Monday, 30 March 2020

The Catechism of the Summa - LIX. OF THE TWO KINDS OF LIFE, VIZ., OF THE ACTIVE AND THE CONTEMPLATIVE; OF THE STATE OF PERFECTION-OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE; AND OF THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN THE CHURCH (C)

(C)

What does the active life entail?

The active life entails all the acts of the moral virtues, and most especially the acts of the virtue of prudence; and the reason is because the precise object of the active life is to regulate, as it behoves, all things of the present life (CLXXXI. 1-4).

Of these two lives which is the more perfect?

Incontestably the contemplative life is the more perfect, because even on earth it brings with it a foretaste of heaven (CLXXXII. 1).

Is it possible for anyone to live both these kinds of lives at the same time?

Yes, it is possible to lead both the contemplative and active life in what is called a state of perfection.

What is understood by a state of perfection?

It is a certain condition of life in which man lives in a fixed and permanent way, apart from the ties which make him a slave to the necessities of the present life, making him free to occupy himself exclusively with the things of God (CLXXXIII. 1, 4).

Next - The Catechism of the Summa - LIX. OF THE TWO KINDS OF LIFE, VIZ., OF THE ACTIVE AND THE CONTEMPLATIVE; OF THE STATE OF PERFECTION-OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE; AND OF THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN THE CHURCH (D)

Isaac of Cyprus Surrenders to Richard the Lionheart, 1191

Real Crusades History #134. And don't forget the Real Crusades History website!

Shortly after setting sail from Sicily, King Richard's armada of 180 ships and 39 galleys was struck by a violent storm. Several ships ran aground, including one holding Joan, his new fiancée Berengaria and a large amount of treasure that had been amassed for the crusade. It was soon discovered that Isaac Dukas Comnenus of Cyprus had seized the treasure. The young women were unharmed. Richard entered Limassol on 6 May and met with Isaac, who agreed to return Richard's belongings and to send 500 of his soldiers to the Holy Land. Richard made camp at Limassol, where he received a visit from Guy of Lusignan, the King of Jerusalem, and married Berengaria, who was crowned queen. Once back at his fortress of Famagusta, Isaac broke his oath of hospitality and began issuing orders for Richard to leave the island. Isaac's arrogance prompted Richard to conquer the island within days, finally leaving on 5 June 1191.


Musings is Going Away (Hopefully Temporarily!)

First of all, I'm okay. I don't have the virus. However,  the charging cord for my laptop seems to have shot craps. I don't have another cord or a backup computer . This is being labouriously typed on my tablet. I cannot possibly keep the blog going if it takes me 30 minutes or an hour for each post, especially since copy and paste is virtually impossible for me on a tablet.

The last time I was without a computer I managed to keep the blog afloat by going to the public library. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, that isn't an option this time.

So, until I can get a new charging cord, posts will be few and far between, if any. Any posts I do manage to make will only be shared on my personal page and the 'Musings' group page on Facebook, since even sharing from this tablet is a pain!

This could not have happened at a worse time! Being self isolated, my two main occupations have been the blog and FishEaters Forum. The lack of a power supply for the laptop takes away the blog and FE has been offline since Saturday evening!

May I ask a favour of anyone who sees this? Please, if anyone expresses concern at my absence, reassure them that I'm fine but my computer isn't!

Please pray for me that I don't go completely stircrazy and that I can get a power supply SOON!

Baltimore Catechism #4 - Lesson 5 - ON OUR FIRST PARENTS AND THEIR FALL

Questions marked * are not in the Baltimore Catechism #1.

ON OUR FIRST PARENTS AND THEIR FALL

39 Q. Who were the first man and woman? A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.

In the beginning God created all things; something particular on each of the six days of Creation. (Gen. 1). On the first day He made light, on the second, the firmament, or the heavens, and on the sixth day He created man and called him Adam. God wished Adam to have a companion; so one day He caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, and then took from his side a rib, out of which he formed Eve. Now God could have made Eve as He made Adam, by forming her body out of the clay of the earth and breathing into it a soul, but He made Eve out of Adam's rib to show that they were to be husband and wife, and to impress upon their minds the nature and sacredness of the love and union that should exist between them.

40 Q. Were Adam and Eve innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God? A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came from the hand of God.

God placed Adam and Eve in Paradise, a large, beautiful garden, and gave them power over all the other creatures. Adam gave all the animals their appropriate names and they were obedient to him. Even lions, tigers, and other animals that we now fear so much, came and played about him. Our first parents, in their state of original innocence, were the happy friends of God, without sorrow or suffering of any kind.

*41 Q. Did God give any command to Adam and Eve? A. To try their obedience God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of a certain fruit which grew in the garden of Paradise.

He told them (Gen. 2) they could take of all the fruits in the garden except the fruit of one tree, and if they disobeyed Him by eating the fruit of that tree, they should surely die. God might have pointed out any tree, because it was simply a test of obedience. He gave them a very simple command, for if we are faithful in little things we shall surely be faithful in greater. Moreover, it is not precisely the consideration of what is forbidden, but of the authority by which it is forbidden that should deter us from violating the command and prove our fidelity. Thus disobedience to our parents and superiors, even in little things, becomes sinful. Someone might say: "Why did God not try their obedience by one of the Ten Commandments?" Let us examine them. "Remember the Sabbath." That one would be unnecessary: for every day was Sabbath with them; the only work was to praise and serve God. "Thou shalt not steal." They could not; everything was theirs; and so for the other Commandments. Therefore, God gave them a simple command telling them: If you obey, you and all your posterity will be happy; every wish will be gratified, neither sorrow nor affliction shall come upon you and you shall never die; but if, on the contrary, you disobey, countless evils, misery and death will be your punishment. The earth, now so fruitful, shall bring forth no crops without cultivation, and after years of toil the dead bodies of yourselves and children must lie buried in its soil. So having the gift of free will they could take their choice, and either keep His command and be happy, or disobey Him and be miserable.

*42 Q. Which were the chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve, had they remained faithful to God? A. The chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve, had they remained faithful to God, were a constant state of happiness in this life and everlasting glory in the next.

Our first parents and their children were not to remain in the garden of Paradise forever, but were, after spending their allotted time of trial or probation upon earth, to be taken body and soul into Heaven without being obliged to die.

