engineers. It is filled with French antiques, pieces Cory carefully chose and arranged just so to create a constant source of serenity and to help stave off the kind of homesickness that only an expat can feel. (Read more.)

Return of the Romanovs

From the Express:
The Romanov family's extraordinary return would not threaten the rule of the Kremlin strongman but would aim to give them a role in unifying Russia. The move proposed by Vladimir Petrov, a law maker from Putin's party, has prompted speculation that it has the Russian leader's direct approval.

Petrov also plans to introduce a law, which would be implemented by the centenary of the end of Imperial rule, which would "give the Royal family members a special status" and "stimulate their return to Russia".

The legislator has written letters to the heirs of the Romanov dynasty, which ruled the country for two centuries before the abdication of last Tsar Nicholas II ahead of two revolutions in 1917.

The following year the Romanov family - Nicholas and his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei - were executed by Bolsheviks led by Yakov Yurovsky under the orders of the Ural Soviet. Petrov has written to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and Prince Dimitri Romanovich urging them to return to Russia to become symbols of national culture in order to "revive the spiritual power of Russian people". (Read more.)

A Minimalistic Approach to Summer

From Keeper of the Home:
I’d love to imagine that I’m going to catch up on my sleep this summer, but with two elementary-aged kiddos roaming my house, that’s not going to happen. (They haven’t reached the sleeping in phase yet.)

Rather, my rest is going to come from refusing to run everywhere all summer long. Our commitments are few, and we’re trying to stay at home. It may mean long, boring summer days for our kids – which is OK!! – and hopefully it will mean more time spent as a family, whether we’re eating out on our deck, reading books together on a blanket in the shade, or going on neighborhood walks together. (Read more.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Madame Royale and Her Papa

From Vive la Reine:
Marie Thérèse and her father shared an affectionate relationship that began during the first days of her life. Ambassador Mercy wrote, of the week after her birth, that the king “did not want to leave the château even to take a walk,” and that he spent most of his day in the Queen’s chambers, dividing “his time between the Queen and his august child, to whom he shows the most touching love.” Some of the first words spoken by the young Marie Thérèse were, to the delight of her parents, “Papa.” 
In his recollections of the royal family’s imprisonment in the Temple, Jean-Baptiste Cléry recalled the pain that the king felt in being separated from his family during his trial proceedings, but especially from being separated from his child on her birthday:
On the 19th of December the king said to me while dining: ‘Fourteen years ago you got up earlier than you did to-day.’ I understood His Majesty at once. ‘That was the day my daughter was born,’ he continued tenderly, ‘and to-day, her birthday, I am deprived of seeing her!’ A few tears rolled from his eyes, and a respectful silence reigned for a moment.
Cléry also recollected the family’s final parting from their husband, brother and father:
“Adieu–” He uttered that “adieu” in so expressive a manner that the sobs redoubled. Madame Royale fell fainting at the king’s feet, which she clasped.
(Read more.)


Poetess Kateri Lanthier in New York City

From Brick Books:
Kateri Lanthier’s work has been among my favorite recent “discoveries”. For one thing, it is encouraging to know I’m not alone in having “gone underground” and hibernating, hopefully to “re-emerge” in time. The surfaces of her work reveal a long period of preparation that has gone unnoticed by us, outside observers. Indeed, it is rare for me to find so many points of commonality that are everywhere apparent.

Having bemoaned the absence of musicality in contemporary poetry, if Lanthier is any indication, we have come round full circle back to lyricism and song again. First and foremost Lanthier for me is a poet of vowels. “…Crockery smashed/ by scullery maids/ and washed, washed,/ washed to the bone.” And a little later: “Our stroller did the boardwalk wobble./ Dazed on the sand,/ daylight stargazers felt the slow burn.” (From “Beached” in her first collection Reporting from Night; Iguana Books, 2011).

Yes, I know the consonances (the modulation of their alliteration) is handled deftly as well, but it is the pleasure of the babbling brook of low vowels, their alternating pitches filling differently the mouth, that is the mark of a master craftswoman. Granted, I’m merely offering a snatch of one of the first poems in the book; he didn’t bother reading the rest, you will say. But you are mistaken: I did, and could offer a similarly impressive performance from practically each of Kateri’s poems, wishing to return to read them again and again.

