Sixty Years Since the Hungarian Revolution

Friday, October 28, AD 2016

I stand for God, for the Church and for Hungary. This responsibility has been imposed upon me by the fate of the nation which stands alone, an orphan in the whole world. Compared with the sufferings of my people, my own fate is of no importance.

József  Cardinal Mindszenty, Primate of Hungary, 1948

The Hungarian Revolt of 1956 was an extremely important turning point in the Cold War.  It demonstrated to the world that Eastern Europe was not, and never would be, Communist but rather merely territory held down by the force of the Red Army.  This spirit of resistance lived on in each of the countries in the Warsaw Pact from the first imposition of Communist governments at the end of the World War II to the fall of the Communist states at the end of the eighties.  It was a magnificent struggle that is too little celebrated in the West.

The heart and soul of the struggle in Hungary was one of the great men of the 20th Century:  József  Cardinal Mindszenty, primate of Hungary.  Imprisoned by the pro-Nazi government in Hungary during World War II, he was imprisoned, tortured and condemned in a show trial by the puppet Communist regime after World War II.  Freed by Hungarian patriots during the Hungarian revolt, he quickly joined the revolt.  After it was crushed he took refuge in the American embassy in Budapest where he stayed for 15 years, a symbol of the unconquerable spirit of his beloved Hungary.  Shamefully, in my view, the Vatican compromised with the Communist regime, annulling the excommunication imposed by Pius XII on all involved with the trial of Mindszenty, and calling him “a victim of history” rather than “a victim of Communism”.  Mindszenty  traveled to Vienna rather than Rome, upset at the suggestion of the Vatican that he should retire and live in Rome.  He was stripped of his titles by Pope Paul VI in 1973, although the Pope did not fill the primacy until after the Cardinal died in 1975.  The Church in Hungary has launched a strong effort to have the Cardinal proclaimed a saint, and I pray that it is soon crowned with deserved success.

Below is the public domain movie Guilty of Treason 1949, which tells the story of the trial of  Mindszenty  by the Communists.  There was also the 1956 movie The Prisoner starring Alec Guinness, a heavily fictionalized account of his trial, which the Cardinal intensely disliked.

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5 Responses to Sixty Years Since the Hungarian Revolution

  • These history lessons are very important, Donald. However, they sadly demonstrate that clerics even as highly placed as the Pope have all too often been weak and ingratiating towards the enemy. It is a miracle the Church survives – a testament to Jesus’ declaration that the gates of hell will not prevail.

  • Weakness is part and parcel of the fallen human condition LQC. What continuously surprises me, and gladdens me, in my non-stop look at human history is how much courage against the odds is displayed, as in the Hungarian Revolution.

  • It is so inspiring to hear about those princes of the Church who know what the red hat actually signifies. Thank you Donald.

  • I remember Sister Mary Theresa* trying to explain the plight of Cardinal Mindszenty to a class of second graders. I was one of the second graders.

    * After so many years, I am no longer certain of her name but I think this is close.

  • I was 14 years old and boarding at Sacred Heart College in Auckland at that time. I remember this well – if only because this guy turned up at the college during our Barracks Week in early 1957. ( In those days in NZ, CMT – Compulsory Military Training was still in force where when boys reached the age 18 years, they has to spend 16 weeks in the Military – sad that they stopped in in 1959, under a Labour Govt – say no more) Barracks Week was that first week back at school after the Christmas holidays – a 6 week break during our summer – when all boys colleges spent the first week teaching boys about the military, how to strip and clean a rifle (Lee Enfield mk.III .303 cal.), learn how to march and drill in platoons and companys etc.
    He claimed to be someone who was involved in the revolution and had escaped, and made his way to NZ – he had a great story. Turns out, one of my classmates recognised him as a bloke from his home town who had spent a couple of years in clink for misrepresentation – and he was at it again. He gave a stirring address to all us boys (complete with fake accent) and the Marist Brothers (who ran the college at that time) gave him a good hearing and welcomed him, and gave him accomodation and meals etc., but when Nick Walker told the Principal that he knew him and told them of his past, he was rapidly escorted by the Principal out to the waiting Paddy Wagon to be chauffered off by the cops. 🙂

Pope Liberator

Sunday, June 26, AD 2016

“My Communist colleagues decided that the Bishops ahead of Karol Wojtyla on the list of candidates were not good for the state, so they pushed Karol Wojtyla. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways.”

General Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski, last ruler of Communist Poland

 

 

 

In the era of Pope Francis, it is easy to become dispirited as the Church is misled by a man who often gives new depth to the word incoherent.  However, I firmly believe that Pope Francis and all his works are a mere blip in the history of the Church.  Future historians will recognize that the most important pope of this era was Saint John Paul II.  A new look at his role in the unraveling of European Communism is above.  It will be shown on various PBS stations in the weeks to come.  Go here to purchase it.

 

When we badly needed a great Pope, God granted us one.  Was he perfect?  No.  I regard his effort to do away with the death penalty as wrong-headed.  He was much too friendly with Islam.  His flirting with pacifism in the latter portion of his papacy was a great mistake.  However, he was the greatest Pope of my lifetime, a charismatic and strong champion of Christ.

(I have posted this list of his accomplishments before, but I think they need to be remembered as the years roll by.)

Here is a list of just a few of his accomplishments, although it will take centuries for historians to fully assess his almost 27 year-long papacy, but here are some of the events that I think they will note.

1.  He largely stopped the post Vatican II chaos-After Vatican II the impulse to transform the Church into an institution fully reflecting the current views of cultural elites in the West wreaked much havoc.  Paul VI, a good and holy man, drew a line in the sand with Humanae Vitae, but he lacked the stomach and the will to fight it out with those who would have transformed the Catholic Church into what the Anglican Church is now:  a dying institution, adrift from any allegiance to traditional Christianity, and fully in accord with the mores and beliefs of the secular elite of the West.  Many were rubbing their hands with glee after the death of Pope Paul, in confident assurance that a new liberal pope would complete the transformation of the Church into something akin to Unitarianism with fancy dress.  Instead they got John Paul II, a Polish fighter who had stood toe to toe with the atheist rulers of Poland and was not the least frightened or impressed by the forces that sought to neuter Christ’s Church.  The chaos and low morale of the Church could not be completely reversed in one papacy, but John Paul II began the process and made a huge amount of progress.

2.  Presiding at the Funeral of Communism-During World War II, both the Nazis and the Communists slaughtered a huge number of Polish priests, viewing them as deadly enemies.  How very right they were!  The Polish Church, in the midst of one of the worst persecutions sustained by the Catholic Church in the last century, never lost faith that the Church and Poland would both ultimately outlast the totalitarian regimes and emerge triumphant.  John Paul II was the embodiment of this robust confidence that Communism, like Nazism, was merely a brief historical aberration that could and would be defeated.  The rise of Solidarity was completely predictable to him, and his embrace of it made a crackdown by the Polish Communist regime, and its Kremlin puppet masters, impossible.  John Paul II and Ronald Reagan in the Eighties brought about the largely peaceful collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and laid the groundwork for its collapse in the former Soviet Union.  The heirs of Joseph Stalin learned to their sorrow that the type of power wielded by a skillful and determined pope cannot be counted in divisions but rather in human hearts.

3.  Culture of Life-In the teeth of an overwhelming movement among Western elites to jettison the belief that human life is sacred, John Paul II rededicated the Church to that proposition and waged a long uphill struggle throughout his papacy against abortion and euthanasia.  Like Moses, John Paul II did not live to see the victory in this fight, but ultimately we will win, and his brave stand at a crucial moment in history will be one of the reasons why.

4.  Pope of the people-With modern means of transportation, a vigorous Pope can treat the whole world as his diocese by globe-trotting and that is precisely what John Paul II did.  In the Nineteenth Century, modern means of communication, the telegraph, photography and newspapers, were skillfully used by Pius IX to forge a personal contact between the Pope and average Catholics.  Pope John Paul II took this a step farther by bringing the Pope to the average Catholic.  A masterful stroke and superbly executed.

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9 Responses to Pope Liberator

  • I agree. In the end, not just Pope Francis but ALL who have departed from Christ, the source of life and wisdom, will be forgotten. He is but a “blip” in history.

    When we fear the legacy of Pope Francis and his minions, we demonstrate our own lack of faith. This world was created b God for God’s good pleasure. We are but actors in the play.

    Good, Catholic advice to take the long view.

  • #4. Pope of the people.

    His ability to engage the young and energize their faith in the numerous World Youth Days is worth noting. The image of millions of young people gathered together to celebrate LIFE in Christ will always be a cherished moment in the history of our Church.

    I will always love this Pope.

    At one time, St. Faustina, St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Pope JPII were living in close proximity to each other. Powerful Poland!

  • I think that both JP II and B XVI were great Popes. Like all men, however, they made mistakes: ingratiation with Islam, opposition to the death penalty, pacifism, internationalism, etc. Nevertheless, they were holy men and their overall theology was orthodox. Given the reign of the Marxist Peronist who currently occupies the Seat of St Peter, I long for the days when they were Popes.

  • I have real problems with people’s thinking about Pope Saint John Paul II. I can’t comfortably say that Christianity made any gains during his papacy. I mean, sure, some saints are heroic but unsuccessful temporally. Plenty of missionaries served as great examples of the Faith but were martyred without converting anyone. But if we’re judging a pope by the accomplishments of his papacy, I don’t see JPII as effective. He helped roll back an evil anti-Christian philosophy. But a majority of those under Communist domination at the beginning of his papacy were still under it at the end. And those who threw it off, did they see a revitalization of the Faith? Is the former Warsaw Pact more Christian than it was? I’m pretty sure it’s not more Catholic. Poland emerged well, but then again they’d always held onto the Faith. Some of the Eastern Orthodox churches have bounced back, although there are reasons to be skeptical. Overall, I’m very glad that Soviet Communism fell, but I don’t see John Paul as being comparable to the great figures of the Counter-Reformation.

    It reminds me of a joke that recently appeared on this site, the punch line of which was, “when was the last time you ran into an Albigensian?”.

  • “but I don’t see John Paul as being comparable to the great figures of the Counter-Reformation.”

    Neither do I. He was much more successful than any Counter-Reformation figure I can think of. Including the Asian Communist nations in the mix, where the Pope’s influence was nil, seems to me to be unfair. I lived through those times, and if anyone had said in 1980 that Communism would be finished in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union within a dozen years he would have been regarded as a lunatic. What JPII, Reagan and Thatcher, and the brave anti-Communists in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, accomplished is the greatest geo-political miracle in history.

