Saturday, 13 August 2022

Is the New Libertarian Party Now An Option for Catholics?

I say NO. My reasons will follow in my next post, based on statements in their current platform, adopted in May of this year.

From Crisis

By Eric Sammons

The Libertarian Party, the nation’s third-largest political party, has not presented a serious option over the years for most practicing Catholics. The party’s unofficial motto of “socially liberal and fiscally conservative” is in fact almost the polar opposite of the Catholic “Reagan Democrat,” who was in fact socially conservative but supported spending on numerous government programs.

Recently, however, the Libertarian Party underwent a radical change in leadership, and this metamorphosis should lead Catholics at least to revisit the question of whether this 50-year-old party is an option in future elections.

Since its founding in the early 1970’s, the Libertarian Party has evolved over time. It began with a group of activists who decried the Vietnam War and civil liberty violations but also embraced the free market. The act that most directly led to the creation of the Libertarian Party was President Nixon’s decision to take the country completely off the gold standard in 1971, a move the party rightly recognized as disastrous (and the foundation for today’s profligate money creation and rising price inflation).

In 1988 the party’s presidential candidate was Ron Paul, who later ran for the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 2008 and 2012, and who well represented the founding ethos of the Libertarian Party. During its first decades the party was mostly known (if known at all) as an eclectic group that advocated for less foreign interventionism and less overall government spending (reduce the “warfare state” and the “welfare state”).

In the 21st century, however, the Libertarian Party sought to attract what it felt was the political “center.” This is when the party leadership fully embraced the “socially liberal/fiscally conservative” label. The LP presidential candidate in 2012 and 2016, former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, popularized this label, and he represented that era’s model Libertarian Party candidate: the liberal Republican.

Under this model the LP pushed the “socially liberal” part of its identity far more than the “fiscally conservative” part. It was explicitly pro-abortion and vocally endorsed “sex work” (aka prostitution); it also began to advocate for much of the woke agenda, arguing that “trans rights are human rights” and actively pushing for “anti-racism” measures. And of course, we can’t forget weed. Nothing exemplified the Libertarian Party stereotype more than the marijuana-smoking, socially-inept man who just wanted to be left alone to his libertine lifestyle.

Needless to say, this was not exactly a party conducive to attracting practicing Catholics, who often are moms and dads worried about the direction of the country and how to fend off the anti-Catholic social forces—in the culture at large and specifically from the government—gathering strength all around them.

In the past few years, however, a revolt has been brewing within the Libertarian Party ranks. An internal group called the Mises Caucus (named after the economist Ludwig von Mises) began to push back against what it called the “Beltway Libertarian”—the type of Libertarian Party member who went along with the Woke Establishment and focused almost exclusively on libertine issues like marijuana, abortion, and prostitution. The Mises Caucus looked to Ron Paul as its inspiration. It wanted to return the LP to fighting the warfare state and the welfare state and move away from its identity as a soft alternative to the Democratic Party for liberal Republicans.

The nation’s primary enemy in the eyes of the Mises Caucus is the “progressive movement” that dates back to the early 20th century. This movement led to the massive increase in the size and scope of the federal government, including everything from the creation of the Federal Reserve to the New Deal policies that reshaped how our nation looks at the federal government.

The progressive movement is the antithesis of classic libertarianism. Progressives see the State as the source of all rights; whereas libertarians look to the individual as having natural rights which supersede the State and are based on the natural law. In recent years, however, the Libertarian Party abandoned those core principles in its implicit—and sometimes explicit—embrace of progressivism. A recent example of this was the Party’s acceptance of the category of “trans rights,” which in reality is the State granting special rights to certain individuals it prefers. Classic libertarianism would reject the State granting any special rights to certain collective groups, no matter how fashionable those groups might be.

In today’s world, the Democratic Party is the obvious standard-bearer for the progressive movement, but in the eyes of the Mises Caucus, the Republican Party has done little if anything to oppose the progressive movement. And it’s hard to argue with that, considering that the Republican Party has also supported massive government spending along with embracing, eventually and in its own way, progressive causes like the “gay rights” movement.

Many Catholics know that the needed attack on the progressive movement does not fall neatly into today’s right/left political dichotomy. This is where the new Libertarian Party fits in. One of the strategies of the Mises Caucus is to stop alienating social conservatives from the party, since many social conservatives are also rightly suspicious of the progressive movement. Instead of focusing on things like promoting “sex work,” the Mises Caucus believes the Party should zero in on issues like opposing the government’s massive inflationary money creation as well as its unconstitutional Covid lockdowns and mandates. A freer society would allow social conservatives to build stronger communities, without having to worry about the state or federal governments interfering.

For the past few years the Mises Caucus has been mostly a gadfly to the Libertarian Party’s leadership, but last month, the party held its annual national convention, and during the convention the Mises Caucus candidates won every single leadership position, effectively taking over the party. During the convention the Mises Caucus also successfully dropped the pro-abortion plank from the party platform (it was simply removed, so now abortion is not mentioned in the platform at all).

It’s hard to overestimate the immediate changes that have occurred to the Libertarian Party since the Mises Caucus takeover. Previously, LP leaders would proclaim support for Drag Queen Story Hours and the (communist) Black Lives Matter movement. Now, instead the party is setting its sights on toppling the whole progressive project. So how do these radical changes recast the party in the eyes of practicing Catholics?

First, it’s likely that many Catholics won’t vote third-party no matter what that party stands for. As a long-time third-party voter, I’ve received many harsh criticisms for my alternative voting. Any vote for a third party, according to this way of thinking, is actually a vote for the critic’s opposing party (over the years I’ve been accused of voting alternatively for Democrats and for Republicans when I voted third-party, depending on the critic). Obviously, these Catholics won’t consider the Libertarian Party, or any third party, a viable option.

For those Catholics who will consider third parties, is the Libertarian Party now a possibility? Historically, Catholics in this country have been generally supportive of the progressive movement and its resultant government programs. But many Catholics today have started to take a longer look at the impact those policies have had on our country, and on our practice of the Catholic Faith. After all, it is the progressive movement that led to legalized abortion, gay marriage, and an all-intrusive State.

One thing should be made clear: the Mises Caucus takeover of the Libertarian Party did not turn it into a “conservative” party. The LP is strongly opposed to U.S. foreign interventionism, and it added to its platform support for secession. It still endorses marijuana legalization throughout the land, and it wants government out of the marriage business altogether.

Yet there are indications that the Libertarian Party might now be more attractive to Catholics. The two front-runners for the 2024 LP Presidential nomination, former Congressman Justin Amash and comedian Dave Smith, are, like Ron Paul, both pro-life. The party in general no longer wants to focus on libertine issues, and it is firmly opposed to the Woke Axis which threatens the freedoms of Catholics to practice our faith. Further, the Libertarian Party doesn’t just give lip service to opposing government funding for Planned Parenthood, because it opposes government funding for just about everything. And, the traditional libertarian support for gun rights is stronger than ever in the party.

So is the Libertarian Party now welcoming to practicing Catholics? I think that’s for each Catholic to decide, but at the very least Catholics open to third parties should give it another look. If nothing else, it’s objectively a good thing when a political party abandons its pro-abortion stance and opposes today’s woke culture. Perhaps after decades of two bad choices—between the evil party and the stupid party—Catholics can start to form a new coalition, even with those they least expected…the Libertarian Party.