There is so much sonic energy here, and the other tools Pound spoke of, phanopoeia and logopoeia, image and wit. Moreover, what I admire in her work, desiring so much to fulfill it in my own, is a quirky playfulness that is yet not divorced of sense. She is one of a growing handful of the younger generation of poets now coming into their own. I truly look forward to seeing what Kateri does next.

To learn more about Kateri, please visit Iguana Books website. Her second collection is coming out with Signal Editions Poetry (Véhicule Press) in spring 2017.

Kateri is one of the readers from The Best Canadian Poetry in English in New York City on Wednesday, June 24 at the KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street. (Read more.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Embroidery with Elisabetta Ricami a Mano

From Victoria:
The Italian blog Elisabetta Ricami a Mano draws an international following for its splendid examples of hand embroidery. Many readers who visit–enchanted by the extraordinary ability of its talented founder–linger to experience the bliss of her journey with a needle and thread.

For needle artist Elisabetta Sforza, of San Bonifacio, Italy, childhood strolls through the ancient byways of Assisi led to creative expression. Women sat outdoors then, she recalls, embellishing linens with mythological figures rendered in powder blue or rusty brown. Captivated by this style of cross-stitch, the 7-year-old was also taken with the camaraderie among the villagers as they worked. (Read more.)

On the Wrong Side of History

From The Public Discourse:
In 1790, when Edmund Burke wrote his classic essay, Reflections on the Revolution in France, the reactions were not positive. He was not popular among the London elites, to say the least. As L.G. Mitchell recounts, “Burke was rejected right across the political spectrum.” Not only did radicals such as Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft “dislike the book,” but the members of his own Whig party disowned it: Charles James Fox considered the Reflections “to be in very bad taste” and the future Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger found only “rhapsodies in which there is much to admire and nothing to agree with.”

Yet Burke, the reform-minded statesman, decided to stand against the proclamations of the French Revolution. Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity—who would want to be against that? Burke, apparently. And he prophesied the coming Terror and the rise of Napoleon, because he refused to give in to the tyrannical dictates of eighteenth-century deified Reason.

Of course, the French Revolution and the current deconstruction of marriage are morally distinct. Yet the point remains: standing against self-anointed makers of progress is not the same as standing against the way of genuine social progress. In fact, it is sometimes just the opposite.

Moral Courage to Oppose the Spirit of the Age

Many movements will come and go, but the real moral crisis stands: as a result of the sexual revolution, the Western moral imagination has broken down to such an extent that it is considered inappropriate to articulate what marriage is. As Michael Hanby writes: “we live in revolutionary times, even if this revolution is the full flower of seeds planted long ago.” The quasi-Nietzschean transvaluation of values has led to the fact that what was once the collective wisdom of the ages concerning the human family, Hanby continues,
is now regarded by many as obsolete and even hopelessly bigoted, as court after court, demonstrating that this revolution has profoundly transformed even the meaning of reason itself, has declared that this bygone wisdom now fails even to pass the minimum legal threshold of rational cogency.
Those are strong words, but they capture the “spirit of the times.” I imagine Burke must have felt the same way: the collective wisdom of the past concerning our duties to the dead and the unborn was laid waste by the Jacobins in their haste to worship Reason deified and redefined. Our current situation is similar, though this revolution is more subtle and potent. The collapse of our marriage culture has been slow and its recession pernicious.

It took just one Anglo-Irish statesman to speak out and wake up Great Britain to the dangers of a revolution that, through its changes in the law, would erode the institutions of civil society. Likewise, it may only take a few from my generation to spark a moral revival. The current redefinitions of the very words we use, as Alice von Hildebrand says, is “a severe moral crisis in which the eternal truths have been exchanged for temporary fads.” The real choice for those feeling demoralized is this: Which will you stand for?

The restoration of eternal truths of human nature requires more than speaking. This opportunity to witness to the human family for the good of all individuals requires virtue. Courage, Aristotle noted, makes all the other virtues possible. But physical courage is not enough. As von Hildebrand explains,
Physical courage—something you find on athletic fields, for example—is very common, but moral courage is not. It is not easy to stand up for what is right when that might mean losing one’s job, one’s family or even one’s life. It is far easier to keep quiet and let things slide.
Moral courage means placing more value upon the integrity of conscience over the stability of external events: being denied tenure, a plum internship, some job, friends who cannot tolerate “bigoted” opinions . . . prudence is necessary, yet those of my generation who stand for what the family is, what marriage is, and what the foundational institutions of civil society rooted in our rational and social natures are, make possible a new counter-revolution. (Read more.)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Death of Fersen

From Vive la Reine:
June 20th, 1810
Axel Fersen, who had been falsely accused of poisoning the Crown Prince of Sweden, was attacked by a mob during the prince’s funeral procession. The guards and police riding with the procession did nothing to halt the attack, which grew from insults and rocks to a vicious assault. Fersen was ultimately beaten and stomped to death.