  • “I have real problems with people’s thinking of St. Pope John Paul II.”-Pinky

    If your speaking about the Divine Mercy message from Saint Faustina and subsequently, Divine Mercy Sunday being celebrated the first Sunday after Easter as being hum drum or just more fodder for the faithless Catholics than your right to have a problem with people’s love for him. Since that love would be nothing more than hollow roadies worshipping a new king of pop.

    If on the other hand you have problems with the tens of thousands who have found that pearl of great price through these newly accepted devotions brought about by the studious works of John Paul II and the misinterpretations that the Vatican held prior to his Holiness bringing in the true light of the works….well then I feel sorry for you.

    Having been privileged to witness God’s mercy in the lives of four families who were at the deathbeds of their parent(s), and their faith come awake at the end of the chaplet and coincidentally at the end of their parents life is not why Saint John Paul is Great…but because of the sincerity and devotion to serve God well. Yes. These events came about because of live and obedience to following the prompts of the Holy Spirit.

    Pinky. Your opinion is yours based upon your experiences and study. Mine too.
    My study is ongoing in the rooms of the souls who are nearing death. My application is heart shared prayers, including the formal prayers of the Holy Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. I’m not challenging your opinions, however I am witnessing the greatness of a man who Loved others first, only after developing a lively love for God through Mary Immaculate. His love for God and God’s love for him was confirmed on the day of his death.. Divine Mercy Sunday.

    Just more….. coincidences?

    Nope!
    God incidence is more like it.

    Pope John Paul II wasn’t perfect by any means…but he was faithful to the end.

  • (… these events came about because of love and obidence…)

    not live.

  • I guess I’m mostly responding to Don’s point #2. It was a great success, but not a great spiritual success. John Paul had other great spiritual successes – I probably overlook his impact on vocations, which is an area where he may have proved himself an equal to the Counter-Reformers.

  • Pinky.
    Please excuse my exuberance for defending my favorite Pope. I understand better your reply to Don’s #2.

    One hidden and beautiful attribute to St. Pope JPII is his love for adoration of Christ. It changes people, their hearts and minds.

    On Dec.2nd 1981 St. Pope John Paul II began perpetual Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel in St. Peters Basilica in Rome. In his opening prayer, “Stay with us Lord,” the Pope urged all parishes to begin P.E.A. To date, 5,200 out of 20,000 parishes offer Adoration of either partial or perpetual in the US. Adoration changes people.

    This, I believe , is one of St. Pope JPII’s greatest accomplishments. Spreading this practice.

    Thanks Pinky for your opinions and your interesting insights too. I’m just a simpleton type of believer, but I am learning.

    http://www.therealpresence.org

Saint Joseph the Worker and Communism

Sunday, May 1, AD 2016

sjg-hc4

 

 

 

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Joseph the Worker.  Pius XII instituted the feast in 1955 as a response to Communist May Day celebrations.  In 1949 he issued the Decree Against Communism which excommunicated all Catholics collaborating with Communist organizations. 

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3 Responses to Saint Joseph the Worker and Communism

  • So is the prelate who happily received with pride a communist crucifix from a tin pot Latin American dictator ipso facto excommunicated as an apostate?

  • I’m still pondering the present pope’s comments about “the nations should distribute the wealth…..”

  • I’m still pondering the present pope’s comments about “the nations should distribute the wealth…..”
    Don L
    I figure that beyond bad translation, Pope Francis’s experiences of Statist market-interventionist crony capitalism in Latin America led him to misunderstand free-market entrepreneurial capitalism in the US and Northern Europe.

    This Pope’s comments apply to corrupt, market interfering regimes in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the former Soviet countries. And even then, his ‘advice’ is significantly less than optimal–especially for those whose material welfare this Pope professes a wish to help the most, the poor of those countries.

    I’d like to see the Pope preach on the Commandment that forbids coveting thy neighbor’s goods. To covet so is a desire for the unearned. The envy that tempts so many Latin American politicians and their public to covet is one of the Deadly Sins. And greed, properly defined, is the desire for the unearned.

    Those who depend on gifts for their livelihood risk being in the near occasion of the sin of greed. It’s an occupational hazard that has long plagued the Church, Tetzel is an especially scandalous example.

October 5, 1945: Battle of Burbank

Monday, October 5, AD 2015

One of the major factors in transforming Ronald Reagan from a New Deal Democrat into a conservative Republican was his confrontation with Herb Sorrell in 1946-47 Hollywood.  Head of the Conference of Studio Unions, Sorrell was a veteran union organizer.  He was also a secret member of the Communist Party and a frequent contact for Soviet intelligence agents.

Sorrell in 1945 launched a strike to ensure that his union dominated Hollywood labor.  Sorrell had no problem using physical intimidation  to reach his goals.  This was demonstrated at what has been called the Battle of Burbank on October 5, 1945 when 800 members of the Conference of Studio Unions battle with police of the Los Angeles Police Department, using knives, bats, chains and pipes to shut Warner Brothers down.  The violence shocked Hollywood and attracted nationwide attention and led to a negotiated settlement of the strike.

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One Response to October 5, 1945: Battle of Burbank

  • I highly recommend the Paul Kengor book The Last Crusader. Reagan was an amazing man. He outlived the USSR and always believed in freedom and that Communism would fall. He wasn’t perfect – none of us are, but I do miss him.

The Many Faces of Dalton Trumbo

Tuesday, August 18, AD 2015

Hollywood …



… and history:

Hollywood’s Trumbo appears to be something of a whitewash of Stalinist screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Portrayed as a victim of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), a closer investigation of history reveals that he did his fair share of censoring and “blacklisting” himself — against anti-Communists within the industry.

  • Hollywood’s Missing Movies: Why American films have ignored life under communism, by Kenneth Lloyd Billingsly. Reason June 2000:

    if Comintern fantasies of a Soviet Hollywood were never realized, party functionaries nevertheless played a significant role: They were sometimes able to prevent the production of movies they opposed. The party had not only helped organize the Screen Writers Guild, it had organized the Story Analysts Guild as well. Story analysts judge scripts and film treatments early in the decision making process. A dismissive report often means that a studio will pass on a proposed production. The party was thus well positioned to quash scripts and treatments with anti-Soviet content, along with stories that portrayed business and religion in a favorable light. In The Worker, Dalton Trumbo openly bragged that the following works had not reached the screen: Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon and The Yogi and the Commissar; Victor Kravchenko’s I Chose Freedom; and Bernard Clare by James T. Farrell, also author of Studs Lonigan and vilified by party enforcer Mike Gold as “a vicious, voluble Trotskyite.”

  • The Stalinist Ten–A True Story About Communists in the Movie Industry, by Allan H. Ryskind. [excerpt from the newly released book, Hollywood Traitors: Blacklisted Screenwriters – Agents of Stalin, Allies of Hitler, by Allan H. Ryskind]:

    Trumbo is less well known for a script that never made it to the screen: An American Story, whose plot outline, in the words of film historian Bernard F. Dick, goes like this: North Korea finally decides “to put an end to the border warfare instigated by South Korea by embarking upon a war of independence in June 1950.” (In his papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Trumbo says he “dramatized” Kim Il-sung’s supposedly righteous war for a group of fellow Communist screenwriters, including at least two Hollywood Ten members.)

    Trumbo also seemed to think that Stalin needed a bit of a reputation upgrade. So one finds in his papers a proposed novel, apparently written in the 1950s, in which a wise old Russian defends Stalin’s murderous reign as necessary for the supposedly grand achievements of Soviet socialism.

    Those celebrating Trumbo today as a sort of saintly curmudgeon do not feel obligated to mention this aspect of his Red ideology, nor do they point to his writings during the Soviet-Nazi Pact, when he was excusing Hitler’s con- quests. “To the vanquished,” he airily dismissed the critics of Nazi brutality, “all conquerors are inhuman.” For good measure he demonized Hitler’s major enemy, Great Britain, insisting that England was not a democracy, because it had a king, and accused FDR of “treason” and “black treason” for attempting to assist the British in their life-and-death struggle against the despot in Berlin.

  • Hollywood Celebrates Another Stalinist, by Allan H. Ryskind. CNSNews.com 01/05/15:

    … The evidence of Trumbo’s Red activities is hardly secret. He came clean, sort of, to his biographer, Bruce Cook, a writer of the upcoming Trumbo screenplay. He told Cook in the 1970s that he joined the party in 1943 (some FBI informants think he joined in the 1930s), that some of his “very best friends” were Communists and that “I might as well have been a Communist 10 years earlier….” He also says, about joining the party: “But I’ve never regretted it. As a matter of fact, it’s possible to say I would have regretted not having done it….”

    He said he let his party membership lapse after his HUAC appearance, possibly finding it difficult to pay his party dues after he was blacklisted, but he never publicly turned his back on communism or Stalin. Indeed, in his private papers he admits that he “reaffiliated with the party in 1954,” apparently his passion for a Communist America burning brightly as ever. So, by the historical record and his own account, he was in tune with the Soviet Union for nearly a quarter of a century, when Stalin was in his prime killing years.

  • Will the new Trumbo movie rehash old myths?, by Ronald Radosh. National Review 11/02/13:

    [Trumbo] bragged how he had used his position to stop anti-Communist films from being made. Stalin, he said, was “one of the democratic leaders of the world,” so he used his position to stop Trotsky’s biography of the dictator from being filmed, and did the same with anti-Communist books by James T. Farrell, Victor Kravchenko, and Arthur Koestler, all of which he called “untrue” and “reactionary.” As he explained in 1954 to a fellow blacklisted writer, the Communist party had a “fine tradition . . . that whenever a book or play or film is produced which is harmful to the best interests of the working class, that work and its author should and must be attacked in the sharpest possible terms.”

    Two years later, when many Communists learned some of the truth about Stalin from the Khrushchev speech, Trumbo wrote a comrade that he was not surprised. He explained that he had read the books by Koestler, George Orwell, James Burnham, Eugene Lyons, and Isaac Don Levine, who all had exposed the truth about the Soviet Union. These, of course, were the very books he had made sure would never be turned into movies. Trumbo supported Stalin, all the while knowing that he was a monster.

  • Flipping Hollywood’s Blacklist Narrative, by Ron Capshaw. Library of Law and Liberty 01/25/15:

    … All in all, Ryskind’s work is a welcome addition to the anticommunist corrections to the blacklist legend. He has written a convincing and well-sourced follow up to the pioneering effort of the Radoshes. Moreover, he has refused to play the warped victim son of a writer who was much maligned in his time and may have been black-listed (Morrie never got another script accepted after 1945). Instead he has focused on disputing how Hollywood then and now has rehabiliated what in essence were Stalinists.

