Building on Sand

430Over at AATW today, Geoffrey Sales is talking about how we owe it to ourselves to attempt to live up to God’s standards, even if we don’t often (or ever, for that matter) meet them. We owe it to ourselves to try. This is the paramount curse of modernism, post-modernism, progressivism, and what we currently call liberalism, its willingness to abrogate all standards for the cheap (very cheap, indeed) thrill of feeling good about ourselves. What’s to feel good about doing any damned thing you want to at the moment? Here is what happens when we abandon that quest.

Way back in the day, and we’re talking centuries, Europe was a hotbed for the expansion of Christian ideas and philosophies. They were the foundations of European culture, government, and way of life. […]

The greatest empire the world had ever known, the British Empire, was built upon that foundation which stemmed back to the earliest days of Christendom. France, Spain, even Germany built legacies on top of the essential pillars of the faith.

Did they lose their way at times? Absolutely. But those foundations were there. They were fighting for something greater than people – they were fighting for identity, for country, for God, and for king. But, beginning late in the 20th century, those ideas were being tossed aside in favor of humanism.

Europe is dying because it has become morally incompetent. It isn’t that Europe stands for nothing. It’s that it stands for shallow things, shallowly. Europeans believe in human rights, tolerance, openness, peace, progress, the environment, pleasure. These beliefs are all very nice, but they are also secondary.

What Europeans no longer believe in are the things from which their beliefs spring: Judaism and Christianity; liberalism and the Enlightenment; martial pride and capability; capitalism and wealth. Still less do they believe in fighting or sacrificing or paying or even arguing for these things. Having ignored and undermined their own foundations, they wonder why their house is coming apart.

It is commendable that the West is trying to be more open, to be more understanding of the values of outsiders, but it has lost the capacity for self-love,” a prominent German theologian noted about a decade ago. “All that it sees in its own history is the despicable and the destructive; it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure. What Europe needs is a new self-acceptance, a self acceptance that is critical and humble, if it truly wishes to survive.”

That’s Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Benedict XVI.

Ultimately, what makes Europe’s downfall so imminent is that it does not seem to recognize, as the Left here in America doesn’t, that its their own policies within this modern era that are killing them.

Source: Europe’s much-needed return to religious roots | RedState

I have little to add, other than that I agree. It’s not a new thesis, though.

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Matthew 7:24-27 King James Version (KJV)

And yet, and yet… Most of you know that Jessica and I often triggered posts in each other. I recapped one of those instances here, and I think it bears on the situation the post posits.

The image of the once and future king is a powerful one, and part of the Arthurian legend. If there was an Arthur, he was most likely to have been one of the last of the Romans, using Roman cavalry tactics to slow down the advance of the Saxons, and like so many of his kind, he retreated into the fastnesses of Wales where the remnants of the Britons kept their faith and their guard for the long years when their country was the prey of invaders. Arthur, real or not, represented the need to believe that the old civilisation had not gone down without a fight, and that all it had represented could rise again.

The Once and Future King. That is indeed a powerful image for all of us cousins, implying as it does that in the end all will be set right, and it also speaks to us as Christians as we remember that our murdered and Risen King will return in Glory. As Dame Julian said, “All will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

Jess’ word in italics, mine not. Perhaps we should end with what Jess said to end the post that one is drawn from:

Chesterton, in the most stirring of his poems, ‘The Ballad of the White Horse’ catches the spirit of that time so well, and remind us to have courage and not to despair. He has Our Blessed Lady tell the fugitive and fearful Alfred:

“I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

“Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?”

‘Faith without a hope’? Not whilst Mary’s Son calls us to Him.

Guy Fawkes, Call Your Office

shutterstock_331390244-998x666OK, I give up, here you go. The history of bonfire night, and the English Reformation in one somewhat long post. I note that any injuries from falling off your chair laughing, are solely the responsibility of The Federalist

On this day in 1605, an angry English Catholic named Guy Fawkes along with a group of other angry English Catholics with other names attempted to blow the House of Lords and King James I to high heaven. The so-called Gunpowder Plot gave birth to centuries of stringent anti-Catholic legislation, an infamous graphic novel with a persecution complex, hactivism, and the abbreviated inquiry “WTF?”

