30 April 2024

St Joseph Against the Communists

Fr Zed discusses today's Feast of St Joseph the Worker, instituted to counteract the Reds' Labour Day celebrations on May Day. (This was originally published in 2022, hence the shift in days of the week.)

From One Peter Five

By Fr John Zuhlsdorf

This year the 1 May observance of the 2nd Sunday after Easter gives way in honor of St. Joseph, whom we venerate among his other many roles and titles as a patron of laborers and as the “Worker.”

In contrast to what we see now in the Church, to create counterplay against the rise of Communism Popes of the early and mid-20th century invoked St. Joseph, described in this Sunday’s Gospel as a tekton, in Greek “builder” of wood and of stone, often translated at “carpenter.” Pius XI, of happy memory, in 1937 wrote: “We place the vast campaign of the Church against world communism under the standard of St. Joseph, her mighty protector.” Try to imagine that today. To counter the Communist celebration of “May Day,” in 1955 Pope Pius XII declared that same 1 May to be the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Try to imagine that today.

Today, there is an aggressive resurgence of forms of atheistic materialism, filtered like the aboriginal serpent’s lie-venom through the fangs of wealth redistribution and confused biology accompanied by the distracting rattles and hisses of race baiting. How has the Church lately engaged with Communist aggression? In 2018, Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, appointed by Francis as Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said, “Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese.” I don’t imagine that the late, great Ignatius Card. Kung or the very much alive, great Joseph Card. Zen would agree. Following an agreement made between the Holy See and China, details undisclosed, there are now images of the President of the People’s Republic, also Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, installed in increasingly sinicized Catholic churches. In recent memory, St. John Paul II worked to undermine Communism. It was not all that long ago that Pius XI wrote in Quadragesimo anno 20:

If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.

Entrusting the universal Church to her great patron and defender, St. Joseph, under the title today of “the worker,” may we all take stock of our blessings and perform works of mercy for the temporally and spiritually downtrodden while offering acts of reparation especially for the sins of omission of our shepherds.

Let us turn to happier thoughts. The Gospel reading for the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker is the account from Matthew of Christ’s return to Nazareth and the people’s rejection of Him. Matthew 13 has parallels in Luke 4 and Mark 6. The Mark and Matthew accounts have one of those references which unbelievers, critics of Christianity and modernists jump on: the Lord’s “brothers,” Greek “adephoí,” which to them proves that Christ’s Blessed Mother was not after all ever-virgin. The “brethren” of Jesus are also mentioned in Matthew 12:46 and his “sisters” here in Matthew 13:55f and in Mark 6:3.

Various explanations have been offered of this seeming contradiction in Scripture to the perennial, dogmatic teaching of the Church about Mary. Firstly, while the barebones meaning of “brothers” is obviously “children of the same parent/s,” it also means other things by extension. Even in Scripture, “brothers” is used for non-biological siblings. In Gen 13:8, for example, it indicated people who belonged to the same extended group. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, spoke of the Lord’s appearance to 500 “adelphoi… brethren” (1 Cor 15:6). Another point is that the “brothers” (and “sisters”) of Jesus are never said to be the children of Mary, Mother of Jesus, but Christ is explicitly called the son of Mary, as at Cana (John 2:1) and in the Upper Room (Acts 1:14).

Furthermore, there are several Marys named in the Gospels, as in Matthew 27:56: Mary the mother of James and Joseph. Coincidently, in today’s Gospel passage in Nazareth, James and Joseph are two of the so-called brethren named. James and Joseph were very common names, as was Mary, Miriam, which causes some confusion in our reading of the Scriptures, not to mention variants of the same name. For example, English “James” is Greek “Iakobos,” Hebrew “Yaakov,” which is, therefore, also, “Jacob”: “James” and “Jacob” are really the same name.

A careful reading of Scripture reveals nothing certain about the “brethren” of the Lord. The early Church writers and Fathers, however, are of one mind on the matter. For example, St. Jerome suggested that the “brethren” were sons of Joseph from a previous marriage. So does the apocryphal, non-scriptural 2nd c. Protoevangelium of James, which provides an image of Joseph as an elderly widower, which also was to safeguard Mary’s perpetual virginity. This image of Joseph as an elderly man was for long dominant in artwork. Also, we find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (502):

Jesus is Mary’s only Son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed He came to save: ‘The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother’s love.’

Hence, the “brothers” and “sisters” of Jesus are not biological “brothers” as in “uterine brothers,” that is, children of the same mother. They might be half-brothers by the same father, or perhaps cousins, or even members of a strongly knit, almost familial group. Christ was the only child of Mary, though through Christ we all are her children. By the way, Christ has only Mary’s DNA.

Since the name “James” has come up, and since one of the Catholic Epistles in the New Testament bears the name of “James”, and since there seem to be many men with this distinguished name in Holy Writ, let’s untangle this knot of Jameses.

Firstly, let’s consider the one called James, the “brother of Jesus.” He is also, according to St. Clement of Alexandria, called James “the Just” or “the Righteous.” He is, in addition, famously called “James the Lesser.” Why “Lesser”? “Minor”? Maybe because he was short. He appears four times in the New Testament in lists of the Apostles. This is not the James who, with John the Evangelist, was the son of Zebedee, who is “James the Greater.” James, the Just, the Lesser, the “brother of the Lord,” was the son of Alphaeus. Matthew is also called son of Alphaeus, though there is no explicit statement that they are brothers. Again, it could be two different men named Alphaeus. “Alphaeus” might be an attempt to render into Greek the name “Clopas… Cleopas,” the beginning rough “c” lining up with the rough Aramaic initial “a” or “h.” The Holy women at the Cross were Mary Magdalene, Salome (wife of Zebedee, mother of John the Evangelist and James the Greater), and Mary of Clopas (wife of Clopas, who could be Alphaeus), “the mother of James” (Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10). Last Sunday, as it happened, the Easter Octave, the Sunday with half a dozen nicknames, was also the Feast of Sts. Mary of Clopas and Salome.

