30 November 2023

Francis to International Theological Commission: The Church Needs To Be “Demasculinized”, Be More “Feminine”.

Could he be any more blatant in his desire to destroy the Church? The post-Conciliar feminisation of the Church has caused untold damage, but he wants more of the same!?

From Rorate Cæli

[The Church's problem is apparently being too masculine.]

Impromptu words of the Holy Father

Thank you for this visit. And thank you for your work. There is a good address here with theological matters, but because of my health it is better not to read it. I will hand it out to you.

Thank you for what you do. Theology, theological reflection, is very important. But there is something about you that I do not like; pardon my sincerity. One, two, three, four women: poor women! They are alone! Ah, excuse me, five. We must advance in this. Women have a capacity for theological reflection that is different to that of us men. It will be because I have studied the theology of a woman a great deal. I was helped by a good German woman, Hanna-Barbara Gerl, on Guardini. She had studied that history and the theology of that woman was not so deep, but it is beautiful, it is creative. And now, in the upcoming meeting of the nine Cardinals, we will reflect on the feminine dimension of the Church.

The Church is woman. And if we do not know what a woman is, what the theology of a woman is, we will never understand what the Church is. One of the great sins we have had is to “masculinize” the Church. And this is not solved by the ministerial path; that is something else. It is resolved in the mystical way, the real way. Balthasar’s thought has brought me so much light: Petrine principle and Marian principle. This can be debated, but the two principles are there. The Marian is more important than the Petrine, because there is the bride Church, the woman Church, without being masculine.

And you will ask me: where does this discussion lead? Not only to tell you that you should have more women here – that is one thing – but to help reflect. The Church as woman, the Church as a bride. And this is a task that I ask of you, please. To make the Church less masculine.


Margaret Thatcher’s Character and Legacy

I was a member of the Tory Party before Thatcher took control of it and purged it of conservatives, turning it into a neo-liberal cabal. There are damned few Tories left in it today.

By Robin Harris

Some conservatives may sniff and say that there is more to a country’s welfare than its growth rate. They are right. But without prosperity, life is to varying degrees unpleasant.

It is a pleasure and an honour to be asked to speak to you about my former boss—and New Direction‘s first patron—Margaret Thatcher.

Some would say she was a very odd patron for European Conservatives, since she is remembered for being incredibly rude about Brussels.

She would certainly have supported Brexit. Despite some argument, I know that was her view, because she told me. I don’t believe that the outcome, particularly the huge increase in immigration, which Brexit was meant to control, would have pleased her. But, anyway, there is more to be said about her view than where it finished up.

Mrs. Thatcher was sincere in wanting Europe to be a success. But what she wanted the European Common Market to be was not what most of the other states eventually wanted. Her British successors then gave up on the battle to steer Europe away from centralism. If she had remained a few more months in office, she would have vetoed the Maastricht Treaty. That would have allowed Britain to remain within the existing framework, while others integrated further under new treaties. Brexit would, therefore, have been unnecessary. In this sense, she would have kept Britain in Europe.

The important text for all this, if now only as an inspiration, is her Bruges Speech to the College of Europe in 1988. I had a hand in it. Read it, and you will see that it is not anti-European. In fact, in the speech she extolls Europe’s legacy and values, especially those of Christendom. She adds that “Europe is not the creation of the Treaty of Rome.” She calls for cooperation between independent sovereign states and makes clear that nationhood must not be devalued. She says it is “folly” to attempt creating what she called an “identikit European personality.” That is what virtually all right-of-centre Europeans believe today.

The Bruges speech was also ahead of its time in reaching out explicitly to Europeans living in the thrall of Communism. “East of the Iron Curtain,” she said, “people who once enjoyed a full share of European culture, freedom, and identity have been cut off from their roots,” She added that “we shall always look on Warsaw, Prague and Budapest as great European cities.” This a different language from that employed by the Little Europeans then, and now.

After the Berlin War crumbled, Mrs Thatcher visited Eastern Europe whenever she could. The visits to Poland were simply electric. She never lost her concern for how the ex-Communist countries fared. It was her love for Croatia which, indirectly, explains why I now live there. She changed many lives.

She did not always make life easier, it must be said. She was a demanding, difficult, occasionally infuriating boss. But working with her gave you a sense of purpose.

Thatcher and feminism

Margaret Thatcher was extremely clever, though in a literal, not an imaginative way. She had a phenomenal grasp of facts. She worked ridiculous hours to acquire it. She was intensely serious, though she could enjoy a joke—if it was explained to her—and came up with a lot of inadvertently funny remarks. You can find many online if you google. Some I don’t recognise, some I think have little basis of fact, but others I do remember—like this earthily feminist observation: “It may be the cock that crows, but it’s the hen that lays the eggs.”

Which brings me to the rather obvious fact that Margaret Thatcher was a woman. Perceptions of the importance of that have changed. At one time, it was the only half-good thing that the Left could say about her—that she made it easier for a woman to get to the top. I can only say that this was not her intention. She believed that merit—brains, hard work, ability—should be rewarded, but she was always against state intervention to promote the interests of women or indeed any other group.

In her day, there were very few women who got to be prime ministers. The only other significant one was Indira Ghandhi, who was not a good advertisement. Nowadays, in our politically correct world, women have not just been promoted, but in many cases obviously over-promoted. Just look at the European Commission. Feminist reverse discrimination now can be seen as just the first—but not the last—wave of social engineering, which will shortly see menstruating men and muscle-bound women telling us all what to do.

Since Mrs. Thatcher, we have witnessed that women, like men, can be good and bad at leading countries. Germany’s Angela Merkel must be reckoned as one of the most disastrous European leaders of the post-War era. New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern turned out to be a red-cultist incompetent. Against which, Italy’s current prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, is terrific—an inspiration.

Debate and character

Another Thatcher quotation you can find online which strikes me as authentic is: “I love argument, I love debate. I don’t expect anyone to just sit there and agree with me.”

I first came face to face with her at a meeting she held with government political advisers, when I was at the Home Office, in the early 1980s. Most of them did, indeed, “just sit there,” but when the prime minister said something spectacularly silly—it was about crime levels—I disagreed and explained why our policies had been too soft and why more use of imprisonment was required. From that point on, she supported me—she saw I could hold my own, that I had a point of view, and most important it was one even to the right of hers. Later the directorship of the Conservative Party’s Research Department fell vacant. The Party bureaucrats said that it must be advertised as open to anyone wanting to apply. She reluctantly agreed, but added that after everyone had been interviewed, “Robin must get the job”—and I did.

