Thursday, 20 December 2012

Advent: the Os of Advent...are followed by CHRISTMAS DAY

O ORIENS, splendor lucis aeternae et sol iustitiae: vei, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra.
O Dayspring! Brightness of eternal Light and Sun of Justice: come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

~~~~~ " ~~~~~

This is the 5th of the 7 great "O" Antiphons of Advent that are sung at Vespers up until Christmas Eve.

These are beautiful prayers that tell of the coming of our God in the flesh using the words of the Old Testament that predict the coming of the Messias.

There are 7 of them. 7 is a sacred number - 7 days of the week, 7 Sacraments, 7 deadly sins and contrary virtues, 7 ages of man, 7 ranks of Holy Orders (Priest, Deacon, Subdeacon, Acolyte, Lector, Exorcist and Porter), 7 ranks of the Christian nobility, 7 diurnal hours of the Divine Office (Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline - Matins being the Night Office) and so on. 7 is the Biblical number of perfection whereas 6 is the number of sin.

The 7 "O" Antiphons are a most wonderful and ancient way to usher the Christian people into the Holy Presence that comes to us in the depth of the night on Christmas Eve as a tiny babe.

Who but God could think of such a marvellous way to come down from on high to visit His people.

Anton Raphael Mengs. The Adoration of the Shepherds.

NOLITE timere: quinta enim die veniet ad vos Dominus noster!
FEAR not: on the fifth day our Lord shall come to you!
[Antiphon of 21 December, 5 days before Christmas]

~~~~~ " ~~~~~


to all readers

 O most Holy Night, all the earth being at peace...

Sebastiano Conca. Adoration of the Shepherds. 1720.

O Adonai,
et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Prince and Commander of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
[Great O Antiphon for 18 December, sung before the Magnificat at Vespers]

Non auferetur sceptrum de Iuda, et dux de femore eius, donec veniat qui mittendus est: et ipse erit expectatio gentium

The royal sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruling prince from his loins, until He come that is to be sent, and He shall be the expectation of the nations.
[Genesis 49:10, sung at Vespers of the Advent Office]

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room in the Inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an Angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them, and they feared with a great fear. And the Angel said to them 'Fear not; for behold I bring you tidings of great joy that shall be to all people. For this day is born to you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger'. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.' "
[Luke 2:4-14]
[The Gospel of the Nativity of Our Lord, the first Mass of Christmas at midnight]

The Eighth Day before the Calends of January, being


In the 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

the 2957th year after the flood;
the 2015th year from the birth of Abraham;
the 1510th year from Moses, and the giving forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the 1032nd year from the anointing of King David;
in the 65th week according to the prophesy of Daniel;
in the 194th Olympiad;
the 752nd year from the foundation of the City of Rome;
the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus,

all the earth being at peace,


the eternal God,
and Son of the eternal Father,
desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
nine months after His conception
was born in Bethlehem of Judaea,


[Sung at Prime on Christmas Day from the Roman Martyrology]


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Advent: "Drop down dew, ye heavens from above...let the clouds rain down the Just One!"

Rorate Caeli...

Drop down, dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the earth rain down the Just One! 

Let the earth be opened, and bud forth a saviour!

 Fra' Angelico. The Annunciation. 1450.

The season of Advent is the season before the coming to fruition of the promise of the Archangel Gabriel to our Lady on Lady Day, the Feast of the Annuncation, 25 March, when God our Father gave to us His only Son in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, coming to man as any other man, through the pregnancy of a mother, born from the flesh of the Virgin Mary, truly her Son and thus, as He was later to describe himself:

Ο Υιός του Ανθρώπου - the Son of Man 

Thus did God raise to the highest dignity the supreme calling of Motherhood whereby a woman, saying yes to her husband, to Life, and to God, brings forth humanity in the shape of a tiny child. For God Himself chose to come to us in this way: the great God of Earth and Heaven chose to come to us as a tiny, defenceless child.

This is the way of God: he stoops to conquer; he obeys to command, he becomes frail to demonstrate eternal strength.

~~ " ~~

Rorate caeli desuper et nubes pluant iustum. Aperiatur terra et germinet Salvatorem.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a Saviour.
Isaias 45:8

This versicle appears throughout the Offices for Advent and is yet another example of how much more Scriptural the old Roman rite of the Catholic Church is compared with the new rite of Paul VI in which, sadly, it is almost never sung.

Most modern Catholics do not even know that this most beautiful Advent antiphon even exists. The full hymn is sung thus:  

Rorate caeli desuper et nubes pluant iustum.

Ne irascaris Domine, ne ultra memineris iniquitatis: ecce civitas Sancti facta est deserta, Sion deserta facta est: Ierusalem desolata est: domus sanctificationis tuac et gloriae tuae, ubi laudaverunt te patres nostri.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Peccavimus, et facti sumus tamquam immundus nos, et cecidimus quasi folium universi; et iniquitates nostrae quasi ventus abstulerunt nos: abscondisti faciem tuam a nobis, et allisisti nos in manu iniquitatis nostrae.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Vide, Domini, afflictionem populi tui, et mitte quem missurus es, emitte Agnum dominatorem terrae, de Petra deserti montem filiae Sion: ut auferat ipse iugum captivatis nostrae.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Consolamini, consolamini, popule meus: cito veniet salus tua:. quare moerore consumeris, quia innovavit te dolor? Salvabo te, noli timere: ego enim sum Dominus Deus, tuus, Sanctus Israel, Redemptor tuus.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Listen to these Spanish monks of Santo Domingo de Silos singing the Rorate in the monastic church of their conventual home, calling upon God to forgive their sins as they await with joy, once again, the great Feast of the Birth of our Most Holy Saviour:


Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!

