30 September 2019

Angels & Dragons II

Number two in our series on Angels & Dragons, or spiritual warfare.

From ATX Catholic

By the Reverend Mr Guadalupe Rodriquez

What is a Dragon?

The Hebrew word “tanniyn” is used to depict a mysterious and vile creature similar to a giant reptile.   “Tanniyn” is found 28 times in the Old Testament, with English translations sometimes referring to it as dragon, sea-monster, serpent, whale, or jackal.  In the New Testament the Book of Revelation uses the Greek word δράκων or drakōn a total of 11 times meaning “large serpent.”

The Book of Revelation identifies the dragon as, “The great dragon, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan.” (12:9 NAB) Similarly, the Rite of Exorcism states, “The dragon, the ancient serpent, no other than the demon, Satan,” and at times even calling him, “reprobate dragon” and “profligate dragon.”

What does a dragon look like?

“Rows of scales are on his back, tightly sealed together; They are fitted so close to each other that no air can come between them; So joined to one another that they hold fast and cannot be parted. When he sneezes, light flashes forth; his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn.  Out of his mouth go forth torches; sparks of fire leap forth. From his nostrils comes smoke as from a seething pot or bowl.
His breath sets coals afire; a flame comes from his mouth.  Strength abides in his neck, and power leaps before him…His heart is cast as hard as stone… When he rises up, the gods are afraid; when he crashes down, they fall back… Upon the earth there is none like him, he was made fearless. He looks over all who are haughty, he is king over all proud beasts.” (Job 41:7-26 NAB)

How do you get rid of, “the dragon and his angels,”? (Rev. 12:7 NAB)

This year an “Exorcismo Magno” was performed on the country of Mexico and also in the city of Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples, Italy because they had become a, “habitation of dragons.” (Is. 34:13 Douay-Rheims Bible)

Modern day Spanish exorcist Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea, one of the most renowned and successful exorcist of our times said this year, “If this ritual (Exorcismo Magno) were to be carried out in more countries once year,…there will certainly be positive repercussions, because it will make a great number of the tempters flee, even if this exorcism is partial.”  Similarly in ages past, St. Francis of Assisi via prayer and one of his religious brothers exorcised the city of Arezzo in Italy, and “the dragon and his angels,” (Rev. 12:7 NAB) left the city.

How do we invite, “the dragon and his angels,”? (Rev. 12:7 NAB)

When the people become, “the brother of dragons,” (Job 30:29 Douay-Rheims Bible) through sins that fly in the face of God and make idols like, “the dragon fountain,” (Nehemiah 2:13 Douay-Rheims Bible) then their land becomes, “a dwelling for dragons.” (Jer.10:22 Douay-Rheims Bible) They give their spiritual “inheritance to the dragons” (Malachi 1:3 Douay-Rheims Bible) and drink, “the gall of dragons.” (Deuteronomy 32:33 Douay-Rheims Bible)  Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea states, “To the extent sin increases more and more in a country, to that extent it becomes easier for the demons to tempt (people).” 

Likewise, Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcists (retired) states in 1992, “In some areas where paganism is prevalent we find an unleashing of demons… I researched this phenomenon in some areas of Africa… in some areas of old Catholic Europe (such as Italy, France, Spain, Austria) because there is a frightening drop in faith among the nations.”  Countries are quickly becoming, “a dwelling place for dragons.” (Jer. 51:37 Douay-Rheims Bible) bringing to mind the two times in the Book of Revelation when the dragon is released, “But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Dragon has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time.” (Rev. 12:12 NAB)

“He (the angel) seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years…After this, it is to be released for a short time.” (Rev. 20:2-3 NAB)  This also brings to mind the prophecy from the approved apparition of Our Lady of La Salette, “Lucifer, together with a great number of devils, will be loosed from hell.”

Indeed to combat the invasion of, “the dragon and his angels,” (Rev. 12:7 NAB) we must “Proclaim a War!” (Joel 4:9 NAB) like the ancient dragon slayers!  So who were the ancient dragon-slayers?  And what were their weapons of war?  For we are not the first dragon-slayers, and we must learn the weapons of choice from those who have gone before us in order to successfully defeat man’s most ancient foes, “the dragon and his angels,”. (Rev. 12:7 NAB)   

Sign of the Cross

One of the weapons for warding off the dragon is faith in the Sign of the Cross for it is the sign of our salvation where Jesus died and shed his blood on the cross. (Col. 1:20 NAB)  St. Columba is a great example of the power of the Sign of the Cross.   He once protected a man from being swallowed up by a dragon.  St. Adaman jots down in 565 AD, “The dragon suddenly rushed out and giving an awful roar, darted after him (the man) with its mouth wide open, as the man swam in the middle of the stream.”  St. Columba raised his hand, made the Sign of the Cross and “commanded the ferocious monster saying, ‘Thou shalt go no further, nor touch the man; go back with all speed.’ Then at the voice of the saint, the monster was terrified, and fled more quickly than if it had been pulled back with ropes.” Yes, scripture has, “dragons in the waters.” (Psalm 74:13 Douay-Rheims Bible)

Similarly in the 1st Century, St. Clement was sent to Metz to preach the gospel to a people held captive by a dragon.  Entering the amphitheater with much prayer and his stole, St. Clement made the Sign of the Cross and the dragon was subdued.  He led the dragon out of the town telling him to disappear into a place where there were no humans or animals, and the dragon obeyed while everyone but the king was converted.

