Saturday, August 31, 2019


How Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl divided a world between them. From The New Yorker:
Two beautiful and ambitious Berliners, born just eight months apart—Marie Magdalene Dietrich, on December 27, 1901; Bertha Helene Amalie Riefenstahl, on August 22, 1902—both bound to shape the fantasies and touch the histories of their time. Two girls growing up amid the fear and chaos of the Great War, two artists committed to impossible ideals of physical beauty, two women who became embodiments not only of the opposing sides of the next war but, for many, of opposing forces in the human soul. They scarcely knew each other, although during the late twenties they were such close neighbors that Riefenstahl claimed she could see into Dietrich’s apartment windows. 
It is unlikely that Dietrich would have looked back. There are a few photographs showing the two of them at the Berlin Press Ball in early 1930: Dietrich, on the brink of the huge success of “The Blue Angel,” smiles and clowns with ease, a jaunty cigarette holder clamped between her lips, the broad planes of her face soaking up the camera’s light and affection; Riefenstahl, then a well-known film actress, too, stands by shy and awkward, self-consciously eclipsed. Decades later, Riefenstahl recorded several anecdotes about Dietrich in her memoirs. Dietrich, in a sketchier memoir of her own, had nothing to say about Riefenstahl. Dietrich’s daughter, however, wrote of hearing a conversation in the mid-thirties about Jewish actors who had been thrown out of Germany. “Soon they won’t have any talent left for their big ‘cultural Reich,’ ” Dietrich said, “except, of course, that terrible Riefenstahl and Emil Jannings. They will stay, and those two ‘well-poisoners’—the Nazis deserve!” 
The two women never saw each other again after 1930, when Dietrich left Germany, nor did they write or speak or maintain more than a few acquaintances in common. Karin Wieland’s dual biography “Dietrich & Riefenstahl: Hollywood, Berlin, and a Century in Two Lives” (Liveright), translated from the German by Shelley Frisch, gets around these problems largely by ignoring them. The book’s alternating sections keep their subjects separate, except on a few inevitable occasions—say, when Riefenstahl received a phone call informing her that Dietrich had won the role that Riefenstahl coveted in “The Blue Angel,” and was so upset that she sent her dinner guest home without his promised goulash. This isn’t the first time the story has been told; it originates in Steven Bach’s 1992 biography of Dietrich. Bach, who interviewed Riefenstahl’s dinner guest, a film-magazine editor, observes that Riefenstahl generally did not audition but, rather, dined.
One could gain more detail about both women by reading two full-scale biographies: Bach has also written an excellent book on Riefenstahl, as has Jürgen Trimborn. Wieland is shrewd, though, about her subjects and has done serious work in German archives, producing documents—a reassuring letter from Riefenstahl to Albert Speer, in 1944, predicting a “great turning point in this war”; an unpublished memoir by Riefenstahl’s inconveniently Jewish early lover-financier; several Dietrich letters—that give her book credibility, texture, and unending interest. This is the story of two glamorous women whose achievements in another time might have been no more substantial than the images on a screen but who assumed real-life roles with the highest historical stakes. However inscrutable human conduct, it is difficult not to search these lives for insight into some of the modern era’s most difficult questions, about illusion and mass intoxication, art and truth, courage and capitulation. (Read more.)

The Kennedys and Abortion

From The Bridgehead:
Since that fateful day in 1963, the tragic and glamorous Kennedys have entered into the political pantheon of those doomed to die young, with lives unfinished and questions unanswered. Teddy Kennedy, who died an old man in 2009, was the only Kennedy brother who did not perish violently: Oldest brother Joe Kennedy was killed in action in World War II, and Robert F. Kennedy was murdered five years after John in a California hotel, just after winning that state’s primary on what might have been his path to the presidency. The murdered Kennedys—martyred, in the eyes of their devotees—have become figures onto which people project their fondest hopes and questions of “what if,” despite inconvenient historical realities. 
I discovered this devotion several years ago when I wrote a column on abortion in the lives of famous people, noting that one of JFK’s mistresses, Judith Campbell Exner, reported aborting a child she conceived with the president the same year he was shot. Some people responded with defensive incredulity to the idea that JFK would have been having an affair, in the first place. One elderly woman informed me angrily that JFK’s well-documented infidelities must have been made up, because the president had a bad back. This particular rebuttal was a tad ironic, since Marilyn Monroe once purred that she thought she made the president’s “back feel better.” 
But it is interesting to look back at the Kennedys as the political family that straddled eras—a Catholic clan where the men chased skirts, the women were expected to raise the children, and the ruthless pursuit of power was the family business. Many have wondered what the Catholic Kennedys would have thought about abortion, a subject that was just beginning to surface in the Sixties and would begin to tear the country apart in the Seventies. As abortion was not an issue during the Kennedy presidency, there is only one comment we know of that JFK made referencing it, in relation to population control: “Now, on the question of limiting population: as you know the Japanese have been doing it very vigorously, through abortion, which I think would be repugnant to all Americans.” 
Interestingly—especially when you consider Senator Ted Kennedy’s later opposition to Supreme Court nominees who opposed abortion and his willingness to go to great extremes to slander good men like Judge Robert Bork in order to keep them off the bench—the 35th president of the United States does have something of a judicial pro-life legacy. It was JFK who appointed Byron White to the Supreme Court, and it was Justice White that wrote the dissent in 1973’s tragic Roe v. Wade case that, with Doe v. Bolton, legalized abortion in all fifty states. Justice White’s dissension, in which he was joined by Justice William Rehnquist, is the only sane part of the entire ruling. The Kennedy who put White on the court did not live to see the Kennedy who became known as the “liberal lion” of the Senate condemn pro-life judges as dangerous misogynist bigots. 
Of course, Teddy Kennedy wasn’t always an abortion extremist—that came with time. In fact, back in 1971, the young senator wrote a letter to a Massachusetts constituent expressing quite a different view: “While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized—the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old…Once life has begun, no matter at what stage of growth, it is my belief that termination should not be decided merely by desire.” 
So what happened? How did Ted Kennedy transform from a man who wrote that letter to the man who would viciously attack Supreme Court nominees for holding those precise views? Sadly, the Wall Street Journal revealed some years ago that it was a concentrated effort by a number of Catholic theologians to convince the Kennedys that support for abortion was acceptable. By convincing the Kennedy scions that it was moral to support abortion, these liberal priests had a tremendous impact on American politics: The Kennedys led the way for other public Catholics to claim that there was no contradiction between their professed Catholicism and their support for legal abortion (Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi—the list goes on.) This came as welcome news to many politicians, as the Democrats became aware that the abortion lobby was willing to sink a lot of cash behind candidates that would serve their interests—and that even pro-life Catholic priests and bishops were increasingly withdrawing from the public culture wars, thus decreasing the chance that they would come out and publicly condemn a pro-abortion Catholic Democrat. 
In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported, in “some cases, church leaders actually started providing ‘cover’ for Catholic pro-choice politicians who wanted to vote in favor of abortion rights. At a meeting at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass., on a hot summer day in 1964, the Kennedy family and its advisers and allies were coached by leading theologians on how to accept and promote abortion with a ‘clear conscience.’ The former Jesuit priest Albert Jonsen, emeritus professor of ethics at the University of Washington, recalls the meeting in his book The Birth of Bioethics. He writes about how he joined with the Rev. Joseph Fuchs, a Catholic moral theologian; the Rev. Robert Drinan, then dean of Boston College Law School; and three academic theologians, the Revs. Giles Milhaven, Richard McCormick and Charles Curran, to enable the Kennedy family to redefine support for abortion.” (Read more.)

