29.1.10

The Lost Piety of Catholic France (Part I)

I picked this up from Cor Jesu Sacratissimum. I have reposted this because I could not find a place to edit and redirect. Please go to this site and lend suporting comment to Roger and Kim.

By roger

For years I have been grieving the Lost Piety of Catholic France.

But really, the title of this new series here is euphemistic. Because when one knows the history of post-revolution Catholic France and when one has faith, it is hard to avoid stronger titles, such as the Destroyed or Murdered Piety of Catholic France.

Still I will let the title stand for this new series (which may or may not appear consecutively here, but perhaps from time-to-time).

Catholic France, Catholic Ireland - both are particular sources of inspiration for this webproject. For Providence led Kim and myself to life-changing periods in both the devastated landscape of the former and the severely battered, but not yet fully obliterated territory of the other.

Yes they are particular foci of inspiration for our efforts which in time I want to unpack much further.

But a certain effort will be made in this series. Catholic France – Kim and I surveyed this desolate land for more than two years. And yet we could still see the power and beauty of what had once lived there, in places like Lourdes, La Salette and most of all Paray-le-Monial.

Paray-le-Monial where Our Lord appeared to Saint Marguerite-Marie in 1673 and began to reveal His Sacred Heart, burning like the sun. Paray-le-Monial from which spread to the entire Catholic World the Cult of the Sacred Heart.

Paray-le-Monial which after the 1789 Revolution had ravaged the Faith and massacred Catholics – priests, nobility and peasants alike, became a particular centre of resistance to the Republican movement, perhaps THE centre of resistance.

And Paray-le-Monial where unlike anywhere else on Earth, I could feel His Sacred Heart. I spent days in Paray with some of the greater suffering of my life. And there I felt held, held and bathed in His Love. Then we would drive away and leave that Holy Place and the difference would be palpable.

Yes it is clear to me that something of immense importance for the world happened in this Holy Place. And that centuries after as monks, nuns and laity came the memory was held. The memory was held in countless Masses and Rosaries and Processions …

Now such Masses and Rosaries and Processions were once very, very common right across France and my heart weeps for that by which this precious piety has been replaced.

But Paray! Paray is one of the very few places in France where one can still feel the Piety of Catholic France …

Now I recently googled both “dechristianisation” and “wikipedia” and this was the first paragraph of the first page I came to:

“The Dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution is a conventional description of the results of a number of separate policies, conducted by various governments of France between the start of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Concordat of 1801, forming the basis of the later and less radical Laïcité movement. The goal of the campaign was the destruction of Catholic religious practice and of the religion itself. There has been much scholarly debate over whether the movement was popularly motivated or something forced upon the people by those in power.”

Well this appears at least to be a neutral sounding paragraph from Wikipedia.

But I will name my own perspective clearly.

My experience of the ravaged world of Catholic France, my study of her history places me firmly in the camp of those who believe that:

“The goal of the campaign … the destruction of Catholic religious practice and of the religion itself … was … something forced upon the people by those in power.”

And that it continued right through the next 120 or so years after the Revolution, less bloodily, but very determinedly.

My life, my writings are about seeing this thing: that that which we call Secularism speaks of no neutral ground, left over after belief and practice fell naturally away, as is popularly supposed in many circles and as proponents of a secular ideology would like us to believe.

No the ground was in many cases razed and Secularism was an artifice built on ground where in France particularly, gallons of blood were spilt.

The process was somewhat gentler elsewhere. Still as I have recently indicated in my review of Charles A. Coulombe´s Puritan´s Empire, there is much to indicate everywhere the efforts towards clearing the ground – Dechristianisation and building afresh.

Building a new world wherein testimony to the Faith – e.g. a public crucifix – is seen as “imposing”, but a million capitalist advertisements explicitly calculated to convert people to materialistic desire are simply “freedom of speech” …

Now I am not in agreement with Charles A. Coulombe in certain respects but he has many important things to tell us, as he stands staunchly for the world that was razed.

Another writer I am not fully in agreement with also stands staunchly for the world that was razed. On the web he is Brantigny and you will find if you are interested an archive of many writings here documenting la Vraie France … the true France, as the Catholics of the nineteenth century began to call her.

I have found very much of value in his writings calling us to memory of that which was literally exterminated in some cases, insidiously and subtly overcome in others. And I also want to warmly thank the author for the recognition he recently gave to this site.

Catholic France, eldest daughter of the Church, birthplace of the Cult of the Sacred Heart, how your inspiration moves this site!

Catholic France your inspiration works silently in me, always. But recently has stirred to greater livingness, watching again The Song of Bernadette, reading Brantigny and moved, moved more than I can say, kneeling at a Requiem Mass for the murdered king, His Majesty Louis XVI, kneeling and beholding the black cape of the priest with his back turned, kneeling and beholding an altar draped in black with crosses of gold … More...

Thanks Roger and a tip of the hat to you and your Kim.

Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

NC public schools: Pro-life laws, like segregation, are examples of ‘oppressive government’

"...Any pre-born baby would gladly prefer a lifetime of sitting at the back of the bus over a trip to the abortionist..." Comment on the following article...

I found this on Catholic World News

January 27, 2010

New curricular guidelines drafted by North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction strongly encourage students to view pro-life legislation as an example of “oppressive government” akin to laws that permitted segregated public schools.

According to the department’s web site, all North Carolina public school students are required to take a course in civics and economics in order to graduate from high school. The draft of the revised civic and economics curriculum includes the following formative assessment prototype:

Using three Supreme Court Cases (e.g., Brown v Board, Roe v Wade, Korematsu v US) as support explain how the US Supreme Court has upheld rights against oppressive government? Brown v Board of Education of Topeka was the 1954 Supreme Court decision that struck down laws permitting segregated schools; Roe v Wade was the 1973 decision that struck down pro-life legislation across the nation.

North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue, Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton, and Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson are all advocates of legalized abortion who were endorsed by NARAL (formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League).


My daughter teaches French, and Journalism in a NC Public School. A pro-Lifer like her Daddy she has taken a pro-life stance in school as a student in this school system and as a teacher in the same system. During her junior year she gave a Pro-life essay which the teacher didn't care for, and attempted to be-little her in front of her class. The student body made their convictions known including some who were in fact pro-abortion on the disgraceful way she was treated. Truly a daughter of the regiment, like all my children she speaks her mind.

Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

Sources: These links will take you to other sites.

North Carolina Essential Standards, Social Studies: Civics and Economics Course (Public Schools of North Carolina)

•Phase II 1.0 Draft Essential Standards (Public Schools of North Carolina)

•Pro-Choice Voting Guide (NARAL Pro-Choice NC)

How The King Took The Cross For His Last Pilgrimage

"Lord God, grant that we may so despise the ruggedness of this world that we may fear no adversity."

Jean de Joinville relates...

AFTER the events above narrated, it came to pass one Lent, that the King summoned all his barons to Paris. I excused myself, on account of a quartan* fever, from which I was suffering at the time, and begged him to allow me to stay away. But he sent me word that he was absolutely determined I should come, for he had good doctors there who well understood the cure of quartan fever. So to Paris I went. When I arrived, on the evening of the Vigil of Our Lady in March, I found neither the King, nor anyone who could tell me why the King had sent for me. Now it so happened by God's will that I fell asleep at Matins; and in my sleep methought I saw the King on his knees before an altar, and methought several prelates in their vestments were clothing him with a crimson chasuble of Rheims serge. After this vision, I called my priest, Lord William, who was a very clever man, and told him the vision; and this is what he said to me: " Sir, you will see that the King will take the Cross to-morrow." I asked him, why he thought so? and he told me that he thought so because of the dream that I had dreamed, for the chasuble of crimson serge betokened the Cross which was crimsoned with the blood that God had shed from his side and hands and feet; " As for the chasuble being of serge of Rheims, that signifies that the Crusade will be one of small note as you will see if God grants you life."

When I had heard mass at the Magdalen at Paris I went into the King's chapel, and found the King, who had gone up into the gallery of relics and was having the true Cross brought down. Whilst the King was on his way down, two knights of his Council began talking together; and one of them said, " Never trust me again, if the King does not take the Cross while he is here." And the other replied " If the King takes the Cross, it will be one of the saddest days in France that ever were. For if we do not take the Cross, we shall lose the King, and if we do take the Cross we shall lose God, for it will not be for His sake that we take it." Now it came to pass, that the King took the Cross on the morrow and his three sons besides; and afterwards it came to pass that the Crusade was of little note, just as my priest had foretold. I was much urged by the King of France and by the King of Navarre to take the Cross. To this I replied, that all the while that I had been serving God and the King over-seas, and also after my return, the serjeants of the King of France and the King of Navarre had destroyed and impoverished my people; so that I and they should be the worse for it for all time to come. And I told them this: that if I wished to work God's will, I should stay where I was to help and protect my people; for that if I risked my life on the chances of this pilgrimage, seeing as I did quite plainly that it would be to the harm and injury of my people, I should anger God, who gave His life to save His people.

To my mind they committed a deadly sin who encouraged his going; for France had reached a condition when all the kingdom was at peace within itself and with its neighbours; and never again has it been so since he left it; but the state of the kingdom has steadily gone from bad to worse. A very great sin it was in those who encouraged him to go, seeing how weak he was in health at the time; for he could endure neither to drive nor ride. His weakness was so great that he let me carry him in my arms from the Count of Auxerre's house, where I took leave of him, as far as the Greyfriars. And yet, weak as he was, if he had stayed in France, he might still have lived a good while and done a great deal of good.

