Donald R. McClarey
This event I believe occurred at the Fourth Moscow Conference in 1944:
In 1944, at a time when the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the struggle against Nazi Germany, it was important to convince Stalin that the Western democracies accepted him as an equal. “‘In the world of the future, for which our soldiers have shed their blood on countless fronts”, the British Prime Minister said in his bombastic style, “our three great democracies will demonstrate to all mankind that they, both in wartime and in peacetime, will remain true to the high principles of freedom, dignity, and happiness of the people. That’s why I attach such paramount importance to good neighbourly relations between a restored Poland and the Soviet Union. It was for the freedom and independence of Poland that Britain went into this war. The British feel a sense of moral responsibility to the Polish people, to their spiritual values. It’s also important that Poland is a Catholic country. We can’t allow internal developments there to complicate our relations with the Vatican…”
“How many divisions does the Pope of Rome have?” Stalin asked, suddenly interrupting Churchill’s line of reasoning.
Valentin Berezhkov, Stalin’s interpreter, in his memoirs recounted this.
The response of Pius XII I have been unable to source as to time and place, but it has become immortal: “You can tell my son Joseph that he will meet my divisions in heaven.”
The divisions that Stalin put so much faith in are as dead and buried now as he is, as is his Communist State that lasted merely one long life time. Dictators come and go, Christ remains. Continue reading
The Gospel lesson, dearly-beloved, which has reached the inner hearing of our minds through our bodily ears, calls us to the understanding of a great mystery, to which we shall by the help of God’s grace the better attain, if we turn our attention to what is narrated just before.
The Saviour of mankind, Jesus Christ, in founding that faith, which recalls the wicked to righteousness and the dead to life, used to instruct His disciples by admonitory teaching and by miraculous acts to the end that He, the Christ, might be believed to be at once the Only-begotten of God and the Son of Man. For the one without the other was of no avail to salvation, and it was equally dangerous to have believed the Lord Jesus Christ to be either only God without manhood, or only man without Godhead , since both had equally to be confessed, because just as true manhood existed in His Godhead, so true Godhead existed in His Manhood. To strengthen, therefore, their most wholesome knowledge of this belief, the Lord had asked His disciples, among the various opinions of others, what they themselves believed, or thought about Him: whereat the Apostle Peter, by the revelation of the most High Father passing beyond things corporeal and surmounting things human by the eyes of his mind, saw Him to be Son of the living God, and acknowledged the glory of the Godhead, because he looked not at the substance of His flesh and blood alone; and with this lofty faith Christ was so well pleased that he received the fullness of blessing, and was endued with the holy firmness of the inviolable Rock on which the Church should be built and conquer the gates of hell and the laws of death, so that, in loosing or binding the petitions of any whatsoever, only that should be ratified in heaven which had been settled by the judgment of Peter.
But this exalted and highly-praised understanding, dearly-beloved, had also to be instructed on the mystery of Christ’s lower substance, lest the Apostle’s faith, being raised to the glory of confessing the Deity in Christ, should deem the reception of our weakness unworthy of the impassible God, and incongruous, and should believe the human nature to be so glorified in Him as to be incapable of suffering punishment, or being dissolved in death. And, therefore, when the Lord said that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and scribes and chief of the priests, and the third day rise again, the blessed Peter who, being illumined with light from above, was burning with the heat of his confession, rejected their mocking insults and the disgrace of the most cruel death, with, as he thought, a loyal and outspoken contempt, but was checked by a kindly rebuke from Jesus and animated with the desire to share His suffering. For the Saviour’s exhortation that followed, instilled and taught this, that they who wished to follow Him should deny themselves, and count the loss of temporal things as light in the hope of things eternal; because he alone could save his soul that did not fear to lose it for Christ. In order, therefore, that the Apostles might entertain this happy, constant courage with their whole heart, and have no tremblings about the harshness of taking up the cross, and that they might not be ashamed of the punishment of Christ, nor think what He endured disgraceful for themselves (for the bitterness of suffering was to be displayed without despite to His glorious power), Jesus took Peter and James and his brother John, and ascending a very high mountain with them apart, showed them the brightness of His glory; because, although they had recognised the majesty of God in Him, yet the power of His body, wherein His Deity was contained, they did not know. And, therefore, rightly and significantly, had He promised that certain of the disciples standing by should not taste death till they saw “the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom ,” that is, in the kingly brilliance which, as specially belonging to the nature of His assumed Manhood, He wished to be conspicuous to these three men. For the unspeakable and unapproachable vision of the Godhead Itself which is reserved till eternal life for the pure in heart, they could in no wise look upon and see while still surrounded with mortal flesh. The Lord displays His glory, therefore, before chosen witnesses, and invests that bodily shape which He shared with others with such splendour, that His face was like the sun’s brightness and His garments equalled the whiteness of snow. Continue reading
I commend you to God; may God watch over you and grant you grace so that you can maintain the good cause of the Kingdom of France.