Moon Ice

From Universe Today:
In addition to being the only solvent that is capable of supporting life, water is essential to life as we know it here on Earth. Because of this, finding deposits of water – whether in liquid form or as ice – on other planets is always exciting. Even where is not seen as a potential indication of life, the presence of water offers opportunities for exploration, scientific study, and even the creation of human outposts. 
This has certainly been the case as far as the Moon and Mercury are concerned, where water ice was discovered in the permanently-shadowed cratered regions around the poles. But according to a new analysis of the data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the MESSENGER spacecraft, the Moon and Mercury may have significantly more water ice than previously thought. 
The study that describes the new findings recently appeared in the journal Nature Geoscience. The team was led by Lior Rubanenko and David A. Paige – a graduate student and professor of planetary science from the Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) – with assistance provided by Jaahnavee Venkatrama, a Statistician and UCLA graduate. (Read more.)

Friday, August 30, 2019

A Good King of Gujarat

An article about the great maharajah who gave refuge to almost a thousand Polish children, many of whom had been orphaned, all of whom had been displaced by the Soviets. From Hindustan Times:
It is mid-afternoon in Jamnagar and a bus is taking a round of one of its squares. The archway of a once-magnificent fort is in sight. Beside it, shops selling juice, spices and visiting cards, inhale and exhale customers from and onto the street. Roman Gutowski, 83, a retired Polish civil engineer, pulls back the grey curtain on one of the bus windows, and peers out. Naturally, the Jamnagar he sees 71 years after he left it is not what he remembers of the place. His son, Tomek, a businessman, who has brought along the third-generation Gutowski, his son Maciej, is shooting with his camera to ensure that this time he does.

Photographs cannot stand on their own without memories. “I know about Jamnagar and Balachadi from my father’s stories,” says Tomek. “Maciej must see where his grandfather comes from. Had I just shown him pictures….” Roman Gutowski grew up alongside almost a thousand Polish children in a camp at Balachadi, 25 km off Jamnagar – the capital of the erstwhile princely state of Nawanagar in present-day Gujarat – in the British India of the ’40s. These were children of mainly Polish soldiers and they were trying to somehow survive the horrors of World War II.

The German occupation of Poland (September 1, 1939) led to the eventual extermination of six million Polish citizens. Lists were drawn up of teachers, clergymen, the intelligentsia and army officers for public execution; more than two million Jews died in concentration camps. (Read more.)

Via One Star Away. Share

God Wants a Repentant Church

From Crisis:
The evidence is very compelling: when the episcopate is rooted in modernism and eschews a repentant Church for a relevant one, all the metrics (baptisms, confirmations, marriages, priestly ordinations, numbers of men and women religious, children in parochial schools and religion programs, etc.) display precipitous decline. That’s why Germany is in a freefall and the Catholic Church in America is fast becoming, in many places, in its metrics and sensibility, “mainline Protestant with mitres.” 
For a prelate like Blaise Cupich who promotes the Francis Revolution while he shutters churches and finds a major shortfall in his budget, the question is: How’s that workin’ for you? 
Africa is flourishing because it has chosen, for the most part, to be a Repentant Church. They are doing what sociologist Dean M. Kelly wrote about nearly half a century ago in explaining why conservative churches grow: they make serious demands of their parishioners in doctrine and behavior. Here the Orthodox Sensibility has gained the preeminence. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn. 1:5). 
The apostle James says that we have not because we ask not. The Orthodox Sensibility is a major part of Mary’s Heel and we should ask Our Lady to expand it in places where the Modernist Sensibility currently reigns so a Repentant Church can be born. (Read more.)

An Image of the East

From Chronicles:
It is a cliché among Byzantinists that too few people in the world, especially in the West, know anything about Byzantium, so there is no doubt that more works of “popular synthesis” that make this Christian successor to the Roman Empire in the East accessible to a broader audience are greatly needed. Colin Wells sets out to provide one with Sailing From Byzantium, his overview of the rich legacy of Byzantium to the Latin West and the Islamic and Slavic worlds. Wells has studied with the great Byzantinist Speros Vryonis and has a more or less solid grasp of the sweep of Byzantine history. As a general introduction to the Byzantine inheritance that might inspire the general reader to learn more, Wells’ book is mostly acceptable, but, on a number of important topics, his explanations and descriptions are not always reliable or entirely accurate. Most importantly, on vitally significant religious questions, Wells shows that he is not interested in taking the sages of Byzantium standing in God’s holy light as the “singing-masters” of his soul. This alienation from the Byzantine religious imagination that interwove rational discourse, rhetoric, and spirituality severely undermines some of his statements about the nature of the phenomena he is describing. 
Wells has divided the book into three sections, one for each neighboring “civilization” Byzantium influenced: the West, the Islamic world, and the Slavs. He does best when he discusses the intricacies of Byzantine-Latin intellectual connections in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries in the first part, as he traces the personal and scholarly links between such figures as the 14th-century anti-Hesychast Barlaam and Petrarch, or between Manuel Chrysoloras and the numerous Florentine humanists who began learning their Greek from him, or between the reformist friar Savonarola and Maxim the Greek. Those familiar with the general outlines of Renaissance Italy and Western Europe’s debt to Byzantine exiles for reintroducing the Greek language to the West will appreciate this section, though, admittedly, it is the best-known part of the story of Byzantium’s legacy. 
Wells does what he can in the section on the Islamic world, correctly noting the role of Syrian Christian scholars in introducing their Muslim rulers to Greek science and mathematics. He also tells the familiar story of the conflicts between Islam and philosophy. One such conflict occurred in the ninth century, when the Muslim rationalism of the Muta’zila briefly peaked and then suffered obliteration at the hands of the adherents of the far more widespread and common form of Islam, to which the Muta’zila had always been an elite and scholarly exception. However, Wells inaccurately equates the significantly different mysticism of the Muslim theologian Ghazali with that of the later Byzantine theologian and saint Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), quite falsely claiming that Palamas “rejected the idea that reason can say anything meaningful about God at all,” when the core of what is sometimes called Palamism is the belief that rational demonstration in theology is possible precisely because God has revealed Himself to men through His energies. In his overbearing enthusiasm for “humanists” and rationalism, Wells has managed to impute to Gregory Palamas the extreme apophatic view about God that his opponent Barlaam held (i.e., that God is utterly unknowable). When Wells holds up this same Barlaam as an important “rationalist” and an early conduit of Byzantine learning to Italy, it is all the more damaging to his account of the Hesychast controversy (1338-51) discussed below. Barlaam was such a conduit, but that does not give any reason for the simplistic divisions between antirational monks and rationalist “humanists” in Byzantium that Wells makes partly on account of Barlaam’s association with the early Italian humanists. 
As this example shows, Wells fumbles most often when he attempts to describe or interpret specifically religious and doctrinal matters that arose over the course of the empire’s history. Elsewhere, he repeats a standard but largely rejected canard that non-Chalcedonians (i.e., monophysites) “often” welcomed the Islamic invaders in the seventh century as “liberators,” when there is no evidence of this and, in fact, important evidence to the contrary. (For example, the seventh-century Coptic bishop and chronicler John of Nikiu denounced the Chalcedonians for bringing ruin upon the Roman empire that non-Chalcedonians regarded as theirs and viewed the coming of Islam with dismay.) In another place, Wells simply errs in his descriptions of major heresies when he says that Nestorianism emphasized the humanity, and mono-physi-tism, the divinity, of Christ, when the crucial difference among all Christological doctrines of the period was the nature of the relationship between two complete natures. (More cringe-inducing is Wells’ off-hand comparison of Nestorianism and Arianism, when the two have essentially nothing in common and Nestorius himself was vehemently anti-Arian.) Elsewhere, he alludes to the “monochrome, iconless Constantinople” of the iconoclastic period, evidently unaware that iconoclasts were not strictly devoted to aniconism and continued to accept symbolic, animal, and vegetal art in churches. (Figural images—especially of Christ—and the veneration of such images were offensive to the iconoclasts, not church art per se. Unfortunately, these are common enough mistakes in such cursory explanations of Byzantine religion, but they are all the more unsatisfactory in a popular work where the intended audience can be expected to know little about the topic. (Read more.)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Richelieu’s Grand Strategy During the Thirty Years’ War