What happened to this James, the Lesser, brother of the Lord? Early Church historian Eusebius says that Peter, John and James the Greater (the inner circle within the Twelve) appointed him to lead the Church of Jerusalem and be its first bishop. In Acts 15:13-21, when the Church determined that Gentile converts did not have to be circumcised, in was James the Lesser who stated the decision that Peter ratified. Paul told the Galatians in his letter written between AD 49-58 that the only Apostle whom he met in Jerusalem was James, “the Lord’s brother” (1:19). The rest of the Apostles had spread out by then and James remained in Jerusalem. There are divided traditions about James the Lesser’s martyrdom. According the Jewish historian Josephus, James “the brother of Jesus” was stoned by the order of the Sadducee High Priest Ananus in AD 62 or 69. Early 3rd c. Hippolytus has James, “son of Alphaeus” stoned in Jerusalem and buried by the Temple.

Coincidently, I write this column about Sunday, 1 May, which way back in the day had a Roman Station church assigned, the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles. Moreover, before 1 May became the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, it was the Feast of Sts. Philip and James the Lesser, whose remains are venerated in the old Roman Station for today, the aforementioned Basilica. The Apostles’ Feast was moved to 11 May. Their relics, translated here in 886 by a barefoot Pope Stephen IV who carried them on his shoulders from the catacombs, were hidden in the structure out of fear of desecration during invasion and only rediscovered in 1837. They are now beneath the main altar.

James the Greater, Maior, was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostles and Evangelist. Christ called them “Boanerges … Sons of Thunder” because they wanted Christ to punish a city for rejecting Him (Mark 3:17). He was, with Peter and John, in the inner circle of the Twelve. He was one of the eyewitnesses of the Transfiguration. His Feast is 25 July. James the Greater was beheaded in AD 44 at the order of King Herod Agrippa in Jerusalem (Acts 12:1-2).

Who was the author of the New Testament Letter of James? From the onset, the Letter itself says, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in dispersion. Greeting” (v.1:1). The Letter has been attributed to James the Lesser, “brother of Jesus.”

Our early forbears in the Faith were strong in the face of evil governance and bloody persecution. Together they shepherded the early Church and nurtured its growth with great diligence and sacrifice. St. Joseph did the same in the context of the Holy Family. He was the protector of Mary and Jesus both on their way to and from Bethlehem, but also to and from Egypt when they fled from Herod the Great’s cruel assassinations. Hence, Joseph is named in the Litany approved by Pius X in 1909 as “Chaste guardian of the Virgin… Diligent protector of Christ… Protector of Holy Church.”

This Sunday we would do well to recite the Litany of St. Joseph, alone if need be, but better in a group and even better in church, as a congregation, perhaps at the conclusion of Holy Mass. Bring your hopes and petitions to St. Joseph, especially for the Church. Pray also for those who are in need of work or whose positions are becoming untenable due to the encroachment of evil ideologies and sick agendas.

St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, pray for us.

Starting Your Day like a Medieval Warrior

'Men who want to build civilisations must not only dedicate themselves to worship and study, but they must train.' Dr Morello explains his own training regime.

From The European Conservative

By Sebastian Morello, PhD

Men who want to build civilisations must not only dedicate themselves to worship and study, but they must train.

My neighbours have grown accustomed to seeing me each morning in my garden, moving about in nothing but my underpants whilst wielding a large metal mace to the chants of Hildegard von Bingen. They probably found it alarming initially, but there I am every morning, almost naked, clubbing imaginary Saracen invaders. Seeing me there is as predictable as the sun rising. 

Being a writer, editor, and researcher, it is very difficult to keep fit. I walk my dog a couple of times a day and I hunt through the season, but most of my life is sedentary. This inactive existence is especially problematic for I am racked with back problems, including scoliosis, the effects of which can only be kicked down the road by the strengthening of core muscles and constant movement. Not good, then, for a bookish sort. And I do not want to be crippled by my bad spine too early, as for many years to come I hope to lift my children into my arms and charge about with them, I want to be able to haul a freshly shot buck up a hill, and in the decades to come I want to dance at my children’s weddings. 

When it came to regular exercise, I tried everything. I sprinted. I used dumbbells. I used kettlebells. I used resistance bands. I used an outdoor gym. But nothing quite seemed to build up the core strength that I needed. Then, one day, searching about online, I learned that some Westerners were turning to a fitness tool that had been used for three millennia by Persians and Indians both for cardiovascular endurance and core to upper body strength: the gada. 

A gada is what in English we would call a mace. It is a stick with a heavy ball on the end. In India, this weapon is associated with Hanuman, a monkey-god especially venerated by Indian wrestlers who have been using gadas for as long as history to build up their throwing power. In the last couple of decades, the traditional Indian gada has been developed by Western fitness enthusiasts into a sleeker piece of equipment simply called a ‘steel mace.’ 

There are a set number of movements that one must first learn in order to wield a steel mace effectively and gain the most from one’s morning workout: 360s, 8-10s, front presses, grave diggers, uppercuts, barbarian squats, hand switches, joust lunges, jabs, rows, and a few more. Once you know these, and you’ve practiced them to the point that you’re confident in executing them without injuring yourself, it then gets really interesting. Things get interesting because you can then integrate these movements into a seamless single complex which looks like something between a martial arts kata and a dance. Throw the Sybil of the Rhine’s mystic chants into the mix and you have there a pretty enrapturing start to the day.

Continuous movement with a mace over a prolonged period of time is referred to as ‘mace flow,’ a phrase that seems fitting as its practice quickly places one into what psychologists call the ‘flow state.’ The flow state is a cognitive condition in which one is so immersed in the activity at hand, and so concentrated on the task—which is crucial during mace training, for the alternative to intense concentration is hitting oneself with a large ball of solid steel—that one ceases to see from without, so to speak. Such a shift in perception is no small achievement, for the modern mind is an observing mind and not a participatory mind. The observing mind is a mind a step removed from reality, rather than in union with it. And it is precisely our proclivity for observing everything, rather than becoming mentally absorbed in reality, that not only makes our observation so blind but ever escalates our modern sense of alienation, from each other and from the world.