St Martha and the Dragon
St Martha and the Dragon

Holy Water

Another powerful weapon of dragon slayers is holy water.  St. Martha, the sister of Lazarus, heard there was a dragon in a swamp between Arles and Avignon, France that was destroying property and killing everyone with its fiery breath. This dragon brings to mind the scripture, “Thou great dragon that liest in the midst of thy rivers, and sayest: The river is mine, and I made myself.” (Ezekiel 29:3 Douay-Rheims Bible)

St. Martha with no other weapon than a jar of holy water went in search of the dragon.  The dragon came out to devour her, but it was arrested solely by the power of the cross and the holy water the saint was carrying. As she prayed and sang hymns St. Martha bound the dragon with her belt and led the beast to the town of Tarascon, where it was killed by its citizens.  St. Martha then preached to the people and converted many of them to Christianity.  

The Crucifix

Another very important weapon of dragon slayers is the crucifix. 
St. Margaret of Antioch in 304 A.D. in doing battle was swallowed by Satan in the shape of a dragon, from which she escaped alive when the cross she carried irritated the dragon’s entrails causing him to expel her reminding us of the scripture, “He hath swallowed me up like a dragon.” (Jer.51:34 Douay-Rheims Bible)

She is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, and hers was one of the voices heard by St. Joan of Arc. Similarly in the 7th Century, St. Romanus of Rouen (Archbishop and Apostle of Normandy) stopped a huge dragon with his crucifix and then bound the dragon with his stole where he took him in procession to town where the dragon was burned.

Likewise, St. Philip, the apostle, drove away a dragon in the Temple of Mars in Scythia with a cross.  Saint Philip commanded the dragon to go into the desert without doing any harm to the people. 

After the dragon departed, Saint Philip preached and healed all the people who were sick, and he then raised three that were dead. He also baptized all who were in the temple.  This banishment of dragons into the desert was done by some exorcists in the past reminding us of the scripture, “the dragons of the desert.” (Malachi 1:3 Douay-Rheims Bible) and when Jesus was tempted in the desert by the dragon.  Although today the majority of exorcists send “the dragon and his angels,” (Rev. 12:7 NAB) to the foot of the cross so that Jesus can send them to their rightful place.  

St Philip Driving the Dragon from the Templte of Hieropolis - Filippino Lippi
St Philip Driving the Dragon from the Templte of Hieropolis – Filippino Lippi

Having a blessed item is another powerful weapon that dragons slayers use.  The battle between St. Radegund (520-587) and the dragon of Poitiers, France is a great tribute to female dragon slayers. The dragon would use underground cave tunnels during floods to come devour the nuns of the Abbey of the Holy Cross reminding us of scripture that refers to the, “dens of dragons.” (Jer. 9:11 Douay-Rheims Bible) With much prayer and faith, Saint Radegund faced the dragon with blessed bread and a small cross as weapons. When the dragon attacked she threw the blessed bread into his mouth and prayed while the dragon convulsed in horrible pains and then, “snuffed up the wind like dragons” (Jer.14:6 Douay-Rheims Bible) do when they are dying.


Another great weapon of dragon slayers is blessed incense.  St. Raphael the Archangel instructs Tobiah on how to use incense to rid the dragon that had killed the previous seven grooms of his bride. When Tobiah put incense on the embers, the odor, “repulsed the demon, and it fled to the upper regions of Egypt; Raphael went in pursuit of it and there bound it hand and foot.” (Tobit 8:3 NAB)  Fr. Gabriel Amorth is also in agreement, “Demons cannot stand the smell of incense; therefore it is beneficial to use it.”

Dragon Slayers

The intercession of dragon slayers like St. George is also a powerful weapon for defeating dragons.  Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea (mentioned above) invokes the ancient dragon slayer St. George during exorcisms saying, “Come St. George, Come St. George” as the possessed convulses at hearing the name of St. George.  When St. George arrives, Fr. Fortea asks St. George to make the possessed kneel so that she can receive Holy Communion and the demon obeys St. George but not without the it complaining, “Assassin leave me!” The protesting reminds us of the scripture, “I will make a wailing like the dragons.” (Micah 1:8 Douay-Rheims Bible)  Fr. Fortea relates, “Of all of the saints and angels, the name of St. George is the most effective for this demon.”  