  • Exclusive Author Interview with Allan Ryskind, Author of “Hollywood Traitors”, by Christopher N. Malagisi.
  • Who was Dalton Trumbo, Screenwriter and Stalinist?, by Ron Capshaw. The American Spectator 01/06/15.

  • Dalton Got His Gun, by Stefan Kanfer. City Journal 02/27/15. “The lodestar of the Hollywood blacklist was all that his fans said he was—and less.” [Review of Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical by Larry Ceplair and Christopher Trumbo, and Hollywood Traitors: Blacklisted Screenwriters, Agents of Stalin, Allies of Hitler by Allan H. Ryskind].
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4 Responses to The Many Faces of Dalton Trumbo

  • Stalin will always have his defenders.

    As recently as 2006, Alain Badiou, the long-serving professor of philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, France’s leading teacher training college for university lecturers and high school principals, wrote in his Logiques des mondes that “Materialist dialectics assumes, without particular joy, that, till now, no political subject was able to arrive at the eternity of the truth it was deploying without moments of terror. Since, as Saint-Just asked: “What do those who want neither Virtue nor Terror want?” His answer is well-known: they want corruption – another name for the subject’s defeat.”

    The scourge of the French Socialist Party (the equivalent of the American Democratic Party), Badiou is tireless in insisting that “if you say A – equality, human rights and freedoms – you should not shirk from its consequences and gather the courage to say B – the terror needed to really defend and assert the A.”

    In 2014, at the age of 77, Badiou became president of The Global Center for Advanced Studies in Wyoming MI

  • Great post, Chris.
    ***
    The fact is that Hollywood is getting ready to beatify via cinema a man who was a vocal apologist for Hitler when it suited Stalin to ally himself to Hitler, who then, after the war, compared Winston Churchill to the Nazis for warning about Soviet expansionism.
    ***
    The irony. The man who stood virtually alone in defiantly battling the Nazis gets compared to the Nazis by a small, trifling man who actually propagandized on behalf of the Nazis and was an active apologist for their oppression of those whom they vanquished.
    ***
    And this small, trifling man who justified the worst deprivations of freedom by the worst monsters in history (in Stalin, Hitler, and Kim Il-Sung) is who Hollywood, unsurprisingly, has chosen to make a “hero”, “defender” of freedom, and “martyr” to “right-wing repression”.

  • Great. Hollywood, under the guise of celebrating freedom, will lionize a guy whose sympathies lay with a system built on anything but.
    .
    And the sheep will eat and they will be made glad.
    .
    “If you control the past, you control the present.” – George Orwell, 1984

I Can’t Wait For the Holocaust Themed Prom

Thursday, March 12, AD 2015

7 Responses to I Can’t Wait For the Holocaust Themed Prom

  • As for these Seniors at the New Mexico High School. Be careful what you wish for. Today it might be a joke…tomorrow they might just be the ones killing themselves for jelly to spread on their govt. bread.

    What a disservice to the young. To reinvent History omitting the facts and accepting all fashions while calling it All Good. Example. The Crusades via The History Channel. Example. So called same sex marriage. Example. All religions are equal.

    God help us.

  • Humor; the conscience piercing bullet.

  • Here’s how to stage a commie-themed event. Participants can’t bathe or eat a full meal the entire week before. A selected 10 incognito kids are given power to arrest (for thinking differently) and torture (real torture) any of the rest of the morons. Stop me.

  • I wonder if there are any people from Russia or Eastern Europe living near this school? They ought to raise hell about this idiocy!

  • I believe it is precisely because it is identified with the Anti-Fascist cause that Communism is seen today through rose-tinted spectacles.
    One has only to look at the statue of La Passionaria in Glasgow, commemorating those whose war against the Fascists began on 17 July 1936. It was erected in 1979 by the City Council and the British Labour Movement.
    http://tinyurl.com/qgmt9yf
    In France, too, the legend of « le parti des soixante-quinze mille fusillés» [The Party of the 75,000 shot] is still, occasionally invoked – somewhat tarnished by memories of 1956, when the Party of the Resistance gave its blessing to the dirty colonial war in Algeria and expelled comrades who supported the FLN

  • Teaching kids about the evil history of communism is not in the best interests
    of this nation’s leftists. Katyn, the Holodomor, gulags, show trials, “re-education
    camps”, the Cultural Revolution, etc. — it’s as though none of that ever happened.
    It is, to borrow a phrase, “an inconvenient truth” for the left.
    .
    I don’t blame the kids too much. Their so-called ‘educators’, on the other hand…

  • “…Stalin never quite reached Hitler’s level of evil with the Jews, although his campaigns against Kulaks, so called ‘rich’ farmers, and Ukrainians in the thirties came an exceedingly close second.”
    .
    No one knows the total number of deaths in the Holodomor: anywhere between two and a half and seven and a half million Ukrainians murdered by starvation. I would say Josef Stalin was running neck-and-neck with Adolf Hitler for the most demonic leader. Only God knows who won that race, and it was not one to win.

Encyclicals For Our Time: DIVINI REDEMPTORIS

Sunday, February 8, AD 2015

LiberationTheologyChart

 

The start of a new series on encylicals that have a special relevance for our time.  First up Divini Redemptoris.  At a time when the heresy that goes by the name of Liberation Theology is making a comeback, it is good to recall the words of Pope Pius XI against Communism, so the errors of the last century may not be repeated in this one:

 

 

DIVINI REDEMPTORIS


ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON ATHEISTIC COMMUNISM
TO THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,
ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, AND OTHER ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The promise of a Redeemer brightens the first page of the history of mankind, and the confident hope aroused by this promise softened the keen regret for a paradise which had been lost. It was this hope that accompanied the human race on its weary journey, until in the fullness of time the expected Savior came to begin a new universal civilization, the Christian civilization, far superior even to that which up to this time had been laboriously achieved by certain more privileged nations.

2. Nevertheless, the struggle between good and evil remained in the world as a sad legacy of the original fall. Nor has the ancient tempter ever ceased to deceive mankind with false promises. It is on this account that one convulsion following upon another has marked the passage of the centuries, down to the revolution of our own days. This modern revolution, it may be said, has actually broken out or threatens everywhere, and it exceeds in amplitude and violence anything yet experienced in the preceding persecutions launched against the Church. Entire peoples find themselves in danger of falling back into a barbarism worse than that which oppressed the greater part of the world at the coming of the Redeemer.

3. This all too imminent danger, Venerable Brethren, as you have already surmised, is bolshevistic and atheistic Communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization .

 

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5 Responses to Encyclicals For Our Time: DIVINI REDEMPTORIS

  • The perfect storm is brewing. It’s target is America. It is not if it will hit us but when will its full force hit us?

    You are aware! Thank God.

    As I read this encyclical my heart was saying beware of the next revolution.
    The incubators have warmed the egg-heads ( indoctrination in our schools ), and the tide is red. I hope I’m completely wrong!

    If I’m not wrong in my forecast of the perfect storm, then may we ALL partake in sharing this timely message with neighbor. 2016 is closing in.

    ps….thank you Mr. McClarey for your outstanding job as sentry at his post!

  • ” … While the promises of the false prophets of this earth melt away in blood and tears, the great apocalyptic prophecy of the Redeemer shines forth in heavenly splendor: “Behold, I make all things new.”[50] Venerable Brethren, nothing remains but to raise Our paternal hands to call down upon you, upon your clergy and people, upon the whole Catholic family, the Apostolic Benediction. Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, on the feast of St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, on the 19th of March, 1937 ”
    .
    Thank you for the series, I look forward to it. Saint Joseph from the house of David might have done the same for our time.

  • This will be an appropriate series. In this way we remind ourselves (and unite ourselves) to the 2000 year old teachings of the Catholic Church, despite the present attempts to distort these teachings.
    There will be NO SCHISM.

  • America will be the target? America IS the target. the United States, North
    america, South America, the entire Hemisphere that appeared to be won to the Church, except for a small English speaking sliver, centuries ago.

  • The Pope speaks hierarchically, and each note or number shows a great, solemn depth of care for mankind.
    .
    71. To all Our children, finally, of every social rank and every nation, to every religious and lay organization in the Church, We make another and more urgent appeal for union. Many times Our paternal heart has been saddened by the divergencies – often idle in their causes, always tragic in their consequences – which array in opposing camps the sons of the same Mother Church. Thus it is that the radicals, who are not so very numerous, profiting by this discord are able to make it more acute, and end by pitting Catholics one against the other. In view of the events of the past few months, Our warning must seem superfluous. We repeat it nevertheless once more, for those who have not understood, or perhaps do not desire to understand. Those who make a practice of spreading dissension among Catholics assume a terrible responsibility before God and the Church.
    .
    Reminiscent of ‘c’atholic politicians and educators these days of infamy, except that the radicals are way more numerous than when this was written in 1937 and their causes are not so idle.
    .
    72. But in this battle joined by the powers of darkness against the very idea of Divinity, it is Our fond hope that, besides the host which glories in the name of Christ, all those – and they comprise the overwhelming majority of mankind, – who still believe in God and pay Him homage may take a decisive part. We therefore renew the invitation extended to them five years ago in Our Encyclical Caritate Christi, invoking their loyal and hearty collaboration “in order to ward off from mankind the great danger that threatens all alike.” Since, as We then said, “belief in God is the unshakable foundation of all social order and of all responsibility on earth, it follows that all those who do not want anarchy and terrorism ought to take energetic steps to prevent the enemies of religion from attaining the goal they have so brazenly proclaimed to the world.”
    .
    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/02/09/prince-charles-meets-iraqi-christians-refugees-in-jordan/ Doing good, by example.
    .
    59. But “unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.”[38] And so, as a final and most efficacious remedy, We recommend, Venerable Brethren, that in your dioceses you use the most practical means to foster and intensify the spirit of prayer joined with Christian penance. When the Apostles asked the Savior why they had been unable to drive the evil spirit from a demoniac, Our Lord answered: “This kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.”[39] So, too, the evil which today torments humanity can be conquered only by a world-wide crusade of prayer and penance.
    .
    This is such a hope I have. Doctors of our souls have the highest calling of men in the whole world and, with bulletins, internet, and offices, could then reach many.

Other Than That Whole Killing a Hundred Million People Thing, Communism in Europe Had Its Points

Tuesday, November 18, AD 2014

16 Responses to Other Than That Whole Killing a Hundred Million People Thing, Communism in Europe Had Its Points

  • Seems fitting here to post this image.

    And this article (which I think I had sent to Don) which, combined with this note, strengthens my belief that christianity has been more severely infected than we first thought.

  • The ROC is a state controlled institution. Most of it’s top clergy are doubling as KGB/FSB agents. If the Catholic Church is going to cozy up to the ROC, we have better take this into account.