Perhaps worse than our alienation from each other and from the world around us, however, is the alienation modern man feels from his very own body. Increasingly, psychologists are linking widespread depression to the deficit of embodied ‘flow’ in modern life. This problem is made worse by the proliferation of counterfeit flow experiences found in videogames, in which one experiences all the concentration without any of the embodiment essential for feeling alive. The result is dejection and frustration. At the end of a mace workout, on the other hand, one feels exhausted but fully alive. Moving to the rhythm of the music while an ancient weapon soars around your body mentally places you in an experience of the ages, in which the spirits of all the great warriors down the centuries are incarnated in your activity. 

Generally speaking, there are two types of people who are interested in mace training: new agers and neo-vikings, between whom you can only fit a rizla paper in any case. This is perhaps understandable, as members of both groups would typically look a little out of place in a commercial gym. Both groups are veiled traditionalists, who instinctively look for manifestations of traditional cultures and ancient wisdom traditions to be sources of meaning. Both groups also privilege belonging over vanity, which is why they tend to build strong communities of people who look awful.

Since I was introduced to this marvellous figure of history, when mace training I like to recall the French knight Jean II Le Maingre “Boucicaut” (1366-1421)—widely deemed the personification of chivalry and a knight perhaps unequalled in his number of campaigns—whose biographer in a work written during Boucicaut’s lifetime had this to say about him:

He would train for hours with a battle-axe or a hammer to harden himself to armour and to exercise his arms and hands, so that he could easily raise his arms when fully armed. Doing such exercises gave him a physique so strong that there was no other gentleman in his time who was so proficient—for he could do a somersault fully armed but for his bascinet, and he could dance equipped in a coat of mail.

That is what is especially enjoyable about using a mace: one feels like a warrior in training. And on account of the countless hours I have spent wielding what is essentially an ancient weapon of war, I feel that I could confidently defend myself with a cudgel—and when one is under attack, most nearby objects look a lot like a cudgel. 

A great thing about the mace is that all you need is this one exercise tool, which can be stored easily, and which prioritises not vanity but functional strength training that focuses on the core muscles. In The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell writes of going down a coal mine and watching the men strip off to work in the muggy conditions there, and he notes that he’d been hitherto unaware that human bodies could be so beautiful. Those men did not have bulging vanity muscles like those that exercise machines can give you, but they had the bodies of men who move.

When using a mace, you are contending with an off-set weight, which means that as it moves it constantly destabilises you, requiring you to engage your stabilising muscles to stay upright. This in turn builds the muscles you need to move quickly, it gives you a good posture, and it affords you a certain control over your body that otherwise is easy to lose. The mind’s union with the body is an aspect of human existence that ought to concern us, given that its disunion with the body is the very definition of death. And death doesn’t just come all at once, it creeps up on you. Men should be especially aware of this; as men age, their testosterone levels rapidly drop—and modern men have a bad start due to the oestrogen-mimicking isoflavones in processed foods and the contraceptive pill in the tap water—and then they get weaker, get sick more frequently, and their cognition slows down.

In the West, the mace is a symbol of civilisation. In particular, they symbolise jurisdiction and power. They are displayed in parliaments to indicate that they are in session and are fully constituted. In the UK, the parliamentary use of the ceremonial mace specifically symbolises the role of the Crown, and the fact that the government gathered there is so gathered as the monarch’s government. Maces are carried before liturgical processions, marching military troops, and the chancellors and academic staff of universities—the last of these to indicate the independence and authority of such treasuries of wisdom, as they once were. Hence, maces are, in our civilisation, always present at its sources, and should remain in our minds symbols of the marvellous but fragile culture we have established together, against all odds, down the centuries—and thus its need to be defended.

The kind of men who want to build civilisations, men like the ancient Athenians or the medieval nobility, must not only dedicate themselves to worship and study, but they must train. Civilisation-builders should both look and be strong, as if prepared for anything. It is worth remembering that no one knows what is around the corner. Had you told me in 2019 that we would all soon be thrown under house arrest and threatened with loss of employment if we did not take experimental gene-therapies, I would not have believed you. Had you told me in 2020 that Eastern Europe would soon be cast into an internal war, I would have at least had my doubts. History has no direction, and nothing can be reliably predicted. Take control, then, over those few things that you can control. Get fit and get strong. Move around your garden or your living room, half-naked, wielding a steel mace for 40 minutes each morning whilst listening to chant. There is no better way to begin your day, or to prepare for tomorrow.

In Honour of St Joseph the Worker/Labour Day

Today is the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, instituted in 1955 by Ven. Pope Pius XII in order to counteract the Communist 'Labour Day' or 'International Workers’ Day' celebrated on May Day.

In honour of the Day, here is a link to the Great Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, considered by many to be the Catholic Charter of Labour. In it, he expresses support for the trade union movement and lays down the proper dispositions of a Catholic labour movement.

Rerum novarum, On the Rights and Duties of Capital and Labour

I am proud to be a retired union man. I have never worked where a union was available without being a member. The Cuter and Shorter Half is a union member, and our middle son just got his card in the the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC).

We are a union family. My children walked picket line when they were too young to carry a sign and I've never crossed a picket line in my life. As Jack London said, 'After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a waterlogged brain, and a combination backbone made of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.'

Many of my friends, who misunderstand the traditional Social Magisterium of the Popes, especially Leo XIII and Pius XI, assume that any supporter of the labour movement is a left-wing socialist. In fact, I was once accused of being a 'secret marxist out to infiltrate the Church'. The evidence for the accusation? I had just  quoted from Pope Leo's Encyclical I've linked above! It is said that many Priests refused to read the Encyclical from the Pulpit (as was the custom when Encyclicals were actually Letters, not books!), because they were convinced that the Pope had 'become a socialist'. This was the Pope who said in his Encyclical Diuturnum, on the Origin of the Civil Power, “…communism, socialism, nihilism, (are) hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin.”