43 Q. Did Adam and Eve remain faithful to God? A. Adam and Eve did not remain faithful to God, but broke His commandment by eating the forbidden fruit.

As it is told in the Bible (Gen. 3), Eve went to the forbidden tree and was standing looking at it, when the devil came in the form of a serpent and, tempting, told her to take some of the fruit and eat. It does not appear that she went and tasted the fruit of all the other trees and finally came to this one, but rather that she went directly to the forbidden tree first. Do we not sometimes imitate Eve's conduct? As soon as we know a certain thing is forbidden we are more strongly tempted to try it.

See, then, what caused Eve's sin. She went into the dangerous occasion, and was admiring the forbidden fruit when the tempter came. She listened to him, yielded to his wicked suggestions, and sinned. So will it be with us if through curiosity we desire to see or hear things forbidden; for once in the danger the devil will soon be on hand to tempt us—not visibly indeed, for that would alarm us and defeat his purpose, but invisibly, like our guardian angels; for the devil is a fallen angel who still possesses all the characteristics of an angel except goodness. But this is not all. Eve not only took and ate the fruit herself, but induced Adam to do likewise. Most sinners imitate Eve in that respect. Not satisfied with offending God themselves, they lead others into sin.

Why should the devil tempt us? God created man to be in Heaven, but the fallen angels were jealous of man, and tempted him to sin so that he too should be kept out of Heaven and might never enjoy what they lost; just as envious people do not wish others to have what they cannot have themselves.

44 Q. What befell Adam and Eve on account of their sin? A. Adam and Eve on account of their sin lost innocence and holiness, and were doomed to sickness and death.

They were innocent and holy because they were the friends of God and in a state of grace, but by their sin they lost His grace and friendship. "Doomed" means sentenced or condemned. The first evil result, then, of Adam's sin was that he lost innocence and made his body a rebel against his soul. Then he was to suffer poverty, hunger, cold, sickness, death, and every kind of ill; but the worst consequence of all was that God closed Heaven against him. After a few years' trial, as we said, God was to take him into Heaven; but now He has closed it against Adam and his posterity. All the people in the world could never induce God to open it again; for He closed it in accordance with His promise, and man was an exile and outcast from his heavenly home.

45 Q. What evil befell us on account of the disobedience of our first parents? A. On account of the disobedience of our first parents we all share in their sin and punishment, as we should have shared in their happiness if they had remained faithful.

Does it not seem strange that we should suffer for the sin of our first parents, when we had nothing to do with it? No. It happens every day that children suffer for the faults of their parents and we do not wonder at it. Let us suppose a man's father leaves him a large fortune—houses, land, and money—and that he and his children are happy in the enjoyment of their inheritance. The children are sent to the best schools, have everything they desire now, and bright hopes of happiness and prosperity in the future. But alas! their hopes are vain. The father begins to drink or gamble, and soon the great fortune is squandered. House after house is sold and dollar after dollar spent, till absolute poverty comes upon the children, and the sad condition of their home tells of their distress. Do they not suffer for the sins of their father, though they had nothing to do with them? Indeed, many families in the world suffer thus through the faults of others, and most frequently of some of their members. Could you blame the grandfather for leaving the estate? Certainly not; for it was goodness on his part that made him give. Let us apply this example. What God gave Adam was to be ours also, and he squandered and misused it because he had free will, which God could not take from him without changing his nature; for it is our free will and intelligence that make us men, distinct from and superior to all other animals. They can live, grow, feel, hear, see, etc., as we can, but the want of intelligence and free will leaves them mere brutes. Therefore, if God took away Adam's intelligence and free will, He would have made him a mere animal—though the most perfect.

When a man becomes insane or loses the use of his intelligence and free will, we place him in an asylum and take care of him as we would a tame animal, seldom allowing him to go about without being watched and guarded.

Let us take another example. Suppose I have a friend who is addicted to the excessive drinking of strong liquor, and I say to him: "If you give up that detestable habit for one year, I will make you a present of this beautiful house worth several thousand dollars. It will be yours as long as you live, and at your death you may leave it to your children. I do not owe you anything, but offer this as a free gift if you comply with my request." My friend accepts the offer on these conditions, but the very next day deliberately breaks his promise. I do not give him the house, because he did not keep his agreement; and can anyone say on that account that I am unjust or unkind to him or his children? Certainly not. Well, God acted in the same manner with Adam. He promised him Heaven, a home more beautiful than any earthly palace—the place Our Lord calls His father's house (John 14:2) and says there are many mansions, that is, dwelling places, in it. God promised this home to Adam on condition that he would observe one simple command. He had no right to Heaven, but was to receive it, according to the promise, as a free gift from God, and therefore God, who offered it conditionally, was not obliged to give it when Adam violated his part of the agreement.

The example is not a perfect one, for there is this difference in the cases between Adam and my friend: when my friend does not get the house, he sustains a loss, it is true; but he might still be my friend as he was before, and live in my house; but when Adam lost Heaven, he lost God's friendship and grace, and the loss of all grace is to be in sin. So that Adam by breaking the command was left in sin; and as all his children sustain the same loss, they too are all left in sin till they are baptized.

*46 Q. What other effects followed from the sin of our first parents? A. Our nature was corrupted by the sin of our first parents, which darkened our understanding, weakened our will, and left us a strong inclination to evil.

Our "nature was corrupted" is what I have said of the body rebelling against the soul. Our "understanding darkened." Adam knew much more without study than the most intelligent men could learn now with constant application. Before his fall he saw things clearly and understood them well, but after his sin everything had to be learned by the slow process of study. Then the "will was weakened." Before he fell he could easily resist temptation, for his will was strong. You know we sin by the will, because unless we wish to do the evil we commit no sin; and if absolutely forced by others to do wrong, we are free from the guilt as long as our will despises and protests against the action. If forced, for example, to break my neighbor's window, I have not to answer in my conscience for the unjust act, because my will did not consent. So, on every occasion on which we sin, it is the will that yields to the temptation. After Adam's sin his will became weak and less able to resist temptation; and as we are sharers in his misfortune, we find great difficulty at times in overcoming sinful inclinations. But no matter how violent the temptation or how prolonged and fierce the struggle against it, we can always be victorious if determined not to yield; for God gives us sufficient grace to resist every temptation; and if anyone should excuse his fall by saying he could not help sinning, he would be guilty of falsehood.