Joan of Arc
Something for the weekend. Joan of Arc, They Are Calling You. A hit song a hundred years ago in the US. Music by Jack Wells and lyrics by Al Bryan and Willie Weston. Although the Maid of Orleans would not be canonized until 1920, the French had regarded her as a saint since her death. In World War I French soldiers would usually have an image of Joan of Arc on them as they went into battle in a War most of them regarded as a Crusade to save France.
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
It was announced today that the Swiss Guard’s uniform will be changed to a more modern hipster look.
Pontifical Swiss Guard Commandant Daniel Anrig told Guards gathered at the annual When Do We Get To See Some Action Jamboree that the traditional “uniform” worn by the Knights will be replaced so as to be more appealing to millennials.
Instead of the well-known European Renaissance-style uniform, the average member of the Swiss Guard will be wearing a pair of skinny jeans, a beanie, and a leather jacket “no matter how hot the temperature gets in Rome,” Anrig said. Anrig did not specify whether swords would be replaced with scarfs or whether they would be replaced with pens in case “the muse strikes and gives them the inspiration to write the next Infinite Jest.”
“I have decided that the time is right for a modernization of the Swiss Guard Uniform,” Anrig said. “From now on, along with skinny jeans, beanies, and leather jackets, the preferred dress for the Guard will include v-necks or flannel shirts, vintage sneakers, bow ties, and black squared frames for glasses whether Guards wear prescription glasses or not.”
Swiss Guard David Adank told EOTT via a shrug of the shoulders this morning that, though a little bit nervous and hesitant about the change, he welcomes it with open, sarcastic arms.
“Whatever,” Adank went on to say before departing to an undisclosed coffee shop.
Another member of the Swiss Guard, Toby Caspari, told EOTT that he was worried that he would be expelled from the Guard since he struggles growing a proper mustache.
“I guess it’s the mandatory mustache that I’m most afraid of,” Caspari said. “I’ve never really been able to grow one, and all everyone’s talking about is what type of “stache wax” to use. Whatever, maybe I’ll use a fake. I trust the commandant’s judgment. I think skinny jeans really helps to show a striking, imitative image of Christ because he was kind of a hipster in his own way. He too didn’t care what people thought. But at the same time, he wanted people to notice him, but at the same time not notice him, if you know what I’m saying. You know what I’m saying? Continue reading
With the West Virginia Governor switching parties to Republican from Democrat, the Republicans control the state legislatures and the statehouses in 26 states. The Democrats control the state legislatures and statehouses in 5 states. (The Connecticut Senate is evenly divided.) The Republicans have 35 governorships, and the Democrats now have fifteen governorships. Republicans control the legislature in 32 states to 18 for the Democrats. The Republicans control 67 of the 98 state legislative chambers. (Nebraska has a unicameral state legislature which is officially nonpartisan, but which is heavily controlled by Republican nonpartisans.) Political success often is ephemeral in the US, but the big political story thus far in this country in the twenty-first century is the collapse of the Democrat party on the state level, rendering it largely a coastal party.
As the war raged on I studied English at Oxford University, but my education was interrupted by my joining the RAF to train as a pilot. It was there that I got to meet Richard Burton – a navigator in the RAF – who would become so great a friend.
In 1949 I embarked on a career as an actor, and I was with Richard when I met Churchill for a second time in the early 1950s. We were appearing in Hamlet together at the Old Vic, with Richard as the Prince of Denmark. We knew Winston, who at this time was once again Prime Minister, was in the audience – he was unmissable sitting in the front row.
After the performance we were in Richard’s dressing room when the mighty man burst in, cigar in hand, and, addressing Richard as if he was still in character, said, ‘Your Highness, I am in great need – do have you a lavatory?’
When he came out he complemented Richard on his ‘very forthright Hamlet’ before adding, ‘I’m astonished that such a man should wait so long to avenge his father!’ Needless to say, Richard and I dined out on that for weeks to come.