Fawkes was born in 1570 in York, for which he cannot be held responsible. That he began fighting on the side of imperial Catholic Spain against the Protestant Dutch Republic in theEighty Years War is a matter of moral culpability. It was not long before Fawkes was in Spain asking King Philip II to aid embattled Catholics in England.

A variety of factors created that embattlement. First there was Henry VIII, who asked Pope Clement VII for an annulment from Catherine of Aragon so he could marry a bunch of other women, but was denied in a tastefully crafted letter that opened, “To whom it may concern.” The pope stood his moral ground, thus denying Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor and Catherine’s nephew, another excuse to bust up Rome. So Henry named himself head of the church in England, which enabled him to sleep with whomever he wanted, making things very difficult for those who remained loyal to the Bishop of Rome and traditional views of marriage.

King James Didn’t Pan Out for Catholics

Catholics had placed high hopes in the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne in 1603. (They had enjoyed a brief respite from persecution under Henry and Catherine’s Catholic daughter Mary Tudor, who did her best to kill as many Protestants as possible, earning her the nickname “Bloody,” after “Chloé” proved a tad precious.) James was the son of the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots, who was herself daughter of the French Mary of Guise (who was also Queen of Scots—whether the same Scots is unclear, there having been quite a lot of Scots at one time).

There’s only so much antisocial behavior any king can tolerate before someone loses an eye.

Believing that James would at least soften the anti-Catholic laws that had left many adherents of the Old Faith impoverished, imprisoned, or dead, and that had only become more onerous after the Spanish Armada launched, Catholics were soon disappointed. James had no such intention, especially given a clinical paranoia that made King Herod look like a bodhisattva. (To be fair, James had been the object of earlier, failed Catholic conspiracies, called the Bye and Main plots. One of the plans had been to kidnap the king and hold him in the Tower of London until Catholics were granted full toleration, which becomes increasingly difficult to argue for when you’re holding the monarch captive, as there’s only so much antisocial behavior any king can tolerate before someone loses an eye.)

Source: Guy Fawkes, Call Your Office


All Saints Day

reformation_giants_edit[This was my post from last year on All Saints Day on All Along the Watchtower, I thought I’d share it with you as well.]

I think all know that in the west, 1 November is All Saints Day. But like so much, our definitions differ a bit. In the Roman tradition (and the Orthodox, as well) it is rather narrowly defined. As in so much, we Protestants see it a little differently.

I have written about my parents, and how this is one of the times that I especially think about them here, as Jessica also has here. For both of us, it can be a bit troubling because while we think our fathers were good and perhaps Godly men, they decidedly weren’t churchly men. We have also often said here, that our hymnology complements the rest of our theology very well, and so.

That is kind of my point here today, while we have the greatest respect for the formal Saints in the Roman and Orthodox traditions, when the Rev Dr Luther studied the Scriptures he found that, all believers in the Christ are referred to there as saints, and thus the Communion of the Saints consists of us all from the Apostles on through the child baptised this morning, and will continue until he returns to us. Along that line in his commentary on 1st Peter, Luther says this

Thus Scripture calls us holy while we are still living here on earth, if we believe. The papists have taken this name away from us and say: `We should not be holy; only the saints in heaven are holy.’ Therefore we must get the noble name back. You must be holy. But you must be prepared not to think that you are holy of yourself or on the strength of your merit. No, you must be holy because you have the Word of God, because heaven is yours, and because you have become truly pious and holy through Christ. This you must avow if you want to be a Christian (Luther’s Works 30:7).

In his 1531 Galatian commentary, he reflects a bit more on the views he previously held.

