31 October 2020

Clergy Speak-Out On Joe Biden

Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and simple Priests are speaking out. A Catholic CANNOT vote for Biden!

From Anti-Catholic Ticket

Father James Altman, Pastor, St. James the Less, La Crosse, WI
"You cannot be a Catholic and a Democrat. Period." Source

Father John Boye, Pastor, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Cottage Grove, OR.
“It is particularly scandalous today that the most prominent Catholic politicians are the most anti-life. Such Catholics are truly wolves in sheep’s clothing.” Source

Cardinal Raymond Burke, Former Prefect of the Church's Highest Court
“Joe Biden is not a Catholic in good standing and he should not approach to receive Holy Communion.” Source

Fr. Kevin Cusick, Pastor, Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church, Benedict, Maryland
“Joe Biden is not a practicing Catholic. And practicing Catholics cannot vote for Biden for president in good conscience." Source

Bishop Thomas Daly, Bishop of Spokane
“But if abortion is intrinsically evil, which Bishop McElroy admits to, how can Catholics vote for a candidate like Biden? He has moved in an aggressive way to do all he can to make sure abortion is available. He has walked away from the Hyde Amendment. If elected, he will push for legislation that furthers abortion. He is not passive on this issue. There is no nuance. He has taken a strong stand.” Source

Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, Activist pro-life Catholic priest, regular on EWTN, member of Red Rose Rescues

“[Biden] is a walking and talking scandal to his Catholic faith and has rightly been refused the Eucharist because he persists in ongoing mortal sin thus separating himself from communion with the Church. He scandalizes the Catholic faith in so many ways that objectively he actually seems “anti Catholic” in his beliefs.” Source

Bishop Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville
“When a prominent Catholic politician [like Joe Biden] publicly and voluntarily officiates at a ceremony to solemnize the relationship of two people of the same-sex, confusion arises regarding Catholic teaching on marriage and the corresponding moral obligations of Catholics. What we see is a counter witness, instead of a faithful one founded in the truth.” Source

Fr. Edward Meeks, Pastor, Christ the King Church, Towson Maryland
“How dare you! How dare you present yourself so publicly as a faithful Catholic while trampling on the some of the Church’s most serious and most fervently held moral precepts?” Source

Fr. Robert Morey, Pastor, Saint Anthony Catholic Church, Florence, South Carolina
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden. Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.” Source

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Former Prelate of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
"Its better to vote for a good Protestant than a bad Catholic.” Source

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities
"Joe Biden was asked how he squared his support for legalized abortion with his Catholic faith. Again, he looked into the camera and said he believed in the sanctity of human life, but he did not think it right to impose his moral beliefs on others. Believing that an unborn child is an innocent human life and supporting the rights of others to kill this innocent child is anything but thoughtful. It is intellectually and morally an incoherent position.” Source

Father Michael O'Connor, Pastor of Our Lady of the Gulf, Bay St. Louis, MS.
"Joe Biden embraces teachings that are absolutely and fundamentally opposed to the priorities of our Church, to protect life, to protect the sanctity and the holiness of marriage. He is, in some respects, an embarrassment to Catholicism.” Source

Fr. Michael Orsi, Priest of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey
“Joe Biden has stubbornly and contumaciously ignored Church teaching on abortion and Religious Freedom.” Source

Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield, IL.
“Biden and Harris “support the Democratic Party Platform promoting abortion and calling for the use of federal taxpayer funding of abortion and the appointment of pro-abortion judges. Biden also pledged to restore the Obama-Biden policy that mandates churches, businesses, colleges, and religious orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor to provide coverage for abortion pills in their employees’ health insurance plans.” Source

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life
“[Biden’s] failure to protect the unborn puts him not only in conflict with the Catholic faith but with the Christian Gospel, the Founding principles of America, the very meaning of public service, and basic human decency. You can’t kill babies, and you can’t authorize anyone else to do so.” Source

Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Bishop of South Bend, IN.
Regarding Joe Biden: “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any 'pro-choice' public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service, since direct abortion is gravely contrary to the natural law and violates a very fundamental principle of Catholic moral and social teaching: the inalienable right to life of every innocent human being from the moment of conception. I also question the propriety of honoring a public official who was a major spokesman for the redefinition of marriage.” Source

Bishop Richard Stika, Bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee
“[I] don't understand how Mr. Biden can claim to be a good and faithful Catholic as he denies so much of Church teaching, especially on the absolute child abuse and human rights violations of the most innocent, the not yet born. And he also praises his sidekick who has shown time and time again in senate hearings that she is an anti-Catholic bigot.” Source

Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop of Tyler, Texas
“As the Bishop of Tyler I endorse Fr Altman’s statement in this video. My shame is that it has taken me so long. Thank you Fr Altman for your COURAGE. If you love Jesus & His Church & this nation…please HEED THIS MESSAGE.” Source

Bishop Thomas Tobin, Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island
“Biden-Harris. First time in awhile that the Democratic ticket hasn’t had a Catholic on it. Sad.” Source

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
“[If Biden were elected,] we would find ourselves facing an Orwellian dictatorship desired by both the 'Deep State' and the 'Deep Church,' in which the rights that today are considered fundamental and inalienable would be trampled with the complicity of mainstream media." Source

Amid Protests, Polish President Backs Abortion for Fatal Fetal Abnormalities

Sad, sad news from Poland. I had thought better of Duda. He should call out the army and restore order, not kowtow to the baby-killers!

From Catholic World Report


CNA Staff, Oct 30, 2020 / 01:01 pm (CNA).- Facing protests across the country after a court ruling prohibiting abortion for fetal abnormalities, the Polish president said Friday he would propose a bill permitting abortion in cases of fatal fetal abnormality.

Andrzej Duda said Oct. 30 he would introduce a bill to allow abortion “when prenatal tests or other medical indications show a high probability that the child will be stillborn or have an incurable disease or defect that will lead to the death of the child inevitably and directly, regardless of the therapeutic measures used,” Reuters reported.

Protests across Poland began after the constitutional court ruled Oct. 22 that a law permitting abortion for fetal abnormalities was unconstitutional. The Polish constitution says that the state “shall ensure the legal protection of the life of every human being”.

The court was asked to examine the law last year by a group of 119 MPs belonging to the ruling Law and Justice party, as well as two smaller parties.

About 1,000 abortions are legally procured in the country annually, the vast majority of them on the basis of fetal abnormality.

Abortion will continue to remain legal in cases of rape, incest, and risk to the mother’s life.

Duda initially welcomed the court ruling, telling the Warsaw daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna Oct. 23 “that abortion for so-called eugenic reasons should not be allowed in Poland. I believed and believe that every child has a right to life.”

The AP reported Oct. 29 that Duda had told RMF FM that abortion should be prohibited for non-fatal fetal conditions such as Down syndrome, but permitted for fatal abnormalities: “it cannot be that the law requires this kind of heroism from a woman.”

He said: “I believe that there should be a regulation which, in case of lethal defects, will unequivocally guarantee the rights on the side of the woman.”

Protesters have been blocking roads and bridges, and disrupting churches, across Poland. A mass protest is occurring Friday evening in Warsaw.

Supporters of abortion rights disrupted Sunday Masses across Poland this weekend. They have also left graffiti on church property, vandalized a statue of St. John Paul II, and chanted slogans at clergy. Roads and bridges have been blocked, and some workers were on strike Oct. 28.

Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski has said 76 people have been detained in connection with protests at churches, and 101 cases are being prosecuted.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has warned the protests will contribute to the spread of the coronavirus. Poland has had more than 299,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 4,851 deaths.

Five people have been charged with organizing an illegal protest attended by 850 on Oct. 29 in Police, about 10 miles north of Szczecin.

And the national public prosecutor has said protest organizers will be charged with “causing an epidemiological threat”.

Internationally, protests have been held outside Polish embassies, ranging from tens gathered in Rome, to more than a thousand in Stockholm.

The permanent council of the Polish bishops’ conference said Oct. 28 that the Church makes a “constant call for protection, including legal protection, of the life of every human being, including the unborn.”

“The commandment of love imposes on us an important duty of caring, helping, and giving mothers and families who receive and raise sick children the protection they need,” the bishops reflected. “We thank all communities and institutions that have been doing this for years, and we appeal to parishes, Catholic movements, and other church organizations to undertake specific initiatives to meet those who need and will need both individual and institutional help.”

“The Church will always stand for life and support initiatives that protect it,” they added.

The bishops spoke of their “great pain” at “the escalation of social tension and aggression” during the protests.

“The vulgar language used by some of the protesters, the destruction of social property, the devastation of churches, the profanation of sacred places, or prevention of the liturgy there are also disturbing.”

“We call on everyone to engage in meaningful social dialogue, to express their views without resorting to violence, and to respect the dignity of every human being,” they said.

The bishops commented that “we ask politicians and all participants of the social debate, at this dramatic time, to thoroughly analyze the causes of the situation and look for ways out, in the spirit of truth and for the common good, without instrumentalizing matters regarding the faith and the Church.”

The bishops thanked the pastors and laity “who are courageously defending their churches,” as well as the security services. “The Church wants to remain open to all people, regardless of their social and political affiliation,” they noted.

Reflecting on the impositions due to the coronavirus pandemic, they appealed for “solidarity and compliance with the sanitary safety regulations.”

“We also ask all believers to fast, to give alms, and to pray for social peace, with the intention of protecting life, putting an end to the ongoing crisis, and ending the developing pandemic,” they concluded.

Macron's Ignorance of France's History!

The Martyrs of Compiègne, the pregnant women bayoneted during la Vendée, the 4,000 men, women, and children drowned in la noyades de Nantes, and the myriads of others murdered by laïcité during the Revolution and its aftermath, would beg to differ!

Soul Cakes & Trick-or-Treating

From one of my new favourite YouTubers, Max Miller, of Tasting History, a look at one of the many origins of 'trick-or-treating'.


[1] From this it may be seen that, although the knowledge of the divine intellect is not of the sort belonging to an intellect that composes and divides, truth, which according to the Philosopher is found only in the composition and division of the intellect [ Metaph. V, 4; De anima III, 6], is yet not excluded from it.

[2] For, since the truth of the intellect is “the adequation of intellect and thing,” inasmuch as the intellect says that what is is and what is not is not, truth belongs to that in the intellect which the intellect says, not to the operation by which it says it. For the intellect to be true it is not required that its act of understanding be adequated to the thing known, since the thing is sometimes material whereas the act of understanding is immaterial. Rather, what the intellect in understanding says and knows must be adequated to the thing, so that, namely, the thing be such as the intellect says it to be. Now, by His simple understanding, in which there is no composition and division, God knows not only the quiddities of things but also enunciations, as has been shown. Hence, that which the divine intellect says in understanding is composition and division. Therefore, truth is not excluded from the divine intellect by reason of its simplicity.

[3] When the incomplex is said or understood, the incomplex, of itself, is neither equated to a thing nor unequal to it. For equality and inequality are by relation, whereas the incomplex, of itself, does not imply any relation or application to a thing. Hence, of itself, it can be said to be neither true nor false; but the complex can, in which the relation of the incomplex to a thing is designated by a sign of composition or division. Nevertheless, the incomplex intellect in understanding what a thing is apprehends the quiddity of a thing in a certain relation to the thing, because it apprehends it as the quiddity of that thing. Hence although the incomplex itself, or even a definition, is not in itself true or false, nevertheless the intellect that apprehends what a thing is is always said to be through itself true, as appears in De anima III [6], although it can be by accident false, in so far as a definition includes some composition either of the parts of a definition with one another or of the whole definition with the thing defined. Hence, according as the definition is understood to be the definition of this or that thing, as it is received by the intellect, it will be called absolutely false if the parts of the definition do not belong together, as if we should say insensible animal; or it will be called false with reference to a given thing, as when the definition of a circle is taken as that of a triangle. Given, therefore, by an impossible supposition, that the divine intellect knew only incomplexes, it would still be true in knowing its own quiddity as its own.

[4] Again, the divine simplicity does not exclude perfection, because it possesses in its simple being whatever of perfection is found in other things through a certain aggregation of perfections or forms, as was shown above. But in apprehending incomplexes, our intellect does not yet reach its ultimate perfection, because it is still in potency to composition or division. So, too, among natural things, the simple are in potency with reference to the mixed, and the parts with reference to the whole. According to His simple understanding, therefore, God has that perfection of knowledge that our intellect has through both knowledges, that of complexes and that of incomplexes. But our intellect reaches truth in its perfect knowledge, that is to say, when it already has arrived at composition. Therefore, in the simple understanding of God as well there is truth.

[5] Again, since God is the good of every good, as having every goodness in Himself, as has been shown above, the goodness of the intellect cannot be lacking to Him. But the true is the good of the intellect, as appears from the Philosopher [ Ethics VI, 2]. Therefore, truth is in God.

[6] And this is what is said in a Psalm: “But God is true” (Rom. 3:4).


For Your Hallowe'en Amusement

'Trick or Treat', 1952, From Walt Disney. Donald gets his comeuppance!

William the Conqueror and the History of Norman England – Full Documentary

Real Crusades History #272. And don't forget the Real Crusades History website!

The story of the Bastard of Falaise, usurper of the Throne of England. (The Old Curmudgeon's opinion, not that of J. Stephen Roberts.)

The New Martyrs of Nice

The three martyrs of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice slain by a radical Muslim

Simone Barreto Silva, Vincent Loquès, Nadine Devillers
The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church

Word of the Day: Middle Ages

MIDDLE AGES. The period preceding the Renaissance. Once taken to date from A.D. 476, the fall of the Roman Empire, it is now more correctly held to begin about 1100 and extend to the end of the fifteenth century. Also once viewed as a sterile period, it has come to be recognized as one of the most cultivated and productive eras of human history. It was the age that reached the highest realization of Christendom as a cultural unity built on a common faith.

The Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

Let's empty Purgatory! This is a devotion especially appropriate for the month of November. N.B. All of the indulgences are obsolete since Indulgentiarum Doctrina1967. Current indulgences are contained in the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum.

An Explanation Of This Particular Devotion. Its Usages, Its Benefits, and Its History.

With the Permission of the Superiors

Origin of The Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory

In the writings of St. Margaret Mary, we find the following exhortation: “In union with the divine Heart of Jesus make a short pilgrimage to Purgatory at night. Offer Him all your activities of the day and ask Him to apply His merits to the suffering souls. At the same time implore them to obtain for you the grace to live and die in the love and friendship of this divine Heart. May He never find in you any resistance to His holy will, nor any wish to thwart His designs in your regard. Fortunate will you be, if you succeed in obtaining deliverance for some of these imprisoned souls, for you will gain as many friends in heaven.”