Be not angry, O Lord, and remember no longer our iniquity : behold the city of Thy sanctuary is become a desert, Sion is made a desert. Jerusalem is desolate, the house of Thy holiness and of Thy glory, where our fathers praised Thee.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!
We have sinned, and we are become as one unclean, and we have all fallen as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away; Thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast crushed us by the hand of our iniquity.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!
See, O Lord, the affliction of Thy people, and send Him whom Thou hast promised to send. Send forth the Lamb, the Ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion, that He Himself may take off the yoke of our captivity.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!
Be comforted, be comforted, my people; thy salvation shall speedily come. Why wilt thou waste away in sadness? Why hath sorrow seized thee? I will save thee; fear not: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!

With this extraordinarily beautiful hymn the prayer of the Church during Advent is lifted up to the heavens in song.

Henry Tanner. The Annunciation. 1898

Saturday, 8 December 2012

"Qué soï era inmaculado councepcioũ..." - The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On the great Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary we remember the words first said to St Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes only 4 years after the decree Ineffabilis Deus, infallibly promulgating the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, was issued by Blessed Pope Pius IX.

Our Lady spoke to St Bernadette in her own Occitan patois, the language of the Languedoc region of Southern France. This was what surprised the Parish Priest - none of the ordinary Occitan-speaking people of that part of France had heard or used this glorious title because, in an unbelieving and scoffing age, this and other great titles of the Blessed Virgin had fallen into disuse.

It is a simple historical fact that the original Protestant Reformers accepted almost every major Marian doctrine and considered these doctrines to be both scriptural and fundamental to the historic Christian Faith.

Many modern Protestants object to devotion to the Virgin Mary, or at least, to such devotion as is shown in such feasts as that of the Immaculate Conception. They often seem unable to understand it.

The founders of the Protestant movement believed in the special position of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

For example, Martin Luther defended the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, now seen by most to be a specifically Roman Catholic doctrine, until his death. Like St Augustine, he believed that Mary's maternity of Christ necessarily implied her perpetual virginity and conception without Original Sin.

"But the other conception, namely the infusion of the soul, it is piously and suitably believed, was without any sin, so that while the soul was being infused, she would at the same time be cleansed from original sin and adorned with the gifts of God to receive the holy soul thus infused. And thus, in the very moment in which she began to live, she was without all sin..."1

Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli, both in clerical dress.
The founders of the Protestant Reformation all believed in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

John Calvin always referred to the Blessed Virgin Mary as La Sainte Vierge, the “Holy Virgin”.

He wrote of her:

“Elizabeth called Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God.”2

“Helvidius has shown himself too ignorant, in saying that Mary had several sons, because mention is made in some passages of the brothers of Christ.”3

Even Ulrich Zwingli, had this to say about the Blessed Virgin Mary:

“It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God.”4

"I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the Gospel, as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin.”5

Zwingli used Exodus 4:22 to defend the doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity.

“I esteem immensely the Mother of God, the ever chaste, immaculate Virgin Mary.”6

“Christ ... was born of a most undefiled Virgin.”7

“It was fitting that such a holy Son should have a holy Mother.”8

“The more the honour and love of Christ increases among men, so much the esteem and honour given to Mary should grow.”9

The Protestant Reformers did not reject most of the other Marian dogmas which were then taught by the Roman Catholic Church. The simple reason for this is that they could not avoid the fact that the honour and reverence due to the Blessed Virgin is plainly evident, to any objective eye, from Scripture.

Pelikan, J (ed), The Works of Martin Luther, Concordia: St. Louis, volume 4, 694.
2 Calvin, J, Opera, Braunshweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, Volume 45, 35.
3 Leeming, Bernard, “Protestants and Our Lady”, Marian Library Studies, January 1967, p.9.
4 Zwingli, U, In Evangelii Lucae, Opera Completa, Zurich, 1828-42, Volume 6, I, 639.
5 Zwingli, U, Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Volum 1, 424.
6 Stakemeier, E, in De Mariologia et Oecumenismo, Balic, K (ed), Rome, 1962, p.456.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.
9 Zwingli, U, Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Volume 1, 427-428.

Gaude Maria Virgo, cunctas haereses tu sola interemisti in universo mundo

Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, to thou only has it been given to destroy all heresies in the whole world

[From The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary]

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Bishopettes and the return of "liberal" hypocrisy and cant...

Yesterday, the Church of England Synod voted down the proposal for women bishops. The reaction has been even more fatuous than one could have imagined. Once again the allegedly "liberal" hit-men who rule our society have intolerantly and arrogantly condemned the decision of the Synod in fanatical terms. What is most alarming is the way in which these so-called "liberals" simply will not accept any dissent from their views and when a vote goes against them, for all their supposedly liberal and democratic views, they rail against the voters for daring to disagree!

