Wednesday, May 31, 2023

New Series about James I and Buckingham

George Villiers (Nicholas Galitzine)

Earl Somerset (Laurie Davidson), King James (Tony Curran) & Queen Anne (Trine Dyrholm)

It is a show about how a mother schemes to have her son accepted as the favorite of James I, known for his proclivity for handsome young men. The term "homosexuality" was unknown in the seventeenth century; men who gave in to such desires were accused of committing the sin of Sodom. James I is such a complex character to depict in that he was sincerely religious, oversaw a translation of the Bible, and was married with several children. He persecuted women accused of witchcraft with an unholy fury. He also loved to drink and carouse, enjoyed off-color humor, and became almost obsessively attached to a series of young male courtiers. People seem to assume that George Villiers was "gay" but there is no evidence that he sought such interaction other than whatever he had to do with King James. In fact, George was known to be a ladies' man and is the suitor of the Queen of France in The Three Musketeers

The new drama covers the years immediately before my novel My Queen, My Love. Many of the same characters appear in both, including the Countess of Buckingham, George Villiers aka "Steenie" Buckingham and Susan Villiers, who becomes Susan Denbigh. From Tatler:

Love. Power. Politics. A dazzling new period drama promises to bring a ravishing real-life royal saga that shaped King James I’s court to life on screen. Mary & George, due to air on Sky Atlantic in the UK and AMC in the US later this year, will chart the rise to power of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, a favourite and reported lover of King James I, son of Mary Queen of Scots. Aided by his formidable mother Mary Villiers, Countess of Buckingham, George Villiers became one of the most highly regarded, influential men in early 17th century England.

Hollywood doyenne Julianne Moore takes on the role of the ambitious, power-hungry Mary Villiers, while Nicholas Galitzine plays the Duke of Buckingham. James I, who has been described by historian Michael B. Young as ‘the most prominent homosexual figure in the early modern period’, will be portrayed by Tony Curran. The release date for the hotly-anticipated series but the first official images promise it will be a sumptuous dramatisation of history.

Here, Tatler brings you the true story behind the man who grew to be titled Duke of Buckingham, and his extraordinary rise to power. (Read more.)


As readers of My Queen, My Love know, George's rise to power continued under James' son, Charles I.


The Corruption of Climate Science

 From American Greatness:

We need to criticize the people who got us here,” says Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress and author of Fossil Future. “We can’t keep treating these designated experts as real experts. They are not real experts, they are destroyers. They are anti-energy, non-experts. And that needs to be made clear.”

Epstein is right, and his advice has never been more urgent—or as difficult to make people understand. It is no exaggeration that every major institution in America has now committed itself to the elimination of affordable and abundant energy. If it isn’t stopped, this commitment, motivated by misguided concern for the planet but also by a lust for power and money and enabled by moral cowardice and intellectual negligence, will destroy Western civilization.

For over 50 years, with increasing frequency, corrupted, careerist scientists have produced biased studies that, amplified by agenda-driven corporate and political special interests, constitute a “consensus” that is supposedly “beyond debate.” We are in a “climate crisis.” To cope with this climate emergency, all measures are justifiable.

This is overblown, one-sided, distorted, and manipulative propaganda. It is the language of authoritarians and corporatists bent on achieving even more centralized political power and economic wealth. It is a scam, perhaps the most audacious, all-encompassing fraud in human history. It is a scam that explicitly targets and crushes the middle class in developed nations and the entire aspiring populations in developing nations, at the same time as its messaging is designed to secure their fervent acquiescence. (Read more.)


Who Was Beowulf and Was He Real?

 From author Dena Bain Taylor:

The story of Beowulf comes down to us in three written sources. The most famous is the epic poem Beowulf, written in Old English in (likely) the early tenth century. I’m fully prepared to argue over drinks that it’s the greatest poem in the history of English literature.  In the first 2200 lines of the poem, the young Beowulf sails with his warband to Denmark and saves the kingdom of Hrothgar by killing the man-eating monster Grendel, quite spectacularly tearing off its arm and pursuing it to take its head. He follows up by wrestling down and killing Grendel’s equally monstrous mother. In the second part (1172 lines), Beowulf is an old king compelled to fight and kill a dragon that has been ravaging his people. He succeeds, but is himself killed. There’s an inescapable sadness at the end of Beowulf. For all his greatness as a king and a warden of the land, Beowulf dies alone, deserted by all but one loyal thane, Wiglaf the son of Weohstan.  He has no heir to leave his wargear to and he knows that his people, the Geats, are doomed to destruction at the hands of their old enemies the Swedes once they get news of his death. It’s a weighty counterpoint to the beginning of his tale, where he’s surrounded by loyal companions and welcomed as family by Hrothgar the Shield-Dane and Beowulf’s uncle Hygelac the Geat, two kings at the height of their powers.  

The poet devotes exactly ten lines to what happens in between the two stories: Beowulf succeeds his uncle Hygelac as king of the Geats, rules his land well for fifty winters, and grows old and wise. And then the dragon wakes.  It was that gap that first got me thinking — what was the turning point in Beowulf’s life and career as a hero-king? I’d also long wondered, is Beowulf just a fictional character in an Anglo-Saxon poem — a 10th century version of a Marvel comics Avenger, if you will?  Or does the monster-killing hero in fact represent some real Scandinavian prince? (Read more.)


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Feast of St. Joan, May 30

O how beautiful is the chaste generation with glory: for the memory thereof is immortal....
Wisdom 4:1

Today her feast occurs during the octave of Pentecost, but in 1431 May 30 fell upon a Wednesday, the Vigil of Corpus Christi. It was around noon when Jehanne Darc, or Jehanne la Pucelle, "the Maid," as she called herself, was led into the public square of Rouen by enemy soldiers to where the stake awaited her. Nineteen years old, her head shaven, surrounded by placards branding her a witch, idolatress, and abjured heretic, she invoked the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and St Michael the Archangel. She had been calumniated and condemned by those whose holy office it was to guide and protect her soul; she had been exposed to lewdness and impurity by those whose sacred duty it was to shelter her innocence and virginity. She was abandoned by the king whose crown her victories had won. She was in great interior darkness; the voices of her saints were silent.