This pious practice which St. Margaret Mary recommended to her novices for the octave of All Souls, was introduced to the members of the Arch-confraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the year 1885. Since then many of the faithful have made this pilgrimage daily. Our world-wide Arch-confraternity, therefore, would seem to have been chosen by divine Providence to obtain comfort and deliverance for many souls in Purgatory.

In a letter of recommendation, given on January 5, 1884, his Eminence, Cardinal Monaco la Valette, Vicar General of His Holiness, sanctioned the propagation of the “Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory." On October 8 of the following year, his successor, Cardinal Parochi deigned not only to honor us with a letter of approbation, but also delivered a splendid sermon on this practice in the church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Rome, in which it had been introduced. May it please the divine Heart of Jesus to use this booklet as a means of spreading this work of sympathetic love for the Poor Souls everywhere. May this most benevolent of hearts extend to all who in any way assist in its circulation, the fullness of His graces and blessings.

Advantages Of This Practice

It is short. The Daily Pilgrimage requires little more of your time than an ordinary prayer, a religious thought, or a devout ejaculation.

It is easy. It can be practiced by anyone without effort, regardless of age or state of life, at any time, and in any place.

It is comforting. No more is required than to descend in spirit for a few moments into Purgatory, and to petition God to send light, relief and peace to the holy souls, to relieve them of their sufferings, and to hasten the hour of their deliverance.

It is holy. It is in accordance with the wishes of the Sacred Heart. It increases His honor. He is our companion on this pilgrimage. We share in His love, and receive from Him light, relief and peace for the suffering souls.

It is generous. It offers to the Sacred Heart every meritorious deed performed in the course of a day: prayers, mortifications, good works, alms, suffrages of every kind, and places them at His disposal on behalf of the Poor Souls.

It is inexhaustible. It implores Our Lord and Savior to apply to them the infinite merits of His Life. His Passion and Death, and also those of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and all The Saints.

It is efficacious.…. If only you knew with what ardent desire these holy souls long for this new “remedy” which has such efficacy to relieve their sufferings. For this is what St Margaret Mary calls the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

It is meritorious... By extending this act of brotherly love to the Poor Souls, our own merits are increased in the same measure as the pious thoughts which it inspired, the good disposition which it creates, the acts of virtue which it prompts.

It goes on increasingly…... At every moment of the day and night, somewhere on earth members of the Archconfraternity pray for our departed friends according to our intention. There is an uninterrupted sequence of holy Masses, Stations of the Cross, good works, prayers and indulgences. Those whose death we mourn will never be forgotten.

It is approved by the Church…… Many bishops have readily given their approval. His Eminence, the Cardinal Vicar of his Holiness, has recommended it twice in a most explicit manner. The Holy Father himself has deigned to bestow the richest privileges upon the altar of the Poor Souls in the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Rome.

It is favored by God himself …… Numerous spiritual and temporal favors have manifested, again and again, how pleasing this practice is to the Sacred Heart. One may use it with confidence as a means of obtaining the conversion of a sinner, the restoration of health, or a special grace. Very effective also is the promise to promote this devotion if a petition be heard. If the Lord rewards in this life the gift or a cup of cold water, given in His name to the poor, He certainly will reward, even more generously, the help offered for His sake to the Poor Souls.

It is salutary…… By helping the Poor Souls, we assure ourselves their perpetual gratitude; they will pray for us, especially after their entrance into eternal happiness; in particular will they endeavor to obtain for us the grace of a happy death.

“On awakening on this morning on the Sunday of the Good Shepherd” wrote St. Margaret Mary two hundred years ago, “two of my suffering friends came to take leave of me, today the Good Shepherd received them into His eternal home. They left with untold joy and happiness. When I asked them to remember me, they replied: “Ingratitude has never entered heaven.”

It deserves to be propagated……O you my Christian friends who read these lines, priests, religious or devout laypeople, help to spread this devotion, It is so simple, and requires so little effort; moreover, you will be rewarded for it. Let at least one tiny drop of water trickle into Purgatory every day. If no one refuses to do so, many souls will be released, and a refreshing stream of grace will flow without ceasing through that prison of fire.

Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory Preparation:

(Either one of the following acts or a similar one will suffice.)

Prayer - O St. Margaret Mary, whom the Lord has chosen to reveal to the whole world all the treasures hidden in his merciful heart of Love! O thou who hast heard how the Poor Souls in Purgatory begged for this new remedy, the devotion to the Sacred Heart which relieves them so effectively of their torments! O thou who hast set free so many of these poor prisoners by practicing this devotion: obtain for us the grace to make this Pilgrimage worthily in the company of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Amen.

Unite your own intentions with those of the faithful who make this pilgrimage daily.

Consecration of the Day:

Divine Heart of Jesus, in making this pilgrimage with Thee as my Companion, I consecrate to Thee all my thoughts, words and actions of the entire day. I pray Thee to unite my small merits with Thine and to apply them to the Poor Souls, especially the soul of Thy servant, N.N.

Likewise do I entreat you, holy souls, to help me obtain the grace to persevere in love and loyalty toward the Sacred Heart, by submitting readily and without complaint to whatever designs He may have in my regard.

Offering - Eternal Father, we offer Thee the Blood, Passion and Death of Jesus Christ and the sorrows of the most holy Mary and St. Joseph in payment for our sins, in suffrage for the holy souls in Purgatory, for the wants of our Holy Mother the Church and for the conversion of Sinners. Amen.

Ejaculation - “May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere.” 300 days.

“Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.” 300 days

“St. Joseph, model and patron of those who love the Sacred Heart, pray for us.” 300 Days, Plenary Indulgence, once a month

Preparatory Meditation:

Let us for a moment, in company with the Sacred Heart, descend in spirit into the consuming flames of Purgatory. 

How many of these souls are beginning their painful imprisonment this very moment! I know many of them have been there for a long time and shall be there for a longer time to come! And what a holy legion almost entirely purified and cleansed at the present moment, shall rise to heaven this very day!

How happy the Poor Souls are! They have escaped hell forever. They are certain to obtain eternal happiness. They are friends of God; they are saved. And yet, how miserable they are at the same time. They must still suffer temporal punishment for sins which have been already forgiven them. The gates of their heavenly fatherland are still closed to them; they are sentenced to expiating fire.

Behold them in their present plight! Listen to their lamentations! Speak to them a word of friendship and sympathy, and hasten to their assistance!

The Heroic Act of Charity in Favor of the Poor Souls in Purgatory

The heroic Act of Charity is the most beautiful and most effective manifestation of devotion to the Poor souls, as well as of love of God and neighbor in general. For those of our associates who did not make it as yet, we give the following explanation.

1. Purpose of meaning of Heroic Act of Charity.
The heroic act of charity on behalf of the souls in Purgatory consists of a voluntary offering, made by one of the faithful in their favor, of all works of satisfaction done in this life, as well as of all suffrages which shall be offered after death. By this act he deposits all these works and suffrages in the hands of the Blessed Virgin, that she may distribute them on behalf of those holy souls whom it is her good pleasure to deliver from the pains of Purgatory, and at the same time he declares that by this personal offering he forgoes on their behalf only the special and personal benefit of those works of satisfaction, so that, if he be a priest, he is not hindered from applying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass according to the intention of those who give him alms for that purpose.