"A strong inclination" to do wrong—that is, unless always on our guard against it. Our Lord once cautioned His Apostles (Matt. 26:41) to watch and pray lest they fall into temptation; teaching us also by the same warning that, besides praying against our spiritual enemies, we must watch their maneuvers and be ever ready to repel their attacks.

47 Q. What is the sin called which we inherit from our first parents? A. The sin which we inherit from our first parents is called Original Sin.

*48 Q. Why is this sin called original? A. This sin is called original because it comes down to us from our first parents, and we are brought into the world with its guilt on our souls.

*49 Q. Does this corruption of our nature remain in us after Original Sin is forgiven? A. This corruption of our nature and other punishments remain in us after Original Sin is forgiven.

It remains that we may merit by overcoming its temptations; and also that we may be kept humble by remembering our former sinful and unhappy state.

50 Q. Was anyone ever preserved from Original Sin? A. The Blessed Virgin Mary, through the merits of her divine Son, was preserved free from the guilt of Original Sin, and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception.

The Blessed Virgin was to be the Mother of the Son of God. Now it would not be proper for the Mother of God to be even for one moment the servant of the devil, or under his power. If the Blessed Virgin had been in Original Sin, she would have been in the service of the devil. Whatever disgraces a mother disgraces also her son; so Our Lord would never permit His dear Mother to be subject to the devil, and consequently He, through His merits, saved her from Original Sin. She is the only one of the whole human race who enjoys this great privilege, and it is called her "Immaculate Conception," that is, she was conceived—brought into existence by her mother—without having any spot or stain of sin upon her soul, and hence without Original Sin.

Our Lord came into the world to crush the power which the devil had exercised over men from the fall of Adam. This He did by meriting grace for them and giving them this spiritual help to withstand the devil in all his attacks upon them. As the Blessed Mother was never under the devil's power, next to God she has the greatest strength against him, and she will help us to resist him if we seek her aid. The devil himself knows her power and fears her, and if he sees her coming to our assistance will quickly fly. Never fail, then, in time of temptation to call upon our Blessed Mother; she will hear and help you and pray to God for you.

Next - Baltimore Catechism #4 - Lesson 6 - ON SIN AND ITS KINDS

Word of the Day: Patron Saint

PATRON SAINT. A saint or blessed who, since early Christian times, has been chosen as a special intercessor with God for a particular person, place, community, or organization. The custom arose from the biblical fact that a change of personal name indicated a change in the person, e.g., Abram to Abraham, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul; and from the practice of having churches built over the tombs of martyrs.

How Do We Know We’re Right About the Church?

Load your Scripture Cannon against protestant attack with the verses in this excellent article!

From the National Catholic Register

By Angelo Stagnaro 

“The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic... subsists in the Catholic Church.” (LG 8, CCC 870)

Here’s a fact: The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus, who is the Christ, Son of the Living God, the Eternal Word, Wonder Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, the Second Person of the Illustrious and Illuminating Trinity, who is Love, Logic and Life itself.

No other Christian body can make the same claim, no matter how they spin it.

Just grab your iPad or iPhone and ask Siri the following question: “Siri, who started the Baptist church?”

When she delivers the answer, ask her: “Siri, who started the Catholic Church?”

And you don’t have to take it from Siri. Just ask yourself these questions about other religions:
  1. Did any of them shutter their doors? If they did, they apparently had nothing to do with Jesus, as he assured us that the Gates of Hell would not prevail over his Church (Matthew 16:17-19).
  2. Did any of these other churches produce any false prophets or failed prophecies? If so, the Bible clearly says they’re wrong (Deuteronomy 18:15-22, Ezekiel 13:9).
  3. Why would God change his mind about which church held the fullness of his True Doctrine and why did he wait until the 16th or 20th century to lay it on us?
  4. If Protestantism is correct and Catholicism isn’t, which Protestant group has the “true doctrine” and what do we do about all the others with their own “true doctrines?” It’s blasphemy to insist Jesus is whispering different messages to different prophets. Only one of them can be correct.
If they’re surprised or angered at these questions, consider these Scriptural gems:

You may wonder how you can tell when a prophet's message does not come from the Lord. If a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord and what he says does not come true, then it is not the Lord's message. That prophet has spoken on his own authority, and you are not to fear him. (Deuteronomy 18:15-22)

My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 13:9)

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

There is no “other gospel,” but I say this because there are some people who are upsetting you and trying to change the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel that is different from the one we preached to you, may he be condemned to hell! We have said it before, and now I say it again: if anyone preaches to you a gospel that is different from the one you accepted, may he be condemned to hell! (Galatians 1:6-9)

Whoever teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the true words of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching of our religion is swollen with pride and knows nothing. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the [false] prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:16)

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers…Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30)

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

[Paul’s] letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. (2 Peter 3:14-18)

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. 2 Peter 2

Anyone who needs to ignore or revise the Bible is not someone you should believe. If anyone teaches differently than what the Catholic Church has always taught, ignore them and tell them to read this article — and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Shire and Pestilence: A Fairytale

A powerful allegory for our time. We have been warned, over and over. Unlike the people of this 'Shire', will we finally heed the warnings?