But the problem is even worse than that.

The supporters of women bishops seem to think they know better not only that the voters but than other churches, than 2,000 years of Christian tradition, than almost all theologians in the history of Christianity and even than Christ Himself.

Apparently Christ got it wrong when he only ordained men.

Naughty Christ for daring to disagree with modern "liberals"!

But these people are not only not liberal, they are also hypocritical. They seek to impose an entirely eccentric and theologically false view onto the rest of the Church of England.

If you are an Anglican who does not agree with women clergy you will be imposed upon and forced to accept this entirely novel, false and fatuous theology, against your will.

If you are an Evangelical who says it is unscriptural, or an Anglo-Catholic who says that it is unscriptural and contrary to the Catholic tradition and to a proper understanding of both ordination and the paternality of the clerical ministry, then your view will simply not be tolerated.

And yet these intolerant, so-called "liberals" claim that tolerance is their chief virtue! What priceless hypocrisy. They are simply intolerant of any view but their own and their own view is entirely without merit, tradition, theology or reason.

They have nothing by way of rational argument but only fatuous and emotional bleating of the most irrational kind.

Campaigner: "Boo, hoo, hoo...those horrid people in the pew won't let me be a bishopette and are stopping me fulfilling my brilliant career. Don't they know that it is ME who is the most important person in the world?"
"Bishop": "Don't worry, dear. We won't let reason stand in the way of your ambition to be top dog. I suggest you play on people's natural sympathies by boo-hoo-hooing in public as much as you can. Emotional manipulation is always a great political ploy!"

They simply do not know what ordination is, what human sexuality is for, what the gender differences are for, what the Church is for, who Jesus Christ was, or what Christianity is.

Their "god" is some vague and spurious notion of equality which, in fact, has nothing to do with ordination and everything to do with their own selfish and corrupt ambitions to dominate and oppress their fellow man. This they intend to do by imposing upon an unwilling church the cock-eyed and destructive values of a secularism that, in civil society, are being equally intolerantly imposed by atheism, and by atheist and secular fundamentalists.

We are told that the Prime Minister’s “personal view” is that women should be able to hold the highest offices in the Established Church.

Who cares what the PM's private theological view is? Is he God?

It is already ridiculous enough that a "synod" of clerics, clergy spouses and a select few laity should think that they can tell God that He got it wrong for most of history.

It was equally ridiculous when, before the Church Assembly and Synod were invented in the early 20th century, the doctrine and liturgy of the Church of England were devised by a Parliament which had many unbelievers in it.

"In the name of the Mother, and of the Daughter, and of the Holy Woman Spirit..."

Here is a question: does the "Synod" claim the right to reverse its decision to ordain women? Could it do so in the future?

If it can reverse centuries of tradition in one vote why, then, can't it reverse its reversal in a further vote?

Could the "Synod" also vote down the Incarnation, the Resurrection, the Trinity and any other central doctrine of Christianity? If not, why not? If it can vote to pretend that women can be bishops, contrary to Scripture and tradition, then why not vote down all other doctrines?

This question swiftly exposes the fatuity of the so-called "Synodical system" in the Church of England.

Downing Street says there were no plans to change the law to force the Church of England to comply with equality legislation that bans discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex.

Well, well.The government is not (yet!) planning to impose secular fundamentalism on the churches but - hey! - don't get too cocky. We might decide to shove it down your unwilling throats any time we like.

After all, remember what we did to the Roman Catholic Church in Britain? We forced them to give up Catholic babies to same-sex couples, contrary to the Catholic religion, or to close down their adoption agencies! The Church chose to close their adoption agencies and give them to secular agencies (a transfer of some £200 million of Catholic money - the pennies of the Catholic poor - into secular hands).

See how that works, folks?

And see how "tolerant" and "liberal" they are?

It is priceless humbug.

"Bless me, Mother, for I have sinned..."
In Catholic theology, Sacramental confession requires a validly ordained priest, not someone pretending to be a priest...

Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, said the Synod vote was “disappointing” and had left the Church of England “in crisis”.

How would he know?

And who gave him any authority to tell the churches what to believe?

He even suggested it would be “difficult” for the Church to “project moral authority” after the vote. I suppose Mr Hammond thinks that his party is, on the other hand, able to lecture the churches on what moral authority is?

Perhaps Mr Hammond thinks that he can similarly lecture God about morality?
The hypocrisy and dishonesty of people pretending to be "liberal" and "tolerant" is what has really been exposed by the debate surrounding this Synod vote.

The theological position is simple enough. The clerical role is a paternal role, a fatherly role. It is not a maternal role. Sacramentally, any attempt to "ordain" women is a nullity, a pretence and a lie. Just as a man cannot fulfil the literally vital maternal role, so a woman cannot fulfil a role that is paternal. No more can fathers give birth than mothers can generate seed. Men are men and women are women. As Scripture says: "Male and female He created them" and for a reason. Each sex represents a part of the Divine. Together they make up the whole. On that footing, they are already entirely equal.

To give paternal roles to women, or maternal roles to men, is to abuse those roles and to dessicate, and ulitmately to destroy, those roles.