The Irish: The Forgotten White Slaves

From People's Trust Toronto:
The Irish slave trade began when James VI sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World. His Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves. Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white.

From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade. Families were ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them across the Atlantic. This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well.

During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia.

Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.

Many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish. However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.

As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.

African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (£50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than £5 Sterling). If a planter whipped, branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African.

The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce.

Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish mothers, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their children and would remain in servitude.

In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls (many as young as 12) with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves.

This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company. (Read more.)
More HERE. Share

How Hitler Came to Power

From the Holocaust Memorial Museum:
Hitler was a powerful and spellbinding speaker who attracted a wide following of Germans desperate for change. He promised the disenchanted a better life and a new and glorious Germany. The Nazis appealed especially to the unemployed, young people, and members of the lower middle class (small store owners, office employees, craftsmen, and farmers).

The party's rise to power was rapid. Before the economic depression struck, the Nazis were practically unknown, winning only 3 percent of the vote to the Reichstag (German parliament) in elections in 1924. In the 1932 elections, the Nazis won 33 percent of the votes, more than any other party. In January 1933 Hitler was appointed chancellor, the head of the German government, and many Germans believed that they had found a savior for their nation. (Read more.)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The New Encyclical: LAUDATO SI'

I love the new Encyclical. In one stroke Our Holy Father Pope Francis takes back the stewardship of creation for the Church. The stewardship of Creation is not a leftist cause to be used as a means of forcing population control in the world. Pope Francis puts it in the perspective of Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Popes and the saints. The preservation of Creation is OUR cause, and is linked to the Franciscan tradition, which emphasizes how the beauty of creation flows through the mystery of the Immaculate Conception. It also reminds me of those earthly gifts: nature and health and gardens and how the beauty of nature feeds the soul. Share

Life Below the Stairs

From All Things Georgian:
The sitting rooms in daily use are first to be prepared. Upon entering the room in the morning, the housemaid should immediately open the windows to admit the fresh air. She should then remove the fender and rug from the fire-place, and cover, with a coarse cloth, the marble hearth, while the ashes and cinders are collected together and removed. The grate and fire-irons are afterwards to be carefully cleaned. If the grate have bright bars, it should be rubbed with fine emery paper, which will remove the burnt appearance of the bars. Fine polished fire-irons, if not suffered to rust, will only require to be well rubbed with a leather.

The carpet should be swept with the carpet broom not oftener than once a week, as more frequent use of the broom would wear the carpet too fast but, each day, it should be swept with a good hair broom, after it has been sprinkled with moist tea leaves. Sofas, and any other nice furniture, should be covered over with a large calico cloth, kept for that purpose, before the sweeping commences; and window curtains should be hung up as high as they can be out of the way of the dust. After the carpet is swept, the dust must be removed, either with a soft round brush, or with a very clean linen duster, from the panels of the doors, the windows and window- frames, ledges, and skirting boards. The frames of pictures and looking-glasses should never be touched with linen, but the dust should be cleared from them with a painter’s brush, or a bunch of feathers. (Read more.)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bust of Charles X, 1825

Via Vive la Reine. Share

Slaves of ISIS

Someone please save them. From Clarion Project:
At least 150 Yazidi women and girls killed themselves after they were forced to become Islamic State sex slaves, according to a woman working with some of the survivors who managed to escape.

In one of the most comprehensive accounts of the effects of Islamic State brutality, details emerged of the ordeals faced by hundreds of Yazidi women, very often after their male relatives were butchered by Islamic State members.

Irifan Mahdi, who is trying to help the women rehabilitate into some semblance of normative society spoke of the horrors in an interview with the Sputnik news organization’s Arabic website.

She told the story of Jilan Barjess-Naif, 17, “a beautiful green-eyed girl, with rare blonde hair, who slashed her own wrists in a public bathhouse near Mosul, northern Iraq, which is under Islamic State control.”