Pontifical Academy Raises Questions, Confusion, on 'Humanae Vitae'

If he plans on overthrowing the infallible teaching of the Church, what better way to do it than to have the Pontifical Academy for Life muddy the waters a bit?

From The Pillar

The Pontifical Academy for Life has triggered renewed speculation that Pope Francis could be planning a new document addressing the Church’s teaching on the immorality of artificial contraception, after one of its social media accounts said that Humanae vitae, Pope St. Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical letter on the subject, is not infallible.

But some theologians have noted that Humanae vitae articulates unchangeable divine and natural law principles, explaining that “developing” Church teaching into an approval for contraception would be incoherent, and unlikely to meet with Pope Francis’ approval.

One moral theologian told The Pillar he’s been told that Pope Francis has already pushed back from calls to “update” or “develop” official Church declarations on contraception.

“History records by Abp. Lambruschini confirmed that Paul VI said [to] him directly that [Humanae vitae] were not under infallibility,” the Pontifical Academy’s official account said on Aug. 6.

The academy’s now-deleted tweet generated considerable backlash and speculation online. Many commentators interpreted the statement as a suggestion that the landmark encyclical could become the subject of papal review or reform; that idea has already been floated in high-profile Catholic journals in recent months.

After the academy’s Aug. 6 tweet, The Pillar requested an interview to clarify the intended purpose of the post — to ask whether Catholics are bound to the prohibition on artificial contraception expressed in Humanae vitae, and if the academy’s leaders maintain that teaching can change.

In response, the academy issued a statement through Twitter Aug. 8, tagging The Pillar in another now-deleted tweet.

Referring to continuing debate about the academy’s recently published volume “Theological Ethics of Life. Scripture, Tradition, Practical Challenges,” a collection of addresses from a three-day seminar sponsored by the pontifical academy in fall 2021, the academy said in the statement that “Many people on Twitter seem to think that Humanae vitae is an infallible and irreformable pronouncement against contraception.”

“As regards the specific question of contraception,” the academy said, “when the moral theologian of the Pontifical Lateran University Msgr. Ferdinando Lambruchini presented Humanae vitae in a press conference in the Vatican on 29 July 1968, responding to a specific journalist’s question, he stated - under the mandate of [Pope Saint] Paul VI - that the encyclical Humanae vitae did not express a definitive truth of faith granted by ‘infallibilitas in docendo’.”

As the pontifical academy’s tweet noted, the encyclical was not issued invoking infallible papal teaching authority, which is usually reserved for the pronouncement of revealed dogmatic teachings, like the Immaculate Conception.

But Paul VI explained in its text that Humanae vitae still contained an articulation of unchangeable teaching:

“Since the Church did not make either of these laws [natural and evangelical], she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man,” wrote Paul VI.

“In preserving intact the whole moral law of marriage, the Church is convinced that she is contributing to the creation of a truly human civilization.”

At the time Humanae vitae was issued, it was met with dissent among some Catholic theologians, who attempted to dispute both its rationale and its authority, with a group of 87 theologians writing a widely-publicized letter of open dissent.

Among key signatories of that letter was Fr. Charles Curran, then a theologian at The Catholic University of America, who subsequently saw his canonical faculty to teach theology revoked by the Vatican.

But while artificial contraception was becoming both widely available and more socially acceptable - even championed by some theologians - the pope’s encyclical warned against “the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control.”

“Consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law,” Paul wrote in the encyclical.

“Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.”

Paul VI acknowledged that “not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching,” against artificial contraception,” and noted “much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church” on the subject.

“But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a ‘sign of contradiction.’ She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.”

The academy’s statement Aug. 8 triggered widespread debate online, even as one member of the pontifical institution urged the academy to adopt a more circumspect approach on social media.

Responding to the statements made on the academy’s twitter feed, philosopher Elena Postigo Solana -a member of the academy - called the issues “sufficiently relevant, profound, complex and serious” to merit a more cautious treatment online.

“I kindly ask for more prudence in making public and institutional statements,” she urged.

John Grabowski, professor of moral theology and ethics at The Catholic University of America, told The Pillar Monday that he had been invited to the academy’s symposium that produced “Theological Ethics of Life,” but had been unable to attend.

“Looking at the list of invitees then and now, it is apparent to me that I would have been in a distinct minority position on this particular issue of the weight of the teaching on contraception,” Grabowski said.

“It seems to me that the Pontifical Academy for Life wants to treat this matter as an open question, as many saw it in 1966. However, it is not 1966. Not only do we have the authoritative teaching of Paul VI, but the whole magisterium of John Paul II--not to mention the further reaffirmations of Benedict XVI and Francis,” the theologian explained.

“While the teaching may not - yet - have been proposed definitively by way of a solemn judgment — i.e., invoking papal infallibly — the substance of the teaching is constant and settled doctrine,” Grabowski said.

“The academy neglects to note that John Paul II in his catecheses on the theology of the body taught quite clearly that the teaching of Humanae vitae is based not simply on natural law but on divine revelation communicated in sacred scripture, saying in his audience on July 18, 1984, that ‘it becomes evident the moral norms [of Humanae vitae] are not only part of the natural law, but also of the moral order revealed by God.’”

“The Church has no authority to change or override truths communicated in revelation,” said Grabowski. “She can only hand them on. Thus, the teaching is indeed authoritative and, I would say, irreformable — though perhaps not yet formulated in a definitive way.”

While Humanae vitae is discussed in Rome, some theologians have warned that any move to undermine the teaching of Humanae vitae on artificial contraception could worsen social decline in the West, and intensify the “throwaway culture” often condemned by Pope Francis.

In his 1968 encyclical, Pope St. Paul VI warned that the widespread adoption of artificial contraception, even within marriage, would lead to increases in divorce, abortion, and other forms of sexual immorality, all contributing to increased human suffering.

Charles Camosy, professor of medical humanities at the Creighton University School of Medicine and the Monsignor Curran Fellow in Moral Theology at St. Joseph Seminary in New York, told The Pillar Monday that Paul’s predictions have been vindicated in the intervening decades.

Camosy suggest that any attempt to diminish the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception would create cascading moral and theological problems.

Humanae vitae isn't just true,” said Camosy, “it is now more obviously true than at any time since its promulgation.”

“The model of reproduction as disconnected from sex has led to the rejection of the idea that having children is an unmerited gift from God. Instead, it pushes in the direction of a so-called ‘right to have children’ which may — especially if one is older and/or gay or lesbian — require mandatory coverage of in vitro fertilization,” Camosy said.

“One wonders what such a shift will require of vulnerable women who are already structurally coerced into renting their bodies to serve the fertility of others,” he asked, while saying that “It now clear that it is virtually impossible to separate the logic of contraception from the logic of abortion.”

“Indeed, until very recently the United States was governed by abortion law (Planned Parenthood v. Casey), which insisted that women need abortion as a backup to contraception. Abortion is the fail-safe for participation in sexual culture created by contraception,” Camosy added.