Henri Motte's depiction of Cardinal Richelieu at the Siege of La Rochelle.
From the Texas National Security Review:
Renowned for his fierce intellect, mastery of the dark arts of propaganda, and unshakeable belief in the centralizing virtues of the French monarchy, Cardinal Richelieu’s actions as chief minister under Louis XIII from 1624 to 1642 have been heatedly debated by generations of historians, political philosophers, novelists, and biographers. The polarizing figure is best known for three things: his unabashed authoritarianism, his efforts to stiffen the sinews of the French state, and his decision to position France as a counterweight to Habsburg hegemony through a network of alliances with Protestant powers. This article focuses on this last aspect of Richelieu’s life and legacy: his conception and practice of great power competition. What philosophy of power and statecraft underpinned the cardinal’s approach to counter-hegemonic balancing? To what extent was Richelieu truly successful, and what insights can contemporary security managers derive from his policies and actions? Drawing on both primary and secondary literature, this essay engages in a detailed and interdisciplinary study of Richelieu’s grand strategy during the Thirty Years’ War. (Read more.)

Catholics at the Margins

From Charles Coulombe at Crisis:
Pope Francis has repeatedly urged Catholics to “go to the margins,” insisting that the Church’s credibility rises or falls with her care for the marginalized. I must say that I believe His Holiness to be entirely correct—though not, perhaps, in the way the National Catholic Reporter might read those words. As many of the events in this pontificate continually remind me, I’ve come to realize that my entire life as a Catholic—starting with my birth, on the day John F. Kennedy was elected President of these United States—has been lived on the Church’s margins. 
It must be born in mind that the Catholic Church, like the House of Jesus’s Father which it foreshadows, has many mansions. There are about 3,000 dioceses of all rites across the globe; under that hierarchy are those of countless religious orders. There are lay groups, from Caritas International to the Knights of Malta to the Catholic Worker. There are innumerable guilds, confraternities, and associations for various purposes. 
For those with sufficient mobility, it is possible to live one’s Catholic life in precisely the right set of groupings that appeal to one. As the noted liberal Catholic activist Rosemary Radford Ruether famously wrote in the National Catholic Reporter on June 5, 2005: “The recent election of Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI has been greeted with choruses of negative comments in the progressive communities where I teach and live.” It’s not the disapproval of the papal election that warrants our attention at the moment, but the phrase “the progressive communities where I teach and live.” Activist Catholics of all stripes tend to live in such archipelagos—myself as much as Mrs. Ruether. (Read more.)

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Beren and Lúthien”

As with all of Tolkien’s great tales of the First Age, the story of Beren and Lúthien transformed dramatically over sixty years from its first imagining and version in 1916 and 1917 to its relatively finalized version in 1977’s The Silmarillion. During those six decades, it appeared as a long tale of the Lost Tales, as a summary in the 1926 Sketch of the Mythology (written for Tolkien’s beloved professor from King Edward’s, R.W. Reynolds), as a radically ambitious poetic lay, The Lay of Leithian (1925-1931), and as an essential story within the various versions, including the final version, of The Silmarillion. 
Yet, the essence of the story has remained the same in all of its many versions. Or, as Christopher so wisely put it, “The fluidity should not be exaggerated: there were nonetheless great, essential, permanences.”[5] 
A daughter of an Elf king, Thingol, and a fay (a Maia—the offspring of the angelic powers; roughly of the same power as Gandalf), Lúthien-Tinúviel expressed her joy and love through dance. One day, Beren, a heroic but displaced outlaw, spies her dancing. “Yet now did he see Tinúviel dancing in the twilight, and Tinúviel was in a silver-pearly dress, and her bare white feet were twinkling among the hemlock-stems.”[6] In Tolkien’s Lay of Leithian, he describes in terms comparable only to the Blessed Virgin Mary: 
Her starry jewels twinkled brightIn the risen sun like morning dew;The lilies gold on mantle blueGleamed and glistened.[7] 
(Read more.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

"The Function and Purpose of Every Fragment"