To do this in a spiritual context is little more than a form of spiritual transvestitism.

What next? Will the government compel nunneries to have a male Reverend Mother Abbess and male religious houses or abbeys to have a female Reverend Father Abbot?

Isn't it "sexist" to have only men in a male religious house, or women in a female religious house?

That's what could be coming up next, folks!

"The new Reverend Father Abbot arrives to take charge of the Abbey..."


Sunday, 14 October 2012

The heresy of nationalism: case study - Poland

This letter received from Jacek, a fairly typical Polish nationalist, is also typical of one of the more destructive errors that ever helped to sunder the unity and peace of Christendom.

I speak of the disease of fanatical nationalism.

Nationalism is NOT patriotism.

Nationalism is a form of political psychopathy and it became the tool and offspring of self-worshipping, political psychopaths.

It is the enemy of Christendom and the plaything of Satan.

It was invented at the Protestant Reformation with the deliberate intention of bringing about the destruction of Catholic Christendom.

It is yet another of the evils that the Protestant Reformation brought into the world.

The picture is of Tadeusz Kościuszko, a fanatical Polish nationalist, Freemason, and revolutionary whose uprising seriously damaged his own country and led to the Third Partition of Poland.

Jacek's letter

Here's Jacek's letter, written in response to a comment from me:

"Dear Tribunus

'And what did the Austrians do soon afterwards? Help partition Poland-wipe it off the map. Some gratitude.'

In reference to your responce to above quote:

Firstly, why do you assume this comment was made by a Pole?

Secondly, if it was made by a Pole (it likely was), why would you assume it was supported by a nationalist viewpoint? I do not know how one can tell. In fact, as a Pole I could positively say the sentiment underlying in that comment is universal among Poles precisely as an expression of our faithfullness to the Holy Mother Church and self-identificaton as Catholics first. We resent the Habsburgs' land grab of Galicia with Lwów and Lesser Poland with Kraków (in your post you mention the agreement between Leopold and John regarding mutual defence of the capital cities - well, less then a hundred years after Poles saved Habsburgs and Vienna from being finished off in the most ignominious way imaginable the Habsburgs were occuping our glorious city of Cracow). But what we resent the most is that after John III, Defender of the Faith, Lion of Lechistan saved the Habsburgs and whole Christendom from Armageddon in 1683, the same Habsburgs, Holy Roman Emperors, in their land grab of 1774 (1th...) and 1795 (3th partition of Poland) allied themselvs against Kingdom of Poland with P r o t e s t a n t Prussia and S c h i s m a t i c Russia. Against Kingdom of Poland upon which Pope Aleksander VII bestow a title of Regnum Orthodoxum - the Most Orthodox Kingdom (as in case of France - Regnum Christianissimum; and Spain - Regnum Catholicissimum). Against Kingdom of Poland - Antemurale Christianitatis.
You call Louis XIV "devious". Louis XIV was a saint when compered to Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor.

Finally, if it was made by a Pole who does not share the above-mentioned Catholic sentiment, why would you assume he is 'fanatic nationalist'. Can't he just be a Polish patriot. Are you of opinion that a patriot 'cannot be called Christian in any meaningful sense of the word'? To that I say: Amor Patriae Nostra Lex (latin proverb that was common inscription on sabres carried by Polish nobility and in turn Hussars that led the way in 1683, sabres that defended Christianitas for centuries).

Concluding, I could go into great detail debating some of the statements you made in your 'To all fanatical nationalists ...' comment, including the issue of nationalism, Polish involvement in the Napoleonic Wars, Irish conflict. However, before I do that, I would like you to clarify what you mean by "LITTLE NATIONALITIES" and whether you stand by that phrase.

Yours sincerely

1. Despite some minor inaccuracies it is a great post you have written on Battle of Vienna. I would just recomend you add this picture of John III Sobieski picture of John III Sobieski.
2. I am not a native english speaker. I apologize for the possible mistakes. I do not think I misspelled anything but I struggle with english interpunction at times"

I answer thus.

First, Jacek, try to remember one important thing, if you can: the Habsburgs were CATHOLIC, unlike the Protestant Prussians and the Orthodox Russians.

I repeat: they were CATHOLIC.

That means they were of the religion of which you, a Polish nationalist, boast. And yet you despise them! Where is your charity? Drowned in fanatical nationalism?

The arms of the Imperial House of Austria that ruled the Holy Roman Empire, the very sheet anchor of Catholic Christendom, for many centuries.

Secondly, try to understand this: Catholicism is NOT - repeat NOT - Polish nationalism. They are DIFFERENT things.

I realise this is hard for a Polish nationalist to grasp but it is nonetheless true.

Thirdly, try to understand that my theme is Catholic Christendom and that to compare Louis XIV with Joseph II is ENTIRELY TO MISS THE POINT BECAUSE BOTH OF THEM WERE NOT REALLY TRUE CATHOLICS.

They were no more so than Józef Piłsudski and Edward Śmigły-Rydz, two fanatical Polish nationalists, were.

Your comparison therefore is of little worth.