“When reproduction is separated from sex and moved to a laboratory, gross ableism follows. Indeed, disabled embryonic children are discarded and those with genetically preferred traits are implanted — a practice that will become even more common,” said Camosy. “Furthermore, this culture of reproduction mirrors the excesses of our country’s consumerist practices, producing millions of ‘extra’ embryos destined for the absurd fate of perpetual frozen storage.”

Speaking about the link between artificial contraception and the disintegration of sexual morality, Camosy said that Paul VI’s predictions of 1968 had been grimly vindicated, noting that “the separation of sex from openness to procreation has produced a hookup culture in which the primary script for sex involves intentionally using another person’s body as a mere object and then discarding them.”

“That this throwaway sexual culture very often crosses the line into sexual violence is a feature, not a bug,” Camosy said.

The academy’s Aug. 6 tweet came in response to a small debate among Twitter users about a recent interview given by one of the academy’s members, Rodrigo Guerra, who is also Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

In an interview last week, Guerra said that “it is necessary to go beyond Humanae vitae.”

He added that Pope Francis wanted to develop an understanding in the Church “that moral theology needs to relearn to look more closely at the real life of people,” in order to ensure that “moral theology recovers its experiential and pastoral moment, which has sometimes been lost.”

While Guerra said that “the necessary unity between the unitive and procreative meaning of the conjugal act continues to be maintained,” his remarks have led to broad discussion among theologians and Vatican watchers the possibility of a change to the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception, which, the Church says, breaks the link between the unitive aspect and procreative potential of the sexual act.

During an inflight press conference last month, Pope Francis was asked about the possibility of “developing” Church doctrine on the subject, the pope responded that “When dogma or morality develop, it’s a good thing.”

“A Church that doesn’t develop its thinking in an ecclesial sense is a church that goes backward,” Francis said.

But the pope added that “dogma, morality, is always in a path of development, but development in the same direction.

“On the issue of contraception, I know there is a publication out on this issue and other marriage issues. These are the proceedings of a congress and in a congress there are hypotheses, then they discuss among themselves and make proposals. We have to be clear: those who made this congress did their duty because they tried to move forward in doctrine, but in an ecclesial sense, not out, as I said with that rule of St. Vincent of Lerins. … And then the magisterium will say: yes, it is good [or] it is not good, the pope added.

For his part, Grabowski told The Pillar that “the Holy Father is right to say that doctrine continues to develop in the life of the Church through the work of the Holy Spirit. That is, we come to understand the truth in a deeper and more adequate way.”

But, Grabowski said, “this does not mean the Church can authoritatively teach one moral truth at one point, do a 180, and then teach the opposite. This is a faulty understanding of development put forward by some moralists and jurists moonlighting as moralists.”

“There has to be a basic continuity even as the doctrine is understood more fully and in a new historical context,” the theologian explained.

“This is what I take Pope Francis to mean when he says this development is "in the same direction." It is also what Pope Benedict XVI called a ‘hermeneutic of reform and renewal.’"


Nevertheless, the exchanges have fueled speculation that Pope Francis could be preparing to revisit the 1968 encyclical’s teaching, and revise the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception.

A review of “Theological Ethics of Life: Scripture, Tradition, Practical Challenges,” published in the July 2 edition of the influential Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica concluded by suggesting that Pope Francis could write “a new encyclical or apostolic exhortation on bioethics, which he might perhaps title Gaudium vitae” (“The Joy of Life.”)

While the review did not assert definite knowledge of a future encyclical, its floating of the specific title of “Gaudium vitae” has been taken in some Vatican circles as an indication that such a document is under serious high-level discussion.

However, some theologians have cautioned against assuming Pope Francis intended to upend the teachings of Paul VI.

Grabowski told The Pillar that when he was invited to the symposium which produced “Theological Ethics of Life,” he was told by the event organizers that there had been a plan for the conference, but that it had not met with papal favor.

“Originally [the academy’s president] Archbishop Paglia proposed using the meeting to write a draft of a document on life issues, a kind of ‘updating’ of Evangelium vitae 25 years later, which the Holy Father could then promulgate in his own name or at least the dicastery could author the document which could be issues with Pope Francis' approval.”

“My understanding is that Pope Francis declined both of these options and told them instead to do an academic symposium discussing the issues and he might contribute a foreword,” Grabowski said.

“I do think that is significant.”

“It should be noted,” Grabowski said, “that Pope Francis has spoken strongly and consistently in favor of this teaching of his predecessor St. Paul VI [against artificial contraception], praising his courage in responding to the ‘Neo-Malthusianism’ of his day.”

“When teaching directly on the subject, his language is clear, as he said in Amoris laetitia: ‘From the outset, love refuses every impulse to close in on itself; it is open to a fruitfulness that draws it beyond itself. Hence no genital act of husband and wife can refuse this meaning [of procreation], even when for various reasons it may not always in fact beget a new life.’"

After its Aug. 8 tweet, The Pillar again contacted the Pontifical Academy for Life, requesting an interview regarding “Theological Ethics of Life.”

The academy’s press office, led by Italian Fabrizio Mastrofini, responded by directing The Pillar to the book’s introductory note from the academy’s president, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.

Editor’s note: Shortly after the publication of this report, The Pillar received an email from Fabrizio Mastrofini of the Pontifical Academy for Life, noting that:

“The Pontifical Academy has retired the text and the tweet and you are pleased do not speak about.”

The Pillar again requested an interview, but has received no response.

“Satan Must Reign in the Vatican. The Pope Will Be His Slave”

What are the Freemasons' plans for the Church?

From One Peter Five

By Timothy Flanders

On the latest OnePeterFive podcast we discuss some of the roots of Masonic and Marxist infiltration, including the Masonic sacrilege which included these words above at St. Peter’s Basilica. We also reveal our third patron and share how we hope his crusading spirit will help lead our efforts here.

T. S. Flanders
Vigil of St. Lawrence

Poland’s Best Kept Secret

An examination of Polish conservative thought, from its earliest days to its current exponents like Ryszard Legutko. Absolutely fascinating!

From The European Conservative

By Marek Jan Chodakiewicz

Poland’s conservative thought offered some crucial contributions in the early modern period of European history. Now, as Legutko, Stawrowski, Roszkowski, and others show us, it may also offer original solutions and alternatives to the maladies that rot the old continent today.

Liberty (wolność) is the most salient and recognizable characteristic of the Polish heritage. The Polish conservative way champions freedom before other treasures of tradition: rather than license, it is freedom with responsibility that Polish conservatives espouse. Christian faith, tradition, family, patria, individualism, property, and order complement liberty in the pantheon of cherished values that have allowed the Poles to endure throughout their history.

Initially, the Polish message found its way into the European mainstream via Latin. Polish ideas of freedom reverberated directly and indirectly, including by means of poetry and theater. Think William Shakespeare’s reforming Polonius in Hamlet, for instance.

Poland’s output was once widely recognized, even if not always appropriately attributed, by the likes of Jean Bodin and Erasmus of Rotterdam to John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau. This occurred primarily at the time when Latin was the West’s lingua franca. Afterwards, though, few bothered to learn Polish, while most forgot Latin. And the Poles were remiss in translating their contributions earlier into the French language and now into English, which is presently our universal language .