St. George and the Dragon - Rubens
St. George and the Dragon – Rubens

But the most ancient intercessor of all dragon slayers is St. Michael the Archangel.  St. Michael is the first to ever defeat the dragon, “Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail…” (Rev.12:7-8 NAB)

He is the commander of the armies in heaven and on earth.  He is the chief dragon slayer!  Fr. Gabriel Amorth uses, “simple blessed holy cards, such as those depicting Saint Michael the Archangel of whom demons are particularly afraid.” (An Exorcist Tells His Story)  In the real story behind the movie, “The Exorcist,” it is a blessed statue of St. Michael brought to the bedside of the possessed that ultimately brings about deliverance when St. Michael speaks the name of God through the possessed boy. 

Speaking at the Shrine of St. Michael the Archangel, Monte Sant Angelo on May 24, 1987, Pope John Paul II said,  “Let us remember that the angels wish to stand with us, both in the life of the world, as well as beside each individual person, in the battle with Satan and his armies.  The strength of their army surpasses that of the Evil One.  There is, however, one difficulty: they await a declaration of war.  They are the Knights of God.  And so, (because they respect our right of free will) they also await an official invitation from each human person.”

“The one who crushes the serpent’s head.”

The most powerful of all dragon slayers is the Blessed Virgin Mary.  At the beginning of time when Adam and Eve sinned, God prophesied, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” (Genesis 3:15 Douay-Rheims Bible) She is the Queen of Angels and Saints, and they serve her by interceding, caring, and protecting her children while the dragon says, “I will not serve.” (Jer.2:20 Douay-Rheims Bible) The Blessed Virgin Mary is also Our Queen and Mother, and we serve her by responding to her call to slay dragons, “I call upon the Apostles of the Latter Times,…Do battle, children of light, you, the few who see thereby; for the time of times, the end of ends, is at hand.” (Approved Apparition Our Lady of La Salette)

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s weapons against the dragon are the rosary and the scapular.  St. Dominic prophesied, “One day, through the rosary and the scapular, she will save the world.”  To rid the people of, “the dragon and his angels,” (Rev. 12:7 NAB), St. Dominic would place the rosary around their neck and pray.  Fr. Gabriel Amorth relates that the devil confesses in pain, “Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.”

Concerning the scapular she promises, “Whoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” The 500 year old blessing prayer over the scapular that was used up until 1989 and can still be used emphatically states, “She will crush the head of the ancient serpent!”  Incidentally, when Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in Mexico in 1531 to stop human sacrifice she came under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. “Guadalupe” in the Nahuatl language means, “The one who crushes the serpent’s head.”
As we contemplate the ancient battle against, “the dragon and his angels,” (Rev. 12:7 NAB), it is important to review the lives of previous dragon-slayers who never “count(ed) the cost” (Lk. 14:28) as they risked their lives for the lost, the wounded, the slaves, the prisoners, and those headed to martyrdom.  As previous dragon-slayers who fearlessly entered, “in the dens where dragons dwell,” (Is.35:7 Douay-Rheims Bible) we must trust that we too, shall “trample underfoot the lion and the dragon.” (Psalm 91:13 Douay-Rheims Bible)  

We are the generation for which scripture states, “thou didst crush the heads of the dragons” (Psalm 74:13 Douay-Rheims Bible) because we discovered the mighty weapons of ancient dragon slayers!  Lord, “Grant confidence to thy servants to fight most manfully against the reprobate dragon.” (Rite of Exorcism)  Yes, the dragon slayer must learn from those who have gone fearlessly before them so, “Arise, arise, put on strength, O thou arm of the Lord, arise as in the days of old, in the ancient generations. Hast not thou struck the proud one, and wounded the dragon?” (Isaiah 51:9 Douay-Rheims Bible) THE END.


LET US PRAY: August Queen of Heaven!  Sovereign Mistress of the angels! Thou who from the beginning hast received from God the power and mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly beseech thee to send thy holy Legions, that, under thy command and by thy power, that they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks and drive them hence into the abyss of eternal woe. AMEN.

The Curious Remainer Coup - Have Those Resisting Boris Johnson and Brexit Destroyed the British Constitution?

An American looks at the coup de le judiciaire.