When I was a monk, I often had a heartfelt wish to see the life and conduct of at least one saintly man. But meanwhile I was imagining the sort of saint who lived in the desert and abstained from food and drink, subsisting on nothing but roots and cold water. I had derived this notion about unnatural saints from the books not only of the sophists but even of the fathers . . . But now that the light of truth is shining, we see with utter clarity that Christ and the apostles designate as saints, not those who lead a celibate life, are abstemious, or who perform other works that give the appearance of brilliance or grandeur, but those who, being called by the Gospel and baptized, believe that they have been sanctified and cleansed by the blood of Christ. Thus whenever Paul writes to Christians, he calls them saints, sons and heirs of God, etc. Therefore saints are all those who believe in Christ, whether men or women, slaves or free (Luther’s Works 27:81-82).

And here you also can see part of his belief that monasticism was a bad thing for the faith. I agree but less strongly. I think that he was affected badly by it because he vowed to join the monastery only because he had been badly frightened by a bolt of lightning and had vowed to St. Anne that he would if he was spared. And it seems to me from his writing that his propensity to slip into depression was greatly increased by the monastery. Also germane is that he found that it tended to lead to classes of Christians, I too have occasionally found it a prideful vocation. He also found that occasionally the veneration of Saints could lead to idolatry, and in fact, he warned us to be careful of this with the Theotokos as well, although he and many of us still venerate her.

In the Smalcald Articles, on the article “How One is justified before God, and of Good Works,” we find

What I have hitherto and constantly taught concerning this I know not how to change in the least, namely, that by faith, as St. Peter says, we acquire a new and clean heart, and God will and does account us entirely righteous and holy for the sake of Christ, our Mediator. And although sin in the flesh has not yet been altogether removed or become dead, yet He will not punish or remember it . . . but the entire man, both as to his person and his works, is to be called and to be righteous and holy from pure grace and mercy, shed upon us [unfolded] and spread over us in Christ (Smalcald Articles, III.13.1-2).

According to the Confessions, the Christian becomes holy in the same way he becomes righteous: by God’s grace for Christ’s sake through faith. By His grace God reckons the holiness of Jesus Christ to the account of the believer. The holiness of a Christian therefore is not his own holiness, but the holiness of Jesus, won for all on the cross. Our holiness is a gift, given to us for the sake of Jesus who died for us; our holiness is not the result of our merits or good works.

If by His death Jesus Christ has taken away all your sins, then are you not holy? For to be holy means to be without sin. Therefore, when God no longer counts our sin against us, we are holy indeed! This is the way our Confessions proceed.

This holiness of Christ, won for us on the cross, is communicated to us through Word of God and received through faith.

For, thank God, a child seven years old knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd. For the children pray thus: I believe in one holy Christian Church. This holiness does not consist in albs, tonsures, long gowns, and other of their ceremonies devised by them beyond Holy Scripture, but in the Word of God and true faith (Smalcald Articles, III.12.2-3).

In the Large Catechism this same theme, that holiness comes through the Word of God, is further developed.

For the Word of God is the sanctuary above all sanctuaries, yea, the only one which we Christians know and have. For though we had the bones of all the saints or all holy and consecrated garments upon a heap, still that would help us nothing; for all that is a dead thing which can sanctify nobody. But God’s Word is the treasure which sanctifies everything, and by which even all the saints themselves were sanctified. At whatever hour, then, God’s Word is taught, preached, heard, read or meditated upon, there the person, day, and work are sanctified thereby, not because of the external work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all. (Large Catechism, Third Commandment, 91)

And so, my fellow saints, in a year that has not been overly kind, in the world, to our little company, with more than one of our members being stricken seriously, let us pray for them to regain their strength, and for the Grace to join those who have gone before us, and are waiting for us.