Every meritorious act performed in the state of sanctifying grace and with a good intention, gains for us the following spiritual privileges:
- An increase in sanctifying grace and heavenly glory.
- Many graces of body and soul for ourselves and for others.
- Remission of temporal punishment for our sins.

Only this third fruit, the satisfactory or expiatory part of the works that we accomplish is conceded or applied to the souls in Purgatory, whereas the fruit of merit and impetration (of prayer), remains ours. The heroic act therefore does not prevent us from praying for ourselves or for others, nor to let others share in our good works.


In making the heroic act and desiring to gain the indulgences attached to it, one foregoes in truth and in fact, without reservation of any kind, and without exception, the special and personal benefits of all works of satisfaction and suffrage, and deposits them as a voluntary offering to God in the hands of the Blessed Virgin.
This act of charity is not a vow and does not bind under sin. It may be revoked at any time. It stands to reason, however, that, by doing so, one can no longer gain the indulgences attached to the heroic act.


The priests who have made this offering may enjoy the benefits of the privileged altar personally every day of the year. All of the faithful who have made this act may gain:

1. A plenary indulgence applicable only to the departed, every day that they receive Holy Communion, provided they visit a church or public oratory and pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.
2. A plenary indulgence every Monday, if they hear Mass in suffrage for the souls in Purgatory and fulfil the usual conditions. The sick, old people, those living in the country, travelers, prisoners, etc., who cannot hear Mass on Monday may offer to this end that of the Sunday.
3. All indulgences granted, or to be granted and gained by the faithful who have made this offering, are applicable to the holy souls in Purgatory, even when this faculty is not so expressed in the formula or decree of the concession of such indulgences.

Motives For Making The Heroic Act

1. You gain many indulgences.
2. Innumerable souls are quickly released from Purgatory; heaven is filled with new saints, who will glorify and praise God for all eternity, also on your behalf.
3. You will gain the special love of the Holy Trinity, of Our Savior, and of all the saints and you have the promise of
Our Lord applied to you: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Math. 5, 7.)
4. After you have made the heroic act, the Poor Souls will become your debtors; in heaven they will labor that you may not be lost, that you shall not suffer Purgatory at all, or at least be released from it soon.
5. The Blessed Virgin receives an increase of signal veneration, since she will be proclaimed, loved, and invoked as the most loving Queen of the Poor Souls and sweet dispenser of our merits to them. There can be no doubt that she will have a special affection for those who love and honor her in this way, both while they are in this world and after they have passed into eternity.

Unnecessary Apprehension In Regard To The Heroic Act

Do not be afraid that you will suffer any loss by this act of charity. Neither need you fear that you yourself will be in danger of having to endure a long and painful Purgatory. On the contrary, you can only gain by it, since you will enjoy the special love of the Most Holy Trinity, of Our Savior, the Blessed Virgin, and of all the saints. Who shall fare better in the end: he who relies solely on justice of God, or he who heroically offers his merits to the Poor Souls and trusts entirely in God‟s infinite mercy and generosity? The latter without doubt. In making the heroic act of charity, therefore, you have nothing to fear for yourself; you can only gain by it.

Nor need you fear that the souls of your relatives, friends and benefactors will be slighted in the least. The Blessed Virgin does not distribute arbitrarily the good works offered for the Poor Souls, but according to that measure of charity and justice which God himself employs in the distribution of His graces. She will therefore favor with your merits preferably those souls towards whom you have special obligations.

Many persons, distinguished by their position, learning and holiness, have made this heroic act in favor of the Poor Souls and will not regret it in eternity. Follow their example, and likewise offer the atoning merits of your good works for the comfort and deliverance of the Poor Souls.

No special formula for making the heroic act is prescribed. For your convenience however, we herewith give the formula taken from the works of St. Alphonsus de Liguori. Its briefness lends itself to a frequent and profitable renewal of this act.

“Oh my God, in union with the merits of Jesus and Mary, I offer Thee for the souls in Purgatory, all my satisfactory works, as well as those which may be applied to me by others during my life, and after my death. And, so as to be more agreeable to the Divine Heart of Jesus and more helpful to the departed, I place them all in the hands of the merciful Virgin Mary.

Invocations for the Poor Souls.

We beseech Thee, Oh Lord, help the souls detained in the fire of Purgatory, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Dear Lord Jesus, grant them (or him) eternal rest.
300 days.

The Daily Pilgrimage To Purgatory - A Pious Union of Prayer

Its Object

“In union with the Divine Heart of Jesus make a short pilgrimage to Purgatory at night. Offer Him all your activities of the day and ask Him to apply His merits to the suffering souls. At the same time implore them to obtain for you the grace to live and die in the love and friendship of this divine Heart. May he never find in you any resistance to His holy will nor any wish to thwart His design in your regard. Fortunate will you be, if you succeed in obtaining deliverance for some of these imprisoned souls, for you will gain as many friends in heaven.”

Its Purpose

The purpose of this “Pious Union” is to obtain relief and deliverance from Purgatory for the Poor Souls. Its secondary aim is the attainment of personal holiness, the conversion of sinners and the acquisition of the necessary spiritual and temporal graces.

Its Privileges

a. Special protection of the Sacred Heart, Who considers every act of charity towards the Poor Souls as done to Himself.
b. Gratitude of the souls in Purgatory. “If only you knew,” writes St. Margaret Mary, “with what great longing these holy souls yearn for this new „remedy‟, which relieves them so effectively of their sufferings. For this is what they call true devotion to the Sacred heart, especially the sacrifice of the holy Mass offered in His honor.” In another place the Saint says: “Ingratitude has never entered heaven.”
c. A share in the prayers and good works of the associates.
d. The departed members of this “Pious Union,” particularly those who have been specially recommended, receive unceasingly the fruits of the numerous holy Masses, offered for the intention of this association.

Its Obligations

a. Promise without binding yourself in conscience, to meditate every day, no matter how briefly, on Purgatory or some other pious practice, e.g. on some ejaculatory prayer to which indulgences applicable to the Poor Souls are attached.
b. Send, if possible once a year, a holy Mass for the intention of this “Pious Union .Offer for the same intention all the Masses you attend, all the Holy Communions you receive, all the good works you perform, particularly those which have for their purpose the veneration of the Sacred Heart.


Help to spread the devotion to the Sacred Heart, so dear and beneficial to the suffering souls.

Distribute the booklet: “Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory.”

Enrol, if you have not yet done so, in the Archconfraternity of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. All of its indulgences are applicable to the Poor Souls.

Indulgenced Prayers

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ in satisfaction for my sins, and in supplication for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and for the needs of the Holy Church.
500 days. Plenary Indulgence once a month if said daily.

Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation!
300 days. Plenary Indulgence once a month if said daily.

My Jesus mercy!
300 days. Plenary Indulgence once a month if said daily

Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine!
500 days, once a day. Plenary indulgence once a month if said daily

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere! 300 days.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, pray for us! 300 days.

St. Joseph, Model and Patron of those who love the Sacred Heart, pray for us! 300 days. Plenary Indulgence once a month.

Nihil Obstat:
Censor Librorum
August 15, 1933
Bishop of Rockford

Hallowe'en is Catholic!

And here are a couple of articles to prove it.

From UCatholic

The Catholic Origins of Halloween

Halloween’s origins are, in fact, very Christian. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a Pope, and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.