From the National Review

By Michael Brendan Dougherty

The United Kingdom’s supreme court ruled today, unanimously, that the five-week prorogation of Parliament by the queen under the advice of her prime minister was unlawful. The judgment is quite clear that there is no law or statute on which their ruling is based. When it gives examples of timelines put on the prorogation of Parliament, all the examples are done by statute, not by intervention of the courts in the absence of a statute. Effectively the prorogation was abrogated. By abrogating it, the supreme court is announcing it has the ability to judicially review acts of the queen in Parliament.
The cheering for the ruling is being done entirely by those who want to frustrate Brexit. And that’s natural: Remainers are willing to destroy what’s left of the British constitution to remain in the transnational European Union that was also subverting the British constitution.
Remainers are happy to call Johnson’s government criminal, or at least unlawful. And yet, the Remain majority that opposes him in Parliament won’t allow the very thing that is supposed to happen when the executive loses confidence of the majority: the bringing down of the government. Either a new prime minister is installed or there is a general election that produces an executive who has the support of the majority. This has not happened, because the Liberal Democrats will not support a government led by Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn. Nor does Labour want to go to an election, because polls show 1) that Johnson’s Tories are likely to win it and 2) that the Lib Dems may cut into Labour’s own strength.
The result is a continuation of constitutional crisis, one in which the majority of Parliament (the legal sovereign) is routinely voting down the prime minister’s business while empowering the supposedly neutral speaker of the House, John Bercow, to break all precedent and run Parliament’s business on behalf of a Remainer majority that he openly sides with.
That Remainer majority is imprisoning Boris Johnson as prime minister. Its continued course of voting against the executive while keeping it in place is a symbolic rejection of the political sovereignty of the British people.

An understanding of the United Kingdom’s constitution in continuity with what came before would have forced the courts to rule along the lines that Lord Doherty did in Scotland, before higher courts intervened: that the issue was non-justiciable. “In my opinion, there has been no contravention of the rule of law. Parliament is the master of its own proceedings,” he wrote. “It is for parliament to decide when it sits. Parliament can sit before and after prorogation.” Doherty noted that the prorogation was a “matter of ‘high policy’ and political judgement” that “could not be measured by legal standards.”
Instead the court invented a limit to prorogation where there was none in the statutes, thus reintroducing perhaps ten days of parliamentary debate to the longest sitting Parliament in living memory — and one of the least accomplished (see: constitutional crisis, above). Effectively, this supreme court, which is barely a decade old, has invented for itself the right of judicial review, meaning Parliament is no longer an unencumbered legal sovereign.
That fits. In the Claremont Review of Books, Christopher Caldwell wrote that judicial review was at the heart of Remainer sentiment. “In a global age, judicial review is a tool that powerful people expect to find in a constitution,” he wrote, “in the same way one might expect to find a hair dryer in a hotel room.”
The European Union had been bringing such a system to Britain subtly. He writes:
In the 1980s, British judges began finding that parliamentary laws had been invalidated by later British laws — a normal and time-honored process, except that these new “British” laws had been imported into British statute books not by legislation but by Britain’s commitment to accept laws made on the continent. [Political scientist Vernon] Bogdanor, who is a Remainer and a defender of human rights, does not necessarily condemn this development. But it meant that, through the back door, judicial review was being introduced into a constitutional culture that had never had it.
Today is the day that Remainers tried to plant judicial review firmly into the British constitutional soil. While clamoring that they are saving democracy, those who are resisting the outcome of the 2016 referendum on membership in the EU are moving power further away from democratic accountability, and toward a recently instituted group of lawyers whom no one can name and who are not appointed in a politically accountable way, as in the United States.
As I said, it fits.

Britain's Constitutional Crisis

Another legal scholar dissects the judicial coup by the so-called Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

From First Things

By Paul Yowell

The United Kingdom has a constitutional crisis. Prime Minister Boris Johnson leads a minority Conservative government that is battling with the majority in Parliament over Brexit. Johnson and his cabinet have promised that the U.K. will leave the European Union on October 31, with or without a deal. On Tuesday the U.K. Supreme Court joined the fray with its judgment in Miller v. The Prime Minister, which held that Johnson’s August attempt to prorogue Parliament—ending the current session with a new one beginning five weeks later—was “unlawful, null and of no effect.”

A majority of MPs, including more than twenty Conservatives, oppose Johnson’s Brexit policy. Tory rebel MPs, allied with the Labour opposition—and aided by novel procedural maneuvers approved by Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, whose impartiality has been questioned—seized control of the agenda of the Commons in early September. They proceeded to pass legislation that commands the prime minister to again extend the negotiating window under article 50 of the E.U. Treaty—either to January 31, 2020, or another date proposed by the E.U. The original exit date of March 29, 2019, in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act was extended twice by Theresa May after Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she reached with the E.U.

Johnson’s support base is Leave voters who are growing increasingly impatient with the failure to implement Brexit. Johnson says that he is seeking a deal, but that the option of leaving without one is both legitimate and a necessary bargaining chip to avoid a bad deal. He has said he will “die in a ditch” before he seeks an extension.

All this has led to an unprecedented situation. The negotiation of treaties, and powers of foreign policy generally, are part of the prerogative—that is, powers that are executive in character, which by law belong to the Crown but by convention are exercised by the prime minister and cabinet. The principle of responsible government, the core of the U.K.’s unwritten constitution, requires that the government have the confidence of Parliament. In the absence of a separately elected executive, as in the U.S., such confidence is necessary for appropriate and successful use of executive power, and for the stability of the law and the state. There is a constitutional imperative to have a government in place that has this confidence, and, when it is lost, to move toward a new government as quickly as possible—usually through a general election.