Edith Cavell: Nurse, Patriot, and Martyr

Memorial to Cavell outside Norwich Cathedral

Memorial to Cavell outside Norwich Cathedral

A hundred years ago, today, Nurse Edith Cavell was executed by the Germans. She was convicted of helping British and French soldiers escape back to their forces. There was in truth no doubt of her guilt. She forthrightly admitted it. She had been nursing both Allied and German soldiers equally.

Her execution rather shocked the world, the United States, still in 1915, the Great Neutral, had tried to save her from execution, but the Germans were adamant. Looking back, it’s rather hard not to feel some sympathy with them; it doesn’t make much sense, at least to us today, to let a woman go for something one would execute a man for. But the world of 2015 is not the world of 1915, and it shocked the world. It was helped to be shocked by the efforts of Wellington House, the British propaganda unit, but it had a basis in what our people believed. Here is a bit more from Wikipedia:

In November 1914, after the German occupation of Brussels, Cavell began sheltering British soldiers and funnelling them out of occupied Belgium to the neutral Netherlands. Wounded British and French soldiers and Belgian and French civilians of military age were hidden from the Germans and provided with false papers by Prince Reginald de Croy at his château of Bellignies near Mons. From there, they were conducted by various guides to the houses of Cavell, Louis Séverin and others in Brussels, and furnished by them with money to reach the Dutch frontier and with guides obtained through Philippe Baucq.This placed Cavell in violation of German military law. German authorities became increasingly suspicious of the nurse’s actions, which were backed up by her outspokenness.

She was arrested on 3 August 1915 and charged with harbouring Allied soldiers. She had been betrayed by Gaston Quien, who was later convicted by a French court as a collaborator. She was held in Saint-Gilles prison for 10 weeks, the last two in solitary confinement. She made three depositions to the German police (on 8, 18 and 22 August), admitting that she had been instrumental in conveying about 60 British and 15 French soldiers and about 100 French and Belgians of military age to the frontier and had sheltered most of them in her house.

In her court-martial she was prosecuted for aiding British and French soldiers, in addition to young Belgian men, to cross the border and eventually enter Britain. She admitted her guilt when she signed a statement the day before the trial. Cavell declared that the soldiers she had helped escape thanked her in writing when arriving safely in Britain. This admission confirmed that Cavell had helped the soldiers navigate the Dutch frontier, but it also established that she helped them escape to a country at war with Germany.

The penalty according to German military law was death.

All that said, she became a great heroine for the British, and yes, the Americans as well, not to mention the French and Belgians. Again from Wikipedia:

Cavell’s remains were returned to Britain after the war. As the ship bearing the coffin arrived in Dover, a full peal of Grandsire Triples (5040 Changes, Parker’s Twelve-Part) was rung on the bells of the parish church. The peal was notable: “Rung with the bells deeply muffled with the exception of the Tenor which was open at back stroke, in token of respect to Nurse Cavell, whose body arrived at Dover during the ringing and rested in the town till the following morning. The ringers of 1-2-3-4-5-6 are ex-soldiers, F. Elliot having been eight months Prisoner of War in Germany.” Deep (or full) muffling is normally only used for the deaths of sovereigns. After an overnight pause in the parish church the body was conveyed to London and a state funeral was held at Westminster Abbey. On 19 May 1919, her body was reburied at the east side of Norwich Cathedral; a graveside service is still held each October. The railway van known as the Cavell Van that conveyed her remains from Dover to London is kept as a memorial on the Kent and East Sussex Railway and is usually open to view at Bodiam railway station.

In the Calendar of saints (Church of England) the day appointed for the commemoration of Edith Cavell is 12 October. This is a memorial in her honour rather than formal canonisation.

Following Cavell’s death, many memorials were created around the world to remember her. One of the first was unveiled on 12 October 1918 by Queen Alexandra on the grounds of Norwich Cathedral, during the opening of a home for nurses which also bore her name.

Source for both is Wikipedia

Yesterday’s evensong at Norwich cathedral commemorated the centenary of her death. You can listen here.

Last week Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis, was performed in Norwich along with David Mitchell’ Cavell Mass.