From The Imaginative Conservative

By Joseph Pearce

Once upon a time there was a beautiful land that called itself the Shire. Its people were happy. They lived and worked on their own small pieces of land, growing their own food and trading the surplus with their neighbours. Many of them were also craftsmen, making and fixing things so that everyone could work well and live well. Even the simple things that they made were beautiful because they put all that they loved into all that they made. Occasionally a trader from distant lands would arrive with interesting things which the people from the Shire had never seen before. They traded their own simple things for these novelties, but saw them as niceties and certainly not necessities. Trade with the outside world was the exception, not the rule, which is why traders never became their rulers.
Like any other place, the Shire was threatened by evil. There were dragons and serpents raging in neighbouring lands, as well as the dragon-folk who served them, devouring crops, burning villages, and carrying off maidens. The Shire was kept safe from such ravages by the courage of two legendary knights, Sir Cata and Sir Veta, who were famous for their slaying of dragons.
All was well until Aravice, a wicked merchant, began to bring things from a distant place in the distant East, called Anchi. These included the usual strange novelties but also the things that were made by the folks in the Shire. They were not as beautiful as the things made by the Shire-folk, but they were functional and were much cheaper. People began to buy the cheap things from Anchi, making Aravice so rich that he soon had an army of merchants working for him. Many Shire-folk gave up their lives on the farm or abandoned the ancient crafts they’d learned at their father’s knee, in order to work for Aravice. This allowed them to purchase more of the things from Anchi, which they now desired more than the beautiful things that their parents had valued and enjoyed. Many of the things from Anchi, being made poorly, needed to be replaced often, increasing the wealth of Aravice and the dependence of the people of the Shire on the imports from Anchi. And the neglected farmland became rubbish heaps full of discarded trash.
Seeing what was happening to their beloved Shire and feeling suspicious, the two noble knights, Sir Cata and Sir Veta, set out on a treacherous expedition to find out more about the mysterious place in the East which supplied Aravice with the things he traded. As they got closer to Anchi, they noticed a great proliferation of dragons and serpents, all of them wicked and deadly. Having fought their way to the very borders of Anchi, the two knights dismounted their trusty chargers and proceeded on foot, disguised as poor travelers from the West. To their horror, they found that Anchi was even more wicked than they ever imagined. Its ruler was the largest serpent they’d ever seen, who went by the name of Arammox and who ruled by fear and force. Couples were only allowed to have one child and additional children were systematically murdered, or culled, to give it the official name that Arammox gave to the practice of institutionalized infanticide. The people of Anchi were worked like slaves with very little in terms of payment, which was the reason for the cheapness of the things they produced.
Sir Cata and Sir Veta returned to their beloved Shire and warned the Shire-folk of the poisonous source of the river of cheap things which had flooded the marketplaces in every village. To their surprise, they discovered that this news was not welcomed by the folks of the Shire, who were now addicted to the cheap things and had learned to despise the joy of working with their hands. Forgetting the many times that the two knights had saved them from the dragons and the serpents, and the dragon-folk who served them, the people of the Shire forced Sir Cata and Sir Veta into exile.
For many years, the Shire-folk became richer in terms of the number of cheap things they possessed. They had forgotten how to farm and now needed to get their food from Aravice also. They were wealthier but not healthier in terms of happiness. They no longer respected or loved each other. Neighbour turned on neighbor. They even adopted the Anchi practice of killing their own children.
And then, one day, an elderly and blind knight rode into the Shire, led by his daughter, a beautiful maiden. He told the Shire-folk that his name was Sir Estia and that his daughter’s name was Anne. They had been sent by Sir Cata and Sir Veta to warn the people of the Shire that a pestilence would fall upon them unless they repented of their evil ways and returned to the healthier way of life of their ancestors. Sir Estia and the girl were mocked and insulted and were cast out from the Shire unceremoniously.
In the following year, a great pestilence spread through the Shire, infecting one person in every three. Life in the Shire was thrown into chaos so that even Aravice’s great wealth was threatened. A few people recalled the prophecy of Sir Estia, and a few others began to wish that Sir Cata and Sir Veta were once more guardians of the Shire. But soon, after things returned to some semblance of normality, most people slipped back into their bad habits, encouraged by Aravice, who was keen to regain his own wealth and power.
Another pestilence followed, which was much worse than the first one, and then another, which was worse still. And, in spite of all, guided by greed and ignoring the wisdom of charity and truth, they never repented. And, of course, they never lived happily ever after.
The featured image is “A Marriage Feast at Bermondsey” and is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Sacrifice at Fort Carillon

The story of the 42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot, later the Royal Highland Regiment (The Black Watch), and now the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, and their defeat at the Battle of Fort Carillon.
From The Mad Monarchist (30 November 2017)


Today is St Andrew's Day, the "national day" of Scotland as the feast day of Scotland's patron saint, Andrew. As such, it is a day to celebrate all things Scottish and, for me at least, nothing symbolizes the best of Scotland like the highland regiments of the British army. Today they have been sadly reduced but best not to dwell on that now. One of, if not the, most famous of these regiments was the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment of Foot, better known as the "Black Watch". It was formed in the aftermath of the 1745 Jacobite Uprising and, naturally, consisted of highlanders who had supported the government which meant they tended to be Protestants in their religion and Whig in their politics. The Black Watch would have a long history of many great victories and ample military glory, however, one of her most famous engagements was not a victory at all but a very heroic, tragic and bloody defeat. It would go down in history as one of the worst British defeats but for the men of the Black Watch it would be remembered for the tremendous sacrifice their soldiers made. It was during the French and Indian War (which regular readers will know all about) and happened at a French fort called, at the time, Fort Carillon, later re-named Fort Ticonderoga on the east border of what is today the state of New York, south of Lake Champlain.

The French and the Indians
The French, and their Indian allies, had been winning stunning victories over the British despite the fact that they were outmatched and the governments in both Paris and London had focused mostly on the European front of the war. The Marquis de Montcalm, commander of the French forces in North America, had won a string of victories in 1756 and 1757 despite having the odds against him. Although he did not enjoy it, the lack of French support for the war in the American colonies meant that he had to augment his forces with American Indian tribes who were difficult to integrate into European-style warfare. However, for a change, in what was to prove his greatest victory, the French would be fighting on their own. The British government, after a number of embarrassing setbacks, decided to made North America the main focus of their war effort, seeing it as of greater long-term value which did not exactly best please King George II who was very concerned about his native Hanover in Germany falling into the hands of King Louis XV of France. However, his fears were set aside in favor of a new, major, offensive in North America.

The British planned for a huge, crushing blow that would strike northward, via Lake Champlain, retaking lost outposts and ending in a massive attack on Quebec City, the capital of New France (Canada) which would win them the war. Doing that, however, would mean that they would have to take Fort Carillon which the French had just built to guard the southern approach to Lake Champlain (the lakes and rivers being the most efficient ways to travel in North America at the time). On paper, this seemed to be no great challenge. General James Abercrombie would have nearly 30,000 British troops at his disposal, a huge army by the standards of the time and place, with many excellent units such as the Black Watch. The Marquis de Montcalm, on the other hand, would have only 3,600 soldiers to defend the fort and many of these would be Canadian militia rather than French regulars. However, perhaps overconfident because of all of this, Abercrombie would fight this battle with all of the strategic calculations of a bulldozer. The Marquis, on the other hand, had his men in well fortified positions, with men in trenches out in front with other men on the walls to give them covering fire and obstructions in front of all of them. Although his defenses could have been more solid still, they would prove more than up to the task given that Abercrombie's plan was simply to charge right in.