I then had the exhausting privilege of helping her write her speeches. She would seek drafts from different people. She would then try to rearrange them, cutting out what seemed to her repetition. She also disliked adverbs and even adjectives because they struck her as frivolous or redundant. Then, having removed anything of interest, she would sadly say—with paper now covering the table and much of the floor—“Oh, Robin, it’s dull, we must start again!” And so we did.

In this process you got to hear about, and even occasionally contribute to, policies on just about everything—social security, tax, defence matters, foreign affairs. Most of those involved are now dead. Only John O’Sullivan and I are still around as survivors. She was fond of us, and kind to us; she once said that there must be something in Catholicism that allowed people like us to write so well. But just when your head started to swell, she would add, “of course you are commentators, we [meaning I] do things”—which was no more than the truth.

The point I want to leave with you is that this nerve-racking process allowed insight into her character.

Thatcher’s thought and personality

She believed that in politics—and, more particularly in whatever constitutes statesmanship—it is character that finally counts. I am sure she was right. Her character saw her, and the rest of the country, through the crises that marked her years in power.

At one level, Margaret Thatcher was simple. She was not subtle. She was not good at concealing her feelings, and she talked so much that it would anyway have proved impossible. She had certain fundamental beliefs. They were neither as generalised nor as theoretical as philosophical principles, but rather deep instinctive convictions about what was true and false, and right and wrong. It would be time consuming and artificial to try to compile a list of them, since you would have to trawl her speeches, and then explain the context. These convictions came from her middle-class Methodist background, growing up in a modest town in the Midlands. The more sophisticated views she imbibed from people like Hayek and Friedman either fitted into these beliefs or were not absorbed at all.

Margaret Thatcher was a romantic patriot. She was proud of the British Empire, she knew hundreds of lines of Kipling (its preeminent bard), and, of course, she finally fought a war to deal with one of its distant leftovers in the South Atlantic—what I refuse—even in Spain—to describe as “Las Malvinas.”

Mrs. Thatcher took a harsh view about people who wanted something for nothing. She was contemptuous of those who tried to practise what is nowadays called ‘virtue signalling,’ wallowing in compassion, usually at the taxpayer’s expense.

Having this outlook, it was easy to pillory her as uncaring. It did no lasting harm. The opinion polls show that people do not expect right-wing governments to be caring, they want them to be effective. They need to respect right-wing politicians, not like them. The public never thought Mrs. Thatcher was compassionate, but they did think she was tough, competent, and honest.

In fact, as a person she was much better than that. I have found by experience that right-wingers are usually nicer than left-wingers, while the worst of all are the self-conscious centrists. Perhaps one reason is that life is difficult if you are right-wing, and so you are more likely to be sincere. That helps. Personal behaviour matters in politics. If you are facing attacks on every side, you need to have a devoted and loyal team to help you. You cannot build one up, if you are—forgive the expression—an A-One-Bastard.

Mrs. Thatcher had an enormous personality. She ‘filled the room.’ She was charismatic and charming. She also sometimes gave way to the tension and was ferocious—frightening even. She humiliated some of her colleagues, and they being men and she a woman probably made it harder for them to forgive. But her team and her friends stayed loyal. This was because she was kind, generous, sensitive, practical, and uncensorious when they were in trouble.

Saying this makes me a bit nostalgic. It seems a long time ago since she left us—though it is in fact just ten years. She had been out of the public eye before that, of course. The funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral was a typical Thatcher event—stylish and full of surprises. The BBC broadcast a warning beforehand that those attending could expect trouble. There were a few left-wing ‘death parties,’ at one of which a trade union leader’s wife danced up and down like a deranged witch on a mock up Thatcher depiction.

But the most amazing moment that day in St Paul’s was when the great doors swung open to admit the coffin, and a roar of sound engulfed the church—it was a milling mass of supporters who had struggled past security cordons to say their final, affectionate farewell.

Thatcher’s political life

An opinion poll at the time of her death showed that people thought Margaret Thatcher was the greatest post-War British Prime Minister, ahead of Churchill. I doubt whether another poll today would show differently.

Of course, the world now looks very different to the one she knew, and so often dominated.

It is the style of politics that has changed most. Every generation bewails what follows it, but who could pretend that today’s political world is not more superficial, more subservient to the media, more focused on personal trivia? A lot of that change is down to technology, but it also reflects the desire of the mainstream centre-right parties, including the British Conservative Party, to marginalise those in their ranks who have beliefs. And the marginalised voters then express their rage by backing radical Right parties—some good, some not so good—as the only way to uphold what used to be conservatism.

The word that springs to mind, if I am asked to say what made Margaret Thatcher so different both from many of her colleagues and most politicians today, is that she was “authentic.”

She was highly professional in taking advice. But in the end, she did what she wanted. This made her unpredictable and sometimes unmanageable and got her into trouble. But even what were thought of as gaffes had their uses.

Take just one example. In 1978, so still in opposition, there was heightened concern about the level of immigration. It was a sensitive topic—though when you look at the figures then compared with the immigration deluge now drowning us, you wonder why. Anyway, the old guard of the Conservative Party were terrified of being labelled racist. She wasn’t a racist, but she knew what people thought, and in a television interview she said that people felt the country might be “rather swamped by people with a different culture.”

All Hell broke out. The Party big wigs were outraged. But, lo and behold, the Conservative Party jumped sharply in the opinion polls. From then on, throughout the whole of her time as leader, there was no room for any populist Right-Wing anti-immigrant party. People thought that no one sensible was more right-wing than Margaret Thatcher.

The style of politics has changed, but not all the issues.

Thatcherism today

Every year, I give a lecture to Buckingham University students on the Thatcher era. I use basically the same text. But I always insert an analysis of the issues she had to face that are no longer relevant. This is the section that, every year, I must fundamentally rewrite—because yesterday’s threats do resurface in new forms, and we wish someone like Margaret Thatcher was around to deal with them.

There is a danger in trying to say what Mrs. Thatcher would have thought or done today, but we can be clear what she wouldn’t have thought and wouldn’t have done.

Her greatest achievement was said by many to be the taming of the militant British trade unions and so curing the affliction of damaging strikes. That is true. She did. Yet today Britain is awash with strikes, and no one knows what to do.