At any rate, being a supporter of unions does not mean one is a socialist. 

Happy St Joseph the Worker/Labour Day!

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - Wednesday After the Fourth Sunday


Consider first, that we are not only to love God with our whole heart, that is, with our whole affections, but also with our whole soul, that is, by applying and employing all the powers of our soul in his divine love and service, because he made these souls of ours after his own image, and likewise for this very end, that they might be wholly dedicated to his love, and might turn all their powers and faculties towards him, to serve and glorify him for ever. Bring then, my soul, bring all thy powers to thy God, and oblige them all to bow down to this divine law of love, and ardently to embrace its happy service, which will ennoble and perfect them all. O let thy understanding be ever directed by its bright light into the ways of truth! The light of divine love will expel the dark mists raised by thy passions and self-love, which so often overcloud thee and make thee go astray. Let thy memory be ever recollected by divine love. Let all thy words and actions, let all thy desires, be ever guided and actuated by this heavenly charity. O blessed kingdom of divine love, when wilt thou come to me and take full possession of my whole soul?

Consider 2ndly, that as the will is that ruling power of the soul which is the proper seat of love, so it is the will, amongst all the powers of the soul, that ought in a special manner to be dedicated and consecrated to divine love. The will should ever have good for the object of her love, so as not to be able to love or embrace any thing that is not at least under the form or appearance of good. Now God alone is the true and Sovereign Good; and he alone can satisfy the inbred appetite she has for good. In the love of him alone she finds herself happy: all other loves do but impose upon her and deceive her with empty appearances. Therefore, for his sake, and because he is infinitely good in himself as well as for her own sake, and because he is her only true and sovereign good, she ought to give her whole self up to his heavenly love. O how happy is that will that is thus wholly dedicated to the love of God! How happy is that will that is the eternal servant of divine love, and makes a constant sacrifice of her whole liberty and property to the all-wise, all-powerful, and ever-loving will of God.

Consider 3rdly, how the great pattern of divine love, Jesus Christ our saviour, began the work of our redemption by devoting his whole will, without reserve and with all the ardour of his soul, to do and to love the blessed will of his Father. Hear how he expresses himself, Ps. xxxix. 8,9, 'Then, said I: Behold, I come. In the head of the book it is written of me, that I should do thy will; O my God, I have desired it, and thy law, in the midst of my heart.’ This will of his Father was, during his whole life, the continual object of his love, the subject of all his thoughts, the motive of all his words and actions. He loved it so that it was his very food; he laid down his life for the love of it. And didst not thou also, my soul, come into the world to love and to do the will of God? Is not thy will given thee for this end? Hast thou any other business here? Is it not also written of thee in the book of life that thou should’st do the will of God? And canst thou say with thy saviour, 'O my God, it is what I have willed, and my desire, in the midst of my heart!' O take heed lest, if thy will fall from this love of the will of God and of his holy law, thy name be blotted out of the book of life, which in effect is the same as the book of love.

Conclude to dedicate thy whole soul, with all its powers, to the love of God, and especially to make over thy will to him without reserve. This is a devotion the most solid and the most secure; the most agreeable to God and the most advantageous to thyself.

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

The Month of Mary

1. It is often said that May is the most beautiful month of the year. The flowers are in full bloom, the weather is mild, and the first fruits of the soil are beginning to reward man's labour. It is fitting that we should dedicate to Mary the most beautiful month of the year, for she is the most beautiful of God's creatures.

We should offer this month to Mary by increasing our love for her. We should love her with a filial love, for she loves us with the heart of a mother. If we contemplate her beauty and goodness, we shall be inflamed with love for her. It will be a tender love such as we have for our earthly mother, and at the same time a respectful and worshipful love such as we ought to have for the Mother of God. Our offering of the month of May to Mary should result in a twofold resolution:—the resolution to make good our failings and to advance in holiness. This is the only way in which we can prove the sincerity of our affection, by deeds rather than by words. It is certain that we have many faults of character. Let us examine ourselves in front of Our Lady's altar by comparing our weakness with her magnificence of soul. When we have discovered our failings, let us be courageous in eradicating them. We can offer this sacrifice to Mary with love and generosity, no matter how hard it may be.

We can spend every day of this month digging out those weeds in the garden of our soul, which our passions and the influence of the devil have helped to flourish. Let us plant and bring to perfection in their place the flowers of Christian virtue. In this way we shall make the month of May very pleasing to Mary.

2. This work of eradicating our faults and replacing them by their opposite virtues is a difficult task which we cannot carry out on our own. Prayer is necessary if we are to obtain the grace which we need. During Mary's month we should beseech our heavenly Mother with greater earnestness to obtain for us from her divine Son the grace which we need to correct the evil in our nature and to perfect it in goodness. Mary wants us to pray to her because she wishes to obtain for us the graces which we require. She loves us very much and is ready to help us to become, like her, living imitations of Jesus in so far as the weakness of our nature will permit. Among our other prayers let us remember to give pride of place to the Rosary, whether we recite it in church or with the family. Let us include at least a quarter of an hour of meditation; a daily visit, however short, to the Blessed Sacrament and to Our Lady's altar; an examination of conscience in the evening; and many ejaculatory prayers during the day which will express our love for Mary and for her divine Son.

3. Holy Mary, my most tender Mother, I love you and desire to love you more and more. I realise that I am spiritually poor and imperfect. You who are close to the all-powerful God, please help me by your favour and intercession. I know that Jesus will grant everything you ask of Him. Obtain for me, therefore, during this month, the grace to eradicate all my vices and to cause to flourish in my soul all the virtues of which I stand in need. Set my heart on fire with the love of God and help me to grow more and more like you and like your divine Son. Amen.