  • Christopher Ferrara in The Great Façade and various writers in The Latin Mass have been building a case that oecumenism has had a malignant effect on the life of the Church. This statement would be an example.

  • “the Catholic Church, which for decades prayed for the conversion of the Soviet Union.”

    As I recall, the Loonine Prayers were for the conversion of Russia, not the Soviet Union. That, too, was a bone of contention, especially with the russian Orthodox Church in Exile

  • Communism is another name for atheism. One cannot serve two masters as Koch is pretending to do. Sympathizing with atheism is hardly the way of Catholicism, and reason enough to return the red hat.
    .
    Communism operates by causing chaos and war between peoples and nations, between the Eastern Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox congregations…God is not allowed to be a party member. Communism incites and injects problems where there is no problem. It is interesting to note that communism rejects God. Communism creates war.
    .
    Communism regards the party, the state, as the only participant in the life of the nation. The individual person has no civil, moral or natural right to be, to exist as an individual person outside of “the party”. In communism, there is no acknowledgement of the Sovereign Persons of God and, therefore, there is no acknowledgement of the individual sovereign person composed of human body and soul created by God.
    .
    The rational soul ensouled at fertilization of the newly begotten human person makes man unique in creation. Man can reason. Man has intellect. Man can name creation. Man “knows” and acknowledges others. Man can procreate, invent and love. Man can worship and acknowledge God in thought, word and deed, enumerated in our First Amendment as freedom of religion, speech, press and peaceable assembly.
    .
    The human being is endowed with unalienable rights and according to the Ninth Amendment, human rights not enumerated in the U. S. Constitution.
    .
    Sovereign personhood, legal and moral innocence , free will, conscience and the freedom to give informed consent upon which is based the whole of mankind in procreating, commerce and in constituting the government.

  • It’s beginning to look that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is the anomaly amongst German prelates. As one cardinal said about the German cardinals, ‘they’re off their rocker!’

  • Finally. Someone named “Koch” that the left can fall in love with.

  • Look at what is happening here. Two institutions fighting over membership as though their members had no say in their choice to become members, no rational soul nor intellect, as though their members had no right to choose to belong , as though their members had no informed consent, as though their members were to be herded like beasts of burden.
    .
    Denying individual human rights and bringing chaos into the world. This is pure communism.

  • I have never heard of Cardinal Koch. I wish I still had not heard of him.

    At times I am amazed at the gross stupidity of some Catholic clergy. I’m 51 and should not be so amazed at it anymore, but still it is amazing to hear such things. One of the things I have read about the Second Vatican Council is that the Church decided/agreed/was coerced into not being vocally anti-Communist (kind of like the drippy comment about Muslims made to pacify the Melkite Catholic Church).

    Communists in Spain, the Eastern Bloc, the Soviet Union, Communist China, Vietnam and Cuba confiscated Church property, imprisoned, tortured and murdered Catholic clergy, religious and lay faithful, restricted or suppressed worship and are otherwise guilty of numerous crimes against humanity…..and this German idiot bemoans the existence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church as an impediment to relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.

    The Vatican is filled with a bunch of wimps with spines of overcooked spaghetti when it comes to dealing with Islam, Communism, ecumenism, socialism, atheism, abortion, homosexuality…almost everything plaguing the world. Only those nasty, mean Traditionalists get threats of excommunication. Cardinal Koch makes the SSPX look like the real Church and whatever Koch is in looks like the Anglican
    Communion.

    The Holy See should tell the ROC to shut up about the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Stalin sought to exterminate the UGCC and only through the determination and faith of the Ukrainian Catholics has it been reborn in Ukraine today.

  • “At times I am amazed at the gross stupidity of some Catholic clergy.”

    As US Representative Trey Gowdy, a Republican from South Carolina, once said of former speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi’s comments–they are “mind numbingly stupid.”

  • “At times I am amazed at the gross stupidity of some Catholic clergy.”

    Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me at all.
    Looking back on my own (distant) schooldays at a Catholic boarding school, the brighter boys were crammed for careers in medicine, law or teaching; the dullards, if they were athletic, went into the army and, if not, they usually discovered a vocation.

  • This is one Koch that lying liberal sacs of excrement don’t hate.
    .

    The holocaust within the Spanish Civil War has been denied far too long. Almost no American knows that during the 1930’s Spanish “Civil” War the “republicans” massacred tens of thousands of Roman Catholic religious and lay people. For decades, the MSM, publishers, and the academy have viciously sold the lie that Franco and his government (World War II neutrals) were merely fascists. The MSM, et al, egregiously deny the mass murders of Spanish Catholic religious and lay persons committed by Soviet-led Spanish and international brigands such as Hemingway, Robeson and the so-called Abraham Lincoln brigade.

  • Fortunately for Cardinal Koch, Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty could not be
    reached for comment…

  • It seems to me that his statement was correct. It’s not the whole picture, but it wasn’t meant to be. A lead salesman can point out that his business was hurt by lead paint regulation, and that wouldn’t mean he’s in favor of lead poisoning. (Not the greatest example, but you know what I mean.) There’s no doubt that the reconversion of the FSU has been rocky, partly due to the bad relationship between the Orthodox and Catholic.

  • His statement was inane Pinky. It is rather akin to bemoaning race problems in the North due to Union victory in the Civil War.

Yep

Sunday, November 9, AD 2014

6 Responses to Yep

  • I wonder if Obama would agree with you? 😉

  • People are stupid. Many of them.

    Too bad so many were slaughtered like sheep. I’m afraid we haven’t seen the end to the carnage that is communism.

  • People are stupid.

    It was a popular enthusiasm for a time in Chile, in Spain, in France, in Italy, in Hungary (in some measure), and, most tragically, Czechoslovakia after the war. In the United States, one American adult in 1,500 held a party card in 1947, but three of twenty members of the MIT mathematics faculty did. R.W.B. Lewis offered a number of years ago reviewing a book on Communism in Hollywood that he could not say much from personal knowledge about the situation there, but that in the publishing business, ca. 1945, the red haze had enough influence to prevent the publication of certain sorts of literature and injure the careers of people who produced and fostered it. The intelligentsia and their dependents and hangers-on were the constituency for it most times and places.

  • Art Deco wrote, “It was a popular enthusiasm for a time in Chile, in Spain, in France, in Italy, in Hungary (in some measure), and, most tragically, Czechoslovakia after the war.”

    In France, after WWII, the Communists were widely admired as the patriotic party « le parti des 75’000 fusillés, morts por que vive la France» – The party of the 75,000 shot,dead that France might live – for their rôle in the Resistance, especially given the dismal record of the parties of the Right. After the Liberation, their leaders were either in prison, in a few cases shot, or had fled abroad.

    That honeymoon ended abruptly in 1956; a PCF that disavowed its Arab comrades in Algeria, and expelled militants arrested for supporting the FLN, was no longer the Party of the Resistance.

  • MPS, the French Communist Party had a confused if not collaborationist stance prior to the invasion of Soviet Russia in June 1941, the first to take up arms against the occupation were those of the Croix de Feu, and Gen. de Gaulle was a devout Catholic.

    We get it. History is written by the intelligentsia, who’ve been drawn to Marxism, to sundry sorts of approved particularisms, to feminism, &c and write their own as heroes and there present-day enemies as scoundrels. The rest of us are not under the obligation to swallow their sales pitches hook, line, and sinker.

    The Communist Party has lost the electoral constituency it had at the end of the war stepwise, one effected during the period running from 1956 to 1958, one from 1978 to 1986, and one from 1997 to 2002. The first of these was the least consequential, inasmuch as about 20% of their base defected rather than half, which was the case in the latter periods.

  • A latent lust for power, the grand absence of self-knowledge and the inability of a rock-hard heart to love, induces an individual to embrace the communist ideology. The vacuum of personhood, of knowing “I Am WHO I AM” and doing unto others as one would be done unto; the dispersion of the rational, eternal soul into shadows causes the zombification of men into communists. Communism, it may be said, is the personification of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Death, as long as it is somebody else’s, War, as long as I am waging and winning, Pestilence to blame on God and Famine to take from others their sustenance; a punishment from God for sin.

End of Summer, Feed Is Working Again, and The French Revolution

Monday, September 1, AD 2014

It’s the unofficial end of Summer and it’s my annual gratuitous post of myself day.  The pic below was taken in mid-July, but I waited to fix the feed to The American Catholic in order celebrate the Summer.  Needless to say, it’s fixed and the Summer is almost over.

During the Summer I asked my fellow blogger Don for some book recommendations for the French Revolution.  Of the few he did mentioned, I picked up Simon Schama’s ‘Citizen’.  The reading is in-depth, interesting, and balanced.  I’m a bit over halfway finished of the 948 pages and am so far impressed.  Considering that we are in the post-Cold War era, I wanted to know a bit more on the French Revolution since their errors have already engulfed Europe and has almost metastasizing here in the United States.  The book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens.

My opinion on the subject is that the French Revolution is the confluence of anti-Christian ideas emanating from the so-called era of enlightenment.  These very same ideas unleashed the short-term devastation of the rape of nuns, the execution of priests, and the degradation of houses of worship.  The long-term affects have furthered the cause of eliminating God from all aspects of life blossoming further in the Communist Revolution in Russia and continued to bear the fruit of death in World Wars I & II.  From this compost grew what we now call modern liberalism & democratic socialism.

End of Summer Tito Edwards Simon Schama Citizens 500x625Happy Labor Day!

 

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36 Responses to End of Summer, Feed Is Working Again, and The French Revolution

  • The best histories of the French Revolution probably remains those of two Catholic historians, Hilaire Belloc and Lord Acton.
    Belloc brings out the central rôle of Carnot, the War Minister and effective head of the Committee of Public Safety and gives full credit to the “generation of genius,” Kléber, Moreau, Reynier, Marceau, and Ney commanding the army of Sambre et Meuse, Hoche, Desaix, and St. Cyr on the Rhine and, above all, Bonaparte and Masséna in the Appenine campaign.
    Acton rightly divined the underlying political motive. “The hatred of royalty was less than the hatred of aristocracy; privileges were more detested than tyranny; and the king perished because of the origin of his authority rather than because of its abuse. Monarchy unconnected with aristocracy became popular in France, even when most uncontrolled; whilst the attempt to reconstitute the throne, and to limit and fence it with its peers, broke down, because the old Teutonic elements on which it relied – hereditary nobility, primogeniture, and privilege — were no longer tolerated. The substance of the ideas of 1789 is not the limitation of the sovereign power, but the abrogation of intermediate powers.”
    The love of equality, the hatred of nobility and the tolerance of despotism naturally go together, for, If the central power is weak, the secondary powers will run riot and oppress The Empire was the consummation of the Revolution, not its reversal and Napoléon’s armies gave a code of laws and the principle of equal citizenship to a continent.