The truth about the Polish partitions

The First Partition of Poland came about as a result of the failure of the Polish-Luthanian Commonwealth which had been heavily influenced by the Protestant Reformation and had lapsed into political chaos, not least becuase of the anarchic effect of the so-called liberum veto which enabled any member of the Sejm to veto any proposed Act of the Sejm.

 The Polish Sejm in 1622. 
This parliament was another example of what Europe was already doing long before America even thought of it. However, the Sejm was rendered unworkable by the excessively democratic power of the liberum veto allowing every member to veto any proposed legislation at any time.

This was based upon an idea of the equality of the Polish Schlacta or nobility, which had been inflamed by the excessive individualism of the Protestant Reformation which, until the coming of the Jesuits, had made great inroads into the noble families of Poland.

The Jesuits, happily, brought the Catholic Reformation to Poland and restored Catholicism to the noble families.

The Commonwealth had become a tool of Russian foreign policy and, almost inevtiably, Russia soon formalised this state of affairs by signalling to Prussian and Austria that it intended to annex part of Poland.

Prussia greedily agreed as it wanted to close the Danzig corridor and unite East and West Prussia.

 Holy Roman Empress Maria-Theresa. 
She was a devout Catholic and a good ruler but ruled at a time when the Enlightenment was seeking to destroy all Catholic monarchy and replace it with a more secularised rule. Despite being surrounded on all sides by enemies, she managed to rule well.

The Holy Roman Empress, Maria Theresa, objected, and always continued to object, to the partition of Poland but her hand was forced, partly by the political machinations of her Prime Minister, Count, later Prince, Kaunitz who was an Enlightenment figure, and therefore not really Catholic, and was, himself, something of a nationalist, and partly by Russia and Prussia.

You wrongly and ungratefully give her no credit for her objection.

Wenzel Anton, Prince-Imperial of Kaunitz-Rietberg, Imperial Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire. Although nominally Catholic, Kaunitz was actually an Enlightenment figure and a Freemason, secretly opposed to his monarch and the Church.

Kaunitz persuaded her on the basis that if she did not annex a part of Poland, then Russian and Prussia might divide the remainder amongst themselves which might present a later threat to the security of the Holy Roman Empire.

Further, one cannot deny that all of central Europe was once part of the Holy Roman Empire, including Poland and that under the rule of that Empire, distinct nationalities and races had always been respected, preserved and protected.

You simply ignore these very salient facts in your narrow, hasty, imprudent and prejudicial Polish nationalism.

The Holy Roman Empire played no part in the Second Partition of Poland and objected to it.

The Third Partition of Poland came about thanks to the very fanatical nationalist uprising led by Tadeusz Kościuszko who was no Catholic but, far from it, a libertine, a revolutionary and a self-promoter who sought the downfall of Christendom, just as his idol Bonaparte had done.

He was so strongly opposed by Polish conservatives that they sought the aid of Tsarina Catherine the Great to defeat him. That inevitably led to the Third Partition and, again, since Russia and Prussia were involved, the Holy Roman Empire had also to be involved in order to protect its own security.

Tsarina Catherine the Great, Tsarina of all the Russias. She was a powerful and tyrannical ruler who seized Polish territory on the pretext that it really belonged to Russia. In the end, even Polish conservatives were forced to turn to her for aid against wild revolutionaries like Tadeusz Kościuszko. 

Most famously of all, Polish language, culture and nationality were closely protected and encouraged within the Holy Roman Empire but were crushed in Russia and Prussia.

In your fanatical nationalism, you give absolutely no credit to the Holy Roman Empire and its Habsburg rulers for this incontrovertible fact.

In the end, where did your fanatical nationalism lead?

It lead to further fanaticism under Józef Piłsudski and Edward Śmigły-Rydz which, in turn, led to conquest by Nazi Germany and then by Communist Russia.

Marshal Józef Piłsudski is considered a great Polish "patriot" but he was a fanatical nationalist and more secular than Christian. Polish political leader, Roman Dmowski, called him "a great sinner" and recognised in him a man who loved power more than faith and truth.

Marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz was deputy, and later rival, to Piłsudski. He sided with the Socialists and then later became friendly with the Fascists, running Poland himself as a dictator and was a political enemy of General Sikorski. He was the Commander-in-Chief at the time of the German invasion of Poland and escaped to Romania where he was interned.

Now it has led to a Poland, under the rule of ex-Communist apparatchiks, capitulating to the bullying tactics of the European Union.

Of all the external rulers that Poland has had, they never had it so good as under the rule of the Habsburg emperors within the Holy Roman Empire.

But the blindness of fanatical nationalism will not allow them to see it.

Conclusion - I therefore repeat my comment

I repeat what I said in my original comment.

To all fanatical nationalists around the world:


Nationalism is what led to most of the wars of the 19th century and the appalling destruction of World War I and World War II.

Christian Europe and Christendom were one.

Fanatical nationalism - invented chiefly by Protestantism - sundered Europe into fragments and led to the bloody and internecine war, killing millions.

Hungary claimed the right to be free from the Empire whilst crushing and oppressing its own minorities.

The Poles did not distinguish themselves when they sided with the anti-Catholic, Pope-imprisoning and mass-slaughtering Bonaparte - the first of the great modern destroyers of Christian Europe.