She was separated from the less attractive girls and singled out for special rape treatment before being put up for sale in a sex market.

After she committed suicide, Islamic State members threw her body from the bathhouse into the nearest garbage dumpster.

Jilan’s sister, Jihan, committed suicide a few days after being captured and transferred, along with other girls, to A-Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital, in order to be sold at a slave market.

Their pregnant mother, also captured, gave birth to a child in a cave. She was freed recently and returned home “as a mad woman” after the suicides of her daughters. As if all of this was not enough, Islamic State executed six of Jilan and Jihan’s siblings and their father and arrested 20 other members of the family. The whereabouts of some are still unknown.

The fate of the Barjess-Naif family from Qar-Aziz in the Sinjar region of Iraq is by no means unique, according to Majid.

Mahdi said she knows of 150 Yazidis who committed suicide and believes the real figure is considerably higher. “They preferred to die than to live in brutal sexual slavery and violence by organization members,” she said.
“The bodies of some who committed suicide were thrown to the dogs,” said Yazidi nurse Amal Hasou, who works in an IDP (internally displaced people) camp. (Read more.)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bust of Madame Elisabeth of France

Via Tiny-Librarian. Share

Marie-Antoinette and Tolerance

Someone wrote to me, accusing me of intolerance because of my defense of the marriage bond. I was told I should take Marie-Antoinette as an example, because she was tolerant. But really, it is not that I am against "gay marriage." There is no such thing as "gay marriage" for me to be against. For two persons of the same sex to "marry" is a biological impossibility according to the natural law and any human laws to the contrary are aiding and abetting a fantasy. Anyone who wants to stop following my blog because of my opinion on this issue is free to do so. But don't throw Marie-Antoinette up to my face and say that she would be in favor of "gay marriage" because she was "tolerant." Marie-Antoinette was a practicing Catholic who refused to receive the sacraments from any priest not in union with Rome. She was loyal to the Church, and sins against nature were particularly repellent to her. Share

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Verse for Louis XVI

Via Vive la Reine.
The hands of Divinity
Louis, sends you the crown
The scepter, the sword, the law gives to you
But it is your virtues and your kindness
Which assures you the throne in our hearts
–verse written in honor of the coronation of Louis XVI, 1775 Share

Caroline Herrera on Beauty

From The Washington Post:
Herrera is not a prude. She is more than willing to give her customers a plunging neckline, but doing so requires care and a precise placement of the breasts underneath the fabric. “If it’s open so much, they look like fried eggs,” Herrera says. “Fashion is about proportion.”

The Carolina Herrera brand debuted in 1981. A socialite, Herrera was urged into fashion by the legendary editor Diana Vreeland. In 1995, the company was purchased by the Barcelona-based luxury conglomerate, Puig, which also owns Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne, as well as a controlling interest in Jean Paul Gaultier. Of these fashion houses, Herrera’s is probably the least attentive to shifts in trends. To stay true to one’s aesthetic sometimes means shunning fads, which can leave a designer outside the fashion conversation. “For me, fashion is about originality, sophistication and beauty,” Herrera says. “I’m not in the fashion business; I’m in the beauty business.”
“You can’t always please the press,” Herrera says. “That’s for your ego.” (Read more.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Louis XVI: Death With Dignity

From Tiny-Librarian:
He went to the scaffold with composure and great courage. He told the crowd that he forgave his accussers and hopes that his death prevents any further bloodshed. Six months later, the Reign of Terror started. “I die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge; I Pardon those who have occasioned my death; and I pray to God that the blood you are going to shed may never be visited on France.” (Read more.)

Aran Sweaters and Other Irish Crafts

From Irish Central:
Aran Fisherman Sweaters, which take their name from the three Aran Islands of Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer, are handmade made purely from wool in a variety of stitch patterns, behind each of which lies a story or symbol.

For example, the common Cable Stitch depicts fishermen's ropes and represents good weather at sea. The Diamond Stitch symbolizes the small, neat fields of the Aran Islands, the Irish Moss Stitch symbolizes growth and abundance, and various other stitches represent stories of religion or elements of nature.

With such careful stitching by the few Aran sweater makers left, each article of clothing is its own artform which can take up to two months to create.