Abercrombie's force approached on July 8, 1758 with local militia units and the famous "Roger's Rangers" out front having no problem forcing the French skirmishers back. However, Montcalm had good troops under his command in the center with good protection for them and artillery in redoubts to cover his flanks. One of these was unfinished but, it would not matter, because Abercrombie would be charging straight in, confident that his regulars could smash the French without undue difficulty. He was, of course, to be proven completely wrong. In fact, from the outset, everything seemed to go wrong for the British. Units were drawn into battle early and not as planned which led to disorganized attacks that failed and were very costly. The Black Watch was supposed to have been kept in reserve but, seeing their comrades engaged, demanded to join the fight and so were sent in as well. The result was that the British troops charged into a killing zone of withering French fire. Montcalm, who had thrown off his coat and was dashing among his men in his shirtsleeves, kept up French discipline and morale while the British commander was far away from the action (which had broken out before he had planned). Nonetheless, Abercrombie ordered more attacks, thinking each one would break the French lines and carry the day. Instead, he simply sent more men to certain death.

To make matters worse, the British had no artillery to provide fire support for their attacks. The barges carrying the guns had gone the wrong way and ended up floating down within range of the French in Fort Carillon who quickly spotted them and sank several of the barges in quick order. Abercrombie then sent in his reserves, mostly local militia, but they too were ruined and finally he decided to admit defeat and call off the attack. However, heroically but tragically, just because he had had enough, did not mean the hard fighting highlanders of the Black Watch had. They refused to retreat and continued trying to push on, finally charging forward, they alone managed to reach the foot of the outer walls of Fort Carillon but those who tried to continue ran into French bayonets. When there were finally none left to carry on, the battle came to an end.

Montcalm triumphant
Ultimately, the Battle of Fort Carillon would prove to be the most vicious and bloodiest battle of the French & Indian War. The British lost nearly 3,000 men dead, wounded or missing. The heroic highlanders of the Black Watch lost more than half of their entire number. The French, on the other hand, lost only a little over 600 men, the vast majority of them wounded rather than killed. It was the greatest victory in the military career of the Marquis de Montcalm and would never be surpassed. Abercrombie, by contrast, would never command an army in the field again. The British offensive had been stopped cold and with bloody losses, bringing about a change in command, however, the overall situation did not change at all. The British continued to make North America the main focus of the war, the French would provide precious little support to their own forces in the region and Montcalm would go on fighting against the odds until his life and French rule over Canada both came to an end. Because of a lack of resources and defeats elsewhere, the French would later abandon Fort Carillon, leaving it to be occupied by the British who renamed it Fort Ticonderoga. It would remain in British hands until the outbreak of the American War for Independence.

30 March, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

IN LUMINE FIDEI: 30 MARCH – MONDAY IN PASSION WEEK

IN LUMINE FIDEI: 30 MARCH – MONDAY IN PASSION WEEK: Lesson – Jonas iii. 1 ‒ 10 In those days the word of the Lord came to Jonas the second time, saying: “Arise and go to Niniveh, the g...

30 March, A Chesterton Calendar

MARCH 30th

Every man is dangerous who only cares for one thing.

'The Napoleon of Notting Hill.'

31 March, The Roman Martyrology

Prídie Kaléndas Aprílis Luna sexta Anno Domini 2020

March 31st 2020, the 6th day of the Moon, were born into the better life:

At Tekoa, in Palestine, the holy Prophet Amos, who was often-times scourged by the priest Amaziah, and pierced in the temples with a bar by his son Oziah. He was afterward borne back half dead into his own country, and there gave up the ghost, and is buried with his fathers, [785 B.C.]
In Africa, the holy martyrs Theodulus, Anesius, Felix, Cornelia, and their Companions.
In Persia, under King Isdegerd, the holy martyr Benjamin the Deacon. Because he would not cease from preaching the word of God, sharp reeds were forced under his nails, and a thorny stake thrust into his bowels, and so he finished his testimony, [in the year 401.]
At Rome, the holy virgin Balbina, the daughter of the blessed martyr Quirinus. She was baptized by holy Pope Alexander, and after she had overcome the world, [in the year 169,] she was buried on the Appian Way, by her father's side.
V. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God.

Memes of the Day


St Edmund Martyr, Patron against pandemics, pray for us!

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Survey Shows That Most Americans Already Favored Arresting New Yorkers

A bit of satire from the Editors of the Imaginative Conservative. It might not be a bad idea!

From The Imaginative Conservative

By The Editors


(Providence, RI) — In the wake of Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s issuance today of an order to have New Yorkers in her state arrested in order to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, an instant poll by the Pew Research Company shows that 79% of Americans had already supported the concept of locking up escaped New Yorkers.
“I thought that law had been in place since at least the Carter Administration,” said Sarah Travers of Spillville, Iowa. “They’ve never been allowed to wander around the country indiscriminately, have they?”
Commented Deputy Bo Hutchinson of the Henry County, Georgia Sheriff’s Department. “We sure as heck arrest any of those people we find down here. Oh, we just keep them in the slammer a few days, and maybe we are a little rough with them—letting them bump their heads as they get in the squad car, and such—but it’s all just to scare them into not coming thisaway ever again.”
When told that the measure to keep New Yorkers within the the confines of their own state was a new initiative to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Mitch Hopkins of Duluth, Minnesota said,  “Well, it ought to be a permanent federal statute anyway, or even a formal amendment to the Constitution.”
The featured image is a combination of this image and this image, courtesy of Pixabay.

Radical Liberal Group: Corona Panic Perfect Time to Abolish the Family

The power of Satan is strong in his lick-spittle lackeys like these!

From LifeSiteNews

By Jonathon Van Maren

If you are a certain type of progressive, this global upheaval presents an opportunity.