Although she conversed with angels and saints, Joan the Maid was known to be practical and blunt. Very feminine and very French, she missed her embroidery and her mother, yet she emerges on the pages of late medieval history like someone from the Acts of the Apostles. Surrounded by miracles, she was herself a Miracle; she led an army to victory at the age of 17, an illiterate peasant girl, who knew nothing of war or politics. She saved France as a nation, for it had all but ceased to exist when she came on the scene.

Such was her Faith that she confounded her judges, while exhausted, frightened and pushed to the breaking point of her mental and physical strength. Denied the Sacraments by her persecutors, she gazed upon the upheld crucifix, calling out, "Jesus! Jesus!" as the flames consumed her. When Joan's ashes were scattered in the river, her heart was found, untouched by the flames, and still bleeding.

"If I walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me, O Lord Jesus." Communion Antiphon for the Feast of St Joan

St. Joan, pray for us!
More pictures, HERE.

When the Government Violates the Constitution

 From Reason:

When local bureaucrats in Hennepin County, Minnesota, seized an elderly woman's home over a small tax debt, sold it, and kept the profit, they likely had no idea they would set in motion a series of events that would cripple the practice known as "home equity theft" across the country.

Yet that's what happened. The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled that the government violated the Constitution when it took possession of Geraldine Tyler's condo over an overdue property tax bill, auctioned the home, and pocketed the proceeds in excess of what she actually owed.

Tyler, who is now 94 years old, purchased the Minneapolis-area condo in 1999. But a series of events, including a neighborhood shooting, prompted her to relocate to a retirement community in 2010, at which point it became difficult for her to pay both her new rent and the property taxes on her former home. She accrued a $2,300 tax bill, which turned into an approximately $15,000 bill after the government added on $13,000 in penalties, interest, and fees. Local officials then sold the home for $40,000—and kept the remaining $25,000. (Read more.)


Civilization’s First Cities

 And another candidate for Atlantis. From The Collector:

Overlooking the Konya plain in southern Anatolia in Turkey are the remains of a city that was founded over 9,000 years ago. Possibly the first city in history, Çatalhöyük had no streets nor any identifiable public buildings, yet it had a population that at some point probably reached as high as 10,000 people. The rooftops formed the primary way in which to traverse the city, and all the buildings had ladders leading to the roof. The openings in the roof also served as ventilation. The city was a collection of mudbrick houses clustered together in a way that promoted an extremely close relationship with one’s neighbors. Most of the buildings had shared walls with the buildings next to them. (Read more.)


Monday, May 29, 2023

A Royal Wedding Reception at Nymphenburg Palace


 From Tatler:

He is a Bavarian prince who will one day become head of one of Germany’s most influential noble families. So it was only fitting that Ludwig of Bavaria celebrated his recent nuptials with a spectacular reception at Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg) – one of Europe’s most opulent royal residences. Following a Catholic service in the heart of Munich (during which the bride reportedly fainted), Prince Ludwig and his Dutch-Canadian wife, Sophie Evekink, celebrated with a reception hosted at the palace by Ludwig’s cousin and Head of the House of Wittelsbach, Duke Franz of Bavaria. Dressed in their finest hats and sharpest suits, family and friends congregated beneath a cloudless sky in the sprawling grounds to toast the newlyweds. Among their number were the Prince and Princess of Prussia, the Margrave and Margravine of Baden, and Hereditary Prince Ernst August and Hereditary Princess Ekaterina of Hanover. Later, a white tie ball was held. (Read more.)


Photos of the wedding ceremony are HERE.



Catastrophic “Loss of Control” Data Breach in NY Elections

From UncoverDC:

A peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Information Warfare (JIW) confirms a “Loss of Control” breach has occurred in the NYSVoter Database. A peer-reviewed paper of their results in a respected journal is a hard-won and “significant milestone,” according to Marly Hornik, Executive Director of the NY Citizens Audit.

The audit of the voter rolls was led by Marly Hornik and Andrew Paquette, Ph.D., Director of Research, who submitted the paper to JIW. Paquette “co-founded the International Game Architecture and Design Academy (now BUAS) in the Netherlands after a career in the feature film and video game industries. He received his Ph.D. from King’s College, London, in 2018 for a thesis on the development of expertise.”

In July 2021, Hornik and Paquette assembled a group of volunteers in New York that has grown to around 2000 individuals statewide to investigate the state’s voter registration rolls. Hornik presented the group’s preliminary findings to attendees at The Pit, sponsored by True the Vote, in August 2022.

In her recent letter to New York citizens, Hornik explains the seriousness of the group’s findings:

“Through auditing the voter roll databases, obtained directly from state and local boards of elections, we have uncovered millions of invalid registrations, hundreds of thousands of votes cast by legally invalid registrations, hundreds of thousands of votes cast by legally invalid registrants, massive vote discrepancies, and the clear presence of algorithmic patterns we reverse engineered from within the state’s own official records.

To be absolutely clear, there is no known innocent purpose or explanation for why these algorithms exist. I am told by cyber-intelligence experts they indicate a ‘Total Loss of Control’ data breach, the most severe kind of data breach recognized by our federal government. The law says it renders the affected NYSVoter database completely untrustworthy.”

(Read more.)


Archaeologists at Althorp

 From Tatler:

Althorp House, the family home of Diana, Princess of Wales, has undergone significant excavations in recent weeks as Earl Spencer seeks to learn more about the remains of a Roman villa first discovered in the grounds a century ago. The 13,000-acre estate in Northamptonshire has belonged to the Spencer family since 1508 when they bought the land after amassing great wealth as sheep farmers. It is currently the home of the 9th Earl Spencer, the younger brother of Princess Diana who lives at Althorp with his third wife, Karen, Countess Spencer and their 10-year-old daughter, Lady Charlotte Diana Spencer.