There is more to the story, however. In short, this current sorry state of affairs reflects the discontinuity inflicted on Poland by the Soviet and Communist occupation between 1944 and 1989.

A longer tale involves the following: first, the realization that the enslavement of a nation means the elimination, or, at best, the distortion of its tradition—or, at least, the part most inimical to the occupiers. In the case of Poland, this was, obviously, conservative, traditionalist, and Christian nationalist thought, in its Catholic iteration in particular. Second, there was the related lack of resources to transmit and disseminate such texts in the West, which also reflected the dire material poverty of the Polish émigré community that was in no position to prioritize such intellectual endeavors. Third, there came the recognition of a constant drift—or race, if you will—of intellectual interests towards the Western Left in general, and the United States in particular. This rendered any attempts to share conservative and traditionalist messages extremely difficult at best, if not entirely futile. Fourth, aside from the growing leftist trend of American society, one must also reckon with the parochial lack of interest and resources to explore conservative alternatives for America ; in particular those outside of the Anglo-Saxon tradition.

Some of this, however, changed somewhat when Karol Wojtyła became Pope John Paul II in 1978. His was a broadly universalist appeal, rather than narrowly Polish. However, his piercing analysis of “all things visible and invisible” cannot be strictly termed as political philosophy. His thought was universal; it combined a variety of genres. He communicated his concerns not only through scholarship but also, or perhaps especially so, through his poetry and drama. Saint John Paul II thus allowed intellectuals of all shades, including conservatives, to sample and appreciate his offerings. The Pope’s love for the Romantic poet Cyprian Kamil Norwid undoubtedly influenced his thought on nationalism, which he championed as “patriotism,” making some of his reflections appealing to the traditionalists. However, to consider Karol Wojtyła strictly a political conservative greatly dilutes his legacy and does a serious disservice to this towering figure.

Over the years, a few illustrious intellectuals have made commendable efforts to share the Polish heritage in English. And heritage, in turn, tends to be conservative by definition—or at least that part of it that facilitates continuity of tradition, freedom, and love of homeland. Most Western intellectuals (and Polish émigré and other thinkers working in these vineyards) are translators and editors; but a few of them also took up the challenge of interpreting, analyzing, and popularizing Polish conservative authors in monographic form. Thus, we have some translations of indispensable primary sources, in addition to some—albeit not many—serious monographs on the Polish conservative imagination. However, there are also several collective works and individual scholarly monographs infused with the conservative spirit.

Nonetheless, comparatively speaking, the English language file on the Polish conservative thought may be lamentably thin. This is partly because much of Polish conservatism has been absorbed by the country’s Christian nationalism, chiefly Catholic. Yet, it does contain a number of notable items. Most of them are translations; others are scholarly monographs on the original authors. Some of them are out of print; but others rematerialized magically—complements of the digital miracle, which we shall touch upon chronologically, albeit quite selectively.

A whistle stop tour of these contributions follows.

To begin, alas, we must do without English translations of the works of Stanisław of Skarbimierz/Stanislaus de Scarbimiria (1360-1431), who, in his sermons, laid the foundations of “Noble Democracy.” Luckily, we have a two-volume dissertation on Paweł Włodkowic/Paulus Vladimiri (1370?-1435), a renowned international jurist and intrepid champion of national sovereignty and religious tolerance in the name of Christianity. From eminent historians, bishop Bl. Wincenty Kadlubek (c. 1150-1223) can be enjoyed in Latin and Polish, but not English. However, the works of Jan Długosz/Johannes Longinus (1415-1480) do exist in the Anglosphere, albeit in an abridged form.

Next, Harold Seagal edited and translated a rich compilation of Polish Renaissance thought, including much that is sympathetic to the conservative project. For example, we get excerpts of Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski/Andreas Fricius Modrevius (1503?-1572) but not the whole of his famous De Respublica emendada (On the Reform of the Republic) which brought him a sobriquet of “the father of Polish democracy.” One wishes to see the entire oeuvre of the most sublime poet of the era, the unsurpassable Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584), to be translated into English, but no such project has been undertaken yet. Perhaps only the works of one author of this period are available in English in their entirety: Wawrzyniec Grzymała Goślicki/Laurentius Grimaldius Goslicius (1535?-1607), who is believed to be the first to have ever written on the separation of powers: executive, legislative, and judiciary .

As for the Baroque period, we do not have the oeuvre of the thundering prophet of doom, Fr. Piotr Skarga (also known as Piotr Powęski) (1536-1612), who presciently warned about liberty degenerating into license if our faith should fail us. However, the war and peace memoir of the indominable squire Jan Chryzostom Pasek (1636?-1701) has been available in two English-language editions for some time now. This is complemented by a recently issued abridgement of the 18th-century sociological and cultural observations of the peoples of Poland by Father Jędrzej Kitowicz (1728? -1804).

When Poland became unfree, suffering under the yoke of the partitioning powers (1772-1918), the poets and writers dictated her national pulse, including her traditionalist values. Of Count Jan Potocki (1761-1815) we can indulge in a pre-post-modernist tale within a tale, wrapped up in a few more fables, now translated into English from the original French version. Chiefly, however, there is the work of the sublime Romantic Adam Mickiewicz in English, but, unfortunately, not much is available of the work of the enrapturing mystic poet Zygmunt Krasiński (1812-1859) or the delightfully reactionary writer Count Henryk Rzewuski (1791-1866). The language barrier renders them mute for English speakers. Of Aleksander Boreyko Chodźko (1804-1891), we do have an English-language translation of his peasant fairy tales.

There are numerous translations and editions of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s (1846-1916) writings—all of them Christian, patriotic, and traditionalist—from Quo Vadis and Teutonic Knights to his Trilogy. Władysław Stanisław Reymont (1867-1925) was less widely translated, but his monumental Peasants, which is a sweeping saga of the countryside, as well as his essential Promised Land, which is a sordid tale on industrialization, can be read in English. In addition, there is a recent translation of his vignette of a Catholic pilgrimage to Częstochowa.

Thus, we have a Polish conservative primer for beginners, in English.


Very little of the above, however, even when translated into English, has resonated much with the American Right. It was not until the formidable Russell Kirk discovered Adam Mickiewicz that American conservatives even acquired an inkling of the rich conservative tradition in Poland. One wishes Kirk could have enjoyed the work of Count Zygmunt Krasiński, a fellow conservative Romantic. And what would the father of the modern American ‘ conservative mind’ think of the arch-reactionary Count Henryk Rzewuski? If only we had English-language translations of the works of those giants! At any rate, today, a Polish conservative narrative has a good chance of receiving a sympathetic hearing from George Weigel, Rod Dreher, and Paul Kengor. A few conservative editors are also quite open to Polish traditionalist thought and run articles on it intrepidly, some more often than others.

As a rule, however, Polish conservative, libertarian, anti-Communist, and Christian nationalist authors, even if their output somehow magically appears in English, tend to be neglected, lampooned, demonized, buried, and glossed over in silence. This regrettable situation is to the great detriment of America’s freedom of thought and the richness of the fount of its inspiration, in particular as far as the conservative tradition is concerned. Indeed, here in the U.S., we have much to learn from conservative Poles.