Eastern Rite - Feasts of 1 May AM 7532

Today is the Feasts of the Holy Prophet Jeremias, of the Coronation of the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God,  and of the Passing into Eternal Life of Blessed Hieromartyr Klymentii Sheptytsky, Archimandrite of the Studites.

The Holy Prophet Jeremias, one of the four great Old Testament prophets, was son of the priest Helkias from the city of Anathoth near Jerusalem, and he lived 600 years before the Birth of Christ, under the Israelite king Josias and four of his successors. He was called to prophetic service at the age of fifteen when the Lord revealed to him that even before his birth the Lord had chosen him to be a prophet. Jeremias refused, citing his youth and lack of skill at speaking, but the Lord promised to be always with him and to watch over him.

He touched the mouth of the chosen one and said, “Behold, I have put My words into your mouth. Behold, I have appointed you this day over nations and kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to rebuild, and to plant” (Jer. 1:9-10). From that time Jeremias prophesied for twenty-three years, denouncing the Jews for abandoning the true God and worshipping idols, predicting sorrows and devastating wars. He stood by the gates of the city, and at the entrance to the Temple, everywhere where the people gathered, and he exhorted them with imprecations and often with tears. The people, however, mocked and abused him, and they even tried to kill him.

Depicting for the Jews their impending enslavement to the king of Babylon, Jeremias first placed on his own neck a wooden, and then an iron yoke, and thus he went about among the people. Enraged at the dire predictions of the prophet, the Jewish elders threw the Prophet Jeremias into a pit filled with horrid, slimy creatures, where he almost died. Through the intercession of the God-fearing royal official Habdemelek, the prophet was pulled out of the pit, but he did not cease his prophecies, and for this, he was carted off to prison. Under the Jewish king Zedechias, his prophecy was fulfilled.

Nabuchodonosor came, slaughtered many people, carried off a remnant into captivity, and Jerusalem was pillaged and destroyed. Nabuchodonosor released the prophet from prison and permitted him to live where he wanted. The prophet remained at the ruins of Jerusalem and bewailed his nation’s misfortune. According to Tradition, the Prophet Jeremias took the Ark of the Covenant with the Tablets of the Law and hid it in one of the caves of Mount Nabath (Nebo), so that the Jews could no longer find it (2 Mac. 2). Afterwards, a new Ark of the Covenant was fashioned, but it lacked the glory of the first.

Among the Jews remaining in their fatherland there soon arose internecine clashes: Hodolias, Nabuchodonosor’s viceroy, was murdered. The Jews, fearing the wrath of Babylon, decided to flee into Egypt. The Prophet Jeremias disagreed with their intention, predicting that the punishment which they feared would befall them in Egypt. The Jews would not listen to the prophet, however, and taking him along by force, they went into Egypt and settled in the city of Tathnis. There the prophet lived for four years and was respected by the Egyptians because by his prayers he killed crocodiles and other creatures infesting these parts. When Jeremias prophesied that the King of Babylon would invade Egypt and annihilate the Jews living there, the Jews murdered him. In that very same year the saint’s prophecy was fulfilled. There is a tradition that 250 years later, Alexander the Great transported the relics of the holy Prophet Jeremias to Alexandria.

The Prophet Jeremias wrote his Book of Prophecies and also the Book of Lamentations about the desolation of Jerusalem and the Exile. The times in which he lived and prophesied are described in 4 Kings (Ch. 23-25) and in the Second Book of 
Paralipomenon (36:12) and in 2 Machabees (Ch. 2).

In the Gospel of Matthew, it is said that the betrayal of Judas was foretold by the Prophet Jeremias, “And they took thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom the sons of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me” (Mt. 27:9-10). Perhaps Jeremias 32:6-15 is meant.

Even after his death, the Prophet Jeremias was regarded as a wonderworker. Dust from his tomb was believed to cure snake bite, and many Christians pray to him for this purpose.

Troparion — Tone 2

Celebrating the memory / of Your Prophet Jeremias, O Lord, / for his sake, we entreat You to save our souls.

Kontakion — Tone 3

Cleansing your radiant heart through the Spirit, / O great Prophet and Martyr, / glorious Jeremias, / you received from on high the gift of prophecy. / You cried out with a great voice to the nations: / This is our God, and there is none other besides Him / Who became incarnate and appeared on earth.

The Icon of the Mother of God “The Footprint” at Pochaev was recognised by Clement XIV, Pope of Rome, as miraculous and was Papally Crowned on his orders.

The history of Our Lady of Pochaiv (pronounced Po-cha-yiv) begins in 1198 at the top of Mount Pochayiv in the Carpathian Mountains, about two centuries after Christianity became institutionalized in Ukraine following the conversion of St. Volodymyr.

On April 17, 1198, a monk in the region of Ternopil Oblast ascended Mount Pochaiv to pray. After beginning his prayers, a pillar of fire appeared to him and to some shepherds nearby. The flames withdrew to reveal the Blessed Virgin standing upon the mountain. The apparition left behind a single footprint upon the rock where she stood, and from this rock, a healing spring began to flow.

News of this supernatural event spread to the people of the region, and many who visited the place told of receiving healing from the waters of the spring. The imprint on the rock became known as the Healing Unshod Footprint, while the spring became known for its miraculous healing ability. The previously uninhabited mountain became the site of a monastery dedicated to the miracle, and a song about the apparition has been passed down through generations:

Shepherds on a hill tended their flock;
They beheld the Mother of God on the rock,
And in remembrance of her good
Leaving a footprint where she stood.
Water there now flows from a spring,
Good health, to those who believe, to bring.