Before the enactment of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act in 2011, the prime minister could exercise the prerogative power to dissolve Parliament and call an election at a time of his or her choosing. Following the FTPA, a government motion for an election requires the support of a two-thirds majority in the Commons. The opposition retains the power under the FTPA to initiate a vote of no confidence. If such a vote wins a simple majority, then a general election will follow unless another government is formed from and with the support of the current MPs.

After a series of decisive defeats in Parliament affecting key elements of his Brexit strategy, Johnson sought to call a general election. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, refused to agree, and Johnson was again defeated on two successive motions to hold an election. Corbyn has also declined to move for a no-confidence vote.       

The U.K. is now in an extraordinary place. A Parliament that seems to have no confidence in the government is nonetheless deliberately keeping that government in office, by refusing to withdraw confidence or otherwise enable an early election. A cross-party coalition, with much help from the Speaker, has taken over the initiating role in Parliament. It is using legislation that makes the actual government its puppet with regard to key questions on Brexit negotiation—while distancing itself from responsibility and accountability to the electorate. It would be an exaggeration to call this a “Speaker’s government,” but in a way it does describe the powers being exercised in concert among the Speaker, Tory rebel MPs, and opposition parties. This unprecedented power dynamic is the driving factor behind other aspects of the crisis.

By use of a strategically timed, five-week prorogation announced in a surprise move on August 28, and which began on September 10, Johnson anticipated and attempted to forestall Parliament’s assumption of power over the negotiating process and timetable. The prorogation was accomplished per the standard legal mechanism of an Order in Council, approved by the queen. It was legally challenged by petitioners in separate court cases, who were unsuccessful in England (Miller) but successful in Scotland (Cherry). The U.K. Supreme Court consolidated the cases, held hearings last week, and issued its judgment on Tuesday. 

Johnson publicly argued and maintained in the Miller case that the reason for the prorogation was simply to make way for introduction of his government’s new legislative program in a Queen’s Speech on October 14, not to evade accountability to or scrutiny of Parliament. This is not fully convincing, but it is important to note that the five-week period included the traditional three-week recess in September for party conferences. Parliament remained in session for two weeks after the prorogation announcement, and the new session would begin about two weeks before the current exit date of October 31. That left time for accountability to Parliament in the form of a vote of no confidence. In the end, it also left time, though barely, for Parliament to legislate in the manner described above. The prorogation was controversial and of doubtful prudence, but it was arguably taken, in part, to forestall a constitutional anomaly of greater gravity. 

Before Miller, no U.K. court had ever ruled on a question of prorogation or held the advice of a prime minister to the Crown to be unlawful. The U.K. Supreme Court has now done both of these things, though its explanation for why the advice was unlawful was far from clear. Disclaiming any attempt to peer into Johnson’s motives, the Court nonetheless concluded that, since he needed less time to prepare a Queen’s Speech than the prorogation period, he had “no reason” to order the prorogation. Thus, the advice was unlawful, and the prorogation was null and void.

While the Court formally limited itself to determining the scope of the prerogative, it ended up policing its exercise by demanding articulation of a reason that meets approval of the Court. Had Johnson argued that the prorogation was in part for political advantage, to avoid a Speaker’s government and its negative impact on Brexit negotiations, the Court would likely have held this was not a good reason and therefore unlawful. It was to avoid taking authority over such questions of “high policy” that the English High Court, in a decision by three senior judges, had held the issue of prorogation to be non-justiciable.

In tones reminiscent of Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court held that all exercises of the prerogative power are in principle justiciable and subject to legal limits:
The courts have the responsibility of upholding the values and principles of our constitution and making them effective. It is their particular responsibility to determine the legal limits of the powers conferred on each branch of government, and to decide whether any exercise of power has transgressed those limits. The courts cannot shirk that responsibility merely on the ground that the question raised is political in tone or context.
This is substantially more expansive than judicial power over the executive branch in the U.S. The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes a political question doctrine, under which courts may not intervene when the constitution commits a matter to the sole responsibility of the executive branch, or when it supplies no judicially manageable standards. If we take the U.K. Supreme Court at its word, judges now have jurisdiction to rule on the lawfulness of the exercise of the prerogative to appoint cabinet ministers, to agree to international treaties, even decisions to go to war.

Time will tell what the ultimate effect will be. The Court’s opening paragraph stresses that the decision is a “one off,” a response to exceptional circumstances. But the potential contained in its reasoning and rhetoric to remake the U.K. constitution is revolutionary. The immediate effect will be to prolong the extraordinary circumstances now prevailing in Parliament, and to intensify the constitutional crisis.