In 1962, after saving it from destruction and oblivion in Communist-occupied Poland, an émigré National Democratic activist, author, translator, and publisher, Jędrzej Giertych, released the English-language version of Professor Feliks Koneczny’s On the Plurality of Civilizations, which was first published in Poland in 1934. Arnold Toynbee himself prefaced the Polish right-wing historiographer’s brilliant introduction to the study of cultures. Among other things, Koneczny explained the impending clash of civilizations and argued that a human being “cannot be civilized in two ways,” i.e., civilizations do not mix. Thus, it is neither race nor ethnicity nor class that separate us, but culture.

Neither Ada Bozeman nor Samuel Huntington acknowledged their debt to the Kraków scholar; perhaps they had never even heard of him. And, despite Toynbee’s endorsement, neither had anyone else outside of, mainly, the charmed Polish émigré circles; right- wingers in particular. His seemingly ‘ eccentric’ views and lack of resources prevented the popularization of Koneczny’s work.

Under the Communist occupation, Koneczny’s ideas percolated in the intellectual underground in Poland, often unattributed, from the 1970s onward. Fragments of his work circulated among friends of Jędrzej Giertych, who passed it on to a younger generation. A clandestine edition of his works appeared in the early 1980s. However, the great thinker’s oeuvre only became more widely available in his home country after 1989. Marcin Dybowski and his “Antyk” Publishing House teamed up with Maciej Giertych, the son of the original translator, to release several volumes of Feliks Koneczny’s output, first in Polish, and then, primarily since the start of the 21st century, in English.

The English-language translations are not easily available for purchase in the West. However, one can sense that Koneczny has been making subterranean rounds among non-mainstream conservative American intellectuals, such as E. Michael Jones, for example. Nonetheless, no serious studies of Koneczny’s thought have yet appeared in the United States.

Nevertheless, we hear even less often about the formidable libertarian and conservative Józef Mackiewicz. Early efforts in the 1960s to publish his outspokenly anti-Communist work hit a brick wall, despite the initial interest of America’s ‘dissident publisher,’ Henry Regnery, who, alas, gave up on the project. One of Mackiewicz’s more important books, The Triumph of Provocation, finally appeared in 2009, thanks to the efforts of Yale University Press. Its rather unsatisfactory literary form reflects the efforts of multiple translators, but, overall, it is better that than nothing.

Although it is somewhat beyond the scope of our inquiry, one should mention Poland’s Christian nationalist, or National Democratic, intellectual contributions. They are pertinent here because much of Polish nationalism, although initially of a progressive pedigree, soon became assimilated into conservatism and traditionalism. Therefore, almost invariably, all American scholarship on the Polish Christian nationalists is invariably hostile, perhaps with a notable exception of that of Alvin Marcus Fountain. We also lack any serious, critical English-language editions of Christian nationalist primary sources. Essentially, from that school of thought, we only have émigré Endek stalwart Jędrzej Giertych’s In Defense of My Country. Of the children of Polish exiles, perhaps only intrepid Peter Stachura approaches this particular orientation in his Poland, 1918-1945.

On the other hand, there are conservative, Christian democrat, and traditionalist contributions available, even if largely ignored by so-called mainstream academia. Nonetheless, we can delight in a few general contributions, most of them collective works. As Canada’s political scientist and Polish émigré thinker W.J. Stankiewicz profoundly remarked about traditionalism and continuity in Polish thought:

What characterizes the viewpoint and guides the direction of the contributors to this symposium is the assumption that human behaviour—and hence human history—is best understood in the light of the norms or values that man holds; that a nation’s history can embody some ideals which ought to be preserved against awesome odds; that an event like the Warsaw uprising holds a lesson for all mankind; that it is norms or values which drive us—and should drive us. For all of us have something to live for and something to die for: this is what makes us human.

The very persistence of the ideal of an independent State (despite long periods of lack of independence), as well as of a number of ‘idealized’ values considered in this symposium is a phenomenon which defies the assumptions made in the relativist mood prevalent in our time. This mood accounts for a good deal of the misunderstanding of these ideals and their decline in the West. In an age of security at any price, what is courage but a quixotic anachronism? In a crassly commercial society, what is honour but an archaic pose? To the ‘liberationists’ of various persuasions, what is chivalry but a quaint medieval notion? Such interpretations are deplored by a non-relativist. He believes that tolerance, as exercised today, is all too often but an abdication to a threat of violence from emerging power-seeking groups. What is freedom, he asks, when not restrained by public interest, but a licence for democracy’s self-destruction?

This should serve as the leitmotif of all conservative endeavors in the Polish tradition. Some scholarly contributions in the same spirit appeared around the millennium of Poland’s Baptism of 966. Their authors invariably underlined the indivisibility of Latin Christian heritage and Polish nationhood. Volumes edited separately by Jerzy Braun and Ignatius Olszewski express this sentiment in the strongest possible way, while the collection assembled by Damian Wandycz presents an understated version of the same. Everywhere, the intellectual influence of the unmatched Oskar Halecki and his conceptualization of Poland and its neighborhood as the “Borderlands of the West,” is inexorably palpable. Halecki is the closest to the American academic mainstream that a Polish Catholic conservative ever came.

Of general histories of the Polish land and peoples, where conservative sentiments and interpretations predominate, the volume edited by Bernadotte E. Schmitt stands out likewise favorably. The contributors were invariably either emigres or scholars sympathetic to the cause of Poland’s freedom and, thus, wary of communism. In a similar broadminded vain, Adam Zamoyski, a child of emigres, wrote The Polish Way decades later, stressing the conservative element. John Radzilowski makes Polish history accessible without compromising on the ‘First Things’ that make Poland, Poland. Last but not least, émigré Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski’s Poland: An Illustrated History is a popularizing textbook by a traditionalist, who nonetheless shared much with the Christian nationalists.

After 1989 (or even before) there have been hardly any serious efforts to synthesize Poland’s conservative thought for English-speaking audiences. As an exception, Rett R. Ludwikowski undertook a rather lonely endeavor to shed some light on Polish conservatism in the 19th and 20th centuries, along with Kenneth W. Thompson, to place Polish constitutionalism in a comparativist international perspective. Jacek Jędruch stands out in his study of the Polish intellectual legal and institutional framework of freedom from the 15th century to the present. More narrowly, Anna Grześkowiak-Krwawicz has focused on “Queen Liberty” in early modern Polish thought. There are also biographical morsels pleasing to conservatives. For example, Adam Zamoyski wrote about Poland’s last, doomed monarch, while W. H. Zawadzki told us a compelling story of Prince Adam Czartoryski (1770-1861), the “uncrowned King of Poland,” active both at home and in exile. Having been released by reputable Western academic publishing houses, those monographs have demurely been making the rounds in the scholarly community.

That is not so in other cases, however. For example, Wojciech Roszkowski prepared an incisive legal study on communist crimes, but it has failed to register in the West since, although written in English, it was printed by a Polish publisher who lacks international distribution. There have been a few other publications likewise submerged in obscurity. Who has heard about the champion of prudence, moderation, and Christianity, Zbigniew Stawrowski, though this magnificent thinker does, in fact, publish in English?