We’ve all heard the allegations: Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to some pre-Christian festival among the Celtic Druids that escaped church suppression. Even today modern pagans and witches continue to celebrate this ancient festival. If you let your kids go trick-or-treating, they will be worshiping the devil and pagan gods.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope, and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.

It’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival on October 31–as they did on the last day of most other months of the year. However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Solemnity of All Saints, or “All Hallows,” falls on November 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III (d. 741) moved it to November 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere. And so the holy day spread to Ireland.

The day before was the feast’s evening vigil, “All Hallows Even,” or “Hallowe’en.” In those days Halloween didn’t have any special significance for Christians or for long-dead Celtic pagans.
In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in southern France, added a celebration on November 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.
So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory. What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland at least, all the dead came to be remembered–even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the church calendar.

But that still isn’t our celebration of Halloween. Our traditions on this holiday center on dressing up in fanciful costumes, which isn’t Irish at all. Rather, this custom arose in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Late medieval Europe was hit by repeated outbreaks of the bubonic plague–the Black Death–and it lost about half its population. It is not surprising that Catholics became more concerned  about the afterlife.

More Masses were said on All Souls Day, and artistic representations were devised to remind everyone of their own mortality. We know these representations as the “danse macabre”, or “dance of death,” which was commonly painted on the walls of cemeteries and shows the devil leading a daisy chain of people–popes, kings, ladies, knights, monks, peasants, lepers, etc.–into the tomb. Sometimes the dance was presented on All Souls Day itself as a living tableau with people dressed up in the garb of various states of life.

But the French dressed up on All Souls, not Halloween; and the Irish,  who had Halloween, did not dress up. How the two became mingled probably happened first in the British colonies of North America during the 1700s, when Irish and French Catholics began to intermarry. The Irish focus on Hell gave the French masquerades an even more macabre twist.

But as every young ghoul knows, dressing up isn’t the point; the point is getting as many goodies as possible. Where on earth did “trick or treat” come in? “Treat or treat” is perhaps the oddest and most American addition to Halloween and is the unwilling contribution of English Catholics.

During the penal period of the 1500s to the 1700s in England, Catholics had no legal rights. They could not hold office and were subject to fines, jail and heavy taxes. It was a capital offense to say Mass, and hundreds of priests were martyred.

Occasionally, English Catholics resisted, sometimes foolishly. One of  the most foolish acts of resistance was a plot to blow up the Protestant King James I and his Parliament with gunpowder. This was supposed to trigger a Catholic uprising against the oppressors. The ill-conceived Gunpowder Plot was foiled on November 5, 1605, when the man guarding the gunpowder, a reckless convert named Guy Fawkes, was captured and arrested. He was hanged; the plot fizzled.

November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, became a great celebration in England, and so it remains. During the penal periods, bands of revelers would put on masks and visit local Catholics in the dead of night, demanding beer and cakes for their celebration: trick or treat!
Guy Fawkes Day arrived in the American colonies with the first English settlers. But by the time of the American Revolution, old King James and Guy Fawkes had pretty much been forgotten. Trick or treat, though, was too much fun to give up, so eventually it moved to October 31, the day of the Irish-French masquerade. And in America, trick or treat wasn’t limited to Catholics.

The mixture of various immigrant traditions we know as Halloween had become a fixture in the United States by the early 1800s. To this day, it remains unknown in Europe, even in the countries from which some of the customs originated.

But what about witches? Well, they are one of the last additions. The greeting card industry added them in the late 1800s. Halloween was already “ghoulish,” so why not give witches a place on greeting cards? The Halloween card failed (although it has seen a recent resurgence in popularity), but the witches stayed.

So too, in the late 1800s, ill-informed folklorists introduced the jack-o’-lantern. They thought that Halloween was Druidic and pagan in origin. Lamps made from turnips (not pumpkins) had been part of ancient Celtic harvest festivals, so they were translated to the American Halloween celebration.

The next time someone claims that Halloween is a cruel trick to lure your children into devil worship, I suggest you tell them the real origin of All Hallows Eve and invite them to discover its Christian significance, along with the two greater and more important Catholic festivals that follow it.

From Catholic Culture

History of All Hallows' Eve

The Solemnity of All Saints is celebrated on November 1. It is a solemnity, a holyday of obligation and the day that the Church honors all of God's saints, even those who have not been canonized by the Church. It is a family day of celebration—we celebrate the memory of those family members (sharing with us in the Mystical Body, the doctrine of the Communion of Saints) now sharing eternal happiness in the presence of God. We rejoice that they have reached their eternal goal and ask their prayers on our behalf so that we, too, may join them in heaven and praise God through all eternity.

The honoring of all Christian martyrs of the Faith was originally celebrated on May 13, the date established by the fourth century. Pope Boniface IV in 615 established it as the "Feast of All Martyrs" commemorating the dedication of the Pantheon, an ancient Roman temple, into a Christian church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the martyrs. By 741, the feast included not only martyrs, but all the saints in heaven as well, with the title changing to "Feast of All Saints" by 840. In 844, Pope Gregory IV transferred the feast to November 1st, timing it around the harvests to be able to provide food for the pilgrims. Some scholars believe this was to substitute a feast for the pagan celebrations during that time of year. Pope Sixtus IV in 1484 established November 1 as a holyday of obligation and gave it both a vigil (known today as "All Hallows' Eve" or "Hallowe'en") and an eight-day period or octave to celebrate the feast. 

This feast is marked with liturgical observances that have changed over the centuries. By 1955, the octave and vigil of All Saints were abrogated. Instead of a separate vigil on the calendar, the celebration begins the evening before, as mentioned in The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar
Solemnities are counted as the principal days in the calendar and their observance begins with evening prayer of the preceding day. Some also have their own vigil Mass for use when Mass is celebrated in the evening of the preceding day.                                    
In the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours, solemnities and Sundays are begin with Evening Prayer I (the evening before) and Evening Prayer II (the evening of the solemnity). 
Feastday Customs

In England, saints or holy people are called "hallowed", hence the name "All Hallows’ Day". The evening, or "e'en" before the feast became popularly known as "All Hallows' Eve" or even shorter, "Hallowe'en". 

Many recipes and traditions have come down for this evening, "All Hallows’ Eve" (now known as Halloween), such as pancakes, boxty bread and boxty pancakes, barmbrack (Irish fruit bread with hidden charms), colcannon (combination of cabbage and boiled potatoes). This was also known as "Nutcrack Night" in England, where the family gathered around the hearth to enjoy cider and nuts and apples. In England "soul cakes" are another traditional food. People would go begging for a "soul cake" and promise to pray for the donor's departed friends and family in exchange for the treat, an early version of today's "Trick or Treat." 

The Church designates November 2 as the Feast of All Souls, a day to pray for all the departed souls in Purgatory. The feasts of All Saints and All Souls fall back-to-back to express the Christian belief of the "Communion of Saints." The Communion of Saints is the union of all the faithful on earth (the Church Militant), the saints in Heaven (the Church Triumphant) and the Poor Souls in Purgatory (the Church Suffering), with Christ as the Head. They are bound together by a supernatural bond. The Church Militant (those on earth still engaged in the struggle to save their souls) can venerate the Church Triumphant, and the saints can intercede with God for those still on earth. Both the faithful on earth and the saints in heaven can pray for the souls in Purgatory. During these two days we see the Communion of Saints really in action! 