She cut back what the state spends, borrows, and takes in tax, to leave room for economic growth. She succeeded. Yet now Britain has the highest levels of tax for seventy years, enormous debt, sluggish productivity—all of which the commentators blame on Brexit rather than the real cause, big state socialist policies applied, and not for the first time, by a Conservative Government.

She brought down inflation—those were the days, remember, when the government, not the Bank of England, decided monetary policy and set interest rates. Inflation increased again at the end of her final term, and she raised interest rates to stop it.

She would never have put John Maynard Keynes back on the throne from which her Friedmanite policies had toppled him. She wouldn’t have swallowed the idea that inflation was no longer a threat because cheap goods from China would keep down prices—even though central banks printed money with abandon, and interest rates plummeted. So, no surprise, today inflation is back with a vengeance.

How exactly she would have reacted to COVID-19 I don’t know. As a scientist, she would have been cautious, though she would have cross-questioned the experts more than ever happened. I certainly don’t believe she would have locked down private enterprise, and then spent and borrowed through the public sector, as if the bills would never have to be paid.

I am similarly unsure what would be her attitude to Russia’s war against Ukraine. On the one hand, she believed that aggression must not be rewarded, because it encourages more aggression—as it has. On the other hand, she would have been more concerned about the nuclear threat—always central to her foreign policy thinking—than today’s Western politicians seem to be. I do not, though, believe that either way she would have allowed the conflict to drag out so long and so dangerously.

The criticism of Margaret Thatcher—or more precisely the approach that she and Ronald Reagan championed—has changed in recent years. The criticism from the Left is not new and need not be taken too seriously. The main objections were that, first, Thatcherism increased inequality. Perhaps it did, but equality of outcomes should not be a conservative objective, and she never pretended it was hers.

Second, it was said that the poor became poorer—in any meaningful sense that is just not true. Relative poverty is again a socialist concept and absolute poverty did not, as far as we know, increase, to the contrary most people got richer.

Third, it was said that the price of economic reforms was too high—because of the disruption caused. If you keep an economy going for years based on subsidies and interventions which are unsustainable, of course the disruption when it ends will be great. But a nation in the condition that Britain was in, when she took over, has just two choices—change or decline—and not just decline relative to other countries but decline absolutely. At that point, order and democracy are under threat.

Thatcher the conservative

Criticism from self-proclaimed conservatives, albeit politely expressed, is more topical. Let me say at once that if these criticisms are substantially correct, then Thatcher’s and Reagan’s faces should be removed from Conservative banners. But thankfully that will not be necessary. Mrs. Thatcher did make mistakes—and I shall come to these shortly—but they were not the egregious ideological errors nowadays ascribed to her.

The new conservative critics are nearly all American. Indeed, this seems to me, and perhaps should seem to all Europeans, like an internal American conservative tiff. The suggestion now is that the fundamental error of the post-War period in the U.S. and the UK, specifically in the 1980s, was to single out socialism as the great enemy, when the real threat was liberalism. Thatcher and Reagan stand condemned for being liberals, or at least unthinkingly pro-liberal, rather than true conservatives.

This seems to me plain wrong. To show exactly why would take me too far off course. I believe, however, that the case made is characterised by misunderstanding of how the free market works, and why interventionism never does, and, above all, by selective amnesia about the threat which socialism and communism represented, and which socialism and Gramscian communism still represent.

Mrs. Thatcher was, indeed, a classical liberal in her economic policies, with a few variations, and a classic national conservative (to use the current phrase) in her foreign policy. In both cases—at home and abroad—she fought socialism which she believed was the threat of the hour. I do not believe that those in Eastern Europe think that between 1945 and 1989 their greatest problem was liberalism. Liberty was what they wanted. Communism was what stood in the way of it.

Liberalism is certainly a distinct philosophy from conservatism, though they overlap. Liberalism comes in different shapes and sizes, some of which now, as in the past, shade into leftism.

Liberalism, in British terms anyway, isn’t so much a corpus of writings by John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and others as it is also a convenient shorthand for arrangements and institutions that emerged from great constitutional and political conflicts now settled on the basis of compromise. Limited government, private property, the rule of law, independent courts, freedom of speech, parliamentary institutions, and a free enterprise economy—this is the legacy of Western liberalism. The Western tradition offers much more, and the conservative tradition stresses, for example, the role of religion—but these free institutions and a free market are a central part of the Western historical legacy. Mrs. Thatcher believed in and fought throughout her life for that legacy. She was a conservative, not a closet liberal. The only closet she kept was for her shoes.

Mrs. Thatcher understood something else that her current critics on the Right seem to forget. Strictly limited government is the demonstrably effective condition for prosperity. Conservative governments must create the conditions for people to improve their own and their families’ living standards. That means economic growth, year after year. Many cultural conservatives might like a static society or a static economy, but if they try to produce them, they will lose elections.

Some conservatives may sniff at this and say that there is more to a country’s welfare than its growth rate. They are right. Security is more important. Religion is more important. The family—the traditional family—is more important. But without prosperity, life is to varying degrees unpleasant. Try it for yourself if you don’t believe me. And people will not wear it.

Mrs Thatcher never admitted her mistakes. Politicians rarely do—at least sincerely. But she made some; if she had not she would have stayed in power longer. It was the local government tax—the so-called Poll tax—that finished her. The economy had overheated, and the wolves were baying on the European issue. But you cannot get everything right, and in the end her usually good luck deserted her.

The only wholly bad current development for which she can justly be blamed is the climate change obsession. As a scientist, she thought it was a good idea to lecture the world on that subject, which she certainly understood better than most. She later, though, started to regret where it was all leading.

More important are the problems she didn’t address. She allowed the British National Health Service to go largely unreformed. Her successors then permitted it to become sacrosanct—which process COVID-19 completed. It is now set to bankrupt the country.

Both she and Ronald Reagan underestimated the issue of dependency on social benefits and their addictive, demoralising effect. I think the reason for this error is that her generation just could not imagine living off handouts if you did not need to. Shame—stigma—operated. Our society is shameless, and the only remaining stigma is attached to us conservatives.

She would never have conceived of a world of ‘LGBT,’ of ‘BLM,’ of ‘decolonising’ mathematics, and of tearing down national monuments. This revolution uses the language of rights. But whether it is any kind of liberalism is questionable. As Christopher Rufo argues, it is, in truth, the fulfilment of Frankfurt School Marxism.