Even the internet has not exactly proven to be a bountiful medium for Poles interested in sharing their conservative insights on various topics with their foreign counterparts. The lack of academic exposure in the West; lack of prestigious institutions willing to sponsor, publish, and promote such books; and the dearth of proper marketing lie at the heart of the failure to generate interest and recognition for such works. Yet, even a tiny drop facilitates the erosion of the leftist rock.

In this context, Ryszard Legutko is a notable exception. His first monograph on the pathologies of post modernity within the context of the European Union has made quite a splash, even in the U.S. His second monograph promises to deliver even more; namely, a remedy. Let us hope that it not only will put this individual Polish thinker permanently on the intellectual map of America, but that his arguments will also prompt readers to scrutinize the sources of his thought.

MM Sunday Scripture

Omnes honorate: fraternitatem diligite: Deum timete: regem honorificate. Servi, subditi estote in omni timore dominis, non tantum bonis et modestis, sed etiam dyscolis.

-Epistola B. Petri Apostoli Prima 2:17-18

From The Mad Monarchist (20 January 2013)

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

-I Peter 2:17-18

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - August 13th


Consider first, that a conformity of our will in all things with the holy will of God is the sovereign perfection of a Christian life, inasmuch as it is the very perfection of divine love and charity, which is the queen of virtues. For there can be no greater love than to have no other will than the will of our divine lover; so as ever to adore in all things his holy will, ever to embrace and love his holy will. This kind of love is perfect indeed – it resembles the love of the angels and saints of heaven. The most acceptable offering we can make to God out of our poor stock is that of our will; whatsoever else we give him, as long as we keep any part of our will from him, will never content him. He claims our whole will without reserve when he says: ‘My son, give me thy heart,’ Prov. xxxiii. Now this we give him when we conform our will in all things with his blessed will. but if we refuse to submit our will in anything to his holy will we refuse him our heart; or, at the best, we only offer him a divided heart, which he will never accept of. O my god, let my whole heart be ever thine! Let my whole soul be ever subject to thee. Let my will be ever a faithful servant and true lover of thy ever-blessed and holy will.

Consider 2ndly, the great advantages that come to our souls from a perfect conformity with the will of God. It gives a certain dignity and perfection to all, even the meanest of our actions, and to all our sufferings, by making the will of God the rule of them all. It purifies our intention in all things by continually directing the eye of the soul towards God. It brings with it a certain uprightness and simplicity of heart which is highly agreeable to God; it makes us even, as the Scripture says of David, ‘men according to God’s own heart.’ It places the soul in the hands of God, for him to dispose of her in all things according to his holy will and pleasure. It brings along with it a perfect peace and tranquility of mind in all events, as being all ordered and directed by him who is infinitely good and infinitely wise, and who orders all things for the good of them who cast their whole care upon him and seek to have no other will but his. O blessed conformity, how rich, how sweet and delicious to the soul are thy happy fruits! Thou makest us enjoy even a heaven upon earth.

Consider 3rdly, that this conformity of the soul with the will of God rids her of all her evils, and puts her in possession of all other virtues. ‘Tis the sovereign means to bring all our passions into order and subjection, and to mortify all our irregular inclinations. For that which makes them disorderly and irregular is their opposition to, or their resistance of, the will of God; whereas this blessed conformity obliges them all to stoop down and submit to his sacred will. It humbles the soul under the mighty hand of God; it teaches her to be meek under all injuries, affronts, and provocations, considering them all as coming from the just appointments of heaven; it makes her willing to take up her cross, and to bear it till death, with perfect patience and resignation: in a word, it teaches her to be obedient unto death. O grant us, dear Lord, this blessed conformity.

Conclude to set a great esteem upon this excellent virtue of conformity with the will of God: it is the greatest treasure thou canst enjoy in this mortal pilgrimage. But then it is not to be obtained without thy being in earnest in seeking it, fervent in praying for it, and ready to part with thy own will and humour for the purchasing of it.

13 August, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

Work and Worry
1. When we recite the Lord's Prayer, we say with confidence "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." This does not mean, however, that we renounce in a spirit of fatalism all right to action and initiative on our part.
“Faith,” says St. James, “unless it has works, is dead in itself.” (James 2: 17-26) The same applies to charity. (James 2: 13-17)
Faith and charity must be accompanied by action, which should always be inspired by the interior life. But our external activity should never be allowed to quench the flame of the divine life within us. If this should happen, our labour would grow sterile and would receive no blessing from God.
We should work hard, but should always act as if death might come at any moment. In other words, we should not become completely absorbed in our work, but should keep before our minds the ideals of the glory of God, our own sanctification, and the salvation of our neighbour. If our efforts seem to be successful, we should thank God. But if all our work appears to be in vain we should thank Him just the same, for such things happen with God's permission. Providence often guides events in its own way for the promotion of God’s glory and for our greater good, which can be achieved through our humiliation as well as through our success.
If our spiritual outlook is in conformity with these principles, we shall be able to preserve our peace of mind, no matter how busy we may be.
2. There are many people who claim that they are working for God and for souls. In fact, they do work hard and make great sacrifices, but at the first sign of failure they are disappointed and discouraged. Why is this? It is because they only believed that they were working for God and for His Church, whereas in their heart and soul they were more influenced by self-love and by a desire for the praise and approval of others. Their motives were not completely disinterested, and their sacrifices were not made entirely for God. Therefore they were disturbed by visions of success in human terms and were agitated at the prospect of failure.
The Saints worked hard also, but they never worried. They were always calm, because their attention was focused on Heaven rather than on themselves. As long as we work entirely for God and accept as His will the outcome of our efforts, everything will go well for us even when it seems to be going badly.
3. Some people imagine that they are not working properly unless they are worrying and fretting and attracting the attention of others. This kind of approach results in more agitation than action. These people are working more for worldly glory than for the glory of God, and their best efforts are ruined by self love. “They have received their reward,” (Mt. 6:2-5) and they cannot hope to be rewarded in the next life.
We should aim at a purity of intention which will inspire us to do everything for the love of God. We should remember that the internal action of grace is what matters most in the life of a Christian. If that is lacking, all our external activity is worthless in the sight of God.

Eastern Rite - Feasts of 13 August AM 7530

Today is the Leave-taking of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration and the Feast of Our Venerable Father Maximus the Confessor.

On the Leavetaking of the Transfiguration, all of the service for the Feast is repeated, except for the Entrance at Vespers, the Old Testament readings, Litya, the Polyeleos and Gospel at Matins, and the blessing of grapes at Liturgy. The Gospel and Epistle readings at Liturgy are those prescribed for the day.

The Typikon should be consulted for any possible variations.

Troparion — Tone 7

You were Transfigured on the Mount, O Christ God, / revealing Your glory to Your disciples as far as they could bear it. / Let Your everlasting Light shine upon us sinners! / Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Giver of Light, glory to You!

Kontakion — Tone 7

On the Mountain You were Transfigured, O Christ God, / and Your disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could see it; / so that when they would behold You crucified, / they would understand that Your suffering was voluntary, / and would proclaim to the world, / that You are truly the Radiance of the Father!

Saint Maximus the Confessor was born in Constantinople around 580 and raised in a pious Christian family. He received an excellent education, studying philosophy, grammar, and rhetoric. He was well-read in the authors of antiquity and he also mastered philosophy and theology. When Saint Maximus entered into government service, he became first secretary (asekretis) and chief counsellor to the emperor Heraclius (611-641), who was impressed by his knowledge and virtuous life.