Another example of a historical, cultural artifact, one that some may not know has Irish origins, is the Irish tweed hats and coats. The weaving and spinning of tweed is actually an integral part of Irish culture, as the tweed industry was the main source of income for many families in Ireland’s northern counties from 1890 to the mid 1900s.

Tweed weavers were inspired by the colorful, wild northern landscape. The craft of working by hand has been passed down for many generations – a fine example of Irish tradition staying true to its roots over time. Many families today even use the same looms as their ancestors. (Read more.)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sophia, the Electress of Hanover

Princess Sophia of the Palatinate was the younger sister of both the famous Prince Rupert of the Rhine and of Princess Louise of the Rhine, who became a Catholic and a Benedictine nun. They were the children of the beautiful Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I. Sophia was declared heir to the British throne when quite an old lady. Several other claimants, including the son and grandsons of James II, were passed over because they were Catholic. To quote from The Never-ending Book:
Born to Frederick V, Elector Palatine, and Elizabeth Stuart, in 1630, Sophia grew up in the Dutch Republic, where her family had sought refuge after the sequestration of their Electorate during the Thirty Years' War. Sophia's brother Charles Louis was restored to the Palatinate as part of the Peace of Westphalia. Sophia married Ernest Augustus of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1658. Despite his jealous temper and frequent absences, Sophia loved him, and bore him seven children who survived to adulthood. Initially a landless cadet, Ernest Augustus succeeded in having the House of Hanover raised to electoral dignity in 1692. Therefore, Sophia became Electress of Hanover, the title by which she is best remembered. A patron of the arts, Sophia commissioned the palace and gardens of Herrenhausen and sponsored philosophers, such as Gottfried Leibniz and John Toland. (Read more.)

Tom Piatak Interviews Ann Coulter

Here is a thought-provoking exchange from Chronicles:
TP: You also note that “since 1970 over 90% of all legal immigrants have been from the Third World and the majority need tax payer assistance.” And then you say “Conservatives have been buffaloed into thinking that they are the ones who want to change the county. No, the question is: why is it better that the the ethnic composition of the country be changed?” Why is it wrong for ordinary Americans to say, I want to preserve the country I grew up in? Isn’t that a normal, natural human impulse? What’s wrong, why do people think that’s wrong for us to feel that way?

A: It goes back to the civil rights movement. People act as if all immigrants are black. And somehow white people should be embarrassed about being white because this is a very successful country and we are supposed to be embarrassed about being successful. If we are successful, then we must have done something to other countries, we must have stolen from them, or stolen their ideas, or oppressed them. Well, no we didn’t. We didn’t have any colonies. We were a colony. What is the price for being a successful society? How long do we have to keep engaging in self-flagellation?

And in fact, I’d say if white Anglo-Saxons have a flaw, it is their tendency to sit quietly while others abuse and denounce them. There is no other ethnic group that does that. You know the French think it’s fantastic to be French. Russians are totally chauvinistic about being Russian. Only white Anglo-Saxons always seem to be in the position for apologizing for being white Anglo-Saxons. Well, no: You can come in and you can be part of what is a white Anglo-Saxon-American culture, which is better than the culture that it was created from. I mean we are better than England. Sorry to any British readers, but America did create something even better. (Read more.)

Read Part II, HERE. Share

Sunday, June 14, 2015


From Anna Gibson:
A snuff box with a stolen history! This snuff box was commissioned for the Duchesse d’Angoulême and features two views of the the château de Fontainebleau. The box was stolen by Napoleon during the Hundred Days; he found several similar boxes on a table in the apartment of Louis XVIII and kept them until his death. (Read more.)

The Five Stages of Religious Persecution

From Monsignor Charles Pope:
Here then are the Five stages: 

I. Stereotyping the targeted group – To stereotype means to repeat without variation, to take a quality or observation of a limited number, and generalize it of the whole group. It involves a simplified and standardized conception or view of a group based on observation of a limited sample.
And thus as the 1960s and 70s progressed Catholics and Bible-believing Christians were often caricatured in the media as Bible thumpers, simpletons, as backwards, mentally simple, haters of science, hypocrites, self-righteous, old-fashioned and so forth.
Catholics in particular were also accused of having neurotic guilt, hatred or aversion of sexuality, of being in a sexist institution. of it being stuck in the past, with too many rules, being authoritarian, of having clergy who were sexually repressed, homosexuals or pedophiles.
Basically as the stereotype goes, Catholics and Bible believing Christians are a sad, angry, boring, backward and repressed lot. To many who accept the stereotyping we are a laughable, even tragic group, caught in a superstitious past, incapable of throwing off the shackles of faith.
To be sure, not everyone engages in this stereotyping to the same degree, but here are the basic refrains of it. And the general climate of this sort of stereotyping sets the foundation for the next stage.