She would have thought it all mad—but she would have lacked the philosophical resources to fight it. And here the critics of liberalism have a point. The Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, liberal political tradition is ill-equipped to engage in this desperate struggle to save our culture. In predominantly Catholic Europe, we understand the disease and can better suggest remedies.

In politics, you need good policies, clearly expressed, that motivate your base, but you also need good leaders. The trouble is that you never fully know what you are getting until he has been tested.

One thing a leader must have—what Margaret Thatcher had—what is more important even than brains, knowledge, and experience—is raw courage. She had both moral and physical courage, and she needed them.

Without moral courage, she could not have ridden through the personal abuse, overcome Cabinet plots, pushed through trade union reform, reined back spending, defeated the yearlong miners’ strike, won back “our money” (as she outrageously called it) from Europe, or defeated Argentina in the Falklands—all against the odds.

Without physical courage, she would not have helicoptered into border areas of Northern Ireland when the IRA must had her in their sights. Without it, she would have been shattered by the IRA attempt to kill her with the Grand Hotel bomb of 1984 in Brighton. She remained perfectly calm, and she later delivered the speech the terrorists thought they could stop—adding the famous lines, which I now quote:

Our first thoughts must at once be for those who died, and for those who are now in hospital recovering from their injuries. But the bomb attack clearly signified more than this. It was an attempt not only to disrupt and terminate our Conference. It was an attempt to cripple Her Majesty’s democratically elected Government. That is the scale of the outrage in which we have all shared, and the fact that we are gathered here now—shocked but composed and determined—is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.

Amen to that.

Shortly before his death, Benjamin Disraeli, the Victorian British Prime Minister, remarked that, “courage is the rarest of all qualities to be found in public men.” It still is. And without it—you are lost.

This essay has been adapted from a speech given at the Margaret Thatcher Dinner, in memory of New Direction’s founding patron, during the Think Tank Central conference in September, 2023.

Foreign Influence in the Mexican Empire

I'm rather touchy on this matter since HIM Maximilian was the great-great uncle of HI&AH Otto, my daughter's Godfather.

From The Mad Monarchist (1 February 2012)

The foreign forces involved in Mexico during the period of the Second Empire were truly a diverse lot. Few people realize just how diverse. All too often the conflict is regarded as a contest between the Mexicans on one side and the French on the other. In fact, the armies fighting for Mexican President Benito Juarez and those fighting for Mexican Emperor Maximilian were each quite diverse, though those supporting Maximilian were infinitely more so. Most of the non-Mexican forces among the republicans of Benito Juarez were Americans, predominately former U.S. Army troops from north of the Mason-Dixon line who viewed the French Emperor Napoleon III as their enemy because of his perceived sympathy with the Confederacy of southern states. The establishment of a monarchy in Mexico was also seen by many in the northern states as a challenge to American republicanism and a threat to U.S. domination of North America. A large percentage of those Union troops who went to Mexico to fight for Juarez were African-Americans who tended to be even more sympathetic to Juarez than their other comrades in blue, seeing him, a Zapotec Indian, and his fight against the Austrian Maximilian as a struggle by a dark-skinned native against White, European domination. The only Union troops who, as a group, were most ill-disposed toward Juarez were the many Irish Catholics in the U.S. Army who objected to the anti-clericalism of Juarez.

Although thousands of American veterans served with Juarez, the greatest support from the United States was not in men but in weapons, uniforms, equipment and the diplomatic pressure they brought to Paris to force Napoleon III to withdraw his support for Maximilian and his struggling empire. After 1865, when the Confederacy was firmly defeated, American support poured into northern Mexico without hindrance. It must have seemed a strange sight given the long history of antagonism between the United States and Mexico to see so many Mexican troops who could have been mistaken for U.S. Army regulars, wearing complete U.S. Army uniforms, carrying American rifles, complete with ammo boxes and belt buckles stamped “US”. Because of this support, in the days when the Mexican Imperial forces were at their weakest due to the withdrawal of the French, the Mexican republicans were at their peak with far superior weaponry and greater stores of supplies. While the troops of Maximilian fought with outdated muskets and antique artillery (some dating back to the Spanish army) many republicans carried the latest American-made Henry repeating rifles and state-of-the-art rifled artillery. When the final clash of arms came, despite popular perceptions, it was the republicans who were better armed, better equipped with more supplies and more money than the monarchists.

However, it was the forces fighting for and on behalf of Emperor Maximilian that were, by far, the most diverse. There were Mexicans, native Indians, French, Belgians, Austrians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenes, Poles and even a troop of Sudanese Africans sent by the Khedive of Egypt. The French also made use of colonial troops from their Caribbean islands, most of whom were of African origin. Americans also fought for Emperor Maximilian after 1865, almost invariably these were former Confederates who had no desire to live under ‘Yankee rule’ in their own homeland. They were not, however, anywhere near as numerous as the Americans who fought for Juarez, partly because U.S. forces moved quickly to seal off the border and prevent southerners fleeing to Mexico where they would doubtlessly aid the side that Washington was against (namely the Emperor).

General Tomas Mejia

The diversity of the Mexican Imperial Army was seen even at the highest levels. Among the top commanders were General Miguel Miramon, a Mexican of Spanish blood; General Raul Mendez, a Mexican of mixed blood and General Tomas Mejia, a Mexican of pure Indian blood. This shocked some in Mexican society but Emperor Maximilian was adamant that Mejia was a talented general who deserved a rank that reflected his achievements. He was also fond of saying that his Indian general most likely possessed an older bloodline than any of his European counterparts. There were also, of course, Marshal Achille de Bazaine and his French generals, the Austrian General Franz Count von Thun-Hohenstein (born in what is the Czech Republic today), the Belgian Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Baron Van der Smissen, the American General John B. Magruder, the German Prince Felix zu Salm-Salm and others. Some could even confuse those doing the classifying such as the eventual turncoat Colonel Miguel Lopez who was a Mexican born and raised but whose skin was so fair and hair so blonde many mistook him for a European officer.