Saint Maximus soon realized that the emperor and many others had been corrupted by the Monothelite heresy, which was spreading rapidly through the East. He resigned from his duties at court and went to the Chrysopolis monastery (at Scutari on the opposite shore of the Bosphorus), where he received monastic tonsure. Because of his humility and wisdom, he soon won the love of the brethren and was chosen igumen of the monastery after a few years. Even in this position, he remained a simple monk.

In 638, the emperor Heraclius and Patriarch Sergius tried to minimise the importance of differences in belief, and they issued an edict, the “Ekthesis” (“Ekthesis tes pisteos” or “Exposition of Faith”), which decreed that everyone must accept the teaching of one will in the two natures of the Savior. In defending the Catholic Faith against the “Ekthesis,” Saint Maximus spoke to people in various occupations and positions, and these conversations were successful. Not only the clergy and the bishops but also the people and the secular officials felt some sort of invisible attraction to him, as we read in his Life.

When Saint Maximus saw what turmoil this heresy caused in Constantinople and in the East, he decided to leave his monastery and seek refuge in the West, where Monothelitism had been completely rejected. On the way, he visited the bishops of Africa, strengthening them in the True Faith, and encouraging them not to be deceived by the cunning arguments of the heretics.

The Fourth Ecumenical Council had condemned the Monophysite heresy, which falsely taught that in the Lord Jesus Christ there was only one nature (the divine). Influenced by this erroneous opinion, the Monothelite heretics said that in Christ there was only one divine will (“thelema”) and only one divine energy (“energia”). Adherents of Monothelitism sought to return by another path to the repudiated Monophysite heresy. Monothelitism found numerous adherents in Armenia, Syria, and Egypt. The heresy, fanned also by nationalistic animosities, became a serious threat to Church unity in the East. The struggle of the Catholic Church with heresy was particularly difficult because, in the year 630, three of the patriarchal thrones in the Catholic East were occupied by Monothelites: Constantinople by Sergius, Antioch by Athanasius, and Alexandria by Cyrus.

Saint Maximus travelled from Alexandria to Crete, where he began his preaching activity. He clashed there with a bishop, who adhered to the heretical opinions of Severus and Nestorius. The saint spent six years in Alexandria and the surrounding area.

Patriarch Sergius died at the end of 638, and the emperor Heraclius also died in 641. The imperial throne was eventually occupied by his grandson Constans II (642-668), an open adherent of the Monothelite heresy. The assaults of the heretics against Catholicism intensified. Saint Maximus went to Carthage and he preached there for about five years. When the Monothelite Pyrrhus, the successor of Patriarch Sergius, arrived there after fleeing from Constantinople because of court intrigues, he and Saint Maximus spent many hours in debate. As a result, Pyrrhus publicly acknowledged his error, and was permitted to retain the title of “Patriarch.” He even wrote a book confessing the Catholic Faith. Saint Maximus and Pyrrhus traveled to Rome to visit Pope Theodore, who received Pyrrhus as the Patriarch of Constantinople.

In the year 647 Saint Maximus returned to Africa. There, at a council of bishops, Monotheletism was condemned as a heresy. In 648, a new edict was issued, commissioned by Constans and compiled by Patriarch Paul of Constantinople: the “Typos” (“Typos tes pisteos” or “Pattern of the Faith”), which forbade any further disputes about one will or two wills in the Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Maximus then asked Saint Martin the Confessor (April 14), the successor of Pope Theodore, to examine the question of Monothelitism at a Church Council. The Lateran Council was convened in October of 649. One hundred and fifty Western bishops and thirty-seven representatives from the Catholic East were present, among them Saint Maximus the Confessor. The Council condemned Monothelitism and the Typos. The false teachings of Patriarchs Sergius, Paul and Pyrrhus of Constantinople, were also anathematized.

When Constans II received the decisions of the Council, he gave orders to arrest both Pope Martin and Saint Maximus. The emperor’s order was fulfilled only in the year 654. Saint Maximus was accused of treason and locked up in prison. In 656 he was sent to Thrace and was later brought back to a Constantinople prison.

The saint and two of his disciples were subjected to the cruelest torments. Each one’s tongue was cut out, and his right hand was cut off. Then they were exiled to Skemarum in Scythia, enduring many sufferings and difficulties on the journey.

After three years, the Lord revaled to Saint Maximus the time of his death (August 13, 662). Three candles appeared over the grave of Saint Maximus and burned miraculously. This was a sign that Saint Maximus was a beacon of the True Faith during his lifetime, and continues to shine forth as an example of virtue for all. Many healings occurred at his tomb.

In the Greek Prologue, August 13 commemorates the Transfer of the Relics of Saint Maximus from Lazika on the southeast shore of the Black Sea to Constantinople, to the Monastery of the Theotokos at Chrysopolis (where he had been the igumen), across the Bosphorus from Constantinople. This transfer took place after the Sixth Ecumenical Council.

August 13 could also be the date of the saint’s death, however. It is possible that his main commemoration was moved to January 21 because August 13 is the Leavetaking of the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Saint Maximus has left to the Church a great theological legacy. His exegetical works contain explanations of difficult passages of Holy Scripture and include a Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer and on Psalm 59, various “scholia” or “marginalia” (commentaries written in the margin of manuscripts), on treatises of the Hieromartyr Dionysius the Areopagite (October 3) and Saint Gregory the Theologian (January 25). Among the exegetical works of Saint Maximus are his explanation of divine services, entitled “Mystagogia” (“Introduction Concerning the Mystery”).

The dogmatic works of Saint Maximus include the Exposition of his dispute with Pyrrhus, and several tracts and letters to various people. In them are contained explanations of the Catholic 
teaching on the Divine Essence and the Persons of the Holy Trinity, on the Incarnation of the Word of God, and on “theosis” (“deification”) of human nature.

“Nothing in theosis is the product of human nature,” Saint Maximus writes in a letter to his friend Thalassius, “for nature cannot comprehend God. It is only the mercy of God that has the capacity to endow theosis unto the existing... In theosis man (the image of God) becomes likened to God, he rejoices in all the plenitude that does not belong to him by nature, because the grace of the Spirit triumphs within him, and because God acts in him” (Letter 22).

Saint Maximus also wrote anthropological works (i.e. concerning man). He deliberates on the nature of the soul and its conscious existence after death. Among his moral compositions, especially important is his “Chapters on Love.” Saint Maximus the Confessor also wrote three hymns in the finest traditions of church hymnography, following the example of Saint Gregory the Theologian.

The theology of Saint Maximus the Confessor, based on the spiritual experience of the knowledge of the great Desert Fathers, and utilizing the skilled art of dialectics worked out by pre-Christian philosophy, was continued and developed in the works of Saint Simeon the New Theologian (March 12), and Saint Gregory Palamas (November 14).

Troparion — Tone 8

Champion of the True Faith, teacher of purity and of true worship, / enlightener of the universe and adornment of hierarchs: / All-wise father Maximus, your teachings have gleamed with light upon all things. / Intercede before Christ God to save our souls.