This seems proper to me since it commemorates a woman who did her duty to her God, and her country, took responsibility for it and willingly (and bravely) paid the price of that duty. We should all attempt to do as well.

{UPDATE} I didn’t think to look there earlier but East Anglian Film Archive has film of the funeral in Norwich. It is excellent and can be found here.Funeral of Nurse Edith Cavell

Just another member of the patriarchy | The Catechesis of Caroline

tumblr_m2qaxvmgvF1rpyyq4o1_500I know, it’s Saturday, and usually we try to keep it a little lighter on Saturday. But I read this yesterday, and it haunted me last night. Not least because it reminded me of a similar story that Jess told us, here and here. In that story as well, the baby was killed, and the structure of the mother’s life was seriously disrupted, including her relationship with the father. Not least because of finding Jesus through Jess and the Vicar, the mother survived, although I have no idea about the father.

But it’s another case where the easy availability of abortion hurt many beyond the baby, and another where her decision had the potential to destroy the mother as well. This is the wider evil of abortion. It has effects, nearly all of them bad, on everybody concerned.

We kind of forget this, as we think about the horrors of the Planned Parenthood marketing plan, but it too is real. Maybe there are men and women so callous that they can walk away unscarred by killing their baby, if so, I have never met them. It doesn’t always disable people, but I think it always leaves a scar on them as well, and that is what the literature tells us, as well.

Here’s a bit of Caroline’s story

A few weeks ago my friend posted a status update on Facebook highlighting a plea for help from a forum mainly populated by men. A poster’s girlfriend had found herself unexpectedly pregnant and the young man simply didn’t know what to do.

Without going too much into the specifics of the situation, he was a mature student, his girlfriend was slightly older than him, had a well-paid secure job and a child from a previous marriage. On discovering she was pregnant, her initial reaction was one of delight she assumed that they would be having the baby and set about telling all her friends and family.

Though the young man shared some of his girlfriend’s excitment, he was at the same time, daunted and understandably so. Although he loved his girlfriend, he took the responsibilities of fatherhood seriously and wasn’t sure whether or not now was the right time to take their relationship to the next level. The news that she was expecting sent the woman into what seems to be a frenzy of nesting. Immediately she made a series of demands upon him which involved him making a series of unnecessary and excessive sacrifices. He would need to abandon his plans for a PhD in a specialist scientific discipline, take up extra shifts on his minimum wage job and move in with her. He’d also not be allowed to take any of his pets into her home and neither would he be allowed any space of his own to study. He’d have to make do with the family’s kitchen table. Furthermore the baby’s arrival date was causing him some concern, it was due to coincide with his finals. He’d therefore had a major panic, feeling trapped, that she was bouncing him into a baby that he wasn’t ready for and while he wasn’t averse to the idea of a baby, he just couldn’t see how things were going to work out.

Source: Just another member of the patriarchy | The Catechesis of Caroline

It also makes me wonder, would have they have had all this trouble, in either of the cases here, if they had been in a serious marriage, not the shallow ones, or none (as in these cases) so many of our compatriots have, but the kind of marriage, with God, that most of us remember from our parent’s time, what Rome calls Sacramental Marriage, although there is nothing particularly Catholic about it, although it is a Christian construct. It has to do with meaning the marriage vows, and the commitment they identify. What good is a relationship in which we run away from each other in a time of trouble, that’s when we need each other the most.

A few things for us all to think about this weekend.

Europe’s Rape Epidemic:

w706I mentioned this in passing the other day, here, but it needs talking about. The main question is why Europe permits such an outrage. I can think of several reasons, none complimentary.

Perhaps, the only reason Europeans pretended to respect women was the thin veneer of Christianity they used to wear; that is possible since the advance in the rights of women has always been linked to Christianity.

Perhaps, Europeans are just too wimpish to any longer protect their women, in which case they are doomed because a man who won’t protect his wife and/or daughter will not protect himself or his civilization either.