The Sudanese Battalion

They may have lagged behind their republican enemies in state-of-the-art weaponry but the imperialists were certainly a much more colorful bunch. The Sudanese wore baggy white uniforms with red sashes and fezzes while their officers wore red uniforms almost totally covered in gold braid. They were quite a unique unit by themselves with Black African soldiers, led by Turkish or Egyptian officers sent by a Khedive whose family was Albanian and under the religious authority of a Sultan who was a quarter French and whose mother was Wallachian. The Hungarian hussars favored uniforms that resembled their national colors of green, red and white which was probably popular being the same as the national colors of Mexico. There were the Red Hussars who took their name from their bright outfits, the Belgians in their braided tunics and tall hats and French zouaves outfitted in the Algerian style which was very popular at the time. Their languages were equally diverse. The Mexicans spoke Spanish of course but some officers could speak French just as some French officers who had served in Spain could speak Spanish. The Belgian officers spoke French while many of their troops spoke Dutch and amongst the Austrian Corps the infantry spoke German, the lancers spoke Polish and the hussars spoke Hungarian. The Americans spoke English of course but luckily the families of southern plantation owners usually taught their children French, the language of “civilization”. Some veterans of the Mexican-American War had picked up at least a little Spanish as well during their service south of the border.

A totally foreign observer would be forgiven for thinking that Mexico was the scene of some sort of world conflict during the mid 1860’s. Of those European monarchies not represented on the battlefield, most were at least supportive of the Mexican Empire. The British Empire could make or break almost any overseas adventure, and Britain was not thrilled about anything that would rock the boat and possibly disrupt trade but they were not adamantly opposed either. Whatever was thought of the establishment of a monarchy, there was no doubt that the would-be emperor was popular. Queen Victoria was positively effusive in her praise of Maximilian when her uncle Leopold sent him to London for her inspection prior to Max marrying his daughter. After listing a number of his wonderful attributes, Queen Victoria bestowed upon him the greatest compliment possible for her, saying he seemed “so English”. When the couple were on their way to Mexico years later the British garrison at Gibraltar fired a thunderous salute as their vessel passed. The Spanish, as was becoming habitual, were too busy trying to see which faction could get rid of their own monarch first to worry much about Mexico. King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, when Empress Carlota met him at Padua on her way to Rome, impressed on her his great admiration for Emperor Maximilian. According to the galantuomo he was ‘kind and good’ and Carlota proudly wrote to her husband, “He asked me to tell you how much he loved you, for, he added, ‘He has such good ideas…’” It is worth remembering that the Italians had only recently been given a drubbing by the Austrian fleet that Maximilian had prepared in his prior occupation as a Grand Admiral. However, regardless of politics, everyone seemed to adore Maximilian. Even his enemies in Mexico had a hard time hating the man himself.

Hungarian troops in Mexico

About the only foreign country solidly on the side of the Mexican republicans was the United States but, of course, that was the one country that mattered the most for Mexico. By 1865 the U.S. had the largest army and the largest navy in the world, the very latest weapons and freshly victorious, battle-hardened troops. No government in Mexico that failed to gain the approval of Washington DC could hope to survive. Perhaps more than all of the men and guns and supplies the U.S. sent to the rebels it was Secretary of State Seward who brought the full diplomatic weight of the U.S. against both the presence of French troops in Mexico and the sending of any other European forces to Mexico to aid Emperor Maximilian. Thousands of Austrian (not all “Austrians” of course) were ready to set sail when Seward threatened Vienna with war if they did so and the Kaiser backed down. Napoleon III did as well, recalling all of his forces just as they were on the cusp of victory and in spite of agreements signed with Maximilian. Seward invoked the “Monroe Doctrine” which claimed the western hemisphere as America’s exclusive sphere of influence and a “republics only club”. Ironically, this was the same man who had, earlier in his career, advocated that the United States annex Canada or Mexico or perhaps even both. From London to Paris to Vienna there were grumbles but no one would ever dare to challenge the might of the United States. This is important to remember since the conflict in Mexico is so often portrayed as “Mexico versus the foreigners” (which it was not, it was a Mexican civil war as much as anything). While it is true that the Empire of Maximilian had the most help from foreign countries it is no less true that the ultimate victory of the republic of Benito Juarez is owed entirely to the United States. Mexican patriots would do well to give that some serious thought even today.

Bishop Challoner's Meditations ~ December 1st


Consider first, that the time of Advent, (so called from being set aside by the church for worthily celebrating the advent, that is, the coming of Christ,) is a penitential time, and a time of devotion, in which we are every day called upon by the church of God to prepare the way of the Lord, to make straight his paths; to enter into the like dispositions of those which St. John the Baptist required of the people when he was sent to preach to them conversion and penance, in order to prepare them for their Messias; that so we also, by turning away from our sins, by sorrow and repentance, and turning ourselves to the Lord our God with our whole heart, by love and affection, may dispose our souls to welcome our Saviour whose birth we are about to celebrate, and to embrace in such manner the mercy and grace which he brings with him at his first coming as to escape hereafter those dreadful judgments which his justice shall execute upon impenitent sinners at his second coming. See then, my soul that thou dedicate this holy time to suitable exercise of devotion and penance, that thou mayest answer the end of this institution.

Consider 2ndly, in what manner we are all summoned by the church, at the beginning of this holy time, (in the words of St. Paul, Rom xiii. 11, read in the epistle of the First Sunday in Advent,) to dispose ourselves now for Christ. 'Knowing the time,' says the apostle, 'that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is passed, (or far spent,) the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light; let us walk decently, as in the day,' &c. O! my soul, let us consider these words as particularly addressed to us, in order to awaken us, and to stir us up to begin now a new life. Alas! have we not hitherto been quite asleep as to the greatest of all our concerns? Are not far the greatest part of Christians quite asleep by their unaccountable indolence in the great business of the salvation of their souls and of a happy eternity? Are they not sleeping too, which is worse, in the very midst of dangers and of mortal enemies, who are continually plotting their destruction, an even upon the very brink of a precipice, which if they fall down will let them in a moment into hell? O let us then all hearken seriously to this summons, and rouse ourselves now, whilst we have time, out of this unhappy lethargy, and from this hour begin to apply ourselves in good earnest to that only business for which we came into this world. O let us cast off now and for ever the works of darkness, and put on Jesus Christ.

Consider 3rdly, that on the First Sunday of Advent, the terrors also of God's justice are set before our eyes, in the description given in the gospel of the great accounting day; to the end, that they that will not correspond with the sweet invitations of God's mercy, and awake from sleep at the summons addressed to them in the epistle, may be roused at least by the thunder of his justice, denounced in the gospel; and be induced by the wholesome fear of the dreadful judgments that are continually hanging over the heads of impenitent sinners, to make good use of this present time of mercy, lest hereafter there should be neither time nor mercy for them. Ah! sinners, if this day you hear the voice of the Lord, either sweetly inviting you with the allurements of his mercy, or terrifying you with the threats of his judgments, see you harden not your hearts. For now is your time. Sleep on no longer, lest you come to sleep in death, as it happened to them of old, who by refusing to hearken to God's voice, provoked him so far, that he swore to them in his wrath, that they should never enter into his rest. O remember that 'the day of the Lord and his judgments shall come as a snare upon all them that will not watch,' Luke xxi. 55.