From Stephanie Mann:
The grounds of the abbeys, through the efforts of the National Trust and other organizations, are all cleaned up now. Fermor's evocative, alliterative prose depicts a more unkempt vision of the ruins, more like these vintage images of Byland and Fountains abbeys. 
In the chapters on the Benedictine Abbey of  Saint Wandrille de Fontenelle, and the Trappist La Trappe Abbey in France, Fermor demonstrates great sympathy and admiration of the monks. He stays as a guest in both houses for some time and gets used to the rhythm of the Rule through his observation and limited participation. While he is astonished by the strictness of the Trappist rule, he accepts the consolations that those monks allowed to converse with him describe. He enjoys the silence and the freedom he experiences in Saint Wandrille and Solesmes (which he barely describes because he found staying there so much like staying at Saint Wandrille); after having a hard time at the beginning getting used to the silence and the solitude, when he leaves and rejoins the busy modern world of Paris, he misses the monastery peace. 
He manages to seem something more than a visitor or a mere observer. Through his contacts with the monks who interact with guests he goes beyond curiosity to acceptance. Therefore he defends the monks against the charges of uselessness and seeking escape from the world. In fact, Fermor almost seems to contradict the statement that Chesterton made in his essay "Why I am a Catholic"; at least in the monastic orders the Catholic Church has developed and approved, Fermor is "just to the Catholic Church" without feeling "a tug toward it":
"It is impossible to be just to the Catholic Church. The moment men cease to pull against it, they feel a tug toward it. The moment they cease to shout it down, they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it, they begin to be fond of it."
He admires those who personify the monastic ideal and honors them through his admiration, but he does not imitate them. He goes to Paris and checks into the Hotel La Louisiane on the Rue de la Seine and soon gets used to the noise and distractions. 
He also visits the rock monasteries of Cappadocia, Turkey, commenting on the mysteries of their origins and their abandonment, their sculptured architecture and the remains of frescoes and signs of monastic life and worship. Then Fermor concludes with a appreciation of the new monasteries in England, established after the French Revolution and Catholic Emancipation, and finally with the "humanity and simplicity" of St. Basil of Caesarea. Some of those phrases from his description of abbey ruins in England echo in my heart:  
--the miserable and wanton story of their destruction and their dereliction--the sounds of bells melted long ago--like the peaks of a vanished Atlantis drowned four centuries deep--the clustering pillars suspend the great empty circumference of a rose-window in the rook-haunted sky--some tremendous Gregorian chant has been interrupted hundreds of years ago to hang there petrified at its climax ever since. (Read more.)

Judging America By a Utopian Standard Is Naive

From The Federalist:
The entire framing of The New York Times’ effort deserves to be questioned. Reconstructing the American founding to the date of the first slave is a standard the Times is only placing on the United States. Is America’s “newspaper of record” about to embark on a grand venture of politely telling every other nation its celebratory founding is to be recalibrated to the date of its first instance of slavery? No, the Times’ project is deliberately—and solely—aimed at the United States. 
Leftists have been engaging in this sort of deception for generations. Between the 1930s and 1980s, every perceived shortcoming of the United States was put under a microscope while the left was largely silent on the atrocities of communist tyrannies. The left holds contempt and disdain for America’s ideals. In their heart-of-hearts, honest leftists cannot deny the unbelievable success of the United States and its institutions nor the appeal of its founding principles abroad. So, the left’s only recourse has been to mount its arguments by comparing American history to a Utopian standard they never use with any other country. 
Self-criticism can be helpful, especially when it leads to improvement or the discovery of “blind spots” in one’s thinking. Yet as The Federalist’s David Marcus points out, the 1619 Project isn’t breaking new ground or telling Americans anything they haven’t already heard. Public-school textbooks have extensively covered the evils of America’s past for decades. 
The central message of Howard Zinn’s popular textbook “A People’s History of the United States” is the Marxist narrative of “oppressed” versus “oppressor.” In the past 20 years, Hollywood has frequently reminded moviegoers of America’s past sins, the (undisputed) evil of slavery, and the long struggle to realize a more perfect union. In 2017, the Smithsonian magazine warned against giving too much importance to the 1619 date, cautioning that doing so “distorts history” and places undue emphasis on “us” versus “them” narratives. You don’t say. (Read more.)

From Andrew Klavan:
All this crazy stuff that they keep saying — and this is not just coming from dopes like Donny Deutsch, who's the one who's always spouting this stuff — it's from, you know, it's from responsible news sources — once responsible news sources. The New York Times, a former newspaper, they were involved in the, "Oh Donald Trump is inspiring shooters." The shooters in El Paso, they were just leaning on every — waiting for every — word that Donald Trump spoke, that that’s why they became what they became. The fact that that El Paso shooter was also an eco-nut — that has nothing to do with the eco-nuts telling us the world is coming to an end every minute. And the thing about this is, I always think about this, I think about this a lot. You know, I come here and you know that I'm trying to tell you what I see. I'm trying to tell you what I see, and the problems with seeing things, and how I know when I'm not sure what reality is — and I'm actually trying to do that. (Read more.) 

From Candace Owens:
 The contemporary Left is pushing this oppression narrative to shame Americans into supporting the progressive political program of reparations, socialism, and unlimited immigration. They even miss the great irony that the founders, who the Left attacks for having been slave owners, were the ones who created the path for freedom for all people including slaves in the ratified Constitution.
 This project to redefine America started long before the New York Times launched the 1619 Project. For years, far-left radicals have been demanding that we tear down our statues, treat our founding fathers as “white nationalist terrorists,” and accept their claims that the president of the United States is a “white supremacist” because he has an unambiguously positive view of America.

They won’t succeed. President Trump is a pillar of patriotic fortitude who will never be ashamed of his love for this country, and his example bolsters the spirit of patriotic Americans in the face of this unrelenting assault from the left. Under Donald Trump’s watch, the Spirit of ’76 will never yield to the Grievance of 1619. While the media are becoming more obvious about their intent, their objective has always been to revise our history in order to restructure our Republic and our society to favor their radical progressive agenda. (Read more.)

Walker Percy’s Prophecy

From The American Conservative:
Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World, a finalist for the 1972 National Book Award, remains even more acutely prophetic now than when it was published almost five decades ago. “The novel is not saying: Don’t rock the boat, cool it, be moderate, vote moderate Republican or Democrat,” Percy declared at the NBA awards ceremony. “No, it rocks the boat. In fact, it swamps the boat.” 
William F. Buckley Jr. wryly suggested that all future presidents should be required to swear a double oath of office: not only to uphold and defend the Constitution but also to have read, marked, learned, and digested Percy’s Love in the Ruins. “It’s all there in that one book,” said Buckley, “what’s happening to us and why.” Indeed, Percy’s novel reads as if it were written in anticipation of the 2016 presidential election. (Read more.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Cupid and Psyche: True Love Conquers All

From Ancient Origins:
Cupid and Psyche's narrative begins as most modern fairy tales do: with a kingdom, a daughter with an insurmountable burden over her head, a trial, and a subsequent moral. It is as follows: a king and queen give birth to three daughters, but only the third possesses unearthly beauty. Apuleius' text claimed that her beauty was so astounding the "poverty of language is unable to express its due praise." 
Rumors spread of this girl, Psyche's, astounding loveliness, eventually reaching the ears of the Roman goddess Venus. Angry that so many mortals were comparing Psyche's beauty to her own—and in many ways claiming that the mortal surpassed her—Venus called upon her son Cupid to demand that he use one of his arrows of desire to ensure Psyche fall in love with a human monster. 
Obedient as always to his mother, Cupid descended to the earthly plane to do as she wished. Yet he was so astonished himself by the mortal princess's beauty that he mistakenly shot himself. From that moment, Cupid was irrevocably in love with the princess (Read more.)