 Earl Spencer, 59, posted a photo on Instagram of a group of archaeologists standing around a long trestle table outside his stately home in the sun. ‘Archaeologists, about to settle down to an end-of-dig feast this evening at Althorp’, he wrote. ‘They’ve been here for three weeks, excavating the Roman Villa that stood here from perhaps 100 AD for what looks like several hundred years…. Amazing to think of those long ago folk enjoying Althorp, 1,000 or so years before my family first farmed here in the 1480s.’ (Read more.)


 Countess Spencer currently has a marvelous newsletter with videos about her own restoration projects at Althorp as well as about English country life. I could watch all day. Delightful!


Sunday, May 28, 2023

L'Ordre du Saint-Esprit

Louis XV conferring the cordon bleu

Louis the Dauphin wearing the Saint-Esprit

The Order of the Holy Spirit was the highest of French orders of chivalry. The Ordre du Saint-Esprit was founded by Henri III in 1578 to celebrate his succession to the throne on Pentecost Sunday. According to Heraldica:

The main [orders of chivalry] under the Old Regime were the Ordre de Saint-Michel (created in the 15th c. by Louis XI) and the Ordre du Saint-Esprit (Holy Ghost), created in 1578 with a limit of 100 on the number of knights: it was the most prestigious order in France, usually forbidden to foreigners (but the Spanish Borbons were often made knights in the 18th c.). Both were abolished in 1789, recreated in 1815 and abolished in 1830. A recipient of the Saint-Esprit always received Saint-Michel at the same time (they were collectively known as les ordres du Roi) though the converse was not true, of course. There was no requirement of nobility for Saint-Michel, but there were stringent ones for Saint-Esprit. The pendant of the Saint-Esprit was a Maltese cross azure, bordered argent, with a dove displayed pointing downward, and fleurs-de-lis between the branches of the cross. The necklace is made of alternating elements all shown surrounded by flames: the letter H surrounded by royal crowns (for Henri III, founder), a fleur-de-lis, and a military trophy. The sash of the Saint-Esprit was blue, and it was called in French le cordon bleu, though how the expression came to mean a first-rate cook I do not know.
Princes of the royal family were given the cordon bleu at birth but were not formally received into the Order until age twelve. The King of France was the Grand Master; below is a picture of young Louis XVI receiving the homage of the Chevaliers du Saint-Esprit, among whom unfortunately were his Orleanist cousins. How ironic, since the purpose of the Order was to unite the princes to their king.


Eric Adams Asks Court to Suspend New York City’s ‘Right to Shelter’

 From Breitbart:

Adams is seeking to waive the rule when “the City of New York acting through the New York City Department of Homeless Services (“DHS”) lacks the resources and capacity to establish and maintain sufficient shelter sites, staffing, and security to provide safe and appropriate shelter,” according to New York City Law Department’s Jonathan Pines, who wrote the application to Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Deborah Kaplan for the New York City Courts.

This ongoing flood of asylum-seekers arriving in New York City from the southern border represents a crisis of national, indeed international dimension; yet, the challenges and fiscal burden of this national crisis have fallen almost exclusively upon the City.

These unprecedented demands on the City’s shelter resources confront the City Defendant with challenges never contemplated, foreseeable, or indeed even remotely imagined by any signatory to the Callahan Judgment.

President Joe Biden’s administration thus far has sent New York City $40 million to handle the migrant crisis, despite Adams’ request for more than $650 million. (Read more.)


Toxic Fathers Can Cause Serious Damage

So can toxic mothers. And here we are not talking about fathers being authoritative and firm in their guidance and discipline but excessive harshness and even abandonment. From ReachOutRecovery:

Since human brains are wired to love and admire our parents, it is difficult to see or accept a father with no conscience or empathy. Their inconsistencies fool us, making their manipulation difficult to spot and as a child, we cannot identify “abusive” behavior because it’s our normal. So how do these men sabotage their daughters?

  1. These fathers devalue emotion. They resent and pathologize a child’s normal dependency as selfish or defiant. Their girls soon believe they will never be good enough to be loved or accepted as they are and that love is conditional.
  2. Toxic parents use financial manipulation to control their children, whether by giving lavish gifts or withholding money.
  3. They physically and emotionally abandon their kids when they are most needed. When they are busy, they can’t be bothered with any crisis involving a child that does not give them narcissistic supply. At times, they feel their children deserve their suffering and relish it.
  4. They normalize abuse and rage in the home by declaring, “If you hadn’t made me mad, I wouldn’t have screamed, hit or ______ you.”
  5. They will only show up as a parent if it makes them look or feel good; then, gaslight the child to undermine their perceptions through lies.
  6. They will often exploit their children to be their confidants, therapists, friends, or whatever else they need.
  7. They will scapegoat or play favorites to control their children.
  8. They will use triangulation and smear campaigns to alienate their children’s relationships with other family members and social circles to control the narrative presented to the outside world.
  9. They will reward the children who agree with them and punish those who don’t. Since they are vindicative, they will go to great lengths to harm anyone who exposes their behavior.

(Read more.)


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Sacred Fire

 A song composed just for the Coronation. Not everything new is bad. Veni Sancte Spiritus!


How We Save America

 Melody Krell interviews Monica Crowley.


The Legacy of the Incorruptible Sr. Wilhelmina of the Most Holy Rosary

 From Church Militant:

The Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles in Gower, Missouri, exhumed their founder, Sr. Wilhelmina of the Most Holy Rosary, on April 28, the Feast Day of St. Louis Marie DeMontfort.

Sister Wilhelmina went home to the Lord on May 29, 2019, at the age of 95. She was not embalmed. Sister Wilhelmina was buried in a simple wooden coffin without a vault. The top of the grave caved in at the time of her burial, and upon exhumation, there was a puddle of water at the bottom of the grave.