Conclude to enter now into the true spirit of this holy time - which is a penitential spirit - and to prepare the way of the Lord, by putting away all thy sins, and purifying thy soul for him; thus shalt thou welcome him at his coming, and shalt be welcome to him.

1 December, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

The Blessedness of the Peacemakers

1. The spirit of peace pervades the Gospel. When Jesus is born, choirs of Angels sing above the stable in Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of good will.” (Luke 2:14) When our Saviour has risen gloriously from the dead, He appears to His disciples and greets them with the words: “Peace be to you.” Finally, when He is departing from this earth He leaves His peace to His followers as their inheritance. “Peace I leave with you,” He says to them, “my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, or be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Exactly what is the peace of Jesus Christ? It is much different from worldly peace, presuming that the world can give some kind of peace. St. Paul says of the Saviour that “he himself is our peace.” (Eph. 2:14) How are we to understand what is meant by this? The Apostle himself explains when he writes: “Having been justified by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Rom. 5:1) 

Jesus Christ, therefore, is our peacemaker. He has shouldered our iniquities and has offered Himself to the Father as a victim of expiation and of reconciliation. It is at the price of Christ's precious blood that we have regained peace with God and freedom from our sins. This is the peace which our Lord has given us. Let us remember, however, that if we return to the slavery of sin we shall lose at once the jewel of peace which Jesus Christ has bestowed on us. “There is no peace to the wicked.” (Is. 48:22) We have experienced on many occasions how true this is. Sin destroys peace of soul because it deprives us of Jesus, without Whom peace cannot survive. Let us resolve, therefore, to remain always close to our Lord and far from sin. Then only shall we be able to preserve our peace of mind in the midst of temptations and of earthly sorrows.

2. We should not imagine, however, that the peace which Jesus brought to us is a lifeless peace like that of a cemetery. On the contrary, it is the peace of conquest, a living peace. It cannot be attained by the sluggard who is aiming at an easy and comfortable existence, but by the generous warrior who is always prepared to throw himself into the fight for virtue, for the glory of God, and for the salvation of souls.

The peace of Jesus Christ is a victory over the evil which is rampant within us and around us. It demands vigilance, strife, and perseverance in fidelity to our Lord. It requires the spirit of sacrifice, the love of God, and dedication to the welfare of our fellow-men. It is the fruit of internal and external combat. It excludes all rancour, envy, detraction, and malice, which is why it costs so much hardship and conflict. When a man has gained the victory, however, he experiences that wonderful spiritual tranquillity which God alone can give.

3.”Blessed are the peacemakers,” said Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, “for they shall be called children of God.”(Mt. 5:9)

True Christian peace, which accompanies the perfect control of the passions and complete dedication to God's cause, makes us like God and enables us by His grace to become His adopted children. He is the God of peace, in Whom there is no conflict, but only perfect order and harmony. Since He is pure act, He understands Himself fully in all His beauty and perfection, and knowing Himself He loves Himself. He is peace, in an active and not in a passive sense. For this reason the peacemakers are singled out in a special way as the children of God. In other words, they become like God when they acquire that interior tranquillity which is the fruit of virtue and of victory over the flesh. With the help of divine grace, we should do our utmost to gain this peace.

Eastern Rite - Feasts of 1 December AM 7532

Today is the Feast of the Holy Prophet Nahum.

The Holy Prophet Nahum, whose name means “God consoles,” was from the village of Elkosh (Galilee). He lived during the seventh century B.C. The Prophet Naum prophesies the ruin of the Assyrian city of Nineveh because of its iniquity, the destruction of the Israelite kingdom, and the blasphemy of King Sennacherib against God. The Assyrian king Ashurbanipal died in 632 B.C., and over the next two decades, his empire began to crumble. Nineveh fell in 612 B.C.

Nahum differs from most of the prophets in as much as he does not issue any call to repentance, nor does he denounce Israel for infidelity to God.

Details of the prophet’s life are unknown. He died at the age of forty-five and was buried in his native region. He is the seventh of the Twelve Minor Prophets

The Prophet Nahum is invoked for people with mental disorders.

Troparion — Tone 4

We celebrate the memory / of Your prophet Nahum, O Lord; / through him, we entreat You, / save our souls.

Kontakion — Tone 2

(Podoben: “Today You have shown forth...”)
Enlightened by the Spirit, your pure heart became the dwelling place of most splendid prophecy; / for you saw things far off as if they were near. / Therefore, we honor you, blessed and glorious Prophet Nahum.


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 1 DECEMBER – FERIA: Dom Prosper Guéranger: The Church of Rome does not keep this day as a feast of any Saint. She simply recites the Office of the Feria unle...

1 December, The Chesterton Calendar


In this world of ours we do not so much go on and discover small things: rather we go on and discover big things. It is the detail that we see first; it is the design that we only see very slowly, and some men die never having seen it at all. We see certain squadrons in certain uniforms gallop past; we take an arbitrary fancy to this or that colour, to this or that plume. But it often takes us a long time to realize what the fight is about or even who is fighting whom.

So in the modern intellectual world we can see flags of many colours, deeds of manifold interest; the one thing we cannot see is the map. We cannot see the simplified statement which tells us what is the origin of all the trouble.

'William Blake.'

1 December, The Holy Rule of St Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism

CHAPTER L. Of the Brethren who are working at a distance from the Oratory, or are on a journey

1 Apr. 1 Aug. 1 Dec.

Let the brethren who are at work at a great distance, or on a journey, and cannot come to the Oratory at the proper time (the Abbot judging such to be the case) perform the Work of God there where they are labouring, in godly fear, and on bended knees. In like manner, let not those who are sent on a journey allow the appointed Hours to pass by; but, as far as they can, observe them by themselves, and not neglect to fulfil their obligation of divine service.