Underlying the constitutional dynamic is a crisis of politics and democracy. The Brexit referendum resulted in a bitter divide between Remainers and Leavers, which has only increased over the years. The divide crosses party lines: Many northern Labour constituencies voted to leave, while many Conservatives staunchly support the E.U. But the main parties are increasingly defined by Brexit, and the traditional two-party system itself is fracturing under the pressure. Hard Leavers are drawn to Nigel Farage’s Brexit party and hard Remainers are flocking to the resurgent Liberal Democrats, who have promised to reverse Brexit. Labour is beset by infighting, widespread dissatisfaction with Corbyn, and a fierce struggle over whether to support a new referendum. Polls suggest that the next election might result in a hung Parliament, and mutual trust in the current Parliament is scarcely to be found.

When political tempers run high, judges are tempted to see themselves as the constitution’s last guardians, with a historical duty to step in and save the day. But the U.K. constitution has always been political in character rather than legal. The current Parliament retained the capacity to hold Johnson to account, notwithstanding the prorogation. The Miller case represents an importation of American-style political litigation, where interest groups attempt to use the courts to win victories that are properly won only through political action. This growing trend in the U.K. has been tracked and criticized by Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project.

Many Leave voters will perceive Miller as another attempt by the establishment class to derail Brexit. The U.K. constitution has weathered worse storms and will likely survive this one. In the meantime, the Miller decision will contribute to the crisis rather than alleviate it.  

Paul Yowell is an associate professor of law at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Oriel College.

An Amusing Observation

Every once in awhile a post I've made months ago suddenly becomes popular again, and I often wonder why.

For example, over a year ago, I posted The Priest in Cassock is a Living Sermon, which contained this picture:

Over the last 36 hours it has become the most viewed post on the blog. Why? I think I've figured it out.

If you will recall Francis's remarks about 'rigid young priests' and their hats, those hats are called saturnos. The word saturno has been trending on social media as people seek funds to buy priests these head coverings and as priests mention how they would like to have one.

Since 'saturno' is not in the everyday vocabulary of most Catholics, I'm sure many people have searched for the word. If one searches for an image of one, it is quite likely that this post might come up.

Mystery solved!

A Cri De Coeur From an Average Briton on Facebook...

Regarding the unconstitutional coup of 24 September 2019 and the destruction of the Constitutional Monarchy.

To anyone crowing about the Supreme Courts action yesterday:- "The Supreme Court is an EU affiliated Court. No British law or Constitution was broken by the Prime Minister proroguing Parliament but the Europhile judges quoted EU law in their summation. This is a constitutional coup by unelected Supreme Court judges, where no law was broken, yet you wish to celebrate it? The courts have no place in politics. That's why the powers were separated after the Civil War. Where is the scrutiny? Where is the public accountability? Who are these people who have literally just invented a new law without Monarch or Parliament being involved in the process and you are happy about it? 

Frankly you have no understanding as to what just happened yesterday. If you did, you'd be as appalled as the rest of us. Dicey described the separation of powers as being necessary for good reason, as without that separation then Parliamentary Supremacy cannot exist. The Judiciary cannot make laws and then rule on them, that is tyranny and as such the Judiciary needs to be subordinate to Parliament. After yesterdays ruling, the Supreme Court has just put itself above that of the Monarch. Which has effectively put them as Head of State and removed the Monarch as Head of the Judiciary. With the consequence being that we are no longer a Constitutional Monarchy but a Constitutional Supreme-ocracy. Have you no concept of what this means to the very foundation of our systems of governance? We are ruled by unelected judges. We have a Politburo. Democracy is officially dead. Your votes count for nothing. Your Parliament counts for nothing. Manifestos that gained MP's election now count for nothing as the Supreme Court has deemed itself capable of overruling all, including the Queen. This is a Constitutional Coup by an unelected group of 11 judges that has just overturned 400 years of convention that was needed to end the Civil War. Where yesterday they invented a law, outside of Parliament, then implemented it. That excess of power was why we had an uprising against the sitting Monarch, yet we are back here again through the arrogance of those who simply will not accept a vote that they disagree with. God help us all " Credit David Winder.

The Catechism of the Summa - The Second Part: XIX. OF THE DIVINE LAW -- THE DECALOGUE (B)

What are these moral precepts thus solemnly promulgated by God at the time of Moses called?

They are called the "Decalogue" (C. 3, 4).
What does the word Decalogue mean?

It is a Greek word which means the ten words, for the number of precepts given by God is ten.
What are the ten commandments of the Decalogue?

The ten commandments of the Decalogue are the following:
1. Thou shalt have no other God beside Me.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath day.
4. Honour thy father and thy mother.
5. Thou shalt not kill.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods.
(C. 4, 5, 6).

Next - The Catechism of the Summa - The Second Part: XIX. OF THE DIVINE LAW -- THE DECALOGUE (C)

The Judicial Usurpation of Parliament

A thoughtful essay on the Inglorious Revolution of 24 September 2019, with a bit of the Marxist inspired background of the Supreme Court.