On All Souls Day and November 1-8 one can gain plenary indulgences for the Poor Souls. See Praying for the Dead and Gaining Indulgences for more details. [But see Changes in 2020 – Plenary Indulgence Reminders for the First Full Week in November (November 1st–8th) Now Available Throughout the Month – (Enchiridion Indulgentiarum for further concessions because of the pandemic.]

Exploring the Christian Roots of Halloween

We have entered the 21st century. It is getting harder to be "in" the world but not "of" the world. How are we to tread carefully to find balance in a secular holiday? We have an onslaught of Halloween witches, ghosts, goblins, vampires, etc. everywhere we turn. How do we bring a message to our children to say that being a Christian does not mean that we cannot have fun and enjoy some secular practices? How do we convey that that we must not constantly be negative and condemn everything? 

To answer this, we must to put on the mind of the Church. All through the centuries the Church has taken secular feasts and tried to "sanctify" or "Christianize" them. This is one of the reasons that December 25 was chosen for Christmas—that was the time of the winter solstice or Saturnalia festival, with many pagan traditions during their celebration. The feast day of All Saints itself came from the dedication of the Pantheon, a pagan temple, into a Christian church, undoubtedly another way of sanctifying the secular and pagan. 

Missionaries familiarize themselves with the culture and religion of the country before they can convert the native people. The missionaries have to be able find some elements in their culture that can help these people identify and understand Christianity at their level. St. Paul tried it with the Greeks. Seeing their altar to the Unknown God, he saw that through their own pagan altar he might bring them to Christianity. 

It is beautiful to remember that we can recognize and enjoy simple earthly pleasures as gifts from God. Many of the practices of Halloween are innocent fun and some deal with healthy reminders of death, sin and the devil. Some parts of Halloween can be extreme. Since the All Saints and All Souls feasts are back-to-back, we can balance some of the focus of Halloween to the Communion of Saints in action. We combine honoring the saints in heaven, remembering our loved ones and then earn graces for our own souls by prayer and actions. Through this approach we see the Mystical Body in action. 

There are many writings to help one explore the Christian roots of the Halloween festivities. In the activities section there are ideas for an All Hallows' Eve Party to present a fun atmosphere for children. See also other ideas from Florence Berger's Cooking for Christ (out-of-print) and Mary Reed Newland's The Year and Our Children. These ideas help use every opportunity as a moment of grace, and a teaching lesson, not a spirit of avoidance of Halloween. One can use the opportunity to honor the saints, pray for the Poor Souls and prepare oneself spiritually for two great feastdays of the Catholic Church, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. 

By Jennifer Gregory Miller

The Ten Principles of the Orthodox Conservatives - 2. That Western Civilisation Is an Achievement, but Easily Lost

The Second Principle of Conservatism, from the Orthodox Conservative website. 

From Orthodox Conservatives

2. That Western civilisation is an achievement, but easily lost. (One that can be shared, but must be preserved and occasionally revived.)

2. That Western civilisation is an achievement, but easily lost

The West is the civilisation that has contributed most to the history and development of Mankind; some may be older (the Chinese), but the political settlements that have arisen in the context of the West – the nation-state; religious toleration; the rule of law; amongst others – have been the most conducive to the enrichment and advancement of human civilisation. But this civilisation is not natural, easy, or ancient; it is hard-won, and only recently found its clearest expressions, and must be defended.

The key institution of the West, of the nation-state, is explored further below (in principle five), but here our concern is principally with that web of loyalty we call the ‘rule of law’. The gradual development of the West has been one of reconciliation, first and foremost between the rulers and ruled who, in times past, were separated by the gulf of conquest, but through the mixing of cultures (and, often, blood) found points of agreement between themselves. This mixing was gentle, for the most part, but would often erupt into violence when that gulf became too much to bear. Take the Barons’ Rebellion of 1215, for instance, when King John was forced to recognise the ancient rights and liberties of the Barons and the church. The charter, originally drafted in the previous century, was dedicated to the liberty of ‘the realm’, because the Barons of the time knew (quite rightly) that while individual Barons would come and go, it was the land that was permanent, and the shared home of those who lived there. In this respect, the long tradition of law (that, as we say, only found its clearest expressions in the recent past) as binding all who lived under its aegis – including the rulers – reflected that reconciliation necessary for the foundation of good order; that all are equal before the law.

But the law is itself based on the reality of social life, which is that of a shared space in geographic terms – the land – and it was the gift of Western civilisation that slowly eroded the assumption of claim to the land on the grounds of blood. The violence of the previous century was the final repudiation of this idea – specifically that obsession with race of the National Socialist government in Germany – and instead sought to justify inclusion to a political order on the question of behaviour in legal terms.

That system of law that has grown through the development of the West has not only been one of reconciliation between rulers and ruled, but also through tradition and change. When the West was shaken so violently by the birth of the Industrial Revolution, it was the rule of law that mediated between the demands of society and the impulses of the industrialists. Granted, the violence and speed of the Revolution often led to a situation in which the law struggled to keep up – but this is testament to the challenging nature of the Revolution, not the foundations of the law. Good sense prevailed – sometimes too late – but the key method of that mediation (the law) was always there. The greatest change we face now is one of declining religiosity and increasing atheism and multi-faith societies; but the ancient recognition of the law in the West has been one of toleration and privatisation of faith, to the extent that (as Sir Roger Scruton remarked), “to us it is not just absurd but oppressive that there should be a law punishing adultery. We disapprove of adultery; but we also think that it is none of the law’s business to punish sin just because it is sin”. The sentiment, as we say, is not recent but ancient: John Locke’s Letter on Toleration summarised this most clearly:

“The care of souls is not committed to the civil magistrate, any more than to other men… nor can any such power be vested in the magistrate by the consent of the people, because no man can so far abandon the care of his own salvation as blindly to leave it to the choice of any other… to prescribe to him what faith or worship he shall embrace”.

But this is not to say that toleration cannot go too far. It was Karl Popper’s great paradox to ask how we tolerate the intolerant, but the conservative ought not to think of the government as an impartial mediator in this debate. Instead, the government (whilst respecting religious freedom) should make it clear that the practice of modern secularism has only been possible with a harsh submission of religious identity to the primacy of law and the nation. Any religion that sees no distinction between religious identity and the law – as shari’ah Islam does, for instance – will struggle to accommodate itself to the West. We say this with awareness that shari’ah is not the mainstream religion of any Arab states bar the odd exception (Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, for instance), but the conservative is not the only mind aware of this problem. The fantastic series of essays, Minorities Within Minorities, edited by Avigail Eisenberg, is the clear expression of liberalism’s wrestle with this problem.

The undercurrent of this is the way of life we know in the West is the product of gradual, long and experimental reconciliation, but this reconciliation can be damaged if there is no shared ground on which we stand, or overriding order to which we are committed.

Parting Company with Peter Hitchens and Why Leadership Matters

There is no thinker or political philosopher that I agree with 100%, including the Mad Monarchist!