Her body is currently resting in the parlor of the monastery while a new altar is being constructed. Near her feet lay explanatory notes for visitors. The fifth paragraph of the note reads:
Not only was her body in a remarkable preserved condition, her crown and bouquet of flowers were dried in place, the profession candle with the ribbon, her crucifix, and rosary were all intact. Even more remarkable was the complete preservation of her holy habit, made from natural fibers, for which she fought so vigorously throughout her religious life. The synthetic veil was perfectly intact, while the lining of the coffin, made of very similar material, was completely deteriorated and gone.
Depending on conditions such as humidity, temperature and submergence in a substrate like water, the fifth and final stage of decomposition, skeletonization, can occur anywhere from three weeks to several years. (Read more.)

Friday, May 26, 2023

The Earliest Little Red Riding Hood Tale

 From Medievalists:

The tale of Little Red Riding Hood has a long history to it – first printed by Charles Perrault in the late 17th century and the Brothers Grimm in the nineteenth. However, the earliest known version of the story actually dates back to the 11th century.

Between the years 1010 and 1026, Egbert, a cleric who taught in the town of Liege wrote a book for the young students in his classroom. The work he created is called The Well-Laden Ship, which retells various proverbs, fables and folktales. It was designed to teach grammatical rules and give moral lessons to the students.

Egbert explains that he wrote the book “not for those who are already perfected to manly strength by careful attentive reading, but for those timid little boys still subject to discipline in school; so that, when their teachers are absent, while that band of youths is babbling to one to one another certain ditties (though none of them to any purpose) in order to sharpen somewhat their meagre talent by practicing and frequently chanting those little verses, at such times they might rather use these.” (Read more.)

Biden's Border Crisis Migrates North

 Now the northern border is a mess. From The Post Millennial:

Illegal immigration crossings have skyrocketed across the US/Canada border with authorities reporting that Border Patrol agents have seen a drastic increase in encounters compared to last fiscal year. According to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Border Patrol agents encountered 4,827 illegal immigrants at the US/Canadian border between October 2022 and April 2023, compared to 2,238 encounters for all of fiscal year 2022, Daily Caller reports.

Border Patrol says that while agents have seen a more than double increase in encounters in the first seven months of fiscal year 2023, 2,458 of those encounters were illegal immigrants from Mexico, according to the outlet. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's lax border policies grants Mexicans the authority to fly into the country with electronic travel authorizations, which can be easily obtained with the low price of $7.00. They do not have to present visas, granting them easy access to the northern nation. (Read more.)

Deeply Delicious Lentil Stew

 From Milk Street:

With one hand clutching their billowing white robes to their faces—shielding the gods from their breath—the teenagers used their other to tenderly, methodically dip and wipe, dip and wipe, dip and wipe, a meticulous wash and repeat in which they carefully dab milk on, then off the stone deities they knelt before.

Such is the pace of life at Lodha Dham Temple, an open-air Jain monastery where stacked stone spires, towering pillars and marble floors glow under a blinding white sun. Tucked off a dusty stretch of Ahmedabad Highway just 90 minutes north of Mumbai, life here is lived pared. No vehicles. No electricity. No money. Simplicity.

Which is why I’d come to learn one of India’s simplest dishes, dal tarka. What I didn’t realize is that I was about to learn something that would change my entire understanding of Indian cooking.

As so many in the West do, I thought of dal as little more than a bland porridge of yellow lentils. But as with Lodha Dham Temple, there are deep nuances and textures if you are willing to see them.

The public is welcome to join the monks for their vegetarian meals. And for less than $1, I was given a stainless steel tray, which cooks quickly heaped with rice, vegetable curries, roti and a bowl of soupy, yellow dal tarka.

Truthfully, the dal tarka was not much to look at. But it tasted nothing like it looks. The lentils themselves were creamy and sweet. Topping it was a drizzle of richness and toasted spices. The flavor was astounding, with pops of coriander, chili and cumin, all of it grounded by earthy turmeric. That drizzle took something so basic and plain and completely transformed it. (Read more.)

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Poterie Renault


From Milk Street:

Though the region is best known for wine production, the Loire Valley of France also once contained a secret gem frozen in time: Poterie Renault. Dating back to 1847, the French pottery workshop was filled to the brim with stoneware pieces, all handcrafted from some of the richest and finest clay France has to offer. And while the factory shuttered its doors in 2016, it left behind a treasure trove of salt-glazed ceramics that have become collectible items. Today, very few shops carry what’s left of the stunning pieces—we were lucky enough to get our hands on an assortment of rare finds.

At its height, potters at the factory would craft between 80 to 120 pieces a day, firing them in a blazing 1200 degree kiln with an unexpected additional component: salt. The old technique, known as salt-glazing, rendered pieces with an iconic glassy finish that set them apart. From traditional onion soup bowls and gorgeous wine jugs to bakers in multiple shapes and sizes, each unique piece will find a home in your kitchen. Snag this limited-availability collection while it’s in stock at Milk Street, once these pieces are gone, they’re gone forever. (Read more.)

Marxism, Witchcraft, and Abortion

 From Carrie Gress at The Stream:

Theosophy never quite went away and enjoyed a resurgence in the 1960s. Gloria Steinem’s mother was an adherent prior to her own mental breakdown. The three elements, the occult, free love, and smashing the patriarchy, that underpinned first wave feminism were certainly not embraced by all suffragettes. They were, however, the concepts that kept the feminist movement afloat until the 1960s, when a more radical version took over. Feminism was influenced by the Bolsheviks (whose regime was the first to legalize abortion), then by the cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School, which took it into the second wave.

Second wave feminism continued Shelley’s legacy. One of its most popular books was Robin Morgan’s anthology Sisterhood Is Powerful. It was a kind of handbook for feminists working to raise their consciousness and throw off the patriarchy’s shackles. Among its entries is the suggestion that the lesbian lifestyle is preferable because it naturally frees a woman from men and children. The book also includes a section featuring WITCH, the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, which suggests practicing witchcraft for female emancipation. The appendix includes spells for everyday use.