The People Who Think They Are Better Than You

From Townhall:
Never before have so many snobs had so little to be snobbish about. It’s not like the ruling caste that turns up its collective snout at the people who actually make this country work has a CV full of achievements to back up its arrogance. Our elite is anything but. It’s a collection of pedestrian mediocrities who inherited our civilization from the people who actually created it and fought for it, and like every spoiled child who was handed free stuff by his doting mommy and daddy, our elite is resentful and obnoxious.
We’re ruled by a bunch of Veruca Salts. 
Of course they don’t appreciate what it takes to build, feed, fuel and defend what we have – as a group, they didn’t do any of those things. No one appreciates what he didn’t work for and earn, and our alleged betters did not work for and earn the positions and prestige they hold at the heads of our institutions. They got where they are by just showing up, and by parroting hacky, politically correct dogma, not by actual achievement. (Read more.)

Did World War II Undermine Catholicism?

From The Catholic Herald:
What Bullivant shows is that social changes flowing from the Second World War undermined the Catholic community as a social network. War service, evacuation and war-inspired migration mixed the population in unprecedented ways, undermining links of family and place. Post-war slum clearance and suburbanisation, increased travel possibilities, widening opportunities for tertiary education and radio and television took the process several steps further. A less densely networked community is also less able to inspire, and benefit from, Creds. 
So much, so inevitable. What difference did the Council make? The set of attitudes, policies and initiatives which have dominated the Church since the Council are characterised by the idea that Catholics should look beyond the community, talk more, and more open-mindedly, to members of other faiths, and not worry about markers of Catholic identity. 
Catholic churches have been made to look much less distinctive. Those aspects of Catholic worship and the devotional life most unlike other denominations have been dismantled, and the Catholic martyrs have been downplayed. Many of the largely jettisoned devotions – Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and walking pilgrimages among them – were the very things which had provided opportunities for Creds. And Creds of the past, from the cult of the English martyrs to fine church furnishings provided by the pennies of the poor, were downplayed or actually destroyed. 
Those leading these changes thought of themselves as being “with it”, because the younger Catholics were indeed more open-minded, less ghettoised and, being less committed to the faith, less inclined to undertake Creds. Failing to see the downside to this process of community disintegration, the Church’s leadership pushed it on faster and further, at a moment when it would have been wiser to look for ways to counter the effects of unavoidable social changes. In this very simple way, the post-conciliar “orientation” made things worse. (Read more.)

Monday, August 26, 2019

20 Old Hat Styles Due for a Comeback

From Mental Floss:
One thing that illustrated and photographic archives have taught us is that people have always known how to rock a stylish piece of headwear. From squat caps to towering toppers, history has produced a hat for every occasion. Here are 20 old styles that, with a healthy dose of fashion and confidence, could still look just as fabulous today. (Read more.)

Too Much Is At Stake

From Life Site:
In almost every subject, students are being fed the lie, sometimes subtly and sometimes not, that there is no God. Mother Miriam quotes Get out Now: “The case of Atheism in school has produced the most godless generation in history. Moral relativism has left more than 2/3 of people without a belief in truth and objective right and wrong.”

In addition to the terrible curricula being taught in schools, Mother emphasizes the mentality that modern schools instill in children. Mother again quotes Get out Now: “We are left with a system designed to turn the hearts and minds of the children away from God.”

Mother calls on all parents to bring their children home. She encourages parents of all education, income, and social levels to homeschool their children. She highlights the common claim that homeschooling isn’t for everybody. She again challenges parents, saying it is not only possible, but necessary, for everyone to homeschool their children: “Too much is at stake. You don’t get a do-over on childhood.”

Even if you think your children are a witness in public schools, it isn’t worth it. Mother quotes Rob Dreher’s commentary on Get out Now:

“The culture war is over in most public schools and our side lost...[this book] should be a game changer for conservative parents, especially religious believers under the outdated illusion that their kids can be salt and light in such hostile deserts.” (Read more.)

Nine Ancient and Medieval Physicians

From Ancient Origins:
Galen of Pergamum was one of the most renowned physicians of the Roman Empire. His medical works survived and dominated the theory and practice of medicine not only of the Roman world, but also of the Islamic world, and Medieval Europe
After being abroad for a number of years, Galen returned to Pergamum in 157 AD, where he was appointed as a physician to the city’s gladiator. He was later summoned by Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor, to serve as his court physician. Galen continued to serve in this capacity during the reigns of Caracalla and Septimius Severus. 
Galen wrote hundreds of treatises. In the field of medicine, he is said to have compiled “all significant Greek and Roman medical knowledge to date”, and added his own observations and theories. Following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, his works were mostly forgotten in the West. 
In the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world, by contrast, Galen’s works were featured prominently in the study of medicine. Thanks to this preservation of knowledge, Galen’s writings were able to find their way back to Western Europe during the Middle Ages. (Read more.)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Mozart at Schönbrunn

From Royal Central:
Following the success of his first debut in Munich, playing for the musically-gifted Elector Maximilian III Joseph of Bavaria, the six-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart set out for the imperial court of Vienna, arriving on 6 October 1762. He was accompanied by his parents, Leopold Mozart and Maria Anna Mozart, as well as his elder sister, Maria Anna ‘Nannerl’ Mozart. The concert that the young Mozart would give at the imperial summer residence of the Habsburgs, Schönbrunn Palace outside Vienna, meant that one of the palace’s many rooms (today numbering 1,441) could claim a significant place in the history of music. It also was, in a way, symbolic of the long-standing but strained relationship that Mozart would have with the Habsburg Imperial Family, for despite the many occasions his works had connections with important events in the life of the Imperial Family, he never attained the committed patronage he may have hoped for. This, in turn, set him on an arduous path of enquiry, trailing the royal courts of Europe for appointments and finally settling as a freelance composer in Vienna. 
As Leopold Mozart reported to his landlord and friend, Lorenz Hagenauer, in letters clearly intended to be shared with the rest of the Salzburg community back home: “At 11 o’clock that same evening [10 October 1762] I received orders to go to Schönbrunn on the 12th. But the next day I received fresh instructions to go there on the 13th….” A member of the Imperial Family, Archduke Leopold of Tuscany [the future Kaiser Leopold II] was overheard by Leopold Mozart at the opera, saying that there was “a boy in Vienna who plays the keyboard so well…” and Leopold Mozart describes how Archduke Joseph [the future Joseph II] had been told of the concert of the Mozart children gave en route in Linz, who then told his mother, Empress Maria Theresia. The mention of “that same evening” is significant. It means that the summons to court for the Mozart family the same evening that Leopold Mozart overheard the talk about Wolfgang at the opera, shows the fame of the children had already reached the capital before they themselves announced their arrival. 
The room where this legendary concert took place at Schönbrunn Palace, is traditionally thought to have been the so-called ‘Mirrors Room’ or Spiegelsaal. This important performance of the Mozart children, as Salzburg subjects before their Imperial Family, took place the year before what would be the Mozart’s family own musical version of the ‘Grand Tour’ – which itself lasted over three years, from June 1763 until November 1766 – and took the Mozarts to many of the great European cities, including Munich, Mannheim, Cologne, Paris, London and The Hague. The Spiegelssal is on the beletage of the Palace, whose rooms back onto the Great Parterre, between the ‘Balcony Room’ and Maria Theresia’s ‘Chinese Cabinet’, the last room in the East Wing. (Read more.)