March 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — I’ve always been close to my family, but the coronavirus pandemic and the requisite social distancing have reminded me not to take them for granted. Never again will I “just drop by” my parents’ place without being reminded that it is a blessing to be able to do so. My toddler daughter is so fed up with not seeing her extended family that she frequently demands that we video-call her grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Like everyone else, I worry about my elderly grandparents. In the midst of the panic, many of us are feeling profoundly grateful for the families we have been blessed with.
But if you are a certain type of progressive, this global upheaval presents an opportunity. Open Democracy, for example, published an essay this week with this headline: “The coronavirus crisis shows it’s time to abolish the family.”
Open Democracy’s motto is “free thinking for the world,” and I certainly hope nobody is paying for that garbage. But the group’s essay is a good reminder that many progressives see this crisis as an opportunity to further their political agenda, especially as large swathes of the population are at this point willing to accept massive government oversight of their lives in order to flatten the curve and protect the elderly and the vulnerable. This crisis has taught us that our families are essential and that our elderly are valuable, and I hope we remember these lessons when this is all over.
But if you’re one of the clowns over at Open Democracy, the crisis is leading you to entirely different conclusions — conclusions such as the fact that we must get over “the mystification of the couple-form; the romanticisation of kinship; and the sanitization of the fundamentally unsafe space that is private property.” And why do we have to “get over” the idea of marriage and cease “romanticizing kinship,” whatever that means? Because of “the power asymmetries of housework (reproductive labor being so gendered) ... of patriarchal parenting and (often) the institution of marriage.” One genuinely wonders what the author of this gibberish had to suffer in order to produce such twisted nonsense.
Homes, Open Democracy informs us, are fundamentally unsafe: “[q]ueer and feminized people, especially very old and very young ones, are definitionally not safe there: their flourishing in the capitalist home is the exception, not the rule. It follows that, upon closer inspection, both terms — ‘social distancing’ and ‘sheltering in place’ — appear remarkable as much for what they don’t say (that is, what they presume and naturalize) as what they do. Sheltering in what place...and in whose? Distance from whom...or everyone but whom?”
Obviously, domestic abuse is an enormous issue, and the sad fact is that some people will feel trapped in their homes. But I would argue that family breakdown has contributed to abuse rather than lessened it, and that the idea of getting rid of the family to eliminate domestic abuse would exacerbate the problem rather than mitigate it. But according to Open Democracy, “the pandemic is no time to forget about family abolition.” In fact, even when homes are safe, the author theorizes, they are still awful and should still be abolished:
[E]ven when the private nuclear household poses no direct physical or mental threat to one’s person — no spouse-battering, no child rape, and no queer-bashing — the private family qua mode of social reproduction still, frankly, sucks. It genders, nationalizes and races us. It norms us for productive work. It makes us believe we are ‘individuals.’ It minimizes costs for capital while maximizing human beings’ life-making labor (across billions of tiny boxes, each kitted out — absurdly — with its own kitchen, micro-crèche and laundry). It blackmails us into mistaking the only sources of love and care we have for the extent of what is possible. We deserve better than the family. And the time of corona is an excellent time to practice abolishing it.
I suspect that there is as much of Freud as Marx in all of that, as the logic of attempting to contain a pandemic by collectivizing and moving us into large group homes escapes me. Perhaps it escapes the author, as well, as I see that this essay is long on abolishing things and short on what, exactly, those things will be replaced with. (Smart Marxists always remain fuzzy on the details.) But I think this crisis, whatever else it brings, will be doing precisely the opposite of what the progressives over at Open Democracy hope. Yes, there are genuinely tragic situations occurring. But for most of us, our families are the silver lining in all of this. Trying to figure out where all of this is headed and to plan for the future is stressful, but all of that can vanish the minute your two-year-old tugs on your sleeve and says: “Hey, Daddy. Wanna snuggle for a minute?”

Ohio Says Religious Gatherings Are ‘Essential Business,’ Bishops Cancel Mass Anyway

These false shepherds, these liars, will have much to answer for when they face their Judge!

From LifeSiteNews

By Martin Bürger
The bishops claim that the decision was made 'after consultation with the governor and health officials.'

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – During the COVID-19 pandemic, churches in the state of Ohio are considered an essential business and allowed to stay open. “Religious facilities, entities and groups and religious gatherings, including weddings and funerals,” are listed by the state as “essential businesses and operations” which may stay open.
The order of the Ohio Department of Health was issued on March 22, taking effect on March 24, and scheduled to last until April 6.
The bishops within the state of Ohio, organized as the Catholic Conference of Ohio, had already decided on March 16 to cancel all public Masses and liturgies, “at least through the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter.”
While all businesses and operations deemed by the state of Ohio to be “non-essential” were ordered to stop, a fairly lengthy list of exceptions included religious entities. Another exception were organizations providing charitable and social services.
Even though “religious gatherings” are explicitly permitted by the order of the Ohio Department of Health, the requirements of social distancing would still have to be practiced.
This includes “maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.”
All of these measures could be observed in a Catholic environment, but the public may only leave the house for essential activities. The list of essential activities includes only “health and safety,” obtaining “necessary supplies and services,” “outdoor activity,” “certain types of work,” related to the list of essential businesses and operations, and “to take care of others.”
The order later clarifies that “essential travel” is defined as any travel “related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses and Operations, or Minimum Basic Operations.”
Legally, public Masses would not be a problem. Nevertheless, the bishops of Ohio never revoked their decision to cancel all public Masses.
“The bishops of Ohio dispense the Catholic faithful who reside in their respective dioceses and all other Catholics currently in Ohio from the obligation of attending Sunday Mass through Easter Sunday,” they wrote instead on March 16.
In their statement, the bishops claim that the decision was made “after consultation with the governor and health officials,” convincing the bishops “that this is the most prudent and necessary action.” Given the more recent order of the Ohio government, this might no longer be the case.
“This is a step that I wish we did not feel compelled to take,” said Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati, Ohio, on March 17. “I realize it is yet another source of suffering in an already trying time. However, given the grave health risks we are currently facing, especially with regard to public gatherings, I believe it is a necessary step in the interest of the common good that will help to curb the spread of this virus.”
Cardinal Raymond Burke had a different emphasis in a statement released on March 21.
“We can provide more opportunities for the Holy Mass and devotions at which a number of faithful can participate without violating necessary precautions against the spread of contagion,” he wrote. “Many of our churches and chapels are very large. They permit a group of the faithful to gather for prayer and worship without violating the requirements of ‘social distance.’”
The former Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court within the Catholic Church, offered some practical advice, as well, stressing the role of the laity.
“If a church or chapel does not have a sufficiently large staff to be able to disinfect regularly the pews and other surfaces, I have no doubt that the faithful, in gratitude for the gifts of the Holy Eucharist, Confession, and of public devotion, will gladly assist,” he said.