George Weigel at The Catholic Report notes that the powers that be at the Vatican are not noted for their competence:
On occasion, however, that can be a journey through the looking glass and into Wonderland.
Last month, Civilta Cattolicà featured an article co-authored by its editor-in-chief, Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ, and Pastor Marcelo Figueroa, who edits the Argentine edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. The article purported to analyze a startling “ecumenism of hate” in the United States, forged by ultra-conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants, and creepy-dangerous for its indulgence in a new Manicheanism that distorts the Gospel and divides everything in the world into rigid and narrowly-defined categories of good and evil. This bizarre screed generated weeks of controversy in the blogosphere, during which Father Spadaro tweeted that the article’s critics were “haters” whose vitriol confirmed the article’s hypothesis – a Trumpian outburst ill-becoming a paladin of “dialogue.”
My friends and colleagues R.R. Reno, Robert Royal, and Fr. Raymond de Souza have ably replied to the comprehensive inanities of the Spadaro/Figueroa article: its ill-informed misrepresentation of American religious history; its surreal descriptions of 21st-century American Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism; its obsessions with marginal figures in contemporary American religious life like R.J. Rushdoony and Michael Voris; its misreading of the dynamics of religiously-informed public moral argument in American politics; and its weird description of the premises of current Vatican diplomacy, which will give comfort to the likes of Vladimir Putin, Raul Castro, and Nicolas Maduro. Those who care to sift through this intellectual dumpster can consult Dr. Reno’s article, Dr. Royal’s, and Fr. De Souza’s. The questions I’d like to raise here involve Civilta Cattolicà’s relationship to its putative overseers in the Vatican Secretariat of State.
What kind of vetting did this misbegotten article get? Were any knowledgeable experts on U.S. Catholicism or American evangelical Protestantism consulted on what the overseers must have known would be an incendiary piece? Does the Spadaro/Figueroa article really represent the views of the Secretariat of State about today’s debates at the intersection of religion and politics in the United States? If the answer to the last is “Yes,” then what does the Secretariat of State make of the American situation as described by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christoph Pierre, in his addresses to the U.S. bishops – a description that bears no resemblance to the wasteland of madcap pseudo-theology and hatred described by Spadaro and Figueroa? If the answer is “No,” then why was the Spadaro/Figueroa article cleared for publication? Continue reading
The Spadaro-Figueroa American Catholic conservative bashing article came out two weeks ago, go here to read about it, but suddenly today it receives coverage all over the secular press. Is this merely an example of how slow the mainstream media generally is to cover Catholic news, or is this a ramping up of the Pope’s war, and let us be honest that is precisely the term that should be used, against American Catholic conservatives? Go here to look at some of the stories published today. The New York Times article is driving the coverage, and why did they suddenly decide to cover this now? For the present, American Catholic conservatives should assume that our enemies in the Vatican are working hand in glove with our domestic enemies.
Just so we’re clear, poems do not represent foreign policy, nor law, nor constitutional doctrine.
Hattip to commenter Greg Mockeridge. Edward Pentin at National Catholic Register reminds us of just how far we have fallen:
The decision to have the notorious abortionist Emma Bonino speak about immigration in an Italian church last week drew widespread condemnation.
But it also led some to argue, including the local Caritas representative who sponsored her talk, that Bonino’s atrocious abortion record, of which she has never repented, could be set aside to focus on this other aspect of Catholic Social Teaching.
Yet effectively sidelining the gravity of abortion in favor of bringing a radical secularist to form a common front on immigration perhaps signifies how much the West, and some in the Church, have become numb to abortion and the gravity of the sin.
St. Padre Pio, for example, believed abortion was not just the murder of an innocent human being, but also a true suicide.
In a now famous story, Father Pellegrino Funicelli, who assisted Padre Pio for many years, once confronted the saint on the sin, asking him:
“Today you denied absolution to a woman because she had voluntarily undergone an abortion. Why have you been so rigorous with this poor unfortunate?” (Padre Pio would sometimes refuse to give absolution to a penitent if they showed insufficient contrition; often they would return and he’d give absolution if they were sincere).
Padre Pio responded: “The day that people lose their horror for abortion will be the most terrible day for humanity. Abortion is not only a homicide but also a suicide. Shouldn’t we have the courage to manifest our faith before those who commit two crimes within one act?
“Suicide?,” asked Father Pellegrino.