The question the first wave feminist asked was how do we help women. A noble effort. The problem is that they saw the life of men as the solution. Rather than helping women as women, they wanted to help women become men. No more fuss and mess of families, husbands, birth, and child-raising.

The goal was for women to become like men, or better like gods, without the confines of bodies and human nature. For this to happen, women had to prevent or eliminate their children and live only with potential for human life, not actual human life. California’s new church, the Church of Potential Life, fetishizes what Shelley and other first wave feminists dreamed of, now all too real for us. (Read more.)


The Tortured Soul of Léon Bloy

 From Angelus:

Although he is considered the father of the “Catholic” novel, Bloy is more famous for quotations extracted from them and from his brilliant and controversial journals published during his lifetime.

One journal was titled “Pilgrim of the Absolute,” which also became Bloy’s honorary title. Another, called “Bloy Before the Swine,” included a harsh depiction of his life in a Paris suburb. Those whom he’d turned to in his abject poverty and helped him probably agreed with another honorific, “The Ungrateful Beggar,” which was the title of another volume. His thought was that he could not compromise his writing or vocation, and expected others to support him in what publishers and the public refused to do.

It is a cliché that a prophet’s mission is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. But that seems to have been Bloy’s modus operandi.

France had responded with enthusiasm to the 1846 apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to two young visionaries in the hamlet of La Salette. Its message of repentance was embraced by many but became controversial, even though the local bishop and the Vatican supported the claims.

But one of the visionaries, Melanie Calvat, felt that the message of Our Lady was not being correctly reflected and prophesied a coming disaster for the French Church. Her ideas resonated with Bloy, who became Calvat’s advocate and challenged the French hierarchy and the congregations who served as chaplains on the mountain where pilgrims visited the shrine built to mark the apparition. In his typical absolutist style, he said what had started with the charism of repentance associated with La Salette was now a matter of “hoteliers and merchants of soup,” because of the guesthouses run by the congregation on the “holy mountain.”

His identification with the cause of Calvat was a reflection of Bloy’s sympathy with those who were on the losing side of life. He also published defenses of Columbus and Napoleon, both of whom he judged maligned by historians. (Read more.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Allure of French Décor at Tallwood

 From Victoria:

There is perhaps no home lovelier than the collected home—one that has “grown up” with a person or a family to tell their unique story. Fortunately, for those of us on a budget, this decorating philosophy is also quite practical and attainable, especially in modern culture, where history, and the beauty found therein, is valued by so few.

Thus, come the tales we so relish to exchange: a fine antique found while on holiday in a quaint European town, a beautifully patinaed eighteenth-century French mirror found at the estate sale of a prominent local widow, vintage English cupboards spotted on a local market page. These are the stories we love to tell of the pieces that have come to make our house a home. So has been our experience at Tallwood, as we’ve worked to restore and furnish a most beloved residence in a way that honors its storied past. 
French antiques and vintage finds can, at the very least, bring a softness to a space and, at the very most, a femininity. The French aesthetic here at Tallwood is quite pronounced and can be traced back decades, to the installation of a rather glamorous French grisaille in the dining room. Needless to say, I was enchanted from the start. The term grisaille comes from the French word for “gray” (gris) and is a painting technique in which a monotone underpainting is overlaid with translucent oils. I often catch myself lost in the famous fountains of the Villa D’Este, which our grisaille depicts. (Read more.)



The "Hope Is Fuel" Debacle

I would never be invited, thank the Lord.  From Dr. Zmirak at The Stream:

Let’s say you’re a Christian, specifically a Catholic. You’re troubled by the division, lack of leadership, and even heretical leadership that afflicts too many inside your church. Furthermore, you see that the political situation for Christians of every kind is becoming toxic and ugly. You worry that too many people inside your church are losing hope, drifting away, or isolating themselves and abandoning any effort to evangelize the culture. You want to lift people up, offer solid insights from leaders, and give people both intellectual guidance and spiritual uplift, by drawing on the best minds and most dynamic approaches current in Catholic circles today. To that end, you invite a wide array of highly credentialed people, both clergy and laity, including important pro-life activists, journalists, theologians, and philosophers. The conference will be online, and pre-recorded — that’s the only way to get so many luminaries gathered together at once. To achieve this, you use all the contacts and connections you’ve built up over many years.Are you with me? So, given all these things, let’s consider the question: How many public anti-Semites — who minimize the Holocaust on Iranian TV, and blame “the Jews” for Communism, Capitalism, abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution and most recent wars — should you invite to speak at the conference? (Read more.)


 From Dr. Esolen at Word and Song:

I love English — as you’ve probably noticed! One of its odder features is its three-fold or four-fold engagement with Latin. You see, the Romans had annexed the south of Great Britain, up to Hadrian’s Wall, and so for three centuries you had people in England mixing it up with those oddballs who liked hot springs (at Bath), who set up walled camps and towns everywhere (at Lan-caster, Man-chester, Ro-chester, Wor-cester, and all those other places that had Latin castra, camp, in their names), who used coins (Latin moneta, which eventually became Old English mynt, the ancestor of English mint), and who strewed layers of gravel and stone to make roads, some of which are still in use, more than two thousand years later. The Latin word for spreading things out or strewing them broadside, or flattening somebody with a good left cross, was sternere, with its past participle stratus. So Latin via strata meant a paved way — and then it was just strata, for short. (Read more.)


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

A Visit to Château de la Villedubois


From Victoria:

Set on a picturesque plot near the town of Mordelles, France, Château de la Villedubois has been the home of de Farcy kin for generations, dating back to 1647, when Jacques Annibal de Farcy bought the property from the Huchet de la Bédoyère family. The structure was made by filling in a wooden frame with local stone mixed with sand and clay, then coated with lime and sand. On the east wing, the wisteria draping gracefully across the façade replaced the grape vines that grew there until the start of the twentieth century. While the château opened its doors as a bed-and-breakfast inn a few years ago, it is still very much a family home, with three generations sharing these historical quarters. Commissioned by Henri de Farcy in 1904, when he was just under thirty years old, the library is housed in a square tower built between the horse stables and the east wing. Henri devoted himself to books and the archival papers that consumed his attention, storing his collections in this handsome space, which features gleaming wood paneling and walls of bookcases. Among the many treasures found here is the original deed of acquisition for the estate. (Read more.)