Hundreds of years later, the Greek bishop Neophit visited the monastery and left behind a gift — an icon of the Theotokos from Constantinople — for Anna Hoyska, a rich widow who owned the local town and lands. Soon after, the icon reportedly started glowing, and Anna Hoyska’s blind brother is said to have regained his sight after praying in front of it. Donated to the monastery after Hoyska’s death, the icon eventually came to bear the mountain’s name: the Pochaiv Icon of the Mother of God or the Theotokos of Pochaiv (Ukrainian: Почаївська ікона Пресвятої Богородиці). Painted in a late Byzantine style, the image is an Eastern Orthodox icon of the Eleusa, or “tenderness madonna,” iconographic type. The icon shows Our Lady wearing a crown and holding the infant Jesus. In her other hand, she holds the end of her veil. This being a “tenderness” icon, it shows the faces of Jesus and Mary touching while Jesus gives a blessing with his hand. Mary’s face is sad yet beautiful, and her head leans toward her son, a sign of her loving concern and readiness to help.

The monastery’s chronicles record hundreds of miracles during the icon’s stay, one regarding the invasion of the Turks during the Zbarazh War in 1675. At this time, the people of Pochaiv gathered at the monastery in order to weather the attack. Facing certain death at the hands of the invaders, they prayed and sang hymns to Mary, pleading for protection and help. Legend tells that the Blessed Virgin appeared in the sky along with a host of angels and St. Job of Pochaiv. Mary’s white mantle (or Pokrova) spread over the monastery and terrified the besieging army. The Turks fired arrows into the sky at the apparition, but the arrows fell back and wounded the attackers who shot them. This caused enough confusion among the invaders that they scattered, allowing the people of Pochaiv to turn their enemies back. Against overwhelming odds, the people of Pochaiv achieved victory.

Blessed Hieromartyr Archimandrite Klymentii Sheptytsky was b
orn in 1869 on the Prylbychi estate outside Rava Ruska. He was the younger brother of the Venerable Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky and the Archimandrite of the Order of Studite monks of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. He was educated at home; graduated from St. Anne Gymnasium in Kraków and then from the law department of the university in Kraków. He worked as a lawyer and later became a member of parliament. In 1909 he entered the Order of St. Benedict in Beuron, Germany. In 1910 he enrolled in Innsbruck University (Austria) where he studied philosophy and theology. In 1915 he was ordained a priest of the Eastern Rite in Krizhevci, Croatia. He made his perpetual vows taking the name “Klymentiy.” He was a priest-monk, abbot of Sknyliv Monastery of Studites outside Lviv. In 1919 – during the Civil War – the monastery was burned down. Fr. Klymentiy along with the monastic community managed to make it to Holy Dormition Lavra in Univ; in 1921, to the monastery in Zarvanytsia outside Berezhany, and then later to Lviv. In December 1939 – during the Soviet occupation of Lviv, the monastery was closed and its property confiscated. In the summer of 1941, during the German occupation, under the leadership of Fr. Klymentiy the monastery was reopened and the life of the monastic community reestablished. In October 1944, he gave communion [to the community] and on November 5 along with a group of Basilian Fathers, he took part in the funeral of his brother, Metropolitan Andrey. In the middle of November 1944 Metropolitan Josyf Slypyi appointed him archimandrite of the Studites. In 1947, after the establishment of the Soviet regime in Lviv, Fr. Klymentiy was arrested and charged with “hiding in his monastery partisans who had fought the Soviet regime.” He was transported to Vladimir, then transferred to Kiev Prison and later to Poltava Prison, where, in 1950 (?) he was sentenced to ten years in a corrective labour camp. He died May 1, 1951, in Vladimir Central Prison. Beatified on June 27, 2001, by Pope John Paul II and awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel for saving Jews. 


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 1 MAY – SAINT JOSEPH THE WORKER: Dom Prosper Guéranger: The Son of God, when about to descend upon this Earth to assume our human nature, would have a Mother. This...


IN LUMINE FIDEI: MAY – THE MONTH OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (Mother...: Dom Prosper Gueranger: Ever since our entrance upon the joys of the Paschal Season, scarcely a day has passed without the Calendar’s of...


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 1 MAY – WEDNESDAY IN THE FIFTH WEEK AFTER EASTER: Dom Prosper Gueranger: We now come to the fourth Sacrament, which may be justly called the Sacrament of Mercy. Jesus knew the weaknes...

1 May, The Chesterton Calendar

MAY 1st

It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first;Our wrath come after Russia's, and our wrath be the worst.It may be we are set to mark by our riot and our restGod's scorn of all man's governance: it may be beer is best.But we are the people of England, and we never have spoken yet.Mock at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget.
'The Silent People.'

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

CHAPTER LXXIII. That the whole observance of Perfection is not set down in this Rule

1 May. 31 Aug. 31 Dec.

We have written this Rule, in order that, by observing it in Monasteries, we may shew ourselves to have some degree of goodness of life, and a beginning of holiness. But for him who would hasten to the perfection of religion, there are the teachings of the holy Fathers, the following whereof bringeth a man to the height of perfection. For what page or what word is there in the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments, that is not a most unerring rule for human life? Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers doth not loudly proclaim how we may by a straight course reach our Creator? Moreover, the Conferences of the Fathers, their Institutes and their Lives, and the Rule of our holy Father Basil - what are these but the instruments whereby well-living and obedient monks attain to virtue? But to us, who are slothful and negligent and of evil lives, they are cause for shame and confusion. Whoever, therefore, thou art that hasteneth to thy heavenly country, fulfil by the help of Christ this least of Rules which we have written for beginners; and then at length thou shalt arrive, under God’s protection, at the lofty summits of doctrine and virtue of which we have spoken above.