“The suicide of the human race will be understood by those who will see the earth populated by the elderly and depopulated of children: burnt as a desert,” Padre Pio replied.
Bonino, who boasts of performing more than 10,000 abortions in 1975, vacuuming the unborn child from the womb with a bicycle pump and putting the mangled remains into a glass jar, ironically noted in her talk the population decline in Italy. Continue reading
The American-born boys and the Greeks, Irish, Poles, Jews, and Italians who were in my platoon in the World War. A heap of them couldn’t speaker write the American language until they larned it in the Army. Over here in the training camps and behind the lines in France a right-smart lot of them boozed, gambled, cussed, and went A. W. O. L. But once they got into it Over There they kept on a-going. They were only tollable shots and burned up a most awful lot of ammunition. But jest the same they always kept on a-going. Most of them died like men, with their rifles and bayonets in their hands and their faces to the enemy. I’m a-thinkin* they were real heroes. Any way they were my buddies. I jes learned to love them.
SERGEANT ALVIN C. YORK
The cheapest and most childish of all the taunts of the Pacifists is, I think, the sneer at belligerents for appealing to the God of Battles. It is ludicrously illogical, for we obviously have no right to kill for victory save when we have a right to pray for it. If a war is not a holy war, it is an unholy one — a massacre.
G.K. Chesterton, October 23, 1915
(Pope Benedict issued his peace proposal on August 1, 1917. To observe the occasion I am reposting this post from 2011. Of all that I have written about Kipling, and that is now a considerable amount, this is my favorite piece. I would observe in passing that both Chesterton and CS Lewis, although they differed considerably from Kipling’s views on many topics, were both fans of him as a writer.)
The eighth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling. The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here , here, here , here and here. Kipling wrote quite a few poems during his lifetime. Some are world-famous, most are not, and some are today almost completely forgotten. The Holy War (1917) is today one of Kipling’s most obscure poems, but caused something of a stir when he wrote it in Advent during 1917.
A tinker out of Bedford,
A vagrant oft in quod,
A private under Fairfax,
A minister of God–
Two hundred years and thirty
Ere Armageddon came
His single hand portrayed it,
And Bunyan was his name!_
He mapped, for those who follow,
The world in which we are–
‘This famous town of Mansoul’
That takes the Holy War
Her true and traitor people,
The gates along her wall,
From Eye Gate unto Feel Gate,
John Bunyan showed them all.
All enemy divisions,
Recruits of every class,
And highly-screened positions
For flame or poison-gas,
The craft that we call modern,
The crimes that we call new,
John Bunyan had ’em typed and filed
In Sixteen Eighty-two
Likewise the Lords of Looseness
That hamper faith and works,
And Present-Comfort shirks,
With brittle intellectuals
Who crack beneath a strain–
John Bunyan met that helpful set
In Charles the Second’s reign.
Emmanuel’s vanguard dying
For right and not for rights,
My Lord Apollyon lying
To the State-kept Stockholmites,
The Pope, the swithering Neutrals,
The Kaiser and his Gott–
Their roles, their goals, their naked souls–
He knew and drew the lot.
Now he hath left his quarters,
In Bunhill Fields to lie.
The wisdom that he taught us
Is proven prophecy–
One watchword through our armies,
One answer from our lands–
‘No dealings with Diabolus
As long as Mansoul stands.
_A pedlar from a hovel,
The lowest of the low,
The father of the Novel,
Salvation’s first Defoe,
Eight blinded generations
Ere Armageddon came,
He showed us how to meet it,
And Bunyan was his name!_
At one level the poem is a fairly straight-forward paean to John Bunyan, the English writer who penned Pilgrims’s Progress, which every school child used to read back in days when schools spent far more time on academics and far less time on political indoctrination and fake subjects like “Consumer Ed”. He also wrote quite a few other books and pamphlets, perhaps the best known of which is The Holy War, which portrays a war for the City of Mansoul between the good defenders and the evil besiegers. I need not spell out the allegorical meaning of the work when the city’s named is rendered as Man Soul. Kipling had been a devotee of Bunyan since his childhood, and I suppose that part of his motivation in writing the poem was to pay back a literary debt. Continue reading
On August 1, 1917 Pope Benedict addressed a peace plan to the heads of the belligerent nations. The plan had not a prayer of success, as both the Central and Allied Powers had reasons to believe that a military victory was still within their grasp. The plan is not a mere plea for peace but has some interesting features including: freedom of the seas, the recognition of the rights of submerged nations, including Armenia and Poland, no war reparations, some sort of league of nations. Although President Wilson, along with the heads of all the other powers, other than Austria-Hungary, would reject the Pope’s plans, his later Fourteen Points would reflect a borrowing from the Pope’s peace plan. Here is the text of the Pope’s message:
From the beginning of Our Pontificate, amidst the horrors of the terrible war unleashed upon Europe, We have kept before Our attention three things above all: to preserve complete impartiality in relation to all the belligerents, as is appropriate to him who is the common father and who loves all his children with equal affection; to endeavour constantly to do all the most possible good, without personal exceptions and without national or religious distinctions, a duty which the universal law of charity, as well as the supreme spiritual charge entrusted to Us by Christ, dictates to Us; finally, as Our peacemaking mission equally demands, to leave nothing undone within Our power, which could assist in hastening the end of this calamity, by trying to lead the peoples and their heads to more moderate frames of mind and to the calm deliberations of peace, of a “just and lasting” peace.