2 December, The Roman Martyrology

Quarto Nonas Decémbris Luna undevicésima Anno Dómini 2023

December 2nd 2023, the 19th day of the Moon, were born into the better life:

At Rome, (about the year 363,) the holy Virgin and martyr Bibiana, who under, the profane Emperor Julian was for Christ's sake flogged to death with scourges loaded with lead.
There likewise, the holy martyrs the Priest Eusebius, the Deacon Marcellus, Hippolytus, Maximus, Adria, Paulina, Neo, Mary, Martana, and Aurelia, who suffered martyrdom under the judge Secundian, in the persecution under the Emperor Valerian, (in the year 256.)
Likewise at Rome, (at the end of the 2nd century,) the holy martyr Pontian and four others.
In Africa, the holy martyrs Severus, Securus, Januarius, and Victorinus, who were there crowned with martyrdom, (about the year of Christ 300.) At Aquileia, (about the year 409,) the holy Confessor Chromatius, Bishop (of that see.)
At Imola, (in the year 450,) holy Peter, Bishop of Ravenna, styled Chrysologus, (or him of the golden words,) famous for his teaching and holiness, whose feast we keep upon the 4th day of this present month.
At Verona, (in the sixth century,) the holy Confessor Lupus, Bishop (of that see.)
At Edessa, (about the year 468,) holy Nonnus, Bishop (first of that see, and afterwards of Heliopolis in Syria,) through whose prayers Pelagia the penitent was converted to Christ.
At Troas, in Phrygia, holy Bishop Silvanus, famous for miracles.
At Brescia, holy Bishop Evasius.
℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
℟. Thanks be to God.

Meme of the Moment

Foundress of Planned Parenthood. Wonderful person!


From St Thomas Aquinas Seminary. You may follow the Office at Divinum Officium.


From St Thomas Aquinas Seminary. 

The Holy Rosary

Thursday, the Joyful Mysteries, in Latin with Cardinal Burke.

The HRE Was Actually Holy, Roman and an Empire

Voltaire hated everything about the HRE. It was anti-national, Catholic, and an Empire, all concepts anathema to him.

00:00 Intro 01:29 Origins of the Quote 03:00 Holy 08:59 Roman 14:54 Empire

Can Catholics Believe in Astrology?

With Fr Ambrose Little, OP, PhL, PhD, Assistant Director, Thomistic Institute.

Now They're Trying To Tell Us That Synodality Will Fix The World's Problems

Did St. Andrew the Apostle Erect a Cross in Kyiv?

There is 'little evidence' to support most stories of the Apostles after the Ascension, but the prophecy as recorded certainly came true! 

From Aleteia

By Philip Kosloski

According to local tradition, St. Andrew the Apostle traveled to Ukraine and erected a cross in what would become Kyiv.

Little is know about the travels of the apostles after Jesus’ ascension into Heaven, but local tradition claims that St. Andrew the Apostle traveled to Ukraine and erected a cross near Kyiv.

The 1917 book, The Conversion of Europe, gives a brief summary of this tradition.

When St. Andrew the Apostle of Scythia, ascending the river Dnipro on his way from Sinope to Rome, beheld the heights of Kyiv he exclaimed, “See you those hills? The grace of God shall enlighten them. There shall be a great city, and God shall cause many churches there to be built.” Then he climbed these heights and blessed them and set up a cross and prayed to God.

There is little evidence that supports this story, but it is believed that the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Kyiv was built on the site of St. Andrew’s cross.

JaySi | Shutterstock

St. Andrew has been a patron saint of both Ukraine and Russia for many centuries, and the church built there is regarded as an essential part of the history of Christianity in that region of the world.

In the Western Church, other traditions point to Andrew as the Apostle to the Greeks. It is believed that he preached to Greek communities and was martyred at Patras on a cross in the shape of an X. His relics were eventually transferred to the Duomo Cathedral in Amalfi, Italy.

St Andrew, Apostle ~ Dom Prosper Guéranger

St Andrew, Apostle

From Dom Prosper Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

This feast is destined each year to terminate with solemnity the cycle which is at its close, or to add luster to the new one which has just begun. It seems, indeed, fitting that the Christian year should begin and end with the cross, which has merited for us each of those years which it has pleased the divine goodness to grant us, and which is to appear, on the last day, in the clouds of heaven, as the seal put on time.

We should remember that Saint Andrew is the Apostle of the Cross. To Peter, Jesus has given firmness of faith; to John, warmth of love; the mission of Andrew is to represent the Cross of his divine Master. Now it is by these three, faith, love, and the Cross, that the Church renders herself worthy of her Spouse. Everything she has or is, bears this threefold character. Hence it is that after the two Apostles just named, there is none who holds such a prominent place in the universal Liturgy as Saint Andrew.

But let us read the life of this glorious fisherman of the lake of Genesareth, who was afterwards to be the successor of Christ himself, and the companion of Peter, on the tree of the Cross. The Church has compiled it from the ancient Acts of the Martyrdom of the holy Apostle, drawn up by the priests of the Church of Patræ, which was founded by the Saint. The authenticity of this venerable piece has been contested by Protestants, inasmuch as it makes mention of several things which would militate against them. Their sentiment has been adopted by several critics of the 17th and 18th centuries. On the other hand, these Acts have been received by a far greater number of Catholic writers of eminence; amongst whom may be mentioned the great Baronius, Labbe, Natalis Alexander, Gallandus, Lumper, Morcelli, etc. The Churches, too, of both East and West, which have inserted these Acts in their respective Offices of St. Andrew, are of some authority, as is also St. Bernard, who has made them the groundwork of his three admirable sermons on St. Andrew.

Andrew, the Apostle, born at Bethsaida, a town of Galilee, was brother of Peter, and disciple of John the Baptist. Having heard his master say, speaking of Christ: Behold the Lamb of God! he followed Jesus, and brought to him his brother also. When, afterwards, he was fishing with his brother in the sea of Galilee, they were both called, before any of the other Apostles, by our Lord, who, passing by, said to them: Come after me; I will make you to be fishers of men. Without delay, they left their nets and followed him. After the passion and resurrection, Andrew went to spread the faith of Christ in Scythia in Europe, which was the province assigned to him; then he travelled through Epirus and Thrace, and by his teaching and miracles converted innumerable souls to Christ. Afterwards, having reached Patræ in Achaia, he persuaded many in that city to embrace the truth of the Gospel. Finding that the Proconsul Ægeas resisted the preaching of the Gospel, he most freely upbraided him for that he, who desired to be considered as a judge of men, should be so far deceived by devils as not to acknowledge Christ to be God, the Judge of all.