Even now, when my post praises the Poles who fought at the Battle of Vienna, anonymous Poles can do nothing but snipe ungratefully.

But this is typical of the disease of nationalist fanaticism.

In Ireland it led to terrorism, war, and the murder of Irishman by Irishman - a disgusting legacy that achieved nothing good and mountains of evil.

Blessed are the peace-makers.

"Blessed are the peace-makers" says Christ.

"Blessed are the terrorists, bomb-throwers, murderers, war-mongers and slaughterers" says the fanatical nationalist.

Fanatical nationalists cannot be called Christian in any meaningful sense of the word.

In fact, I would go further.

Fanatical nationalism was the deceitful tool that Satan used to destroy Christian Europe.

Satan tempted Christ with all the kingdoms of the world, just as he tempted men to overthrow Christendom through nationalism and, even now, tempts men to become fanatical nationalists and put their own selfish aims before that of mankind and their fellow men. His real aim is to get men to worship him and reject God.

Catholics have no excuse for it. They, of all people, should understand the universality of Christianity and the brotherhood of all mankind.

A Catholic who is a fanatical nationalist is a perfect servant of Satan

So, dear Jacek, I urge and implore you: be a Polish patriot, be a lover of your great country, but do not be a fanatical nationalist who cannot see beyond the border of his own country and people and even goes so far as to hate those of his own religion because they are not also of his race.

Racism, whether Polish or otherwise, has no place in Catholicism or Catholic Christendom.

What matters is truth, not race; Christ, not just one's own country and people.

As Christians we are called to love all men and to love the truth, not to be narrow, little fanatical nationalist racists.

Fortunately, the vast majority of Polish people today are not fanatical but usually charitable to all. In our day, it is clear that our Lady has indeed smiled upon them.

Long may it be so!


Our Lady, the Black Madonna of Częstochowa,
pray for Poland!


7 October - the Feast of the Holy Rosary and of our Lady of Victory

The Feast of our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Queen of the Holy Rosary, the chaplet of prayer beads that are used to invoke the Virgin to aid us whilst meditating upon scenes in the life of her Son, JESUS CHRIST.

The Rosary developed out of the habit of lay brothers, who did the manual work and did not have time to pray the whole Monastic Office, of praying Paternosters and Ave Marias in monasteries. This habit then passed to the devout laity.

In 1208 our Lady appeared to St Dominic in the Church of Prouille, France, and gave him a chaplet of beads representing roses commending to him the devotion which had spread among the Faithful of saying Paters and Aves whilst meditating upon the life of Christ.

St Dominic then gave the Rosary to all his Friars Preachers to use in their efforts to convert the heterodox Cathars in Southern France and to call upon our Lady to assist the soldiers of Count Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, father of the founder of the later English Parliament, to defend Christendom from the attacks by the armies of the heterodox Cathars and Albigensians.

St Dominic receives the Holy Rosary from our Lady

On 12 September 1213, whilst St Dominic and his brethren were praying in the Church at Muret in the South of France, Count Simon and 700 knights charged out of the town to meet an invading army of 50,000 marauding heterodox Albigensians who were set upon capturing the whose of Southern France for the Albigensian heresy.

The Albigensians were a type of Manichee and they believed in euthanasia, abortion and sodomy and opposed marriage and child-birth because they believed that all material things were evil and created by an evil force. They had one Sacrament which was called the consolamentum and consisted in euthanasia by either starvation or suffocation. They had murdered Catholic missionaries sent to preach to them and murdered bishops, priests and the Papal legate who was sent to negotiate with them.

Count Simon and his knights straight into the middle of their ranks and slew their leader King Pedro of Aragon, much to the chagrin of Count Simon who wanted to defeat him but not slay him. At this the Albigensian horde fell into disarray and were routed. Our Lady, Count Simon de Montfort and the Rosary saved the day.

Ever after, the Rosary became a great weapon of prayer against evil, and especially in time of battle.

In thanks for the victory of the Battle of Muret, Count Simon built the first shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Victory.

The Rosary was prayed in 1529 at the Siege of Vienna and a great victory won under Count Nicholas von Salm against the Ottoman Turks and their Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

In 1571 Pope St Pius V instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory as an annual feast to commemorate the victory of Lepanto, off the Greek coast, the huge naval battle won by the Christian navies against the navy of the invading Muslim Turkish hosts. The Turkish navies were many times larger than the Christian navies and had been bent upon conquering the whole of Christendom and enslaving all Christians.

The Battle of Lepanto 1571

The victory was attributed to our Lady, as a rosary procession took place on that day in St. Peter's Square in Rome for the success of the forces of the Holy League to hold back the Muslim forces from over-running Western Europe.

In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of this feast-day to the Feast of the Holy Rosary. This feast was extended by Pope Clement XII to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the Roman Calendar in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October.

King Jan Sobieski and his army at the Battle of Vienna, 12 September 1683

On 12 September (that date again!) 1683, King Jan Sobieski, appointed commander by Roman Emperor Leopold I, and his Polish Hussars, inflicted a massive defeat upon the Turkish hosts in the Battle of Vienna. Again a Rosary campaign had preceded his victory.