2 May, The Roman Martyrolgy

Sexto Nonas Maii Luna vicésima tértia Anno Dómini 2024

May 2nd 2024, the 23rd day of the Moon, were born into the better life:

At Alexandria, in the year 373, holy Athanasius, Pope of that city, most illustrious for his holiness and teaching. Nearly the whole world leagued itself together to persecute him for the Catholic Faith. He fought right stoutly against Emperors, Presidents, and Arian Bishops without number, from the time of the Emperor Constantine until that of the Emperor Valens. To escape their plots he became an outcast upon the face of the wide world, and there was nowhere left where he could hide himself in safety. He returned at last to his own church, and after many contendings and many crowns of long-suffering he passed away to be ever with the Lord, in the 46th year of his priesthood, in the time of the Emperors Valentinian and Valens.
At Rome, the holy martyrs Saturninus, Neopolus, German, and Celestine, who suffered many things, and were at last cast into prison, where they slept in the Lord.
Likewise the holy martyrs Exuperius and Zoe his wife, their children Cyriacus and Theodulus, who suffered under the Emperor Hadrian.
At Seville, the holy martyr the Deacon Felix.
Upon the same day, [in the year 489,] the holy martyr Vindemial.
℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
℟. Thanks be to God.

Feasts of Early May

From My Book of the Church's Year, by Enid M. Chadwick; Forward by Peter Kwasniwesi, PhD.

The book was published prior to 1955 when Pius XII introduced today's Feast of St Joseph the Worker to counteract the Communist's International Labour Day/May Day. Ss Philip & James are now kept on the 11th.

Feast of St Joseph the Worker

Before the Calendar reform of Ven. Pope Pius XII in 1955, today was the Feast of St Philip and St James, Apostles. It is also International Labour Day, a major holiday for nazis (who called it 'National' Labour Day), communists, socialists, and anarchists. Venerable Pius created this Feast honouring St Joseph as a workingman in order to counteract the radical left.

Interestingly, in the General Roman Calendar of 1960, which is the Calendar followed by the FSSP, SSPX, and other Traditional Institutes and Orders, and which I follow also, this is a First Class Feast, the highest rank. In the General Roman Calendar of 1969, followed by the Novus Ordo, it is an Optional Memorial, the lowest rank. Could it be that it was downgraded in order to placate Paul's friends in the communist movement?

The Hymn at Lauds of his Office:

O dawn announcing the sun
Beginning the month of flowering;
The workman's resounding hammer
Salutes the home at Nazareth.

Hail, head of the household
Beneath whom is the supreme Artificer;
Who, bedewed with salty sweat,
Exercises his father's trade.

He was placed on a high seat
nearest to his Noble Spouse;
be near now to all thy clients
who are troubled by indigency.

Strength and strife be absent!
and all defrauding of wages;
May copious nourishment of food
be limited only by moderation.

O Trinity, O Unity,
by the prayers of Joseph;
Direct in peace
all our steps and our path. 
And, the Collect from his feast:
God, Creator of all things, who didst lay on the human race the law of labour: graciously grant; that by following the example of Saint Joseph and under his patronage, we may carry out the work thou dost command, and obtain the reward thou dost promise.
Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
R. Amen

Meme of the Moment

Today, the spectre haunts the world, not just Europe.

Bld Francis Dickinson & Miles Gerard, Martyrs: Butler's Lives of the Saints


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

Solemn I Vespers ~ St. Joseph the Worker

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

St Catherine of Siena: Butler's Lives of the Saints

The Holy Rosary

Tuesday, the Sorrowful Mysteries, in Latin with Cardinal Burke.

Constitutional vs Absolute Monarchy

In January, I shared a video of Charles Coulombe discussing which was better, an absolute monarchy or a constitutional one. This reminded me of two posts I made years ago about my feelings on the matter. Here they are.

I belong to a Facebook group dedicated to the counter revolution. It is basically a monarchist group, with a predominantly Catholic membership, many of whom are Traditionalist. Recently someone created a poll with four choices, 'Do you prefer, 1) Absolute Monarchy, 2) Constitutional Monarchy (executive), 3) Other, 4) Constitutional Monarchy (ceremonial)?'

I have been amazed at the results. A large majority of the membership has opted for Absolute Monarchy. Why am I surprised? Because the concept of absolute monarchy is a pagan concept, rooted in the Roman Imperial idea that the monarch is the sole source of law. It had been totally forgotten in the Catholic Kingdoms of the Middle Ages since the Roman Law had been lost, only being rediscovered in the 11th century.

By then, the Office of Kingship had organically developed into what I'm sure the creator of the poll would consider Constitutional Monarchy (executive). The power of the King was hedged round by the Church, the Liberties of free men and the Corporations, which included cities, universities, guilds, etc. 

As an example, in  Magna Carta of 1215 in its very first article, King John says, 'FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired. (This article was obviously violated by the heresiarch Henry VIII in his striving for absolutism.) In the second article, he says, 'TO ALL FREE MEN OF OUR KINGDOM we have also granted, for us and our heirs for ever, all the liberties written out below, to have and to keep for them and their heirs, of us and our heirs:', followed by a lengthy list of what the king cannot do. In the 13th article, King John stated, 'The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs, both by land and by water. We also will and grant that all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports shall enjoy all their liberties and free customs.'

Far from the king being absolute and the source of law, the mediæval king was rex sub lege, a 'king under the law'. In fact, St Thomas Aquinas wrote a treatise on monarchy, titled De regno, ad regem Cypri in which he explains that a monarchy, with some limitations set by an aristocracy and democratic elements, was the best and most just form of government. He also emphasised the monarch's duty to uphold the divine and natural law and abide by limitations imposed on the monarch by custom and existing law. He taught that kings are God's representatives in their territories. But the church, represented by the popes, is above the king in matters of doctrine and morality. As a consequence, the kings and other worldly rulers are obliged to adapt their laws to the Catholic church's doctrines and ethics, which of course the theorists of absolute monarchy implicitly deny.

The concept of absolute monarchy or the divine right of kings, 'kicked around' for quite awhile, after the Reception of Roman Law, some kings trying to establish absolutism, but being successfully resisted. It wasn't until the Renaissance and the Protestant Deformation that the concept got traction. Renaissance Humanism with its return to Classical sources soon lent its hand to the protestant princes who wanted to control the Church in their realms. 