Then Ægeas being angry, said: Cease to boast of this Christ, whom such like words as these kept not from being crucified by the Jews. But finding that Andrew continued boldly preaching that Christ had offered himself to be crucified for the salvation of mankind, he interrupts him by an impious speech, and at length exhorts him to look to his own interest and sacrifice to the gods. Andrew answered him: I offer up every day to almighty God, who is one and true, not the flesh of oxen, nor the blood of goats, but the spotless Lamb upon the altar; of whose flesh the whole multitude of the faithful eat, and the Lamb that is sacrificed, remains whole and living. Whereupon Ægeas being exceeding angry, orders him to be thrust into prison, whence the people would easily have freed Andrew, had he not himself appeased the multitude, begging of them, with most earnest entreaty, that they would not keep him from the long-sought-for crown of martyrdom, to which he was hastening.

Not long after this, he was brought before the tribunal, where he began to extol the mystery of the Cross, and rebuke the judge for his impiety. Ægeas, no longer able to contain himself on hearing these words, ordered him to be hoisted on a cross, and so to die like Christ. Andrew having been brought to the place of execution, seeing the Cross at some distance, began to cry out: O good Cross, made beautiful by the body of my Lord! so long desired, so anxiously loved, so unceasingly sought after, and now at last ready for my soul to enjoy! take me to my Master, that by thee He may receive me, who by thee redeemed me. He was therefore fastened to the cross, on which he hung alive two days, preaching without cessation the faith of Christ: after which he passed to Him, whose death he had so coveted. The Priests and Deacons of Achaia, who wrote his Passion, attest that all the things which they have recorded were heard and seen by them. His relics were first translated to Constantinople, under the emperor Constantius, and afterwards to Amalfi. During the Pontificate of Pius II, the head was taken to Rome, and placed in the Basilica of St. Peter.

Nothing could be more expressive than the language used by holy Church in praise of the Apostle of the Cross. First, she employs the words of the Gospel, which record the circumstances of his vocation; then, she selects the most touching passages from the Acts of his martyrdom, drawn up by the priests of Patræ; and both are intermingled with appropriate sentiments of her own. Our first selection shall be from the Responsories of Matins.

℟. When the Lord was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Peter and Andrew casting nets into the sea, and he called them, saying: — Come after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. ℣. For they were fishers, and he saith to them: — Come after me, I will make you to be fishers of men.

℟. As soon as blessed Andrew heard the voice of the Lord calling him, leaving his nets, by the use and working of which he lived, — He followed him who gives the reward of eternal life. ℣. This is he who, for the love of Christ, hung upon a cross, and for his law endured a passion. — He followed Him who gives the reward of eternal life.

℟. Andrew, the good Teacher, and the friend of God, is led to the Cross; which, seeing afar off, he says: Hail, O Cross! — Receive the disciple of Him who hung upon thee, Christ, my master. ℣. Hail, O Cross, which art consecrated by the body of Christ, and art adorned by his members as with pearls. — Receive the disciple of Him who hung upon thee, Christ, my master.

℟. Andrew seeing the Cross, cried out, saying: O admirable Cross! O desirable Cross! O Cross which shinest throughout the whole world! — Receive the disciple of Christ, and by thee may He receive me, who dying by thee redeemed me. ℣. O good Cross, which art made fair and beautiful by the body of the Lord. — Receive the disciple of Christ, and by thee may he receive me, who dying by thee redeemed me.

℟. Saint Andrew prayed, as he looked up to heaven, and with a loud voice, cried out and said: Thou art my God, whom I have seen: suffer me not to be detached by the impious judge: — For I have learnt the power of the holy Cross. ℣. Thou art the Christ my master, whom I have loved, whom I have known, whom I have confessed: graciously hear me in this one prayer. — For I have learnt the power of the holy Cross.


Hail O precious Cross! receive the disciple of Him, who hung upon thee, Christ my master.

The blessed Andrew prayed, saying: O Lord, King of eternal glory, receive me hanging on this gibbet.

Andrew, the servant of Christ, the worthy Apostle of God, the brother of Peter, and his companion in the cross.

Maximilla, a woman dear to Christ, took the body of the Apostle, and embalming it, buried it in a most honored place.

Thou, O Lord, didst plunge into hell them that persecuted thy just one, and wast his guide and helper on the wood of the cross.

In order to avoid lengthy repetition, we refer our readers to the Advent volume for the translation of the various liturgical pieces.

God grants us to meet thee, O blessed Andrew, at the threshold of the mystic Season of Advent, on which we are so soon to enter. When Jesus, our Messias, began his public life, thou hadst already become the obedient disciple of the Precursor, who preached his coming: thou wast among the first of them who received the Son of Mary as the Messias foretold in the law and the prophets. But thou couldst not keep the heavenly secret from him who was so dear to thee; to Peter, then, thou didst bear the good tidings, and didst lead him to Jesus.

O blessed Apostle! we also are longing for the Messias, the Savior of our souls; since thou hast found him, lead us also unto him. We place under thy protection the holy period of expectation and preparation, which is to bring us to the day of our Savior’s Nativity, that divine mystery in which he will manifest himself to the world. Assist us to render ourselves worthy of seeing him on that great night. The baptism of penance prepared thee for receiving the grace of knowing the Word of life; pray for us that we may become truly penitent and may purify our hearts, during that holy time, and thus be able to behold him, who has said: Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.

Thou hast a special power of leading souls to Jesus, O glorious Saint! for even he, who was to be made the pastor of the whole flock, was presented to the Messias by thee. By calling thee to himself on this day, our Lord has given thee as the patron of Christians who, each year, seeking again that God in whom thou art now living, pray to thee to show them the way which leads to Jesus.

Thou teachest us this way; it is that of fidelity, of fidelity even to the Cross. In that way thou didst courageously walk: and because the Cross leads to Jesus Christ, thou didst passionately love the Cross. Pray for us, O holy Apostle! that we may begin to understand this love of the Cross; and that having understood it, we may put it in practice. Thy brother says to us in his Epistle: Christ having suffered in the flesh, be you also armed with the same thought. (1 Peter 4:1) Thy feast, O blessed Andrew! shows us thee as the living commentary of this doctrine. Because thy Master was crucified, thou wouldst also be crucified. From the high throne to which thou hast been raised by the Cross, pray for us, that the Cross may be unto us the expiation of the sins which are upon us, the quenching of the passions which burn within us, and the means of uniting us by love to him, who, through love alone for us, was nailed to the cross.