  • Thanks Michael!

    Those recommendations are going on my Reading List for next Summer, awesome!

  • Simon Schama’s ‘Citizens’ was published for the bicentenary of the French Revolution. It is regarded as the best work on the subject in the 20th century. The French hated it, calling it ‘Thatcherite history’. Its main thesis, that the violence of the Revolution was inherent, particularly upset them.

    In particular, Schama makes the point that pre-Revolutionary France was not an ossified feudal society but one that was obsessed with modernity. He also stresses that when the revolutionaries destroyed the Church they destroyed the social welfare system with drastic results in the 1790s.

    People tend to mythologize their revolutions. Englishmen did so regarding 1688; Americans still do over theirs (even though many of the mythologizers are well-educated) and the French are no exception.

  • Odd that Michael Peterson-Seymour (who sounds as if his ancestors fought at Waterloo) should be an unreconstructed Bonapartist. All the more so since one assumes that he is a Catholic.

  • I find a 948 page book to be daunting.

    I am eagerly awaiting the shortest book in history: subject what Obama did right.

  • I want to clarify that the criticism of Simon Schama’s book, Citizen, is my own. He refers to nuns and monks and unfulfilled citizens, it, not meeting any of their potential because they are cloistered. I am not sure if he was be sarcastic, which would be fine, or serious, which would explain my criticism.

  • Pingback: Why Secular Humanists Can't Cope With Islam - BigPulpit.com
  • My complete recommendations to Tito:

    “In regard to the French Revolution a good starting point is Citizens by Simon Schama:

    http://www.amazon.com/Citizens-A-Chronicle-French-Revolution/dp/0679726101

    Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France still cannot be beat as an analysis of the early Revolution and is eerily prophetic. Carlyle’s History of the French Revolution is quite dated, and written in his usual odd style, but has valuable insights overlooked by many modern commenters.

    The late Henri Lefebvre, although a Marxist, did valuable work on both the French Revolution and Napoleon and I recommend his tomes. His style is dry as dust, but his research is impeccable.”

  • Um, what beach was that?

  • Tito Edwards: I expected you would look more like Padre Pio. You look happy.

  • Tamsin,

    An undisclosed location on the gulf coast of Florida.

    Mary De Voe,

    LOL. Very happy, my wife was there with me, but she had to take the picture. 🙂

  • My brother Mike lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Say “Hi” to him for me.

  • Thank you for fixing the feed!

  • Tito, I share your view of the French Revolution. It lives on in the Social Radicalism that permeates so much of our politics. Social Radicalism is a phenomenon that bears close scrutiny. It transcends the individual with a mindset all its own. If not scrutinized and moderated the mindset morphs into moral chaos. This can happen in slow creeping fashion or with the rapidity of revolution. The French Revolution is a signal example. It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage. Carlyle describes it thus: “On a sudden, the Earth yawns asunder, and amid Tartarean smoke, and glare of fierce brightness, rises SANSCULOTTISM, many-headed, fire-breathing, and asks; What think ye of me?” Do I engage in hyperbole when I compare the presentable, well-clothed and well-intended modern social radical with the maddened mob of Paris? Yes but to make a point. I cross a Robespierre and risk the guillotine, the loss of my life. The modern well-dressed social-radical only asks that I risk my soul. Who does me less violence?

  • John Nolan wrote, “Odd that Michael Peterson-Seymour (who sounds as if his ancestors fought at Waterloo) should be an unreconstructed Bonapartist. All the more so since one assumes that he is a Catholic.”
    Another Catholic, G K Chesterton described the tragedy of England:
    “A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
    Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
    They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people’s reign:
    And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and scorned us never again.
    Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
    Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
    In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
    We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
    We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
    The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought,
    And the man who seemed to be more than a man we strained against and broke;
    And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.”
    Hilaire Belloc, too, another Catholic, whose grandfather served in the armies of Napoléon, declared, “Those who ask how it was that a group of men sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, yet made time enough in twenty years to frame the codes which govern modern Europe, to lay down the foundations of universal education, of a strictly impersonal scheme of administration, and even in detail to remodel the material face of society—in a word, to make modern Europe—must be content for their reply to learn that the Republican Energy had for its flame and excitant this vision: a sense almost physical of the equality of man.”

  • William P Walsh wrote, “It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage.”
    Certainly, it did start with a bankrupt government, but here is the curiosity: this bankrupt nation found itself able to sustain twenty years of war against the whole of Europe and to raise and maintain an army to fight it. For most of that period it had 700,000 men in the field. As for “open rebellion,” it crushed it wherever it showed itself, in Brittany, in Lyons, in the Vendée. It takes something rather more than “uncontrollable rage” to do that.

  • “It takes something rather more than “uncontrollable rage” to do that.”

    1. Mass murder against opponents.
    2. Mass repudiation of the debts of the Old Regime.
    3. The military genius of Napoleon and some of the other generals and marshals that rose to the fore as a result of the Revolution.
    4. Total War-no longer was war the sport of kings but rather the preocupation of peoples.

  • Donald R McClarey

    “3. The military genius of Napoleon and some of the other generals and marshals”

    I would certainly agree with that. There is a sense in which Napoléon, Dumoriez (despite his later defection), Kellerman, Hoche and Kléber were the French Revolution – It is their legacy.

    “4. Total War-no longer was war the sport of kings but rather the preoccupation of peoples.”

    The levée en masse and all that it entailed was the achievement of Carnot, but we sometimes forget what an astonishing achievement it was. The army was increased from 645,000 in mid-1793 to 1,500,000 in September 1794. The unbroken succession of victories, from Fleurus in June 1794 to Marengo in June 1800 were all, in a sense, his. He was ably seconded by Lindet, in effect, minister of food, munitions and manufacture.

    The political will and administrative skills needed to raise, equip, train, discipline and provision armies on that scale was enormous and quite without precedent. Much of the credit must go to the Committee of Public Safety, which was, in effect, the War Cabinet and to the brilliant innovation of seconding the “Deputies on Mission” from the National Assembly, as political commissioners to the armies.

  • Michael points out my inattention to the economic situation in France. I admit to a lack of formal study of that dismal science. I have yet in mind the diabolical ingredient of revolution. The first revolution starts with Lucifer’s “Non Serviam” and every revolution carries that sentiment in its bloodstream. The laws of economics are swept away when everything can be stolen from rightful owners. The State can be most efficient when it can murder the opposition. “If God does not exist, all things are permitted”. The Social Radical who looks so benign in his well-tailored clothing can do great injustice with a pen-stroke. If the end justifies the employment of any means, we are living in a state of moral chaos. We are then lunatics pulling down our house upon us. But I sing to the choir, as I sort out my thoughts.

  • I can assure Tito that Schama when referring to cloistered religious is not giving us his own opinion, but that of the revolutionaries whose construct of what constitutes a ‘citizen’ is an important theme of the book.

    I am an admirer of Belloc but he was fundamentally wrong on two counts – all his life he believed a) that the French Revolution was a ‘good thing’ and b) Dreyfus was guilty.

  • John Nolan
    I think both Belloc (and Chesterton, too) wrote a great deal in reaction to the way the Revolution and Napoléon were portrayed in England.

    There is a print, which can still be seen in the bar parlours of some country inns, of the handshake of Wellington and Blucher after Waterloo. They must have been produced by the million

    http://tinyurl.com/m42zlof

    Chesterton summed up the whole business pretty well.

    “Our middle classes did well to adorn their parlours with the picture of the “Meeting of Wellington and Blucher.” They should have hung up a companion piece of Pilate and Herod shaking hands. Then, after that meeting amid the ashes of Hougomont, where they dreamed they had trodden out the embers of all democracy, the Prussians rode on before, doing after their kind. After them went that ironical aristocrat out of embittered Ireland, with what thoughts we know; and Blucher, with what thoughts we care not; and his soldiers entered Paris, and stole the sword of Joan of Arc.”

    To both Belloc and Chesterton, the fall of Paris to the Allies could only be compared to the sack of Rome by the Goths.

  • An interesting summary of an enormous matter,re. the French Revolution: “It started with the whole nation seeking to justly address a financial crisis but rapidly resolved into open rebellion and uncontrollable rage.” – William P. Walsh
    However, from whence came the bitterly murderous hatred of the Catholic Faith and its individual servants, only the abyss could cough up that demon.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Chesterton wrote ‘The Crimes of England’ in 1916. It’s a polemic, brilliant in parts, but it ain’t history. The author’s unreasoning ‘Teutonophobia’, his withering scorn for Pitt, Castlereagh and Peel (in contrast with his hero-worship of Charles James Fox) and his take on the French Revolution and Bonaparte simply parade his prejudices. Comparing the Allied occupation of Paris in 1814 with the sack of Rome by the Goths takes hyperbole to new heights, especially since French armies had looted and plundered their way across Europe for the previous twenty years. Historical method requires conclusions to be based on evidence. Both Belloc and Chesterton were counter-historical, if not positively anti-historical. They rightly challenged the consensus of the Whig historians, but what they put in its place was too intuitive and subjective. Since it did not rely on evidence it could be sometimes right, but more often wrong.

    Simon Schama’s book is revisionist, not least in that he uses the narrative approach which was unfashionable in 1989 (Orlando Figes does the same in his study of the Russian Revolution ‘A People’s Tragedy’). But both men are historians; Belloc and Chesterton, for all their brilliance, were not.

  • The errors of the french revolution came from somewhere!
    The protestant reformation shaped Europe and the world in ways we are still discerning. That “reformation” preceded the Enlightenment, which came to the “spirit” of revoltion of the 18 and 19 centuries everything from the very un- “reason”able reign of terror to marx to the culture kampf– and what follows in russia and mexico and china and on and on and on

  • John Nolan wrote, “Comparing the Allied occupation of Paris in 1814 with the sack of Rome by the Goths takes hyperbole to new heights…”
    Hardly. In both cases, the capital of civilisation fell to the barbarians from beyond the Rhine.
    Belloc’s evaluation of the Revolution is not all that different from the great French historian of the Revolution, Louis Blanc. Blanc, one recalls, during his exile in London (he had fought on the barricades during les journées de juin 1848), had access to Croker’s unrivalled collection of manuscripts and pamphlets.
    Acton summarises Blanc’s principle: ”He desires government to be so constituted that it may do everything for the people, not so restricted that it can do no injury to minorities. The masses have more to suffer from abuse of wealth than from abuse of power, and need protection by the State, not against it. Power, in the proper hands, acting for the whole, must not be restrained in the interest of a part.” That was also the view of the great Dominican, Lacordaire, “Between the weak and the strong, between the rich and the poor, between the master and the servant, it is freedom which oppresses and the law which sets free.”
    This was a principle Belloc and Chesterton would have heartily endorsed. It is the negation of Liberalism and its doctrine of laissez-faire.