II. Vilifying the targeted Group for alleged crimes or misconduct, – As the stereotyping grows in intensity, Catholics and Christians,  who did not toe the line in the cultural revolution were described as, close-minded, harmful to human dignity and freedom, intolerant, hateful, bigoted, unfair, homophobic, reactionary and just plain mean and basically bad people.
The History of the Church is also described myopically as little more than bad and repressive behavior as we conducted crusades, inquisitions, and hated Galileo and all of science. Never mind that there might be a little more to the story, or that the Church founded universities, and hospitals, was the patron of the arts, and preached a Gospel that brought order and civilization to divided and barbarous time in the aftermath of the Roman Empire. Stereotyping will hear little of that, or, if it does, it will give the credit to anything or anyone but the Church and the faith.
In writing this, I fully expect to get a bevy of comments saying in effect that this is exactly what we are. And not only will they feel justified in saying this, but even righteous as they say so, so ingrained has this vilifying become in the wider culture.
As with any large group, individual Christians and Catholics will manifest some negative traits, but stereotyping and vilifying, and crudely and indiscriminately presuming the negative traits of a few to be common to all in unjust.
Yet all of this has the effect of creating a self-righteous indignation toward believers and of making anti-Catholic and anti-Christian attitudes a permissible bigotry for many today.

III. Marginalizing the targeted group’s role in society – Having established the (untrue) premise that the Church and the faith is very bad, and even harmful to human dignity and freedom, the next stage seeks to relegate the role of the Church to the margins.
To many in secularized culture, religion must go. They will perhaps let us have our hymns etc. in the four walls of our churches, but the faith must be banished from the public square.
In this stage it becomes increasingly unacceptable and intolerable that anyone should mention God, pray publicly or in any way bring their Christian faith to bear on matters of public policy. Nativity sets must go, out with Christmas trees, even the colors green and red at “holiday time” are banished from many public schools.
Do not even think of mentioning Jesus or of publicly thanking him in your valedictorian address, you could very well have a Circuit Court judge forbid you under penalty of law. You can thank the Madonna, but only if you mean the singer.
The LGBT club is welcome to set up shop and pass out rainbow colored condoms at the high school, but Christians better hit the road, no Bibles or pamphlets better see the light of day anywhere in the school building…separation of Church and state you know.

IV. Criminalizing the targeted group or its works – Can someone say HHS mandate?
But prior to this egregious attempt to violate our religious liberty there have been many other times we have had to go to court to fight for our rights to openly practice our faith. Increasing litigation is being directed against the Church and other Christians for daring to live out our faith.
Some jurisdictions have sought to compel Catholic hospitals and pro-life clinics to provide information or referrals for abortion, to provide “emergency contraception” (i.e. the abortifacient known as the morning after pill), Several branches of Catholic Charities have been de-certified from doing adoption work because they will not adopt children to gay couples. The State of Connecticut sought regulate the structure, organization and running of Catholic parishes in 2009. And recently a number of Christian valedictorians in various states have suffered legal injunctions when it was discovered that they would dare to mention God, and Jesus in their talk. (More HERE)
Many of these attempts to criminalize the faith have been successfully rebuffed in the courts, but the frequency of lawsuits, and the time and cost involved with fighting them is a huge burden. It is clear that attempts to criminalize Christian behavior is a growth sector in this culture and signals the beginnings and steady erosion of religious liberty.
Many indeed feel quite righteous, quite politically correct in their work to legally separate the practice of the faith from the public square.

V. Persecuting the targeted group outright – If current trends continue, Christians, especially religious leaders, may not be far from enduring heavy fines and jail.
Already in Canada and parts of Europe Catholic clergy have been arrested and charged with “hate crimes” for preaching Catholic Doctrine on homosexual activity.
In this country there are greater provisions for free speech but, as we have seen, there is a steady erosion in religious liberty and many Catholic dioceses are well familiar with having to spend long periods in courts defending basic religious liberty. The trajectory points to suffering, lawsuits, fines, desertification, and ultimately jail. (Read more.)