The Catechism of the Summa - LIX. OF THE TWO KINDS OF LIFE, VIZ., OF THE ACTIVE AND THE CONTEMPLATIVE; OF THE STATE OF PERFECTION-OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE; AND OF THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN THE CHURCH (B)

(B)

What is meant by the contemplative life?

It is that kind of life, in which man finds peace in his soul as a result of the subjection of his sinful passions, and of his withdrawal from the external affairs of life; under the impulse of the love of God, he passes his time in the contemplation of God in Himself and in His works in so far as this is possible on earth; rejoicing in the vision of God whom he loves, and finding in this enjoyment of God his highest perfection, such as makes him live a life detached from all things on earth and to cleave to God alone (CLXXX. 1-8).

Does the contemplative life presuppose all the virtues?

Yes, it presupposes all the virtues, and it helps to make them perfect; but in itself it consists in a certain activity wherein all the intellectual and theological virtues come into play, remaining always and entirely subject to the personal action of the Holy Ghost through the instrumentality of the gifts (CLXXX. 2).

Next - The Catechism of the Summa - LIX. OF THE TWO KINDS OF LIFE, VIZ., OF THE ACTIVE AND THE CONTEMPLATIVE; OF THE STATE OF PERFECTION-OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE; AND OF THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES IN THE CHURCH (C)

The National Emergency Library Makes 1.5 Million Books Free to Read Right Now

There are hundreds and hundreds of solid, old Catholic books in the Internet Archive as well, prayer books, catechisms, etc., etc.

From Open Culture

The coronavirus has closed libraries in countries all around the world. Or rather, it's closed physical libraries: each week of struggle against the epidemic that goes by, more resources for books open to the public on the internet. Most recently, we have the Internet Archive's opening of the National Emergency Library, "a collection of books that supports emergency remote teaching, research activities, independent scholarship, and intellectual stimulation while universities, schools, training centers, and libraries are closed." While the "national" in the name refers to the United States, where the Internet Archive operates, anyone in the world can read its nearly 1.5 million books, immediately and without waitlists, from now "through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later."

"Not to be sneezed at is the sheer pleasure of browsing through the titles," writes The New Yorker's Jill Lepore of the National Emergency Library, going on to mention such volumes as How to Succeed in Singing, Interesting Facts about How Spiders Live, and An Introduction to Kant’s Philosophy, as well as "Beckett on Proust, or Bloom on Proust, or just On Proust." A historian of America, Lepore finds herself reminded of the Council on Books in Wartime, "a collection of libraries, booksellers, and publishers, founded in 1942." On the premise that "books are useful, necessary, and indispensable," the council "picked over a thousand volumes, from Virginia Woolf’s The Years to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, and sold the books, around six cents a copy, to the U.S. military." By practically giving away 120 million copies of such books, the project "created a nation of readers."

In fact, the Council on Books in Wartime created more than a nation of readers: the American "soldiers and sailors and Army nurses and anyone else in uniform" who received these books passed them along, or even left them behind in the far-flung places they'd been stationed. Haruki Murakami once told the Paris Review of his youth in Kobe, "a port city where many foreigners and sailors used to come and sell their paperbacks to the secondhand bookshops. I was poor, but I could buy paperbacks cheaply. I learned to read English from those books and that was so exciting." Seeing as Murakami himself later translated The Big Sleep into his native Japanese, it's certainly not impossible that an Armed Services Edition counted among his purchases back then.

Now, in translations into English and other languages as well, we can all read Murakami's work — novels like Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore, short-story collections like The Elephant Vanishes, and even the memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running — free at the National Emergency Library. The most popular books now available include everything from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale to the Kama Sutra, Dr. Seuss's ABC to Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (and its two sequels), Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart to, in disconcerting first place, Sylvia Browne's End of Days: Predictions and Prophecy About the End of the World. You'll even find, in the original French as well as English translation, Albert Camus' existential epidemic novel La Peste, or The Plague, featured earlier this month here on Open Culture. And if you'd rather not confront its subject matter at this particular moment, you'll find more than enough to take your mind elsewhere. Enter the National Emergency Library here.

Related Content:

800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices

The Internet Archive “Liberates” Books Published Between 1923 and 1941, and Will Put 10,000 Digitized Books Online

11,000 Digitized Books From 1923 Are Now Available Online at the Internet Archive

Free: You Can Now Read Classic Books by MIT Press on Archive.org

Enter “The Magazine Rack,” the Internet Archive’s Collection of 34,000 Digitized Magazines

Use Your Time in Isolation to Learn Everything You’ve Always Wanted To: Free Online Courses, Audio Books, eBooks, Movies, Coloring Books & More

The World Must Come to Walsingham

What does the Rededication mean to the world? Invoking Juan Donoso Cortes (I thought I was the only one who remembered him!), Mr Davis explains.

From Crisis

By Michael Warren Davis
This face, for centuries a memory,
Non est species, neque decor,
Expressionless, expresses God: it goes
Past castled Sion. She knows what God knows,
Not Calvary’s Cross nor crib at Bethlehem
Now, and the world shall come to Walsingham.

Frederick Wilhelmsen called Juan Donoso Cortés the Augustine of the nineteenth century: the chronicler of civilization’s timely demise. To R.A. Herrera, the Marqués de Valdegamas was “the Cassandra of our age,” warning Christendom of her impending ruin. I suppose they both might be right. In any event, to his disciples, Donoso is a prophet.

Those who favor Wilhelmsen’s view will point to Donoso’s best-known work, his Essays on Catholicism, Liberalism and Socialism. And it’s certainly good stuff. Three years before St. John Henry Newman published his Apologia, Donoso made the same argument no less cogently: “there is no medium, in true philosophy, between Atheism and Catholicity.” One is either en route to Rome or slouching towards Sodom.

Yet Professor Herrera points to a lesser-known work, Donoso’s Speech on the General Situation in Europe. To read it in the year 2020 is something of a revelation.