Perhaps, the Europeans simply hate their (and our) civilization so much that any outrage committed against it is fine with them.

Perhaps all of the above, or maybe other reasons. It doesn’t really matter, Europe has given up. I suspect a secondary reason is the very reason they have always resented us Anglo-Saxons, as they call us, the very evident fact that historically we have made sure we are free to take action with or without government sanction, against a crime in the street. Sadly, Britons have largely given up that right, leaving it the sole possession of Americans, who firmly believe it.

Make no mistake, Westerners are about to be made to suffer from Europe’s Rape Epidemic and the reason is that our leaders fully believe that we deserve to.

Readers will be more than aware that Sweden has become Europe’s rape capital. Its government has blamed this on everything from increased reporting to the internet to the weather. Norway and Denmark also have some rather alarming rates of rape, but those countries are more readily willing to admit the cause. 

In Norway, recent statistics revealed that 100 per cent of violent street-rapes committed in the capital city of Oslo were committed by “non-western” immigrants.  It’s a similar story in Denmark, where the majority of rapes are committed by immigrants, usually Muslim.

In England, it’s been rape after rape – tens of thousands of young British girls are brutalised, tortured, beaten and raped by organised gangs comprised almost exclusively of Muslims. And now we have Germany. When Chancellor Merkel threw open the doors of her country to hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, she opened the door to the rape of German women.

Rape and sexual assault (as well as forced prostitution) is rampant within the refugee camps in Germany, and it has spilled out to the nearby towns. Rape in has already been described as an “epidemic” and one that the German authorities, and media, are keeping rather quiet about. The reality is that German authorities, who know that many of these asylum seekers are rapists, will allow those men to live freely among German women – they have decided to allow German women to be raped, just like authorities all across Europe.

Women of Europe must understand what is happening here. This is not Page Three, or aCarry On film sexist joke (for the record, I wouldn’t be without my Carry On collection); this is a truly brutal hatred of women that demands we are slaves and absolutely believes it has the right to rape women who don’t submit. The men think of women this way because that is where they come from, that is what they know. 

Source: Europe’s Rape Epidemic: Western Women Will Be Sacrificed At The Altar Of Mass Migration

via PUMABydesign001’s Blog

And there is this, from The Gatestone Institute

  • “They are also taught that white non-Muslims are easy, cheap, dirty sluts and that it is their right [to take them]. … On top of this, teaching people to hate anyone who is not a Muslim — as is done in many mosques — will, of course, lead to a lot of people hating anyone who is not a Muslim. … The problem, however, is also due to police, judges, lawyers, and teachers, fearing the words ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobe’ — and nothing is being done to stop that.” — Toni Bugle, women’s rights activist, founder of Mothers against Radical Islam and Sharia, and victim of child-rape.

  • “When girls are raped, they are referred to by the rapists as ‘white trash,’ ‘white whores’ and ‘white kuffir.’ It is said to the girls quite openly. And the girls tell the police. Yet the assaults are never recognized as ‘racially motivated. … “I am sick of being told that I matter less because, I was born white, or that someone else matters less because he was born a different color. Such terms are themselves racist. People now seem to be using the race card to behave in the most appalling manner.” — Toni Bugle.
  • Many British girls still stay silent. The perpetrators threaten and intimidate them: “This would be enough to silence most girls. In addition, the police ignore the pleas of these girls, so they do not trust the police. I do think the silence of the community means it acquiesces.”
  • In Islam, only non-Muslims may be taken as slaves — a rule that is unfortunately only further evidence of a supremacist doctrine within Islam: that Islam is superior to other religions, and its adherents therefore entitled to privileges not afforded to members of other religions.

Source: Sexual Slavery: “Nothing to do with Islam”?

I would remind you that slavery ended in the west (including the United States) because British and then American Christians decided that it must. Nobody else cared, really. Apparently, our so-called leadership elites no longer care either, and so an old evil returns to Europe, and soon the United States as well.

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