In fact, one of the earliest theorists of a complete theory of absolute monarchy or the divine right of kings was the Calvinist James VI&I of Scotland and England in his works, 'The Trve Lawe of free Monarchies: Or, The Reciprock and Mvtvall Dvtie Betwixt a free King, and his naturall Subiectesand 'Basilikon Doron'.

When it was taken up by the Catholic Kings of France, it led inexorably to the heresy of Gallicanism, which made its own the heresy of Conciliarism. The Church resisted French absolutism vigourously, but it held on tenuously until the Revolution destroyed the monarchy.

In conclusion I am amazed at the number of Catholics who hold a pagan/protestant political philosophy which inevitably leads to heresy.

In response to my post Constitutional vs Absolute Monarchy, a member of the Facebook group made the following comment,
I think the issue here is one of definitions. I voted for absolute monarchy, believing that to mean that the authority of the King came from God and not from a Constitution (which implies, at least in my mind, that the authority of the King comes from some social contract and therefore from the consent of those who are to be governed by the King himself). I did not mean, by absolutism, the Gallican Kings nor the Kingship of James VI/I.
The difference between constitutional monarchy, as I define it, and constitutional monarchy as my commenter seems to define it, is starkly shown by the openings of the Charter of 1814, under which the last Legitimate Kings of France ruled, and that of 1830, under which the Freemasonic, usurping, Revolutionary (only) 'King of the French' ruled.

From the Charter of 1814 (my emphasis)

Louis, by the grace of God, King of France and Navarre, to all those to whom these presents come, greeting.
Assured of our intentions, and strengthened by our conscience, we pledge ourselves, in the presence of the assembly which hears us, to be faithful to this constitutional charter, reserving to ourselves to swear to maintain it with a new solemnity, before the altars of Him who weighs in the same balance kings and nations.
For these reasons, We have voluntarily, and by the free exercise of our royal authority, accorded and do accord, grant and concede to our subjects, as well for us as for our successors forever, the constitutional charter which follows:
The Monarchy under the Charter of 1814 has been defined as a constitutional monarchy but not a parliamentary one.

From the Charter of 1830 (my emphasis)
Louis Philippe, King of the French, to all present and to come, greeting.
We have ordered and do order that the Constitutional Charter of 1814, such as it has been amended by the two Chambers on August 7th and accepted by us on the 9th, shall be again published in the following terms:
Notice, in the second there is no mention of God, tho' I will admit that his full title was, 'By the Grace of God and by the Constitutional Law of the State, King of the French'. It seems God had to share the power with the 'Constitutional Law of the State'!

It is also instructive that whilst the usurper began his 'reign' using his personal Arms which were those of France differenced with the label of a cadet House:

less than a year later, the arms were changed to honour the Constitution:

Could it be that his personal arms were a reminder that he was a usurper and not the Legitimate King? Hence, since his power rested only weakly on the permissive will of God, but primarily on the Constitution, he wanted to de-emphasise his usurpation and emphasise his 'constitutional claim' to the Throne.

However, to my commenter's remark, 'I did not mean, by absolutism, the Gallican Kings nor the Kingship of James VI/I', the problem is that kings, like all men, are fallen creatures, not angels. A man, even if he is a king, given absolute power in the state, will attempt to bring all things under his control, including the Church. And no monarch can rule without at least the implied consent of his people, whether expressed in 'constitutional form' or not.

Chevalier Charles Coulombe's thoughts on the subject bear out what I mean, especially on the limitations of the King in mediæval Europe.

I am reminded of the exchange between Frodo and Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings when Frodo offers the One Ring to the Wizard.
'Will you not take the Ring?'
 'No!' cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. 'With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.' His eyes flashed and his face was lit as by a fire within. 'Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused. The wish to wield it would be too great, for my strength. I shall have such need of it. Great perils lie before me.'
Or, in the words of a Catholic statesman, albeit a Liberal, John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton, 'Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'

Ergo, I believe that is inevitable if a King is not a 'constitutional monarch' in the sense of being 'rex sub lege' as the concept developed in the High Ages of Faith, and as the Angelic Doctor defined it, then mixed government will rapidly descend into tyranny.

Chevalier Henry Sire, SMOM (suspended), in his book Phoenix From the Ashes, an absolute must read for any counter-revolutionary integrist, (standard notice, if you buy from this link, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you), discusses the Enlightened Despots of the 18th century, who were the natural evolution of the Absolute Kings of the 17th.

He discusses at some length the suppression of the Jesuits, beginning in Portugal. These were not the Jesuits of today, modernists who've never met a revolution they didn't like. The Jesuits of the 18th century were solidly orthodox and taught the Thomistic theory of government I discussed in my earlier post on this topic. This made them the deadly enemy of the absolutists and their ministers who were wedded to the pagan/protestant concept of absolute rule.

In speaking of Joseph I of Portugal, he says, 

In 1758 an attempt made on the king’s life enabled Pombal (the Marquis de Pombal, Joseph's Prime Minister) to perfect his ascendancy. Quickly executing the hired killers, he used their alleged confessions to proceed against his political enemy, the marquis of Tavora, representative of one of the great noble families in Portugal. He, his wife, two sons, and a son-in-law were tortured and put to death by breaking on the wheel, and the marchioness’s Jesuit confessor was burnt alive. After Pombal’s fall and the release of his political prisoners, an enquiry into these proceedings denounced them for the crimes that they were.
Sire, H.J.A., Phoenix from the Ashes: The Making, Unmaking, and Restoration of Catholic Tradition (p. 119). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition. 
Breaking on the wheel and burning people alive? But I thought that was mediæval? Pombal was an estrangeirado, an intellectual determined to introduce the ideas of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment into Portugal. This is pagan/protestant heresy! This is absolute monarchy! And this is what the Church has opposed throughout history.

Pictured at top: The Arms of St Louis IX, the epitome of a truly constitutional monarch.