Kontakion — Tone 2

Maximus, divinely inspired champion of the Church, / sure and illumined exponent of the Catholic Faith, / harp and trumpet of godliness, / divine and holy adornment of monks: / never cease to intercede for us all.


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 13 AUGUST – SAINT RADEGONDE OF FRANCE (Queen): Radegonde was the daughter of Berthaire, king of Thuringia. When 10 years old she was led away captive by the Franks, and because of he...


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 13 AUGUST – SAINTS HIPPOLYTUS AND CASSIAN (Martyrs): Hippolytus was baptised by the deacon Saint Lawrence. He was tried before Valerian and sentenced to be torn to pieces by wild horses, as in...

13 August, The Chesterton Calendar


You complain of Catholicism for setting up an ideal of virginity; it did nothing of the kind. The whole human race set up an ideal of virginity; the Greeks in Athene, the Romans in the Vestal fire, set up an ideal of virginity. What then is your real quarrel with Catholicism? Your quarrel can only be, your quarrel really only is, that Catholicism has achieved an ideal of virginity; that it is no longer a mere piece of floating poetry. But if you, and a few feverish men, in top hats, running about in a street in London, choose to differ as to the ideal itself, not only from the Church, but from the Parthenon whose name means virginity, from the Roman Empire which went outwards from the virgin flame, from the whole legend and tradition of Europe, from the lion who will not touch virgins, from the unicorn who respects them, and who make up together the bearers of your own national shield, from the most living and lawless of your own poets, from Massinger, who wrote the 'Virgin Martyr,' from Shakespeare, who wrote 'Measure for Measure'—if you in Fleet Street differ from all this human experience, does it never strike you that it may be Fleet Street that is wrong?

'The Ball and the Cross.'

13 August, The Holy Rule of St Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism

CHAPTER LIX. Of the Sons of Nobles or of Poor Men that are offered

13 Apr. 13 Aug. 13 Dec.

If any nobleman shall perchance offer his son to God in the Monastery, let the parents, should the boy be still in infancy, make for him the written promise as aforesaid; and together with the oblation* let them wrap that promise and the hand of the child in the altar-cloth and so offer him up. With respect to his property, they must in the same document promise under oath that they will never either themselves, or through any one else, or in any way whatever, give him anything, or the means of having anything. Or else, if they are unwilling to do this, and desire to offer something as an alms to the Monastery, for their own advantage, let them make a donation of whatever they please to the Monastery, reserving to themselves, if they will, the income thereof during their life. Thus let all possibility of expectation be excluded whereby the child might be deceived and so perish (which God forbid), as we have learnt by experience may happen. Let those who are poorer do in like manner. But those who have nothing whatever may simply make the promise in writing, and, with the oblation, offer their son before witnesses.

14 August, The Roman Martyrology

Décimo nono Kaléndas Septémbris Luna sexta décima Anno Dómini 2022

The morrow is the Eve of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
August 14th 2022, the 16th day of the Moon, were born into the better life:

At Rome, [in the year 357,] the holy Priest Eusebius. On account of his defence of the Catholic faith the Arian Emperor Constantius caused him to be imprisoned in a bedchamber in his own house, where he lived for seven months, continuing instant in prayer, and then fell asleep. His body was taken by the Priests Gregory and Orosius and buried in the cemetery of Callistus, upon the Appian Way.
In Illyricum, under the Emperor Maximian and the President Aristides, the holy martyr Ursicius, who was beheaded for Christ's name's sake after many and diverse torments.
In Africa, the holy martyr Demetrius.
At Apamea, in Syria, [in the year 389,] the holy martyr Marcellus, Bishop [of that see,] who was destroying a shrine of Jupiter when he was slain by the infuriated Gentiles.
At Todi, [in Umbria,] the holy martyr Callistus, Bishop [of that see.]
In the island of Jegima, in the Grecian Archipelago, [about the year 860,] the holy widow Athanasia, [Abbess of a monastery under the rule of St Basil,] famous for her monastic observance and her power of working miracles.
V. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God.

Memes of the Day

Friday, 12 August 2022

Pope Francis, Evelyn Waugh, & Humanæ Vitæ

Father Hunwicke draws a comparison between Francis and the fictional 'modernising' Emperor in Evelyn Waugh's novel Black Mischief.

From Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment

Uncanny ... the way my topography overlaps that of Waugh, although not, of course, simultaneously. He was at the College where I spent nearly three decades teaching ... he and I were at the same undergraduate College ... he was married in the Church which is now the Ordinariate Church in London ... he loathed the destruction of the authentic Roman Rite (although he died before the worst of its corruption was engineered) ...

As PF, reportedly, sits huddled over the draft of his intended document destroying Humanae vitae, I recall a jolly passage from Waugh's novel Black Mischief, written in 1932, not long after he became a Catholic.

It is situated on an imaginary island in the Indian Ocean, called Azania, which is portrayed as enduring 1930s-style 'Modernity'. 

" ... the Emperor assimilated the various books that had arrived for him by the last mail. Worst of all, the pageant of birth control was proving altogether more trouble than it was worth; in spite of repeated remonstrances ... it continued to occupy the the mind of the Emperor in precedence of all other interests. He had already renamed the site of the Anglican Cathedral, Place Marie Stopes

"'Heaven knows what will happen if he ever discovers psycho-analysis,' remarked Basil, gloomily foreseeeing a Boulevard Kraft-Ebing, an Avenue Oedipus and a pageant of coprophagists ..."

Yes ... even that unseemly preoccupation of PF!!

Black Mischief was viciously attacked by a periodical called The Tablet.

Hong Kong's Cardinal Zen to Go on Trial From 19 to 23 September

And the Vatican will say nothing because a bribe of $2,000,000,000 per year from the Chinese Commies buys an awful lot of silence!

From PIME AsiaNews

The cardinal will be tried with five members of the pro-democracy movement for failing to register the charity of which they were trustees. The defence will invoke the right to associate as provided for by the Hong Kong’s constitution.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The West Kowloon Court has set the trial date for Card Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and five well-known members of the pro-democracy movement, who are accused of failing to properly register a humanitarian fund of which they were trustees.

The decision came yesterday at a preliminary hearing chaired by Judge Ada Yim, as reported by the Hong Kong Free Press.

The police had arrested the city’s bishop emeritus and the other defendants on the much more serious charge of "collusion" with foreign forces, in violation of the draconian national security law imposed by mainland China in the summer of 2020.

Standing trial along with the cardinal are the well-known lawyer Margaret Ng, singer-activist Denise Ho, former Member of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Cyd Ho, academic Hui Po-keung and activist Sze Ching-wee.

Cyd Ho is already in prison for taking part in an unauthorised demonstration. Several pro-democracy advocates have been charged with the same offence, including Catholic tycoon Jimmy Lai, following the imposition of the draconian national security law in June 2020.

Until it dissolved itself last October, 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund helped thousands of pro-democracy protesters involved in the 2019 protests.

All the defendants have pleaded not guilty, their lawyers challenging the claim that the charity was required to register under the Societies Ordinance.

The defence is also asking that the interpretation of the ordinance take into account the right of citizens to associate enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law.

Without the indictment under the national security law, the defendants risk a maximum fine of US$ 1,750.