It’s Not Paranoia If It’s True

And they shall say to him: What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me. Zacharias 13:6
From Rod Dreher at The American Conservative:
Back in the early 2000s, the Legionaries of Christ, a hyper-conservative Catholic religious order, spent a lot of money and effort in an attempt to crush a group of men who accused the order’s founder, Father Marcial Maciel, of having abused them sexually. Like lots of journalists, I was lobbied hard by the Legion to stand by poor, persecuted Father Maciel. It sounded completely crazy that the founder of this super-orthodox Catholic religious order beloved by Pope John Paul II could have done all these horrible things. 
Guess what? It was all true. He even fathered children, and abused them. He was also a drug addict. Benedict XVI forced him out of leadership of the order in 2006. Maciel died in 2008, refusing on his deathbed to make a confession or repent. Read this long, detailed piece by journalist Jason Berry, detailing how the wicked Maciel made his fortune and manipulated people. 
I hardly need to go into detail here about what we discovered over the ensuing years about the networked corruption in the Church. For me, one of the great lessons is that in any institution, corrupt men will take advantage of it, especially if they can work beneath a canopy of presumed innocence. It can happen in a police force. It can happen in the military. This is not just a church thing, not by any means.(Read more.)

From Michael Hichborn at the Lepanto Institute:
Given the recent accusation and the history of scandalous behavior, it should not be shocking to find that Bp. Hubbard helped found, and currently sits as Vice President of the Board of a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual communist front-organization whose affiliates receive funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  In fact, this organization’s ties to the CCHD are so intimate, it immediately calls to question how the CCHD is even allowed to exist. The organization is called Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), and as can be seen here, Bp. Hubbard was not only a member of the founding board, he is currently its vice president. (Read more.)

The Nun Who Stood Up to Henry VIII

From Nancy Bilyeau at The Medium:
Historical fiction set in the Tudor era, whether it’s a literary novel like Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, or a mystery such as Dissolution by C.J. Sansom, commonly depicts a Catholic kingdom rotted by monastic corruption, a system dying out and pleading for reform.

In my years of research into the Dissolution of the Monasteries while writing my trilogy of novels, I came to different conclusions. Yes, there were cases of fraud, such as a phial said to contain Christ’s blood kept at an abbey in Gloucestershire. But overall, I discovered a rich, vibrant world of people deeply committed to a spiritual life, some of whom wanted to withdraw from society to devote themselves to prayer and study. I focused on the nunneries, since I’d decided on a protagonist who was a Dominican novice.

Approximately 1,800 nuns existed at the time of the destruction of the priories, out of 9,300 monastics total. We know of the fates of a handful of women, those considered of enough interest for the ambassadors or politicians to write about. The sisters left behind a few letters and wills, that’s it. The priories themselves are rubble or, at most, fragmented walls and spires of ghostly beauty. “In lone magnificence, a ruin stands,” sighs the poem by George Keate, “The Ruins of Netley Abbey.” (Read more.)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Downton Abbey Movie is Coming Soon!

Kate Phillips (left) who plays Princess Mary, Simon Jones, who plays King George V and Geraldine James, who plays Queen Mary
Harewood House
From The Daily Mail:
Princess Mary will be a character in the new Downton Abbey movie that will make a star of her home Harewood House. The princess, daughter of George V and Queen Mary, will be played by Kate Phillips in the feature-length adaptation written by the TV show's creator Julian Fellowes. Phillips, who starred in War and Peace, The Crown and as Jane Seymour in Wolf Hall, will play Princess Mary as she moves to the West Yorkshire mansion to marry the 6th Earl and be visited by her parents for a lavish ball. Curators hope the new movie will bring on a 'Downton effect,' The Telegraph reported, which should bring many thousands to Harewood House. The news comes as Princess Mary's personal archive was revealed for the first time, including correspondence, diaries, clothing and personal effects, all handed to the National Trust. (Read more.)

Lessons from Lady Mary Crawley. From Verily:
In the second-to-last episode of the series (spoilers ahead!), Lady Mary and Thomas Barrow have a heart-to-heart after his suicide attempt. “I’ve done and said things—I don’t know why—I can’t stop myself,” says Barrow. “Now I’m paying the price.” Mary says, “Strange. I could say the same.” Mary has just ruined Edith’s engagement to Bertie Pelham and has faced the comeuppance of her brother-in-law Tom Branson’s completely justified rage: “You can’t stop ruining things. For Edith, for yourself—you’d pull in the sky if you could! Anything to make you feel less frightened and alone. . . . You’re a coward, Mary. Like all bullies, you’re a coward.”
It’s no wonder that Mary feels the same way Barrow does. Like him, she struggles to overcome her own fears and selfishness that tend to flare up into cruelty toward others. Her visit to Barrow when he is recovering from his attempted suicide is the beginning of Mary’s renewed effort to be a good person, and eventually, she will arrange to bring Edith and Bertie back together. It’s not easy for Mary to be kind—her vindictive and spiteful tendencies tend to win out. But I love that the series does portray her making these good choices, reminding us that no matter how unkind we’ve been or how much we’ve affected someone else’s life for the worse, there’s always time to turn around. (Read more.) 

From The Tatler:
The Savile Club in Mayfair, pictured above, was used as the fictional Lotus Club, which the Crawleys frequently visit. In opposition to the traditional Victorian clublands and their stuffy rules, a group of like-minded young spirits created the private Savile Members Club in 1868. Originally called ‘The New Club’ it changed its name to ‘The Savile Club’ after relocating from Trafalgar Square to Mayfair. The club has been at the same spot since the 1920s and is still going strong today with its Louis XVI rococo ballroom and imperial staircase. (Read more.)