From The Mad Monarchist (15 February 2016)

First of all, let me begin by saying that I am a big fan of Peter Hitchens and there is much I agree with him on. I appreciate his often lone voice of sanity in British society and I hope he long continues to make himself heard. Even when I disagree with him, I still find his views thoughtful and well worth considering. That being said, I have increasingly found myself disagreeing with him, though it is not the first time. I can remember many years ago when he came to America and mentioned in an interview how woefully backward and cruel it was for the United States not to provide “free” healthcare to its citizens as the NHS does in Britain (though later he became quite known for his completely correct criticisms of that monument to inefficiency and government incompetence). In recent years he has taken on an increasingly pessimistic tone, effectively writing off the United Kingdom and the British people as done for. I would like to disagree with that but, as he lives there and I do not, I cannot say he is wrong, only that I hope he is. Where I do think he is wrong is his current infatuation with the Putin regime in Russia and how it relates to the rest of the world, particularly Germany.

Mr. Hitchens is always quick to begin by stressing that he believes Vladimir Putin to be a cruel and tyrannical despot before launching into a full-throated defense of the man, his regime, all it does and even his allies such as the Ayatollah in Iran (who Mr. Hitchens maintains is not nearly so dangerous as he pretends to be or that the rest of the world thinks he is, chants of “Death to England” not withstanding). Actually, there is, as it concerns Russia at least, some areas in which I still agree with him on. I can see as clearly as anyone, as Mr. Hitchens has pointed out, that it has been Russian power that has been shrinking and the membership of NATO and the European Union that has been expanding. I agree with him that Russia is quite right to be upset by foreign meddling in bordering countries and, while I will not say the same for Europe, I certainly would accept that what happens in the Caucasus or Ukraine (or even the Baltic, Poland or Finland) does not involve the vital interests or national security of the United States. Were America to pull out of Eastern Europe and Russia to swallow all of these countries tomorrow it would have no impact on anyone in North America at all. Where I do disagree with Mr. Hitchens is on the nature of the European Union and his view on its foreign policy in regards to Russia. It seems to me he is being quite inconsistent on the issue of “leadership”.

As to the nature of the European Union, Mr. Hitchens has often said that, “the EU is the continuation of Germany by other means”, a take on the famous quote from Clausewitz about war. He has said that the EU is simply the latest incarnation of the German empire which has the same goals and policies as Nazi Germany had and Wilhelmine Germany before them, particularly in regards to Eastern Europe. As he sees it, there is no real difference in the policies of the different German regimes, only the methods they employ to further what are the natural destiny of the German people to dominate the continent of Europe. I absolutely disagree with this both because I see very real and immense differences between the different German regimes, all they stood for and all they tried to do and I disagree with it because it seems to me to grossly exaggerate the power and influence of, if arguably the German government, certainly the German people who are, as we speak, rapidly becoming an endangered species in their own countries to say nothing of Europe as a whole. It seems to me to be an attempt on his part to rationalize the actions of Russia by saying that their paranoia regarding the Germans and all their friends and associations is entirely justified while at the same time arguing that all western, German or East European paranoia regarding Russia is totally irrational. This is where the inconsistency comes into play.

On almost every occasion that I can recall, in which Mr. Hitchens talks about Russia, he makes a point of saying that while he defends Russia today he totally opposed the Soviet Union. He stresses that the Soviet Union is dead and gone, Russia today is nothing at all like the Soviet Union and that the Soviet Union had global aspirations which Russia today does not have or desire. This is, in my view, not entirely wrong but it is inconsistent when compared to his portrayal of the European Union and particularly Germany. He is saying that Germany has natural drives which influence German foreign policy in a similar direction, no matter if it is a Bundeskanzler, Führer or Kaiser at the helm of the ship of state. However, at the same time he is saying that Russia has no such similar natural drives that would influence Russian foreign policy regardless of the governments that come and go in leading the Russian people. This is where things become a bit complicated but suffice it to say that, on the contrary, I believe there are certain trends in foreign policy that prevail because of things as permanent and immovable as geography but I also think it matters a great deal just what sort of government and what sort of leader a country, such as Germany or Russia, has at its head.

To put it another way, I think there was a very big difference between the Kaiser and Hitler, just as there is a very big difference between Putin and the Czar. I also think there is a quite huge difference between the actions, character and fundamental nature of the modern European Union compared to the vision of Europe that Hitler had or that Kaiser Wilhelm II had before him. This is why I say that leadership matters and peoples are not necessarily going to go on along a predestined course regardless of who is in charge. The Kaiser, for example, had no thought of dominating Eastern Europe before the war situation placed the opportunity before him. His focus was on colonial competition with Great Britain. It was only after the war started and the British blockade began to be felt that the German leadership began to look to the east as a source of vital resources which would make them invulnerable to British naval superiority. Indeed, it was one of the greatest hopes of Kaiser Wilhelm II, which he tried very hard to carry out, to split Russia away from the British to be an ally of Germany (though aside from the nationalist rivalry of the Teutonic vs. the Slav the real impediment to this was never Germany but rather Austria and whether Austria or Russia was going to have prevailing influence in the Balkans). Hitler, on the other hand, had an ideological rivalry with Soviet Russia which the Kaiser never had as well as ramping up the nationalistic/racial rivalry to its ultimate extreme. For him and his regime, a fight to the finish with Russia was inevitable because either National Socialism and the German race would survive or international socialism and the Slavic (and assorted eastern races) would. His views and character would not and could not permit any compromise.

On the Russian side of things, it is true, the nature of the current Russian regime is not the same as the Soviet Union but I disagree with Mr. Hitchens that there are no similarities in policy at all and I most adamantly disagree with him that the current Russian regime is in any way preferable to the Russian Empire under the Romanov dynasty, a view he has also expressed. While Putin has got many things right, taking actions I think a man like Czar Nicholas II would approve of, he has also done horrible things that no self-respecting Romanov would ever dream of doing. If Czar Nicholas II were around to deal with post-Soviet Russian leaders, I think he would have had Yeltsin shot as a traitor and would think Putin possibly insane. This is not to take the popular view, mostly fostered by knee-jerk anti-Russian sentiment in the west (mirrored by similar knee-jerk anti-western or anti-American sentiment in Russia) that Putin is some sort of bloodthirsty warmonger out to conquer and dominate as much of the world as possible. On the contrary, while I think there are actions Putin has taken which no Czar ever would have, I also think he has failed to take action and submitted to treatment by the western powers that the Czar would never have tolerated. Even Czar Nicholas II, one of the most mild mannered of his dynasty, was a man who may not have always won but who never failed to at least make every effort.

Despite what Mr. Hitchens chooses to believe, much of Russian foreign policy is simply left-over Soviet foreign policy. The same could be said for much of the foreign policy of the western countries and it is truly unfortunate that neither side has yet to produce a leader willing to be the ‘bigger man’ and break the vicious cycle. Sticking with Russia though, let us consider a few examples to compare and contrast the foreign policies of the Romanov, Soviet and post-Soviet governments to see what impact national leadership (such as having a Czar) had on the world. Czar Nicholas II pursued a pragmatic foreign policy that was based on geographic realties, tempered by his principles as a monarch who stood guard over part of Christian civilization. The Soviet Union pursued a foreign policy that was based on Marxist ideology and the pursuit of global domination. They wished to Bolshevize the world, supported Marxist regimes wherever they could (provided they accepted Russian dominance) and opposed non-communist regimes in all instances. Current Russian foreign policy seems to be partly maintaining what relationships the Soviet Union left behind and partly nothing more than short-sighted reactions to a mostly decrepit west which they fearfully insist is still a dire threat to their existence.