Whoever has followed Our work during the three unhappy years which have just elapsed, has been able to recognize with ease that We have always remained faithful to Our resolution of absolute impartiality and to Our practical policy of well-doing.
We have never ceased to urge the belligerent peoples and Governments to become brothers once more, even although publicity has not been given to all which We have done to attain this most noble end has not always been made public.
Some atheists see more clearly these days than many Catholics:
An atheist philosopher friend of Benedict XVI has strongly criticized Pope Francis, accusing the Holy Father of not preaching the Gospel but politics, fomenting schism, and issuing secularist statements aimed at destroying the West.
In a fiery interview published July 10 in Mattino di Napoli, Marcello Pera, who co-wrote the famous 2005 book Without Roots with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, said he cannot understand the Pope who, he said, goes beyond the bounds of “rational comprehension.”
A philosophy professor, member of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, and a former president of the Italian Senate, Pera said he believes the reason why the Pope calls for unlimited immigration is because he “hates the West” and is seeking to do all he can “to destroy it.”
He added that he does not like the Pope’s magisterium, saying it is “not the Gospel, only politics,” and that Francis is “little or not at all interested in Christianity as doctrine, in its theological aspect.”
“His statements appear to be based on Scripture,” he said, but “actually they are strongly secularist.”
Immigration has become a highly sensitive topic in Italy in recent months as thousands of refugees arrive every month, mostly from north Africa, placing considerable strain on local communities and services. Continue reading
US participation in the Great War was popular but not completely so. The Socialist Party of America was strongly anti-war, and held 1200 elective offices around the country, including one seat in Congress, 32 seats in state legislatures and 79 mayorships. Its anti-war stance cost it membership. Socialists however, and other rural radicals, were apparently the instigators of an armed anti-draft riot that began on August 3, 1917 in rural Oklahoma among a gathering of tenant farmers. This fed off years of disputes between radicalized tenant farmers and the much more conservative residents of towns in Seminole and Pontotoc counties in Oklahoma. August 3, 1917 was to be the end of the annual Muscogee Creek Indian tribe Green Corn Festival. On August 2, 1917 the Seminole sheriff and a deputy were ambushed, bridges burned and telephone lines cut. The next day 800 to 1000 armed men, a mix of white tenant farmers, Indians and black tenant farmers, assembled near the adjoining borders of Seminole, Pontotoc and Hughes counties in southeastern Oklahoma. Their plan was allegedly to march on Washington, eating green corn and barbecued beef on the way, overthrow the government and end the draft.
The whole scheme proved abortive when a well armed posse of townsfolk showed up. The embattled farmers fired a few shots and scattered. Continue reading
The things you find on Youtube. Thirty-two year old Wilbur H. Durborough, an American reporter, for seven months in 1915 followed the German army taking photographs for the Chicago Newspaper Enterprise Association. He was also producing a movie documentary on the German army in the field, the documentary being financially backed by several Chicago businessman. Durborough hired cameraman Irving G. Ries, who would later work in Hollywood and who received an academy award nomination for his work on the movie Forbidden Planet (1956). Driving a Stutz Bearcat, one of the fastest cars of its time, flying an American flag, Durborough and Ries followed in the wake of the German army on the Eastern front, creating a historically priceless visual record of the German army in action. Lost for decades, the film was restored recently by the Library of Congress. Durborough went on to serve in the US Army as a public relations officer after the US entered the War.