Leftist Supremacy

From PJ Media:
In an America as mixed as we are, the idea that white supremacists are the only ones who will do well is scary to most people. Beyond that, it is the most antithetical thing to American beliefs you can imagine. The nation that banned nobility of birth, and which fought a war to free slaves would never codify a regime where your genetics at birth determines what kind of happiness you can even think of pursuing. In America, equality under the law has always been the goal, even when honored in the breach. 
Fortunately, we don't have any need to worry about real white supremacy. Just like you don't have to worry that Santa Claus is watching you, or has put a spy bug in your bedroom. This is the problem the left has. And their response to it is to launch a brainwashing/gaslighting campaign to find white supremacy where there is none. 
Also, unfortunately, as with all these things the left engages in, it causes more harm than... well, than even I can imagine, and I write some pretty dystopian stuff. So, just like their attempt to define "patriarchy" has led them to make it impossible for business women to have closed-door meetings with male bosses or mentors, their definition of white supremacy is making it impossible for any minorities or, for that matter, under-privileged white people to improve themselves or create a better future for their descendants. For instance, according to the New York Post, this is what passes for fighting white supremacy in NYC schools: Richard Carranza held ‘white-supremacy culture’ training for school admins. (Read more.)

The Left Wing-Islamist Alliance

From The Clarion Project:
Why are some of the most famous names in the Left wing in America today aligning themselves with Islamists, the Muslim religious Right? Islamists believe in things no sane Left winger would ever endorse: strict gender roles, the authority of scripture over human reason and law, and a rigid hierarchy based on religious faith and practice. 
The Left wing is largely atheist and opposes any sort of governmental role for clerics.  Yet Left wing socialists like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez routinely rub shoulders with Islamist apologist Linda Sarsour. In the United Kingdom, Left wing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn described the Islamist terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah as his “friends.” 
What is going on? 
This phenomenon has been variously dubbed the “Red/Green Alliance” or “Islamo-Leftism” by French Right-wing politician Marine Le Pen. First, it seems to be a simple case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The joint enemy they share is the American and European Right, which traditionally believes in a robust foreign policy to counter national security threats, a strong sense of patriotism and national identity, and a commitment to free enterprise and low taxes. 
Both the Left wing and Islamists share an antipathy to foreign intervention in the Middle East on the grounds that it is extremely expensive, of dubious national security advantage and has myriad associated human rights concerns. They also share objections to domestic attempts at confronting extremism, since those policies entrench the power of the state and give national security Right-wingers a legitimate issue to present to the public as a threat to help them get elected. But there the similarities end. While the Left wants to see capitalism replaced with a different economic system, Islamists want to see it replaced with a religious theocracy. (Read more.)

How the Philippines Saved 1,200 Jews During the Holocaust

From CNN:
This little known chapter of history about Jewish refugees in the Philippines has inspired two documentaries and talk of a possible movie. 
"We know about stories like Anne Frank, 'Schindler's List' -- the things that grab popular imagination," said Michelle Ephraim, whose father, Frank Ephraim escaped to the Philippines after Kristallnacht in 1938. "Once you bring an Asia element, it becomes so complicated, interesting and surprising." 
About 40 of the Philippines refugees are alive today, according to documentary filmmakers. They were children when they arrived in the Philippines over 70 years ago. "That was like a rebirth," said Noel Izon, the filmmaker of the documentary, "An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines," in which he interviewed several Jewish refugees. "They went from certain death to this life." (Read more.)

Friday, August 23, 2019

Louis XVI and Tuberculosis

Louis-Auguste, Duc de Berry, the future Louis XVI, was born on August 23, 1754. August 25, the feast of St. Louis of France, was his name-day, and kept with special festivity after he became king in 1774. A few years ago on Catherine Delors' blog many interesting points were brought up in the comment box about the childhood traumas of Louis-Auguste and how those later affected his reactions to the events of the Revolution.

Louis contracted tuberculosis when he was six by being made to sit at the bedside of his dying older brother, the Duc de Bourgogne. It was a traumatic experience in many ways for a small boy, especially since he himself became quite ill. Louis-Auguste was generally regarded as unhealthy and not likely to live to adulthood. Several members of the French royal family, including Louis' parents and brother, had already died of consumption. Louis managed to survive with the proper care. Nevertheless, tuberculosis is a disease which can remain inactive for many years but can later recur. It can have many side effects, including depression.

Provence and Berry
The tuberculosis would come back to haunt him, infecting his baby daughter Sophie and his oldest son. I think seeing Louis-Joseph die just as he had watched his older brother die long ago revived a lot of the childhood trauma. Death from tuberculosis is not pretty to watch. I am of the opinion that since the death of his oldest son, which coincided with the beginning of the Revolution in 1789, Louis XVI was suffering from clinical depression. In the past, he had acted with much more energy and decision. This is one of the reasons Marie-Antoinette had to become more involved in the political arena during the Revolution.

I think Louis struggled with "melancholy" at various times throughout his life, perhaps due to the childhood infection with tuberculosis. Louis was a man accustomed to strenuous exercise, especially hunting and riding, not to mention his labors as a locksmith. It is my belief that he needed the fresh air and the exertion for both his mental and physical health. With the regimen of exercise and his strictly adhered to routine he was able to keep melancholy from overwhelming him. He was deprived of much of his riding after October 1789 and it had a devastating effect upon his health and state of mind. Losing two of his children, his authority, his home, seeing his people and family suffer, and being deprived of the exercise and fresh air vital to his health, left him in a very bad condition.

If we consider the courage with which Louis XVI faced the worst moments of crisis, including his death, then he is to be admired, especially in the light of everything else. The Queen is to be admired as well, for she could have slipped out of the country with her surviving children and left Louis to his doom (there were many plans for her escape) but she refused to budge from Louis' side. She would not leave him to face the disasters alone.

Happy Birthday to Louis XVI!

China's Abortion Abuses Exposed

From The American Thinker:
Remember Stanford scholar Steven Mosher? Way back in the 1980s, the man was reviled in scholarly circles for exposing just these brutal realities about China. Instead of being praised for adding to the scholarly body of knowledge, he was abused, slandered, accused of process crimes, and eventually kicked out of his Ph.D. program because he reported the truth about what was happening. This was at the urging of the Chinese government, which wanted all news of its cruelty kept hidden — the lies-violence cycle that Alexander Solzhenitsyn described as so necessary to all totalitarian tyrannies. I recall that controversy back when I was a student studying Chinese history, and my professor (I won't name him, because, well, I liked him) called Mosher "a rat" because his revelations about China's forced abortions and human rights violations angered the Chinese communist government and caused it to limit opportunities for scholarly research on China. Yet the only thing Mosher was really guilty of was the highest responsibility of a scholar, which was to tell the truth. There were all kinds of signs that Mosher was telling the truth over the years. Remember this woman? This is a saint to rival Mother Teresa based on her defiance of China's inhuman juggernaut in the name of saving helpless discarded babies even in her own penury. She knew the truth and witnessed to it, too. It was only a few years ago that word of her great deeds got out. 
Now that the luster is off China, its economy is in the crapper, its internet repression is getting famous, its military machine is getting aggressive abroad, and its brutal totalitarian machine is revving up to destroy the tiny island of freedom of Hong Kong, it seems it's safe for the elites to come out with the truth. Glad they made this documentary, of course, but it's not exactly news or even courageous to do at this point. (Read more.)