Czar Nicholas II, for example, would never have allied himself with Communist China. He certainly would never have ceded them territory or granted them special access to Russian natural resources. Even their fellow communists of the Soviet era had more sense than to help arm and enrich an ambitious country with a huge population right at their backdoor. For the Czar there was a principle in mind, as he saw himself as the guardian of Christian civilization as the Russians had always been since the dissolution of the Mongol empire. There was also practical reality to consider. Centuries of experience, including their own subjugation by the Mongols out of which modern Russia was born, made the Czar realize that Russia stretched rather precariously across the Asian continent and was determined to prevent any other power from threatening Russia’s position. If anyone tried, be it the Persians (Iranians), the British in India or the Chinese they would be met by a wall of Russian steel. When Japan began to rise in power and influence in the Far East, starting with the occupation of Korea, Czar Nicholas II made it perfectly clear that if they wanted to be dominant in the region they would have a fight on their hands. Russia lost the war but Japan ultimately did not feel like a winner and most of Manchuria and all of Mongolia remained within the Russian sphere of influence until the Russian Revolution. To befriend, arm and enrich a country like China in what simply seems to be an effort to frighten countries which China is not even able to reach, would, I think, strike the Czar as baffling.

Equally baffling, I think, would be the current Russian support of the Islamic Republic of Iran, again, for seemingly little reason other than to annoy foreign powers which Iran can do little to nothing against. The Czar maintained a firm hold on the Russian position with Iran and knew all too well what the current Russian regime seems to naively overlook; that while Russians today may have forgotten that areas such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Dagestan were gained at the expense of Iran, the Iranians still today have certainly not forgotten this and are not about to. The Czar would, I think, be quite astounded that a Russian government would do so much to arm and enrich countries with long-standing resentments against Russia, which offer little to nothing in return, espouse values totally opposed to those of his own and which long for the day when they can regain what they previously lost to Russia, be it Armenia for the Iranians or Vladivostok to the Chinese (a perusal of social media will show people still want these places back even after so many centuries). And all for what? Oil? A resource Russia already has in abundance and which, at the time of this writing, is rapidly becoming next to worthless? Simply because they hate the United States and Russia hates the United States as well, a country which has never fought a war with Russia, has no territorial disputes with Russia and shares not a single border with Russia? It makes no sense and I doubt seriously any of the old Czars would pursue it.

However, what about Eastern Europe? Here finally is an area where Mr. Hitchens and President Putin have a much better case to make. As stated earlier, the EU has been expanding far faster and to a far greater extent compared to Russia’s miniscule gains against Georgia or the annexation of Crimea. The inclusion of countries such as Finland, the Baltic states and Poland into NATO is something which no one with any common sense should have expected any Russian government worth its salt to simply accept. And yet, there is the problem and it is a problem of inaction rather than the actions Russia has taken in Asia. Because, Russian governments, Putin included, have accepted it and so it has become a fact of life that will stand firm until such time as the American voters grow tired of shouldering the risk and financial burden of standing guard over a continent whose peoples thoroughly despises them and whose independence or subjugation would have no impact on their lives at all. It is though, in the Balkans where I think rests the most glaring difference between modern Russian foreign policy and the foreign policy of a traditional Romanov monarch like Czar Nicholas II. Western anti-Putin or anti-Russian controversialists who like to paint Vladimir Putin as a warmonger should pay attention to this example because it disproves their narrative completely and that example is Kosovo.

To put it bluntly, if the Czar were in power in Russia today Kosovo would still be part of Serbia, no question about it. Once again, I fail to see what practical gain the separation of Kosovo has had for any of the western powers involved but that by itself bolsters my firm belief that if the Czar were around today it never would have happened. He would have made it very clear to all parties involved that he would not stand for such a thing and such an effort against the territorial integrity of Serbia would mean trouble with Russia. Had such a line been drawn, there is no doubt in my mind that no one would have dared to cross it because, again, even if most of the leadership in the west were not a bunch of feckless schemers, there would have been everything to risk for practically no gain on their part. It did not have to happen and if the Russian bear had showed her fangs there is not a doubt in my mind that it would not have happened and NATO would have shrugged its shoulders and walked away. Such an action might also have prevented Romania and Bulgaria from joining NATO in the next enlargement in 2004. Whether this would have pleased their peoples, I cannot say but it is demonstrably true that the security of Western Europe or North America is not impacted in any way by the status of Romania or Bulgaria which were dominated by the Soviet Union for decades, at times occupied by Russian troops and the member states of NATO got along just fine. Under different leadership, there would have been and had been different policies. I think the Czar would find it incredible that Russian forces would be put in harm’s way to defend a left-wing secular dictator in Syria but would not even be used as a threat to defend the territorial integrity of a fellow Slavic and Orthodox Christian country such as Serbia. The events which led Russia into the First World War demonstrate, I think, quite clearly that this would be so. And anyone can see that the leadership in Germany, for example, is not the same and would not have responded in the same way as the Kaiser did in 1914. No one would have gone to war with Russia for the sake of Kosovo.

Finally, just to bring it back to Germany and the European Union, leadership matters in this instance as well. The European Union does not stand for the German domination of Europe and a leader like Kaiser Wilhelm II would never be party to such a monstrosity as the current EU. I firmly believe this is so because, contrary to what some may think (though I fail to see how), the EU does not benefit Germany in any way, no more than it benefits any other country which is to say not at all. The German people gain nothing from the EU, indeed, they have only served to be milked like a cow by it. The Germans are not dominating Europe by the EU but rather are simply the guilt-ridden beast of burden that the EU bureaucrats, from various countries, are using to carry them to a life of wealth and power while the heart of western civilization is going to ruin. The EU political class has benefited from the EU but no country has benefited from it at all. The wealthier countries are exploited by it, they give and others take but even the most indebted member states, such as Greece, no more benefit from the EU than an addict benefits from his drug dealer. I will say though, to end on a note that Peter Hitchens just might agree with me on, whereas I do think President Putin has made some astounding errors, I do not think he can be compared to the leadership of those in power in countries such as Germany or Sweden or even the United States under Barrack Obama who, by their actions, have forced me to conclude that their “mistakes” are quite deliberate, that they generally despise their own people and are intentionally doing them harm. None more so, it seems, than Germany. Far from being about dominating Europe, the Germans will be lucky to even survive as a people thanks to the policies of the EU and their own government in Berlin.

Leadership matters. Russia was much better served when the Czar was in power, Germany was much better served when the Kaiser was in power and the English-speaking world was much better governed when the King still had at least some considerable influence and the House of Lords was not filled with political appointees. For that matter, America was much better governed when we had presidents that looked after American interests rather than trying to “make the world safe for democracy” or to cut us down to size because he thinks we’ve been too successful. Leadership does matter, the principles, the values (or the lack thereof) of leaders matters because they influence their decisions and those decisions have consequences. For myself, I look at the world today and would be very hard-pressed to name even a single country that is better governed now than it was in 1900. Leadership has changed dramatically and, in my view, clearly not for the better. I may be almost as sour in my estimation of the modern world as Peter Hitchens but I do think things have been better before. I absolutely do not agree that Putin is in any way or by any measure preferable to the Czar and while I do agree that Russia is not the same as the Soviet Union and should not be treated the same way, I would also extend the same courtesy to the Germans and say that Germany is not the same as it was under Hitler nor the same as it was under the Kaiser and should not be judged as such. Leadership has changed and those changes have made a significant difference, for themselves and the world