  • “In both cases, the capital of civilisation fell to the barbarians from beyond the Rhine.”

    Please. Even as hyperbole that is over the circus top. The French Revolution was a complex historical event, but by the time Napoleon fell it had devolved into one of the first military dictatorships in modern times, one with delusions of grandeur. It was a very good thing for the peace of Europe that Napoleon fell in 1814 and that he was soundly thrashed in 1815 at Waterloo which brought an end to his “Golden Oldies” attempt at a Bonaparte revival.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “[B]y the time Napoleon fell it had devolved into one of the first military dictatorships in modern times.”
    That is to misunderstand the nature, both of the Republic and the Empire. Napoléon was no more a military dictator than Augustus or Charlemagne. As Chesterton said, “French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.”
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Swinburn’s “Sea-Eagle of English feather”) understood:
    “And kings crept out again to feel the sun.
    The kings crept out — the peoples sat at home.
    And finding the long-invocated peace
    (A pall embroidered with worn images
    Of rights divine) too scant to cover doom
    Such as they suffered, cursed the corn that grew
    Rankly, to bitter bread, on Waterloo.”

    Those “carrion kings, unsheeted and unmasked,” described by Michelet, the great historian of the Revolution.

  • “That is to misunderstand the nature, both of the Republic and the Empire. Napoléon was no more a military dictator than Augustus or Charlemagne”

    Augustus was a military dictator, the last man standing of the ambitious warlords/politicians who murdered the dying Republic. Charlemagne was not a military dictator but the scion of a family that had been running the chief of the Frankish states for some time. Napoleon owed his position to his military brilliance and his willingness to use military force against civilian rule and nothing more.

    “French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.”

    That quote always had my vote for the dumbest thing written by Chesterton.

  • M P-S, the ‘barbarians from beyond the Rhine’ produced Lessing, Schiller, Goethe, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, to name but a few. I’m sure those German citizens, living in their peaceful towns and villages, often in the shadow of old-established monasteries on which the local economy depended and which were soon to be destroyed, were overjoyed at the arrival of Revolutionary French armies with their portable guillotines. Germany in the eighteenth century was civilized in the real sense that the local ‘civitas’ enforced its own laws for the benefit of the citizens. It is telling that the incidence of capital punishment in the German states was far lower than in France or England.

    Michael, get off your hobby-horse and face facts. Bonaparte has a good record when it comes to establishing (or more correctly re-establishing, since the Revolution had destroyed much) institutions in France; but he also erected a police state. His hubristic lust for conquest led (as in the case of Hitler, with whom he has much in common) to eventual nemesis. And France only recovered its 1789 levels of foreign trade in the 1830s by which time Britain had far outstripped it.

  • “I can assure Tito that Schama when referring to cloistered religious is not giving us his own opinion, but that of the revolutionaries whose construct of what constitutes a ‘citizen’ is an important theme of the book.”
    .
    The sovereign personhood of the newly begotten human being (His body and his soul) constitutes the nation from the very first moment of existence. His absolute moral and legal innocence are the standard of Justice and the compelling interest of the state in its duty to deliver Justice and in protecting the newly begotten human being. Francisco Suarez says that: “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.”
    .
    The newly begotten human being who constitutes the state from the very first moment of his existence and through his sovereign personhood endowed by “their Creator” is the citizen. At birth the new citizen is given documents to prove his citizenship and a tax bill.
    .
    The French Revolution must have been dealing with the loss and denial of citizenship by the state as in “persona non grata”. Religious persons, priests and nuns, do not forfeit or surrender their God-given sovereign personhood and/or citizenship by answering their vocation. A higher calling, in fact, purifies their citizenship and brings “the Blessings of Liberty”.
    .
    It is nothing less than communism, oppression, for another individual or the state to tell a person who is a citizen that he is not a citizen without indictment for a capital offense, treason. It appears that being a religious person in France during the French Revolution was treason, the absolute reversal of the truth.
    .
    This same separation of citizenship and soul is happening here in America, where having a soul has become treason, treason in the land of atheism.

  • Donald R McCleary wrote, “’ French democracy became more democratic, not less, when it turned all France into one constituency which elected one member.’ – That quote always had my vote for the dumbest thing written by Chesterton.”

    And yet it was, in effect, endorsed by Walter Bagehot, a man politically poles apart from Chesterton. Writing of the nephew, that shrewd cynic observed, “The nature of a constitution, the action of an assembly, the play of parties, the unseen formation of a guiding opinion, are complex facts, difficult to know and easy to mistake. But the action of a single will, the fiat of a single mind, are easy ideas: anybody can make them out, and no one can ever forget them. When you put before the mass of mankind the question, ‘Will you be governed by a king, or will you be governed by a constitution?’ the inquiry comes out thus—’Will you be governed in a way you understand, or will you be governed in a way you do not understand?’ The issue was put to the French people; they were asked, ‘Will you be governed by Louis Napoleon, or will you be governed by an assembly?’ The French people said, ‘We will be governed by the one man we can imagine, and not by the many people we cannot imagine.'”

  • “The French people said, ‘We will be governed by the one man we can imagine, and not by the many people we cannot imagine.’”

    Preposterous. The plebiscite of 1851 was instituted only after wannabe Napoleon had instituted repression. It had as much validity as one of Stalin’s show trials in the thirties. Like his much greater uncle, wannabe Napoleon owed his imitation imperial title, eventually granted him officially through another plebiscite with an unimaginative 97% yes vote, to the bayonets he controlled rather than the ballots he manufactured in pretend plebiscites.

  • Donald R McClarey
    Louis Napoléon may not have been supported by a numerical majority of the nation, that’s as may be; but there is no doubt that he had the support of a determinant current of opinion—determinant in intensity and in weight, that is, as well as in numbers. That was true of his uncle also and it needed no plebiscite to establish this obvious truth.

  • “but there is no doubt that he had the support of a determinant current of opinion”

    Nope, like his uncle he had control of the military and crushed all opposition. Speculations about his “true” popularity among the people or the elite are meaningless when he made certain that his opposition had no voice.

  • Mary De Voe’s, “It is nothing less than communism, oppression, for another individual or the state to tell a person who is a citizen that he is not a citizen without indictment for a capital offense, treason. It appears that being a religious person in France during the French Revolution was treason, the absolute reversal of the truth. . This same separation of citizenship and soul is happening here in America, where having a soul has become treason, treason in the land of atheism.”, nails it.
    In America today, the newly begotten human being is no longer protected, the person who is religious, a veteran, a supporter of Constitutional rights is a potential domestic terrorist. Remember Andrew Cuomo’s saying that a supporter of the Second Amendment has no place in New York State. If he becomes President, that may apply to the whole country.

  • I started to watch Simon Schamas tv program about judiasm since i enjoyed his shows about England. I caught an episode in the middle and what amazed me was that the program seemed more of a rant against the injustices perpetrated upon the Jews by Christians than a true unbiased history of Judaism.
    I was a bit shocked but it may explain this “book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens “

In Memoriam: Tiananmen Square

Thursday, June 5, AD 2014

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”

Thucydides

 

Yesterday, June 4, was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the brutal suppression of the pro-Democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.  Over 3000 of the protestors were murdered by the Communist government of China.  Tyranny won that round, but I have absolutely no doubt that Democracy will ultimately prevail in the Middle Kingdom.  When it does, the heroes and heroines of Tiananmen Square will be remembered and their murderers forgotten.

 

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Pivotal Experiments

Sunday, February 9, AD 2014

Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, takes a look at how NBC refers to Communism, an ideology that has a murder total of one hundred million and counting:

 

Last evening, NBC opened its Olympic coverage from Russia with the following montage:

The towering presence, the empire that ascended to affirm a colossal footprint. The revolution that birthed one of modern history’s pivotal experiments. But if politics has long shaped our sense of who they are, it’s passion that endures. As a more reliable right to their collective heart. What they build in aspirations lifted by imagination. What they craft, through the wonder of every last detail. How magical the fusion of sound and movement can be. How much a glass of distilled perfection and an overflowing table can matter. Discover the Russian people through these indelible signatures. Discover what we share with them through the games that open here tonight.

Watch the video.  As the highlighted words above are spoken, take careful note of the image that appears on the screen.  And then thank God that Germany isn’t scheduled to host an Olympics any time soon.

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15 Responses to Pivotal Experiments

  • Nihilism Broadcasting Corporation.
    News and information you can trust….almost.

  • I would argue that calling the Bolshevik Revolution a “pivotal experiment” is NOT the same as saying that the experiment was a success or that it was a great idea. Sounds more like damning with faint praise to me. Calling something important, influential or critical is not necessarily a compliment (e.g., Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, a distinction earned by Adolf Hitler and, I believe, Ayatollah Khomeni).

    Note also the next phrase: “If politics has long shaped our sense of who they are, it’s passion that endures, as a more reliable right to their collective heart.” In other words, Communism didn’t represent the whole of Russian culture or national spirit — and I agree. Yes, maybe NBC is sucking up to Putin more than they ought to but it’s the Olympics, so what did you expect?

  • From NBC Elaine I expect absolutely anything, and thus I was not surprised by their attempt to glide over the waking nightmare that was the Soviet Union.

  • Nuts Broadcasting Communism?
    The audience expressions at 2:21 in Springtime are priceless.

  • Suz: “Nuts Broadcasting Communism” . not “?”

  • They also had a big hammer/sickle. Imagine the liberal pomp and circumstances if at 1972 Munich they ran out a big, black swastika, or a knight’s cross?
    .

    This is my dull my life. After Mass yesterday, I was watching the cable NBC Sports. The so-called reporter was interviewing the coach of the Ruskie hockey team who was a starter on the 1980 Soviet (Army) hockey team that lost to the USA. The dude didn’t mention that half the team was walking point in Afdhanistan the week after they lost.

    It’s just that they’re taking a break from their 24/7 tongue-bathing of Obama.
    .

    The truth is out there. It’s not with ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, et al.
    .

    Anyhow, NBC couldn’t comment on the pivotal horse-stuff and stay in Sochi . . . But, I can.
    .