Venerable Pope Innocent XI instituted the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary on 12 September to mark the victory obtained by praying to our Lady.

Kara Mustapha Pasha, the commander of the Turkish host, was unfairly executed by his own king, Sultan Mehmed II, after losing the Battle of Vienna

Pope St Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, being the actual date of the great victory at Lepanto.

In 1969, Pope Paul VI changed the name of the feast to Our Lady of the Rosary.

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!


Monday, 17 September 2012

15 September - the Feast of Princess St Edith of Kemsing and Wilton

Saint Edith of Kemsing and Wilton (Eadgyth in Old English) was the natural daughter of King Edgar “the Peaceful” of England, born at Kemsing, Kent, in 961. She was the half-sister of King Æthelred the Unready. 

Her feast day is 15 September. 

She was the illegitimate daughter of King Edgar by the Lady Wilfrida, or Wulfthryth, a noble-woman and a nun of Wilton Abbey standing nearby the royal residence at Wilton, whom Edgar carried off forcibly from the nunnery. 

He took her to his manor at Kemsing in Kent where Edith was born but, so soon as Wulfthryth could escape from Edgar, she returned to Wilton Abbey, taking Edith with her.  

Wulfthryth became Abbess which tends to show that people were rather less squeamish then that they are today in our supposedly tolerant, but actually supremely intolerant, age. 

Princess St Edith was educated at the Abbey and herself became a nun early in her young life. 

King Edgar offered to make her abbess of 3 communities but she chose to remain with her mother at Wilton. 

St Dunstan, then Archbishop of Canterbury, imposed a 7-year penance upon King Edgar for his crime. The King became holy himself, in due course, and died in the odour of sanctity in 975. 
 The village sign in Kemsing
showing a monk or nun praying at St Edith's well

In 979, Edith had a dream that her half-brother, King St Edward the Martyr, was in danger and so it transpired. He was murdered while visiting his step-mother, Queen Ælfthryth, at Corfe Castle, in Dorset. 

St Edith built a church at Wilton dedicated it to St Denis and she died not long after, on 15 September 984, aged only 23 and was buried in her own church. Her loss was greatly lamented by St Dunstan.
The ruins of Wilton Abbey in Wiltshire

St Edith was a celebrated scholar and a devotion to her quickly grew up. She appeared in a dream to St Dunstan, telling him that her body was incorrupt and, when St Dunstan had the tomb opened, in the presence of her mother, Abbess Wulfthryth, it was so and the body gave off fragrant perfume. 

Her half-brother, King Æthelred, introduced her cause for sanctity which was also supported by her nephew, King Edmund “Ironside” and his successor King Canute the Great, he who showed his overly fawning courtiers that he was not all-powerful by taking them all to the sea-side to show them he could not order the waves to retreat.
The surviving seal of St Edith identifies her as regalis adelpha or “royal sister” to show that she was of royal blood, half-sister of Kings Edward the Martyr and Æthelred the Unready.
The Wilton Diptych
Wilton Abbey is also associated with the famous English diptych called "the Wilton Diptych" which shows King Richard II being presented to our Lady by St John the Baptist, King St Edmund the Martyr and King St Edward the Confessor, and our Lady presents the Christ Child, all symbolical of England as Dos Mariae, or our Lady's Dowry.
On the Sunday nearest her feast day, Catholics and Anglicans gather to pray at St Edith's well in the village of Kemsing, Kent, with Benediction and tea afterwards at the nearby home of Mr Anthony Tyler OBE, formerly Chairman of the Catholic Writers Guild of Great Britain.
S. Editha, ora pro nobis!
St Edith's well in Kemsing village, Kent

Friday, 14 September 2012

14 September - The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and of Summorum Pontificum

On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Exaltatio Crucis), the hymn, Crux Fidelis, is sung.

CRUX fidelis, inter omnes, arbor una nobilis;
Nulla talem silva profert,
Flore, fronde, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulci clavos, dulce pondus sustinens!

FAITHFUL Cross! Above all other,
One and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peers may be;
Sweetest wood and sweetest iron!Sweetest Weight is hung on thee!


So for centuries has been sung the song composed by Venantius Forntunatus (530-609) extolling the Triumph of the Cross.

In the picture Crusaders kneel down and worship the Cross on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

And never more so than on the Feast which recalls the return of the True Cross to Jerusalem following its recapture from the pagan Persians by the Roman Emperor in the East, Emperor Heraclius.

Indeed, this Feast used to be celebrated with almost as much ceremony as the feasts of Easter and Pentecost, themselves.

But this Feast Day, 14th September, is also the anniversary of that triumphal day in which our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, restored to the Roman Church the use of the ancient and noble Roman rite of our ancestors.

All hail Pope Benedict XVI, the restorer of the ancient Roman rites!

Yes, this Feast is the 2nd anniversary day when, by his own motion - motu proprio - Pope Benedict XVI restored to the Roman Church its ancient rites. In so doing he has placed himself in the same hallowed tradition of all those popes, among his predecessors, who always sought to preserve the ancient rites of the Church, as all popes until 1970, did.

For this alone, he will go down to history as a great pope.

He chose a very significant and memorable day to make his motu proprio, called Summorum Pontificum, become effective.