An All-Too-Moveable Feast

I am saddened with how the American hierarchy has hacked up the Roman calendar. From Charlotte Allen at First Things:

The American bishops—as well as others, mostly in the English-speaking world—had a precedent for this. Starting in the late 1960s, the Feast of the Epiphany, celebrating the Magi’s visit to the infant Jesus—traditionally January 6, “Twelfth Night,” in the Western church—was moved to the Sunday immediately following New Year’s Day. This has meant that the season of Christmastide itself, which traditionally speaking isn’t supposed to end until the eleven pipers pipe and the twelve drummers drum, has regularly been terminated in parish churches as early as January 2. Further gumming up the works is the fact that many Spanish-speaking Catholics in the United States haven’t bought into the bishops’ switch to Sunday and continue to celebrate El Día de los Reyes—a much more important feast for them than for Anglophones—on whatever day of the week January 6 happens to fall.

Postponing Ascension Day—giving Jesus three extra days on earth before being “taken up” until a “cloud received Him”—means compressing the time between the Ascension and Pentecost (the ancient Jewish Feast of Weeks marking the seventh sabbath after Passover and always celebrated by Christians on a Sunday) from ten days to a mere seven. You might say that God now has to send down the Holy Spirit to the Church (the event that the Christian feast of Pentecost commemorates) by express instead of standard delivery. Not only does this change maul the Scriptures (the Acts of the Apostles is very clear about the time period between Ascension Day and Pentecost), but the once-widespread Catholic custom of a nine-day novena between the two feast days—with the Easter candle in the sanctuary extinguished on the intervening Sunday as a symbol of Christ’s absence—is now just a memory in most U.S. dioceses.

And in a further flattening of the post-Easter liturgical calendar, the American bishops (along with bishops in many other Western countries) moved the uniquely Catholic feast of Corpus Christi, which since the Middle Ages has been celebrated on the Thursday ten days after Pentecost. Again, the bishops decided that going to Mass or viewing a procession on a weekday was too much to ask of American Catholics, so Corpus Christi was shuffled off to Sunday as well. So now we’re left with a blurry procession of late-spring Sundays: Ascension Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, Trinity Sunday (a week after Pentecost), and Corpus Christi Sunday. Many Catholics probably have trouble figuring out which one is which.

As for the bishops’ goal of encouraging Mass attendance on major feasts by moving around their days of observance, quite the opposite has happened instead. Fewer Catholics than ever go to church on Sundays these days, even though such convenient scheduling arrangements as evening and vigil Masses have made it easier than ever in history for them to fulfill their weekly worship obligations. A Gallup poll released in April 2018 showed that Sunday Mass attendance, which had stabilized at around 45 percent about a decade ago, has recently resumed a precipitous post-Vatican II decline, down to 39 percent in 2017 from its height of 75 percent during the 1950s. And as the rules about holy-day worship have relaxed, the complaints from Catholics obliged to abide by the few restrictions left have grown. In December 2017, when Christmas fell on a Monday, many Catholics were disappointed to learn that the bishops wouldn’t let them pull a “two-fer” via a Mass on Sunday, December 24, that would cover both days. (Read more.)


New York City May Be Sinking Under the Weight of Its Skyscrapers

 Another reason to flee from New York City. From Architectural Digest:

The paper concludes with an emphasis on the importance of strategies that could minimize the impact of inundation from sea water. However, the authors implicitly argue that New York’s developers still aren’t taking the risk of rising waters seriously enough. “New York City is ranked third in the world in terms of future exposed assets to coastal flooding,” the paper reads. “90% of the 67,400 structures in the expanded post-Hurricane-Sandy flood risk areas have not been built to floodplain standards.”

With UN reports estimating that the percentage of the world’s population living in urban areas could increase to as much as 68 percent by 2050, coastal cities should take notice of New York’s slow sinking. Though it would hardly be prudent to topple every skyscraper and start over, perhaps research like this will inspire ingenious solutions that can help New York rise to the challenge of climate change. (Read more.)


Monday, May 22, 2023

Practical and Ideal

From Dream Tiny Living:

The number of people adopting the tiny house lifestyle is increasing day by day and the demand for these houses is increasing. We continue to discover new tiny houses to help you find the tiny house of your dreams. Today we will introduce you to ‘Practical and Ideal Sized Tiny House Design 5m x 6m’, suitable for the minimalist life of your dreams.

One of the biggest advantages of the tiny house is its low cost. You can have a tiny house that fits your budget by building these houses in different sizes and designs in line with your wishes and living standards. After you start to adopt this minimalist lifestyle, your expenses will decrease significantly.

Tiny houses that offer the opportunity to liberate your life are a source of motivation for many people. You can create a comfortable minimal lifestyle by getting away from the modern city life and the crowd. To own a tiny house, you should examine different tiny houses and choose the tiny house that suits your lifestyle. For this, do not forget to take a look at other tiny houses on our website. (Read more.)

From Treehugger:

For many people, a tiny house represents more financial freedom and the possibility to live a fuller life within a smaller footprint—both literally and ecologically. Nevertheless, behind the dream, there are always some practical questions to consider. For instance, where do you find a place to park your tiny house? What about buying insurance or permits? What do you do if you're thinking about tiny living but have kids?

For some, that last question can be a big one, as it can be perceived as a barrier to switching over to a tiny house. But for some, this issue can be reframed as a creative challenge, as Australian architect Wayne and partner Anthea have done. They are parents to two young adults, Darienne and Remony, and have recently embarked on their own tiny house adventure in not one—but two!—tiny houses, one for the parents and another for the two daughters. This DIY project was constructed together as a family, and as the couple explains, also looks toward a future where their daughters might be able to live mortgage-free. (Read more.) 