Smartphones Are Causing Mental Health Issues In Children

From the NZ Herald:
Although teenagers are most at risk from the damaging devices, children under the age of 10 and toddlers' still-developing brains are also being affected. But research shows 'zombie' children spend nearly five hours every day gawping at electronic devices. 
Researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Georgia say time spent on smartphones is a serious but avoidable cause of mental health issues. "Half of mental health problems develop by adolescence," professors Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell said. "There is a need to identify factors linked to mental health issues that are [able to be changed] in this population, as most are difficult or impossible to influence. How children and adolescents spend their leisure time is [easier] to change." 
Parents and teachers must cut the amount of time children spend online or watching television while they're studying, socialising, eating or even playing sport. Professor Twenge said her study, one of the biggest of its kind, backs the American Academy of Pediatrics' established screen time limit – one hour per day for children aged two to five. It also suggests a similar limit – perhaps two hours – should be applied to school-aged children and adolescents, she added. (Read more.)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Death of Richard III

From Medievalists:
On 22 August 1485 Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England was killed at the Battle of Bosworth. Exactly how and who carried out the killing remains shrouded in mystery. Having seen his battle line collapsing under the French flank attack, Richard charged Henry Tudor and his bodyguard. He immediately killed William Brandon, Henry’s standard bearer. The standard crashed to the ground only to be picked up, according to Welsh tradition, by Rhys ap Maredudd (Rhys Fawr).

Henry must have been close, because we are told by Vergil that next in Richard’s path was the 6 foot 8 inch John Cheyney. with great force drove him to the ground. Vergil tells us that at this moment ‘Henry abode the brunt longer than ever his owne soldiers wold have wenyd, who wer now almost owt of hope of victory.’ Holinshed says that Richard was no more than a sword point away from Henry, and Michael Drayton in his poem says they were ‘scarce a lance length’ apart. Victory was now within Richard’s grasp. (Read more.)

Catholic Culture Has Changed Forever

From Jennifer Roback Morse at  The Ruth Institute:
This a noteworthy change in Catholic culture. Once upon a time in post-World War II America, Catholics revered their priests. Bing Crosby’s Father Charles O’Malley would never harm anyone or tell a lie. Catholics and non-Catholics alike trusted Bishop Fulton Sheen. Even in the post-Vatican II theological free-for-all, dissenting and faithful Catholics alike would have been uneasy with the assumption that a bishop was lying to them. 
Those days are long gone. Questioning clergy and their motives is no longer a marker for disrespect, dissent or anti-Catholicism. We are light-years away even from the scandals of 2002. Back then, some of the best investigative reporting was done by news outlets that also pushed for heterodox changes in Church teaching. Back then, people who loved the Church’s magisterium tried to minimize the scandals. But now, in the post-McCarrick era, Catholic laity across the theological board believe it is socially acceptable, and even praiseworthy, to blow the whistle. 
Bishop Malone’s personal secretary, Siobhan O’Connor, was fond of him. Yet she was the person who released incriminating documents. Why? She listened to the victims. She was never the same afterward. She concluded that standing with the victims was serving Christ and his bride, the Church. 
A local news reporter, Charlie Specht, has conducted extensive, relentless investigations of the diocese. (Type his name into the search bar of WKBW News along with “clergy sex abuse” and you’ll see what I mean.) Unlike the crew of lapsed Catholics and atheists at The Boston Globe who revealed Cardinal Bernard Law’s malfeasance, Specht is a devout practicing Catholic. He loves and respects the Church. He wants her to be what she ought to be. 
One more, unambiguously good sign: The seminarians did not cower. They spoke out. They may get kicked around by their formators. We don’t really know what is going on internally. But these men knew that they would have support from the Catholic community and the general public. 
I don’t know if the Pope or the U.S. bishops are going to come up with changes to canon law or new policies and procedures. Personally, I think the old policy was good. Obey the Ten Commandments, especially Nos. 6 (Do not commit adultery) and 8 (Do not bear false witness.) As Buffalo whistleblower O’Connor said, “There’s nothing wrong with the code of conduct. It needs to be enforced.” 
Catholic culture is changing. Clergy, priests and bishops, you’re on notice: We are watching. We aren’t leaving the Church. Neither are we staying and going back to “business as usual.” Deal with it, gentlemen. This is the new reality of Catholic culture. (Read more.)

 The restoration of the Church must be Marian. From Fr. David Nix:
In the famous dream of St. John Bosco, the barque of Peter can only endure the waves of modernism if we are bound to the Eucharist and Mary. One title of Mary is: “Mary, destroyer of heresies.” Yes, if we want the members of the Church truly breathing with both lungs (East and West, as everyone has been superficially saying for 35 years) then we must obey Our Lady of Fatima and beg for a Pope who will consecrate Russia exclusively (with all the bishops) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Yes, Russia deserves to be Catholic. Yes, the Vatican deserves to be free of the roaring lion (unless God sees it fit to permit it to be sacked by the Muslims soon. I certainly hope this is not the case, but many true Catholic prophets and false Muslim prophets say the same thing is coming as a cleansing.) (Read more.)

A Forgotten Poet

From Joseph Pearce at Faith and Culture:
There was a time when the opening lines of Francis Thompson’s poem, “The Hound of Heaven”, would have been widely known. Today, as I discovered on a recent trip to England to film a documentary on Thompson, the poem and the poet are almost entirely forgotten. Nowhere was this crass disregard for one of England’s finest poets more evident than in the disgraceful neglect of the poet’s grave. The inscription on the tomb in the sprawling Catholic cemetery in Kensal Green had eroded to the point of illegibility. Ivy crawled creepily over the sarcophagus, covering the tomb in a blanket of oblivion, and, as if to add insult to the injury of neglect, another headstone had been placed so close to Thompson’s that it had eclipsed the poet’s epitaph. Having paid my respects at Thompson’s grave, I tried in vain to find the grave of another great Victorian poet, Lionel Johnson, whose resting place I knew to be only a matter of yards from Thompson’s. Such ignorance of fine art and such forgetfulness of a priceless heritage say more about the demise of England than they say about the neglected legacy that Thompson has bequeathed to a heedless nation. (Read more.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A New Film About Blessed Franz Jägerstätter

Directed by Terence Malick. From No Film School:
“If our leaders, if they are evil, what does one do?” This is the question asked by the central character in A Hidden Life, which is written and directed by Terrence Malick and stars August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, and Michael Nyqvist. It's based on the true story of conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter, who refuses to fight for the Nazis in World War II. The movie had its World Premiere in competition at the 72nd Festival de Cannes this year and was greeted with highly favorable reviews. IndieWire named “A Hidden Life” one of the 10 best titles at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. And the esteemed film critic David Ehrlich hailed the movie, saying, “A Hidden Life is a lucid and profoundly defiant portrait of faith in crisis." (Read more.)