It is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross upon which day we sing the praises of the Holy Cross with such ancient hymns as Vexilla Regis and Crux Fidelis.

Listen to the beautiful version of Crux Fidelis written by the gifted royal composer and image of King David, the author of the Psalms, His Majesty King John IV of Portugal - Dom Joao IV. This piece is sung every year on Good Friday at the Brompton Oratory, Knightsbridge in London:

Venantius Fortunatus wrote both hymns, the latter for a procession that brought a part of the true Cross to Queen Radegunda in 570. This hymn is used on Good Friday during the Adoration of the Cross and in the Breviary during Holy Week and on feasts of the Cross like today.

Ancient legend is hinted at in the second verse of this hymn. According to this tradition, the wood of the Cross upon which Christ was crucified was taken from that tree which was the source of the fruit of the fall in the Garden of Eden. When Adam died, the legend states, Seth obtained from the Cherubim guarding the Garden a branch of the tree from which Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Seth planted this branch at Golgotha (the place of the skull), which is so named because Adam was buried there. As time went on, the Ark of the Covenant, the pole upon which the bronze serpent was lifted, and other items were made from this tree.

Eventually the Holy Cross was made from it and our Lord crucified thereon upon Golgotha directly over the tomb of Adam so that the Precious Blood of Christ, seeping through cracks, penetrated into the mausoleum of Adam beneath and fell upon the very skull of Adam to symbolise that the Sin of Adam had now been atoned for by the Crucifixion.

In the old Roman Calendar, the Finding of the True Cross (Inventio Crucis) was celebrated on 3 May to commemorate that day when the Empress St Helena, daughter of a British king and mother of the Emperor Constantine, found the True Cross after long searching for it among the wells and cisterns of Jerusalem.

The British born Roman Empress St Helena finds the True Cross

The True Cross was set up and a Basilica built to house it for posterity.

Three centuries later, the pagan, fire-worshipping, Zoroastrian Persians (not yet Muslim), under King Chosroes II, attacked Jerusalem and took away the precious relic, the True Cross.

The Catholic Roman Emperor Heraclius, then reigning, swore to recover it and warred against the Persians.

Heraclius had been the emperor who changed the language of the Eastern Empire from Latin to Greek which he did in 620. Thus for 600 years the language of the Empire and the Church was exclusively Latin. The Greek language, though used often enough colloquially in the Levant, was not the official language of Byzantium and the Eastern Empire until 620 AD. The Greek Orthodox Church often forget this.

Emperor Heraclius had a number of successes against the Persians, particularly the Battle of Nineveh.

Nineveh is now in northern Iraq and is still a Christian city peopled by Chaldean rite Catholics whose liturgy is still in the language of Christ, Aramaic.

Heraclius, however, suffered a series of defeats and Constantinople was threatened, not only by the Persians,  but also by the Avars and Slavs who invaded and took the Balkans and then attacked Constantinople from the rear.

Heraclius was on the point of being defeated himself and Constantinople taken.

However, an internal dispute arose within Persia which threatened Chosroes II. The distraction gave Heraclius his chance. He soundly defeated Chosroes in 629 and recovered the True Cross.

This was seen as an answer to prayer by all at the time.

Eventually, Chosroes was murdered by his own son, who became king and thereafter the Sassanid Persians were swept away by a new and rising force, Islam which had recently arisen out of the formerly heretical Christian territories of the Monophysites and Monothelites.

When Heraclius returned to Jerusalem to restore the True Cross he carried it himself, as had our Lord, intending to process along the Via Dolorosa in his gorgeous imperial robes. But when he arrived at the gate of Jerusalem he was frozen to the spot and could not move. All were puzzled and eventually the Patriarch of Jerusalem suggested that the Emperor divest himself of his imperial robes. The Emperor did more and stripped himself to little more than the seamless garment that Christ Himself had worn to carry His Cross.

At once the Emperor found himself able to proceed and so he continued until he was able to restore the True Cross to its rightful place in the Basilica upon Golgotha, walking barefoot in a single shift all along the way to the great edification of the people of Jerusalem, his subjects.

Ever after that day, 14 September, was celebrated with great ceremony - nearly as much as Easter and Pentecost - as the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Exaltatio Crucis).

The Catholic Roman Emperor Heraclius who restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in 629AD

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, chose this most memorable and triumphant of days to restore to us the glory of the ancient Roman rite which the Roman emperors of old fought and died to protect and preserve and which countless saints and martyrs gave their lives for.

Fulget Crucis mysterium,
Qua vita mortem pertulit,
Et morte vitam protulit.

Abroad the Regal Banners fly,
Now shines the Cross's mystery;
Upon it Life did death endure,
And yet by death did life procure.

In hac triumpha gloria
Piis adauge gratiam,
Reisque dele crimina.

Hail, Cross, of hopes the most sublime!
In this triumphant glorious time,
Improve religious souls in grace,
The sins of criminals efface.

On Good Friday the second line reads "Now in this mournful Passion time" but on the Feast of the Cross this is replaced by "in hac triumpha gloria" - in the glory of this triumph!

Triumph, indeed, thanks to our Holy Father gloriously reigning!

St Helena, pray for us!
True Cross, protect us and our Pope!