In the year 1850—three-quarters of a century before the Bolsheviks seized power—Donoso issued a warning to the Continent. Europe’s ultimate demise would come in three stages. First was the descent from Christianity to pantheism, and then from pantheism to atheism. The Enlightenment had effected the first stage of decay. The next would be a descent into total godlessness.

At the same time, the decline from Christianity to pantheism would be marked by a shift from monarchy to republicanism; this was accomplished by the French Revolution and its imitators across Europe. Then would come the final plunge into political anarchy, when no legitimate authority would be able to restrain the powers of lust and avarice.

Politics would supersede religion, he warned, and then economics would supersede politics. Then, the world would be turned upside-down.

Europe was already teetering on the edge of its final decline, Donoso warned—between pantheism and atheism, between republicanism and anarchy. How would we know when the descent was complete? “Revolution must dissolve permanent armies; patriotism must be extinguished through socialist expropriation; and the Slavic nations must unite into a confederation under the Russian banner,” as Herrara neatly sums them up. “Once these three events have occurred, the time will have arrived for Russia to impose God’s punishment on the world.”

The reader, I’m sure, can’t help but think of Our Lady’s warning to the three little children of Fátima that “if people do not cease offending God,” a second (and far worse) World War would break out. “When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes,” she advised. Russia “will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and various nations will be annihilated.”

Of course, we know, there was still hope. “In the end,” she promised, “my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

This conversation took place in 1917, sixty-seven years after Donoso gave his Speech on the General Situation in Europe. And I have no doubt that, had he lived to hear of the Fátima prophecies, the Marqués de Valdegamas would have been one of their strongest advocates. Yet his solution was not, perhaps, altogether wrong. There was only one hope for Europe as Donoso saw it: England must return to the Catholic Church.
Of all the nations that fell away from the Church during the Reformation, the loss of England was certainly the most grievous. France may have been the eldest daughter of the Church, but England was Mary’s very own dowry.

Before he led his subjects into apostasy, King Henry VIII was given the title “Defender of the Faith” by Pope Leo X for his treatise Defense of the Seven Sacraments, which he wrote as a rebuke to the burgeoning Lutheran heresy. Imagine if Henry had remained steadfast! Imagine if he and his descendants had sided with the Catholic powers during the Wars of Religion! The Nordic kingdoms, Holland, Switzerland, and the Schmalkaldic League could never have withstood the combined forces of England, Austria, Italy, Spain, France, and the Holy Roman Empire. Not only would Christendom have been saved from schism and error but the struggle would have ended with a swift, decisive victory, preventing centuries of needless bloodshed.

Europe could have remained united in the Faith. There would have been no French Revolution and no World Wars, no socialism and no fascism. Today, the Continent would not be under the thumb of the the European Union: it would be flourishing beneath the blue mantle of the Blessed Virgin.

In a matter of centuries, England would become the first great Western empire since the fall of Rome. When she declined, her successor rose from within her own house: the United States, her eldest daughter. Imagine if both nations—England and America—had used their awesome political, economic, and military power to advance the Faith. (This is to say nothing of Canada, Oceania, India, the Caribbean, and huge swathes of Africa.)

And who knows? If the entire Christian world today were united under the Supreme Pontiff, our missionary powers might be doubled, tripled, quadrupled. Hilaire Belloc said that Islam began as a Christian heresy, not a new religion; perhaps it would have gone the way of the Lutherans—that strange little faction which, thanks to Good King Harry, grew no larger than the Cathars. We could have made greater progress in Northern Africa, Indochina, and Japan.

This is all purely speculative, of course. But we must ask ourselves: would Christendom be stronger or weaker had the Protestant Reformation never come to fruition? Would the Church be larger or smaller today? Would the world be more at peace, or more at war? Would more souls have been saved through baptism, or fewer?

Had the Dutch or the Norwegians or the Swiss never embraced Protestantism, the world might have looked much as it does today. It’s doubtful whether any one of these nations was large enough to turn the tide of the Wars of Religion. But what if England had never forsaken the Faith? And what if the prodigal daughter swallowed her pride and came home?
Donoso could only imagine. We can do a bit more. On March 29—this Sunday—England will be re-dedicated to Our Lady. Mr. Christopher Ortega writes exceptionally well in these pages today about why Americans ought to mark this occasion as well. Here, I would add, is its significance for the world:

American Catholics today tend to think of ourselves as members of a strategic alliance. Some follow the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” mode, where we place ourselves in league with the more politically influential force of fundamentalist Protestantism. Others take a slightly broader view, speaking of something called “Judeo-Christian civilization.” Still others muse about an “Ecumenism of the Trenches,” where traditional Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims will stand in array against the forces of left-wing secularism.

There’s a certain amount of virtue to each of these schools of thought. No right-minded Catholic would refuse to support Donald Trump because he’s a Presbyterian. And if Orthodox Jews voted for a conservative, Catholic governor because he’s unlikely to force their yeshivas to accept girls—why, that seems perfectly sensible.

But such ecumenism or inter-religious dialogue can, at best, only stanch the wounds in our society. It cannot heal them. For the social wounds are themselves only a symptom of a much deeper, far older fracture in the Church. The cracks began to show in 1517, when Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg; they became fatal, perhaps, in 1534, when Henry VIII declared himself “Supreme Head of the Church of England.”

I believe, like Marqués de Valdegamas, that there can be no real victory but victory for the Faith. There can be no true help for the West except Christ, and we must seek Him (as He commands) through His Bride, the Church.

We cannot know what will happen when the English bishops return her dowry to Our Lady. It may be nothing dramatic: a consolation to the faithful and a joy to the saints. Or it may be—as Donoso foresaw—the beginning of a great Restoration that will undo all the revolutions that have torn Christendom apart.

“The cause of all your errors,” he warned his countrymen,
lies in your ignorance of the direction which civilization is taking. You believe that civilization and the world are advancing, when civilization and the world are regressing. The world is taking great strides towards the constitution of the most gigantic and destructive despotism which men have ever known. That is the trend of our world and civilization.
“I do not need to be a prophet to predict these things,” he claimed (perhaps with a touch of false modesty); “it is enough to consider the fearful picture of human events from the only true viewpoint, from the heights of Catholic philosophy.” England once stood at the very summit of that awesome height. May she do so again. We need her now more than we ever have.

Our Lady of Walsingham, ora pro nobis.