    “In 1932-33, the Ukraine, formerly the breadbasket of Russia, was turned into a desolate wasteland during the ‘Holodomor.’ Malcolm Muggerage wrote in his book, War on the Peasants, ‘On one side, millions of starving peasants, their bellies often swollen from lack of food; on the other, soldiers, members of the GPU (secret police) carrying out the instructions of the dictatorship of the proletariat. They had gone over the country like a swarm of locusts and taken away everything edible, they had shot or exiled thousands of peasants, sometimes whole villages, they had reduced some of the most fertile land in the world to a melancholy desert.’ More than 7 million people died so that their farms could be collectivized by Moscow.”

  • T. Shaw.

    Q: Is this the same utopian model that the elite Lib’s wish on AmeriKia?

    My gut feeling is that it is!

  • I thought it was fine. I basically agree with Elaine, that it handled the elephant in the room as well as they could. What stood out to me was the frequent religious imagery.

  • Phillip:

    The death of the middle class; weak economic growth; low paying jobs; death panels; unemployment is “liberating”; . . .

    We are living the lib, utopian nightmare.

  • Sounds like more was expected. I agree, the treatment seemed rather neutral, which is what we’d expect for an Olympic broadcast. Now maybe when the Bolshevik history tribunal is aired we’ll see some sparks!

  • Thank You T. Shaw

  • Thanks for sugarcoating it T. Shaw.
    Famine gulags and cheap vodka…can’t wait! 🙁

  • I dunno, T Shaw. I’m thinking that the coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics must have included some stock footage from the 1936 games, and some kind of vague references.

  • The ’72 Munich Olympics were, of course, overshadowed by the (Palestinian) terrorist massacre of Israeli athletes. That story was handled with calm and dignity by the late, great sportscaster Jim McKay.

    I was only 8 years old during those Games and so don’t remember watching that story directly. I do, however, remember reading an interview with McKay years later in Sports Illustrated in which he said that all during the hostage crisis, the one thing he kept in mind was that the parents of one of the Israeli athletes lived in Ohio, and he would be the one who would have to tell them whether their son was alive or dead. I have a hard time imagining today’s talking heads having that much compassion or empathy for their viewers.

  • Yeah, Elaine, I was looking around for coverage of the 1972 games to back up my theory, but the only things I could find were about the terrorist attack.

    It really is depressing how many times we’ve failed at creating a non-political international sporting event. I guess some people see a stage and can’t imagine not being on it.

November 10, 1956: Hungarian Revolt Crushed

Saturday, November 9, AD 2013

I stand for God, for the Church and for Hungary. This responsibility has been imposed upon me by the fate of the nation which stands alone, an orphan in the whole world. Compared with the sufferings of my people, my own fate is of no importance.

József  Cardinal Mindszenty, Primate of Hungary, 1948

 

 

The Hungarian Revolt of 1956 was an extremely important turning point in the Cold War.  It demonstrated to the world that Eastern Europe was not, and never would be, Communist but rather merely territory held down by the force of the Red Army.  This spirit of resistance lived on in each of the countries in the Warsaw Pact from the first imposition of Communist governments at the end of the World War II to the fall of the Communist states at the end of the eighties.  It was a magnificent struggle that is too little celebrated in the West.

The heart and soul of the struggle in Hungary was one of the great men of the 20th Century:  József  Cardinal Mindszenty, primate of Hungary.  Imprisoned by the pro-Nazi government in Hungary during World War II, he was imprisoned, tortured and condemned in a show trial by the puppet Communist regime after World War II.  Freed by Hungarian patriots during the Hungarian revolt, he quickly joined the revolt.  After it was crushed he took refuge in the American embassy in Budapest where he stayed for 15 years, a symbol of the unconquerable spirit of his beloved Hungary.  Shamefully, in my view, the Vatican compromised with the Communist regime, annulling the excommunication imposed by Pius XII on all involved with the trial of Mindszenty, and calling him “a victim of history” rather than “a victim of Communism”.  Mindszenty  traveled to Vienna rather than Rome, upset at the suggestion of the Vatican that he should retire and live in Rome.  He was stripped of his titles by Pope Paul VI in 1973, although the Pope did not fill the primacy until after the Cardinal died in 1975.  The Church in Hungary has launched a strong effort to have the Cardinal proclaimed a saint, and I pray that it is soon crowned with deserved success.

Below is the public domain movie Guilty of Treason 1949, which tells the story of the trial of  Mindszenty  by the Communists.  There was also the 1956 movie The Prisoner starring Alec Guinness, a heavily fictionalized account of his trial, which the Cardinal intensely disliked.

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6 Responses to November 10, 1956: Hungarian Revolt Crushed

  • The struggles of Central Europe to free itself from the grip of Soviet communism has largely been forgotten or ignored by the West, which as decided to elect quasi-Communist politicians since Ronald Reagan left the White House.

    The people of this part of Europe were long subject to foreign rule, be it German, Austrian, Russian or Ottoman, going back centuries. Only since 1989 have the people of Poland, Hungary, the Czech republic, Slovakia and Romania have been able to rule themselves. Some years ago, the Czech president called Al Gore an idiot. They seem to have the sense we have lost.

  • PF, I suspect that the struggles of Central Europe to free itself from communism
    isn’t so much forgotten or ignored by this administration as it is regretted.

    In the spring of 2012, the Polish freedom fighter Jan Karski was to be posthumously
    awarded our Medal of Freedom. The Polish government requested that Lech Walesa
    be permitted to travel here to accept the medal on Karski’s behalf. President Obama
    denied the Polish government’s request, stating that Walesa was “too political”.

    It’s interesting that at the same award ceremony Delores Huerta, an honorary
    chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, was also awarded a Medal of Freedom.
    It takes little imagination to understand why this administration would find the
    founder of Solidarity/Nobel Peace Prize winner/anti-communist Walesa “too
    political” to attend, but award our highest civilian honor to a Socialist activist at
    that same ceremony…

    I think this administration would prefer it if heroes like Cardinal Mindszenty and
    Lech Walesa never existed.

  • The struggles of Central Europe to free itself from the grip of Soviet communism has largely been forgotten or ignored by the West, which as decided to elect quasi-Communist politicians since Ronald Reagan left the White House.

    I can think of a number of adjectives to describe the Bushes, father and son, to describe Bilge Clinton, and to describe the current incumbent. “Quasi-communist” would not be one.

  • Jan Karski, a Pole who escaped from Nazi occupied Poland during WWII to bring news of the Nazi Death Camps to the West. “Story of a Secret State”:This is the first that I have heard that the embarrassment in the White House refused a Visa for Lech Walesa, a world wide labor hero.

    When history is written the mal-administration, wrong-doings, illegal and unconstitutional acts of the socialist Obama and his administration will require more buildings than the histories of the assassination of President Jack Kennedy.

  • Mr. Deco,

    The Bushes are statists. Cinton wasn’t a Commie symp but he took Chinese money to get reelected. His wife – yes she is. Obumbler is. Western Europe has elected quasi-Communists. Shoeboy Zapatero in Spain qualifies, as does the current French president.

  • Art.

    “…..and to describe the current incumbent. “Quasi-communist” would not be one. ”

    That’s not the way I see it from where I am watching, Art. Your current president, with his solid communist/socialist upbringing, and confirmed by his actions, fits that description exactly. He is “fundamentally changing” the USA into the USSA – the United Socialist States of America.

November 9, 1989

Saturday, November 9, AD 2013

Twenty-four years ago today my wife and I arrived home from buying software for our Commodore 64  (Yeah, it is that long ago.) and watched stunned after we turned on the tv as we saw East Germans dancing on top of the Berlin War, tearing into it with sledge hammers.   It is hard to convey to people who did not live through the Cold War how wonderful a sight this was.  Most people at the time thought the Cold War was a permanent state of things.  Not Ronald Wilson Reagan.  He knew that Communism would end up on the losing side of history and throughout his career strove to bring that day ever closer.  His becoming President so soon after John Paul II became Pope set the stage for the magnificent decade of the Eighties when Communism passed from being a deadly threat to the globe to a belief held only by a handful of benighted tyrannical regimes around the world, and crazed American professors.  In most of his movies, the good guys won in the end, and Reagan helped give us a very happy ending to a menace that started in 1917 and died in 1989.

Here is an interview Sam Donaldson did with Reagan immediately after the fall of the wall:

The thirst for freedom that the hand of God places in each human soul can be held down by force for a time, but it never can be killed forever.

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10 Responses to November 9, 1989

  • Twenty-four years…

    The link below is to a July 4 2011 article written in the Spectator Coffee House blog by Colleen Graffy to mark the unveiling of the Grosvenor Square statue of President Reagan.

    I wrote then:

    “Regarding the Wall and with due apologies for any perceived crudity. In company with several German, Dutch and American colleagues I had the very great pleasure of p*****g on the rubble within hours of its fall. I am not ashamed to say that I wept constantly during those blessed days. As I recently mentioned somewhere hereabouts, I have a lump of the accursed thing in my study at home with a wee NATO flag stuck in it.”

    President Ronald Reagan 1911-2004

    Karol Józef Wojtyła, Blessed Pope John Paul Magnus 1920-2005

    Baroness (Margaret) Thatcher of Kesteven 1925-2013

    All gone now.

    God be good to them…

  • I will never forget the sight of the Berlin Wall coming down. I was working on DC at the time and went to my grandmother’s home in Washington, PA for the weekend. I saw the whole thing on TV and it was amazing. Every network was covering the event….but the NBC station in Steubenville, Ohio showed a tape delay broadcast of the Steubenville High School football playoff game.

    I never have forgotten that.

  • And the fight continues in every generation:

  • Amazing point in history, like many I remember clearly watching it all unfold on tv, I was building bookshelves at the family cottage and they came tumbling down (like the Wall)—directly on my head 😀
    Hopefully the architects of the destruction of Communism, mentioned in Kennybhoy’s post, will pray for us. Because the same stupid ideas just keep popping up.

  • I wasn’t old enough to remember it coming down, and it sure wasn’t mentioned in school, but my folks’ general reaction at any mention of it spoke volumes when I was a kid.

  • The next time a liberal friend scoffs at Pres Reagan’s “evil empire” speech refer him to Ta-Neshi Caotes of the Atlantic writing about postwar Europe:

    More than anyone, Stalin is the most fascinating figure in the early chapters of Postwar. I can’t get a handle on him. He bumbles constantly. When Stalin goes to subjugate Poland, he is crippled by the fact that he’s purged an entire generation of Polish communists. He was caught totally by surprise when Hitler invaded. And yet somehow Stalin does not just hold on to power he increases his power.