Sebastian Junger on PTSD

From The New Beginning:
Any discussion of PTSD and its associated sense of alienation in society must address the fact that many soldiers find themselves missing the war after it’s over. That troubling fact can be found in written accounts from war after war, country after country, century after century. Awkward as it is to say, part of the trauma of war seems to be giving it up. There are ancient human behaviors in war—loyalty, inter-reliance, cooperation—that typify good soldiering and can’t be easily found in modern society. This can produce a kind of nostalgia for the hard times that even civilians are susceptible to: after World War II, many Londoners claimed to miss the communal underground living that characterized life during the Blitz (despite the fact that more than 40,000 civilians lost their lives). And the war that is missed doesn’t even have to be a shooting war: “I am a survivor of the AIDS epidemic,” a man wrote on the comment board of an online talk I gave about war. “Now that AIDS is no longer a death sentence, I must admit that I miss those days of extreme brotherhood … which led to deep emotions and understandings that are above anything I have felt since the plague years.” (Read more.)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Ursulines in France

From Madame Gilflurt's salon:
The nuns taught the girls how to examine their consciences and recount their faults to a confessor. The priest had the power of absolution, but it was the nuns who ensured that the sacrament of penance took place and was effective. In my novel, the heroine, Claire Donet has made a vow to a dying girl to become a nun and worries much about the penance she may be required to pay because of her feelings for the handsome Captain Simon Powell. But, as the Mother Superior taught Claire, the Ursulines believed that holiness was achieved not be retreating from the challenges of an imperfect world, but by going into that world and meeting those challenges armed with knowledge.

Since the convent schools in France were primarily for the daughters of the French nobility and the wealthy, the girls might have been taught some mathematics along with reading, writing, Bible instruction, needlework, art and music. Art would have included art appreciation, not just learning to draw and paint. Writing classes would focus on not only on the development of a graceful hand, but the proper forms of address and the proper construction of well thought out and effective letters.

At all times there would have been an emphasis on deportment, etiquette and the social graces. In the formal sense of education, this would have been extended to include development of menus, the proper way to set the table and other things a lady would be expected to know to run her own household. (At one point, the hero in my story is disappointed to learn the heroine cannot cook.) (Read more.)

Medieval Medicines

From Dig Ventures:
Founded in 1160 by Augustinian monks, Soutra was a massive medieval complex large enough to hold 300-400 people. It included a church, a monastery and… the largest hospital in Scotland at the time.

When archaeologists started excavating, they encountered a thick, gooey black substance, which tests later confirmed was human blood. Turns out, these were the remains of blood pits where Soutra’s medieval doctors had emptied human blood and other medical waste which had been preserved in Scotland’s wet soil (including toxic ingredients and even viable spores of contagious diseases…)

From diet pills to anaesthetics, here’s a handful of some of the incredible discoveries from Soutra that will change your view of medieval medicine forever...(Read more.)

Friday, June 12, 2015

A French Gown in Blue and Silver

Robe à la française, mid-18th century, via Vive la Reine. Share

Into Darkness

Theodore Dalrymple writing for City Journal:
The victim’s book, Out of the Darkness, is a classic of a kind. Though her narrative was ghostwritten, Tina Nash was clearly allowed to speak in her own voice: that of an uneducated but not unintelligent member of the British underclass. Nash expresses herself unguardedly and artlessly, as if unaware of what she reveals to the reader about her way of thinking and the subculture in which she has lived her life. It is precisely because of this unself-consciousness that her book is so instructive: it should be required reading for those who believe that degradation in modern society is simply a matter of insufficient money. (Read more.)

Colm Tóibín: A Writer's Battle

From The Telegraph:
After a walk I’ll do some writing. I write in longhand, which is easy in a way because you just find the notebook you were last working on and see if you can add something to it. But writing is always a battle against your own laziness. I have a very beautiful sofa that I can lie full-length on, thinking I’m going to read but actually falling asleep. I really have to do 500 words before I can do the sofa or I wake up feeling very guilty. (Read more.)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Coronation of Louis XIV

Via Tiny-Librarian: "On June 7th, 1654, Louis XIV was crowned King of France. He had been King for eleven years already, but having turned 15 (he would be 16 three months after his coronation) he was declared to be 'of age' to rule on his own without a regent." Share