 A two-storey tiny house, HERE.

Tiny house designs, HERE and HERE.


A natural material tiny house, HERE


The Racialization of Society

The entire Bridgerton thing is stupid, since there were no black aristocrats in England, and the political battle to abolish the slave trade was in full swing. It detracts from the struggle against slavery to show black people as being part of the British elite. From The Spectator:

Imagine it. Imagine if an image of a fine, upstanding, elite black family – the Obamas, say – was publicly described as ‘terribly black’. We would hate that, wouldn’t we?

The vast majority of people would feel incredibly uncomfortable, if not outraged, with public chatter on the selfishness of black women, the scourge of black fragility, or the dangers posed by angry black men.

So how has it become entirely normal to see such commentary in relation to white people? Are sweeping racial generalisations okay when talking about white people? Why?

Adjoa Andoh’s comment on the whiteness of the Windsors has caused a storm. It was during ITV’s live commentary on the coronation that the Bridgerton actress observed that the ‘rich diversity’ of the audience in Westminster Abbey had been replaced by a ‘terribly white balcony’. ‘I’m very struck by that’, she said. (Read more.)


A Life of Endurance

A mother's love never dies. From Ellen Gable at Plot Line and Sinker:

If the struggles my mother endured are any indication of her achievements in life, then what she achieved here on earth can be considered great, indeed. My mother (Betti) was born in 1934 and died in 2007, but her influence in my life and in the lives of my children, nieces, nephews, and siblings has continued.

On the one hand, she was generous to a fault, often going into debt when we were young so that my siblings and I could have plentiful presents under the Christmas tree. She loved coming up to Canada and especially enjoyed surprising my boys with unexpected trips (and she never missed a Baptism or a First Communion or musical performance until she became terminally ill).  She had a unique, wry sense of humor and was laugh-out-loud funny sometimes.  Even today, she still makes me laugh when I think of one of her funny sayings.

On the other hand, she chain-smoked most of her life (she quit when she was 61), could swear like a sailor, and wasn’t always faithful with church attendance. But as a young mother with three small children and nine months pregnant with another, my mother watched her husband (my father) spiral into a full-blown psychotic breakdown and watch as he was committed to a psychiatric hospital. That same day, she went into labor with my youngest brother. With the help of extended family, she endured, and Dad finally came home.

Mom survived a critical illness when she was 33 years old and was not expected to live. I was only seven at the time, but I remember how thin she was. She weighed eighty pounds and at five feet, six inches tall, she was a walking skeleton.  She beat the odds, though, and lived a fairly healthy life until her sixties when chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caught up with her. (Read more.)


Sunday, May 21, 2023

Buttons with Miniature Portraits of French Royal Family

Marie-Thérèse of Savoy was the wife of Artois (Charles X). From Invaluable:

The miniatures inverted-glazed silver frames set with paste stones, with eyelets on the back. Subsequently attached rings for hanging. Engraved on the reverse with the names of the sitters: "LE ROY" (Louis XVI). "LA REINE" (Marie - Antoinette - youth portrait) "LA REINE" (Marie - Antoinette - older portrait). "MD. D'ARTOIS" (Maria Josepha of Saxony, wife of the Comte d'Artois, later King Charles X.) "Madame FILLE DU ROY" (Marie - Thérèse Charlotte de Bourbon 1778 - 1851). "MADAME" (Maria Josepha of Savoy, 1771-1810, wife of Louis, Comte de Provence, later King Louis XVIII, who was Louis XVI's eldest brother and bore the title "Monsieur". "M. BAILLY" (Jean Sylvaine de Bailly, mayor of Paris and French mathematician, 1736 - 1793) "M. L'ABBÉ MAURY" (Jean - Siffrein Maury, 1746-1817, opponent of the French Revolution, became Cardinal in 1794 and Archbishop of Paris in 1810). Exceptionally beautiful and rare, unusual ensemble of fine quality. Diameter 34 mm each. Highly interesting pieces on the history of the French Revolution and the Ancien Régime. The miniature shown in the image with the portrait of General Lafayette is sold individually.  (Read more.)


Modernity is Making You Sterile

 From The Spectator:

That’s the problem with what we all think of as progress: it swats away benevolent traditions because the usefulness of traditions can be subtle and hard to understand. Technology brings many blessings: better medical treatment, better nutrition, and better comfort for all of the world’s population, even in the poorest regions. But rapid technological development liquifies well-established traditions and sometimes we don’t realise what we’ve lost until it’s too late.

Progressivism, the dominant ideology of our times, insists that history has a shape – that as time goes by, and new ideas and new technologies arrive in our lives, the world gets better. Those who insist on holding to traditions are the enemies of this process because progress and tradition are understood – correctly – to be in direct and bloody competition with one another.

But what we are now discovering is that, at the population level, modernity selects systematically against itself. The key features of modernity – urbanism, affluence, secularism, the blurring of gender distinctions, and more time spent with strangers than with kin – all of these factors in combination shred fertility. Which means that progressivism, the political ideology that urges on the acceleration of modernisation, can best be understood as a sterility meme. When people first become modern, they have fewer children; when they adopt progressive ideology, they accelerate the process of modernisation and so have even fewer. Britain was the first country to experience an industrial revolution, meaning that Britain started hurtling towards modernity faster than anyone else. Today, only 3 per cent of the world’s population lives in a country whose fertility rate is not declining.⁠

Demographic imbalance may well represent the greatest threat to the long-term stability of Britain, and indeed the rest of the world. Put simply, our age pyramid no longer looks like a pyramid. An ageing population depends on working-age adults to fund the welfare system. An economic system dependent on high levels of debt also depends on above-replacement birth rates. The whole system is a Ponzi scheme, reliant on continued population growth in order to sustain itself. (Read more.)

A Roman Senator’s Day in Ancient Rome

 From The Collector:

The Senate was composed of elderly men, which is why the word for senate means “old man” in Latin (senex). The primary function of the Roman Senate was to debate decrees and create laws, any of which could be approved or declined (in Latin veto) by the consuls or leaders of the Senate.