    The politics at work in this era of Central\Eastern Europe remind me of the politics at work during in the early 17th century. There’s that same sense of chaos and shifting alliances. As history, it is totally gripping. I have argued, repeatedly, that white people have never done anything to black people they haven’t done to themselves. You see this in the Stalin’s empire–right down to the slave ships.

  • At the same time as the Achille Lauro incident, my father and I were on a month-long Battlefield Tour in Europe, which would eventually take us through West Germany (how weird that looks now,) Austria, Czechoslovakia and East Germany.

    Having stood on both sides of the Berlin Wall, I remember kicking myself for not grabbing the first plane over and joining in the party when the Wall was coming down. I kick myself even harder today. The ability to speak of those events in the first person would bear incredible weight these days, when so much of what we see transpiring in this country becomes redolent of those tyrannical systems brought down just a generation ago.

    To this day, I imagine myself deplaning, small overnight case in hand, hailing the first cab I see and simply saying “Die Mauer, bitte, und schnell.”

  • Interestingly, communism or socialism really isn’t dead. It represents the ideals of many still. They imagine it is the way of progress or its goal.

  • Mr. Colli9ns –

    I think nobody ruled through fear the way Stalin did. Stalin could never have been anything in politics except what he was. Stalin needed enemies. He never wanted friends. Of course, FDR thought he could be friends with Uncle Joe after Hitler invaded, but Stalin considered him to be a useful idiot.

    Stalin had a special hatred for Poles, as Stalin was a Red Army officer in the Polish Bolshevik War of 1920-21 (and a lousy one at that).

Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker and Victims of Communism Day

Wednesday, May 1, AD 2013

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Joseph the Worker and Victims of Communism Day.  Pius XII instituted the feast in 1955.  In 1949 he issued the Decree Against Communism which excommunicated all Catholics collaborating with Communist organizations. 

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8 Responses to Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker and Victims of Communism Day

  • Apropos of the Santayana quote, Don, have you read Hanson’s recent article on why we read the classics? It’s amazing. It’s one of those reads that helps me crystalize stray thoughts and suspicions into a real understanding.

  • Pingback: Padre Pio - Big Pulpit
  • “Apropos of the Santayana quote, Don, have you read Hanson’s recent article on why we read the classics?”

    Not yet, but I am looking forward to doing so!

  • Communism is a group of people who deny the sovereignty of the human person. Our Constitution was written for the sovereign person who constitutes our government. To have freedom, the state must recognize that it is constituted by sovereign persons who are created by God.

  • Thank you for sharing this very good read. It’s really a wonderfully written article! May the Lord bless all the workers that are always working at their best everyday. May He give them strength and good health that they may know that He is with them always.

  • Thank you Erin! My parents were both factory workers and finer people never lived. When I think of Saint Joseph the Worker I think of them.

  • Well, Catholics in the Democrat Party in the USA and the Liberal Party in Canada should be considered excommunicated.

  • Hmmnn: Materialistic, opposed to religion, enemies of God, of the true religion and of the Church of Christ. Is that why a favorite priest called it “Neo-Communism”?

Ash-heap of History Speech

Wednesday, February 6, AD 2013

Today is my 56th birthday.  I share my birthday with the greatest president of my lifetime:  Ronald Reagan.  I thought he was a great president at the time, but as the years roll by my admiration for President Reagan only grows.  The above video is the famous “ash-heap of history” speech to the British parliament on June 8, 1982.  Widely derided by critics at the time, Reagan’s speech was eerily prophetic as the Soviet Union swiftly landed on the ash-head of history.  Here is the text of the speech:

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19 Responses to Ash-heap of History Speech

  • Happy Birthday Donald!

    “…a society where productive forces are hampered by political ones.”
    Enter obamanation.

    It amazes me still, how much hatred the Left have for this great leader.
    The contra dealings is their primary focus on a leader who turned this country around when gas lines we’re commonplace, and American hostages were easy pickings.

    You do share a birthday with a great man.

  • Happy Birthday Donald.

    Ah, to have a President speak with moral clarity again. Does one dare to dream?

  • Thank you Philip and Paul! Charlatans like Obama are with us constantly. A statesman of the calibre of Reagan appears but rarely.

  • Happy Birthday, Don! Hope it’s a great one.

  • Thank you Jay and Foxfier. My bride has the usual birthday festivities planned for tonight and they are usually memorable. I think this one will involve the War of the Spanish Succession in some way. (Yes, both my bride and I probably do read too much history!)

  • Well, Reagan was a pretty good president, but you have to respect other presidents of your lifetime, like Carter. Reagan only built on Carter’s successes. And there was that great Carter speech that everyone quotes, I can’t think of it offhand, but you know the one….

    Just kidding. Yay Ron. Happy Birthday.

  • Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan
    Happy Birthday Donald McClarey.
    Birthday cake is my favorite. Get some with icing roses and lemon filling.

  • Thank you Donald and happy birthday. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were always two of my favorite people. People like them are sorely missed in the political and diplomatic levels we face today. The ash heaps of history are getting closer every day. Our nation has never been more threatened in its history.

  • Thank you. Donald McClarey. I am looking forward to reading about the War of Spanish Succession.
    Ronald Reagan knew what he was struggling against. Unfortunately, tolerance and diversity in universities have come to mean the opposite of the academic freedom that they were intended to bring about. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights too, has devolved into an atheistic refusal to acknowledge our Creator and man’s individual human soul. Written by Eleanor Roosevelt, the U.N. fought her tooth and nail to remove God from the Declaration. The UN won. Without God, human “rights endowed by the state can be altered and removed by the state.” Thomas Jefferson. Unalienable human rights are endowed by God, WHO is infinite and never changing. Exclusively under God are: “the great civilized ideas: individual liberty, representative government, and the rule of law under God.” Ronald Reagan.

  • Thank you Pinky, I think!

    Thank you Robert!

    Mary, the best book on the War of the Spanish Succession is still the massive biography of the Duke of Marlborough written in a grand style by his descendant Sir Winston Churchill.

    Of “Corporal John” as his men fondly called him, it was said that he never fought a battle he did not win and never besieged a fortress he did not take.

  • Reagan was a success because of his faith in God and confidence in himself and his views.

    People like Reagan give and build.

    People like his opponents take and destroy.

  • Happy Birthday Don!

    Agreed on Reagan. We sure could use a decent human being in Washington these days.

  • Happy Birthday.

    Ah, to have a President speak with moral clarity again. Does one dare to dream?

    Reagan had a number of advantages you have not seen much of in Presidential politics in the last fifty-odd years:

    1. He took an interest in political principles.

    2. He was in politics to primarily push his preferred policies; he had had a long and fruitful career before entering politics and might have been happier doing something else all those years.

    3. He did not have any gross personality problems or character defects.

    4. His previous positions had taught him satisfactorily how to manage time, recruit subordinates, delegate authority, and motivate his workforce.

    No one else who has held the office since 1960 fits the bill. As for Vice Presidents and presidential aspirants of note, not many would have been plausible candidates for filling the bill.

  • Mary De Voe

    The principle draughtsmen of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were the French Thomist, Jacques Maritain, the Lebanese Orthodox theologian, Charles Malik and René Cassin, who was Jewish

  • Art- Great point: “He did not have any gross personality problems or character defects”. It’s pitiful that that needs to be stated at all. But we’ve sort of come to expect, or be resigned to, our leaders being messed-up people. There’s a genre of political writing that I don’t remember existing before Clinton, the “who is he really” story. These stories are not simply about policy flip-flops. They’re psychological studies. By implication, they’re abnormal psych studies.

  • Reagan was a a realist who had the guts to be an idealist. As for Obama, while there are many who share his his unwavering devotion to leftist ideology, but those who have been as effective as he has in capitalizing on the cowardice of his opposition are not exactly a dime a dozen.

One, Two, Three

Monday, April 30, AD 2012

Tomorrow is Victims of Communism Day and I will be having a post on that subject.  In a lighter vein on the same subject is the hilarious Cold War comedy One, Two, Three (1961), starring James Cagney and directed by Billy Wilder.  It actually foreshadowed the trajectory of the Cold War fairly better than many a serious study.  As the film indicates the Soviets simply were unable to produce consumer goods of a high enough quality to keep their people satisfied, and the failure to do so, along with the lack of freedom, ultimately led to the rapid fall in the eighties of the last century of regimes that looked on the surface to be rock solid.

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13 Responses to One, Two, Three

  • The hypocrisy of communism. How interesting it is that this movie clip and the Victims of Communism Day comes on the heels of Paul Ryan and Catholic Social Teaching, as though America has journeyed to the center of the earth and Paul Ryan is pointing the way back to the surface.

  • That good Catholic man, Jimmy Cagney. An American Catholic.

  • “Originally a very left-wing Democrat activist during the 1930s, Cagney later switched his viewpoint and became progressively more conservative with age. He supported his friend Ronald Reagan’s campaigns for the Governorship of California in 1966 and 1970, as well as his Presidential campaigns in 1980 and 1984. President Reagan delivered the eulogy at Cagney’s funeral in 1986.”

    Cagney would probably have said with Reagan that he didn’t leave the Democrats, they left him.

  • the Democratic party left me too… I thin other Catholics this very moment, even this Monday morning are making that same painful break.
    But where to go? I wish the GOP would show some of Cagney’s humor and optimism about the nature of our American people and the democratic ( lower case) and republican (lower case) ideals I am not a bit happy with the way the GOP has acted lately; I feel like we have been force-fed Romney. I wonder what Reagan and Cagney would say about that.

  • Well I know what Reagan would say. Reagan supported Ford in 1976 after losing the primary to Ford, viewing Ford as far preferable to Carter. Reagan was right.

  • “This is a crummy cigar.”

    “Don’t worry. We send them crummy rockets.” 🙂

    The great Leon Askin… General Burkhalter……..”KLEEEEEEEEEEENK! Off to the Russian Front!”

  • ” Tomorrow is Victims of Communism Day……..

    All Americans, weep.
    You are all victims of the nearest thing to communism in your history – Obama.

  • Don,

    We brought it on ourselves. Barack Obumbler’s politics and policies are nauseating to any clear thinking person. The American education system sucks up trillions of dollars and produces pinheads. The entertainment-media complex keeps them stupid. I do a lot of the grocery shopping for our family. The drivel sold at checkout lines appeals to those who believe their brains are fully engaged when reading about some floozy Kardashian….and these people are eligible to vote.

  • I think RWR today would say the same thing about the GOP that he said about the Dems a half-century ago.

  • WK Aiken

    Which was??

  • The drivel sold at checkout lines appeals to…

    females.

    Females are almost the exclusive consumers of that trash, one of the female-preferred forms of pornography. And it’s sold openly in plain view of children. Is this the fault of capitalism or Mom-ism?