From First Things

By Peter Hitchens

Far too often nowadays I have that disturbing feeling of walking on a thin crust suspended over a great void. Things and institutions I have regarded as secure and permanent all my life keep disappearing. I had this feeling on Tuesday when our new “Supreme Court” (an absurd term, as we shall see) started ordering our government about.

We were warned. The revolutionary Blair government, crammed with former student Marxists but bizarrely viewed by media and politicians alike as “right-wing,” had announced years ago that it planned to set up such a body, supposedly to tidy up and “modernize” our messy laws.

Others wondered if they had something else in mind—something that might lead to the scenes of last Tuesday, when a British prime minister, while on a diplomatic visit to New York City, was publicly humiliated and effectively ordered home by a roomful of lawyers. One wise prophet, the distinguished judge Lord (David) Neuberger, warned  in October 2009 that the planned new court could assert itself against the Parliament-based government. He said there was a real risk of “judges arrogating to themselves greater power than they have at the moment.”

He suggested that the Supreme Court had been created “as a result of what appears to have been a last-minute decision over a glass of whisky.” And then with even greater prescience he prophesied, “The danger is that you muck around with a constitution like the British Constitution at your peril because you do not know what the consequences of any change will be.” 

Well, quite. But the man who piloted the change through Parliament, the left-wing lawyer and one-time flatmate of Anthony Blair, Lord (Charles) Falconer, seemed pleased at the possibility of a more politically engaged and aggressive judiciary. He predicted: “The Supreme Court will be bolder in vindicating both the freedoms of individuals and, coupled with that, being willing to take on the executive.”

Why did we never even have such a body until ten years ago? As we shall see, it would have been, and still is, a contradiction in terms. But in interesting times such as these, elephants fly, fishes walk, figs grow on thorns, and oxymorons inherit the earth.

The most powerful law court in the land was, by a curious paradox, not in the land at all, but based in tiny Luxembourg, across the Narrow Seas which have kept invaders from our door but are useless against bureaucratic takeovers by the European Union. There sits the European Court of Justice, which as long ago as 1990 established that it could tell British courts to overrule British Acts of Parliament when they conflict with E.U. law. It can carry on doing this until we eventually do leave the E.U., if we ever do.

These various messes came about because  we are so old, and rely so much on convention and manners, that it is all too easy for unconventional and ill-mannered busybodies to come storming in with new ideas. England’s constitution was not planned and built, like America’s. Instead, it grew during a thousand years of freedom from invasion. Both are beautiful in their way. America’s fundamental law has the cold, orderly beauty of a classical temple. England’s has the warmer, more chaotic loveliness of an ancient forest. It seems to be wholly natural but, when examined closely, it shows many signs of careful cultivation and pruning. Our powers are not as separated as America’s, but slightly tangled. Still,  it has worked well enough for us over time.

Any thinking person must admire both the American and the English constitutions as serious efforts in a world of chaos, despotism, and stupidity to apply human intelligence to the task of giving people ordered, peaceful, and free lives. They have a common origin in the miraculous Magna Carta, which Americans often revere more than modern Englishmen do. We in England have grown complacent about our liberty, and have become inclined to forget our great founding documents.

But the two constitutions are not the same, and in my view they are not compatible. For my whole life, until a few years ago, the very idea that England should have a Supreme Court was an absurdity. The Highest Court in England is the Crown in Parliament which, as I was once taught, had the power to do everything except turn a man into a woman. In these more gender-fluid times, that expression is not much used. But it contains the truth. Parliament can make any law and overturn any law, made by itself or by the courts. 

That is why England (often to my regret) lacks a First Amendment and cannot have one unless we undergo a revolution. No law in England could possibly open with the words “Parliament shall make no law.”’ Our 1689 Bill of Rights, the model for the U.S. Bill of Rights a century later, tells the king what he cannot do and the courts what they cannot do. It grants me (as a Protestant) the right to have weapons for my defense. But while it draws its sword against arbitrary power, it puts a protective arm round Parliament. 

So far so good, though I do increasingly worry that it cannot last. Our system is terrifying in theory, and so in difficult times it could be just as terrifying in practice. With a large enough majority, a government could dismantle our free constitution in an afternoon. In practice, politicians shrink from using such powers and—if they want to attack our liberty—use a delicate salami-slicer for the purpose.

I will try to explain our crisis. Our new “Supreme Court,”  just ten years old and barely out of short pants, has, by eleven votes to none, condemned the Johnson government for suspending Parliament for a few extra days. This is extremely odd.

First, how is this a legal problem at all? Parliament was not dissolved or arrested by soldiers. Nobody has tried to make law in its absence, or raise taxes without it, or illegally prolong the life of our standing army. It was just made to take two weeks extra holiday—at a time of year when it normally takes three weeks anyway for political party conventions. This was a slippery thing to do, but it failed in its aim of making Parliament readier to do the executive’s bidding. Rather spectacularly, Parliament used its remaining days in session to give Prime Minister Al “Boris” Johnson two big black eyes, denying him the general election he wanted and banning him from leaving the E.U. without a negotiated settlement. In short, Parliament proved what most people already knew: It can look after itself when faced with a tricky prime minister, and doesn’t need lawyers or courts to do so.