Furthermore, it decided Rome’s external policy, managed expenses, and supervised religious matters. In matters of war, the Senate decided the number of troops necessary for a campaign, controlled the generals, and offered them honors. The final decision of the Senate on a matter was known as a Senatus Consultum, and every magistrate had to accept it. Their decisions were similar to decrees and functioned similarly to laws.

How did patricians become senators? First, They were not elected but appointed. Throughout much of the Roman Republican period, an elected official, the censor, appointed new senators. Later during the Roman Empire, the emperor controlled who could become a senator. Secondly, Senators were required to be of high moral character. They had to be wealthy because they were not offered payment for their jobs and had to spend their wealth on running the Roman state. They were not allowed to have other jobs, such as being a banker or a merchant, nor could they commit any crimes. (Read more.)

Saturday, May 20, 2023

My Spring Newsletter

 Dear Friends and Family,

A blessed Ascension!

Let us live as if we were already There.
Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with Him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to Him? While in Heaven He is also with us; and we while on earth are with Him. He is here with us by His divinity, His power and His love. We cannot be be in heaven, as He is on earth, by divinity, but in Him, we can be there by love. ~ St. Augustine, Sermon for the Ascension

The Pentecost novena begins today, even for those who were not able to celebrate the Ascension yesterday. The Golden Sequence makes a superb novena prayer.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus,        Come, Holy Spirit,
et emitte caelitus                send forth the heavenly
lucis tuae radium.               radiance of your light.

Veni, pater pauperum,      Come, father of the poor,
veni, dator munerum         come giver of gifts,
veni, lumen cordium.         come, light of the heart.

Consolator optime,             Greatest comforter,
dulcis hospes animae,         sweet guest of the soul,
dulce refrigerium.               sweet consolation.

In labore requies,                In labor, rest,
in aestu temperies               in heat, temperance,
in fletu solatium.                  in tears, solace.

O lux beatissima,                 O most blessed light,
reple cordis intima               fill the inmost heart
tuorum fidelium.                  of your faithful.

Sine tuo numine,                  Without your divine will,
nihil est in homine,               there is nothing in man,
nihil est innoxium.                nothing is harmless.

Lava quod est sordidum,     Wash that which is unclean,
riga quod est aridum,           water that which is dry,
sana quod est saucium.        heal that which is wounded.

Flecte quod est rigidum,      Bend that which is inflexible,
fove quod est frigidum,        warm that which is chilled,
rege quod est devium.          make right that which is wrong.

Da tuis fidelibus,                    Give to your faithful,
in te confidentibus,                who rely on you,
sacrum septenarium.            the sevenfold gifts.

Da virtutis meritum,             Give reward to virtue,
da salutis exitum,                  give salvation at our passing on,
da perenne gaudium,            give eternal joy.
Amen, Alleluia.                      Amen, Alleluia.

This spring I have been privileged to be part of some Catholic podcasts.

 I was delighted to be interviewed by Bob Krebs, a fellow native of Frederick County, Maryland and currently the Director of Communications of the Diocese of Wilmington. We discussed Queen Henrietta Maria. The interview can be heard HERE.

I was also interviewed by Kristen of Catholic Exchange about the real Marie Antoinette. To
listen, click HERE.

Connor McHugh invited me to be on his marvelous podcast called Plotlines. We discussed the PBS portrayal of Marie-Antoinette, HERE. And then he invited me to join some illustrious comrades in discussing the French pretender Henri V, HERE.

Meanwhile, I have been working on the sequel to My Queen, My Love,  to be called Generalissima, Part II of the Henrietta of France trilogy. It will deal with Henriette's role in the tumult of the English Civil War. My Queen, My Love is still selling steadily and garnering some excellent reviews from bloggers and literary journals. I was really happy to receive a glowing review from royal historian Theodore Harvey at Royal World:
Most Americans are probably not aware that the US state of Maryland was originally named after Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), daughter of King Henri IV of France (1553-1610) and wife of the ill-fated King Charles I of England (1600-1649). Readers seeking an introduction to this unjustly neglected historical figure would do well to immerse themselves in this charming and engaging book by Elena Maria Vidal, who appropriately enough lives in Maryland....The central importance of religion is evident from the outset. Daughter of the pragmatic convert Henri IV, the devoutly Catholic Henrietta Maria finds herself in an impossible situation as wife of the staunch Anglican Charles I in what is by then a predominantly and fervently Protestant country, with even the King's own high church Anglicanism increasingly deemed too "catholic" by some. While the author clearly shares Henrietta Maria's devout Roman Catholicism, it is to Vidal's credit that the sincerity of King Charles who believes that his Church of England is truly Catholic is depicted in a well-rounded manner. I particularly appreciated the writer's evident love of liturgical beauty as reflected in lavish descriptions of Catholic ceremonies including sacred music. Henrietta Maria's enjoyment of the secular arts, so scandalous to the dour Puritans especially her own participation in Masques, is a consistent theme as well. (Read more.)

And I was also delighted by this insightful assessment of My Queen, My Love by Laura Crockett at The History Desk:

Henriette-Marie married Charles I of England in 1625. She became his queen but was never crowned, formally. When she married Charles, she was 15. Our modern perspective tells us that is a mere girl. Nevertheless, previous ages were practical in these matters. Henriette died when she was 59. That too, is young in our eyes.  Nonetheless, she lived to a ripe age, because the average, back in the day, was 35 years.

Vidal structures the story as one of those perfect circles, wherein she begins with Marie de Medici, Henriette’s mother, and then closes the story with Marie. What is given to us, in between the Marie sections, is the story of her daughter, who lived during a crucial development era in the history of the Western world.

Henrietta Maria holding a butterfly

Please do consider leaving a review on Amazon for My Queen, My Love. Some readers have had trouble publishing positive reviews, so let me know if you have trouble.

Love and Prayers to all,

Elena at "East of the Sun and West of the Moon"

(Read more.)