There’s another problem. Another court full of very distinguished attorneys and judges, the High Court, looked at the same thing a few weeks ago and said it was “not justiciable.” This means that there is no keyhole in this problem into which to insert the key of law, no point of legal leverage. In short, it was none of their business and should have been left to Parliament.

This High Court contains some of the sharpest and most experienced legal brains in the country. Yet none of the members of the new court shared their view. How is this possible in any gathering of genuinely independent minds? Unanimity is for sheep. It looked fairly obvious that, given an opportunity to boss the executive about for the first time, the “Supreme” Court had just taken it for its own sake. Britain is now the sort of country where judges can strike down the actions of the head of government—but alas, not the sort of country where those mysterious judges have to undergo searching hearings before they are appointed.

And what were they unanimous about? There was no great statute that had been broken. The supposed “precedents” were desperately thin, and dealt with serious breaches of law. They really didn’t equate to sending Parliament on a couple extra weeks of vacation. Left-wing people by and large whooped with joy over the supposed humiliation of Johnson, whose problems are actually elsewhere just now. The rest of us scraped the debris off the walls and ceiling and marveled at just how lasting, how rich, and how nasty the legacy of Anthony Blair remains.

Peter Hitchens is a columnist for the Mail on Sunday.

"Day With Mary" - Devotion of the 5 First Saturdays

Day With Mary, number 85
Fr. Joseph Michael speaks on Our Lady's request for the 5 First Saturdays during the "Day With Mary" held at St. Pius X Parish in Manning, Western Australia on 5 January 2013.

Catechism of St Pius X - On the Virtues and Vices - The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes

1 Q. Name the Beatitudes?

A. The Beatitudes are eight: (1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (2) Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land. (3) Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. (4) Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall be filled. (5) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. (6) Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God. (7) Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God. (8)Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

2 Q. Why did Jesus Christ propose the Beatitudes to us?

A. Jesus Christ proposed the Beatitudes to us to make us detest the maxims of the world, and to invite us to love and practise the maxims of the gospel.

3 Q. Who are they whom the world calls happy?

A. The world calls those happy who abound in riches and honours, who lead a pleasant life, and who meet with no occasions of suffering.

4 Q. Who are the poor in spirit whom Jesus Christ calls blessed?

A. The poor in spirit are, according to the gospel, those whose hearts are detached from riches; who make good use of riches should they have any; who do not seek them too eagerly, if they have none; and who suffer the loss of such things with resignation when deprived of them.

5 Q. Who are the meek?

A. The meek are those who act tenderly towards their neighbour, bear patiently with his defects, and accept the offences and injuries they receive from him without contention, resentment, or vengeance.

6 Q. Who are they that mourn, yet are called happy?

A. They that mourn, yet are called happy, are they who suffer tribulations with resignation, and who mourn over sins committed, over the evils and scandals that prevail in the world, over Paradise because it is so distant, and over the danger there is of losing it.

7 Q. Who are they that hunger and thirst after justice?

A. They that hunger and thirst after justice, are those who ardently desire to increase daily more and more in divine grace and in the exercise of good and virtuous works.

8 Q. Who are the merciful?

A. The merciful are those who love their neighbour in God and for God’s sake, compassionate his miseries, spiritual as well as corporal, and endeavour to succour him according to their means and position.

9 Q. Who are the clean of heart?

A. The clean of heart are those who retain no affection for sin aqnd keep aloof from it, and who above all else avoid every sort of impurity.

10 Q. Who are the peace-makers?

A. The peace-makers are those who preserve peace with their neighbour and with themselves, and who endeavour to bring about peace and concord between those who are at variance.

11 Q. Who are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake?

A. They who suffer persecution for justice’ sake are those who patiently bear derision, reproof, and persecution for the sake of the faith and of the law of Jesus Christ.

12 Q. What do the various rewards promised by Jesus Christ in the Beatitudes denote?

A. The various rewards promised by Jesus Christ in the Beatitudes all denote under different names the eternal glory of Paradise.

13 Q. Do the Beatitudes procure us the glory of Paradise alone?

A. The Beatitudes not only procure us the glory of Paradise, but are also the means of leading a happy life, as far as this is possible here on earth.

14 Q. Do those who follow the path of the Beatitudes receive any reward in this life?

A. Yes, certainly; those who follow the path of the Beatitudes do receive a reward even in this life, inasmuch as they enjoy interior peace and contentment, which is the beginning, even though an imperfect one, of the happiness of heaven.

15 Q. Can those who follow the maxims of the world be called truly happy?

A. No, because they have no true peace of soul, and are in danger of being lost eternally.

Next - Catechism of St Pius X - On the Virtues and Vices -The Main Kinds of Sin