I shall not say anything about his journey to Tunis, nor give any account of it, because I was not there thank God! And I do not wish to say or put anything in my book of which I am not quite sure. So we will speak only of our holy King, and say, that after he landed at Tunis, before the castle of Carthage, he fell sick of a catarrh of the stomach, by reason of which he took to his bed, and felt that the time was come for him to pass from this world to the next. Thereupon he called for my Lord Philip his son, and bade him to observe, as though it were his testament, all the instructions that he left him; which instructions are written below in the common tongue; and the King wrote them so they say with his own blessed hand.

When the good King had given his instructions to my Lord Philip, his infirmity began to increase greatly upon him, and he asked for the sacraments of Holy Church. And he received them with a sound mind and right understanding, as was plain; for, whilst they were anointing him and repeating the seven psalms, he repeated the verses in response. And I heard my lord theCount of Alençon, his son, relate, that when death drew near, he cried on the saints to aid and succour him; and likewise on my Lord St. James, repeating his prayer the while, which begins: "Esto Domine," which means " May the Lord sanctify and watch over our people." Next he called upon my Lord St. Denis to help him, saying his prayer, which means "Lord God, grant that we may so despise the ruggedness of this world that we may fear no adversity." And then I heard my Lord of Alençon say that his father called upon St. Geneviève.

After that, the holy King made them lay him on bed strewn with ashes, and laid his hands upon his breast, and looking up to heaven, yielded up his spirit to our Creator, in the very same hour when the Son of God died upon the Cross.


Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

Notes: * Quartan Fever... medical term "Malariae malaria", (Malaria)
** the Death of St Louis King 1270 by Gustave Dore

Mona Lisa

This article by the AP at first intrigued me, but after reading further I realized it was an effort by some to degrade the master's art work by insinuationg he was a homosexual (the word gay not then having been yet corrupted). I wonder why It is that a grave should be disturbed even if it is in the quest for knowledge. Is it this age of having information at ones finger tips that propels some to attempt to unlock secrets about Da Vinci, or are they driven by the notoriety of the Da Vinci films... ...films which have already been proven to be compiled of falsehood.

Did Leonardo paint himself as "Mona Lisa"?

By ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press Writer Alessandra Rizzo, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jan 28, 7:14 pm ET

ROME – The legend of Leonardo da Vinci is shrouded in mystery: How did he die? Are the remains buried in a French chateau really those of the Renaissance master? Was the "Mona Lisa" a self-portrait in disguise?

A group of Italian scientists believes the key to solving those puzzles lies with the remains — and they say they are seeking permission from French authorities to dig up the body to conduct carbon and DNA testing.

If the skull is intact, the scientists can go to the heart of a question that has fascinated scholars and the public for centuries: the identity of the "Mona Lisa." Recreating a virtual and then physical reconstruction of Leonardo's face, they can compare it with the smiling face in the painting, experts involved in the project told The Associated Press.

"We don't know what we'll find if the tomb is opened, we could even just find grains and dust," says Giorgio Gruppioni, an anthropologist who is participating in the project. "But if the remains are well kept, they are a biological archive that registers events in a person's life, and sometimes in their death."

The leader of the group, Silvano Vinceti, told the AP that he plans to press his case with the French officials in charge of the purported burial site at Amboise Castle early next week.

But the Italian enthusiasm may be premature.

In France, exhumation requires a long legal procedure, and precedent suggests it's likely to take even longer when it involves a person of great note such as Leonardo.

Jean-Louis Sureau, director of the medieval-era castle located in France's Loire Valley, said that once a formal request is made, a commission of experts would be set up. Any such request would then be discussed with the French Ministry of Culture, Sureau said.

Leonardo moved to France at the invitation of King Francis I, who named him "first painter to the king." He spent the last three years of his life there, and died in Cloux, near the monarch's summer retreat of Amboise, in 1519 at age 67.
more ...

Sometimes we need to be saved from science.

Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

28.1.10

2010 March for Life, One Mother's Journey

In an earlier posting I wrote of the Brelinsky's and posted a picture of them at the 2010 march for life in Washington, in the District of Columbia, Tara has graciously written up her experiences which I present here.

by Tara K.E. Brelinsky

I'm a people watcher, so this weekend's trip to Washington, DC afforded me ample opportunities to indulge myself. You can learn so much from just watching one another, reading body language and listening to that which is being said without words.

The whole Brelinsky brood made the journey to our nation's capitol to unite with our fellow pro-lifers in the annual March for Life. This was our first time participating in the DC March, so we weren't sure what to expect. We knew we'd be among “friends,” but we weren't quite sure how we'd navigate our large family through the myriad of protesters. This type of concern is enough to stop some from ever making the attempt and in truth it has prevented us in the past, but we were called this year and so we had to trust and march forward. All the beforehand preparation and concerns caused me to reflect on the work of the apostles and even our founding fathers. God called them, too, to go out and spread His Truth, to forge His path in a new land. His call required their response, their willingness and action. So, we Brelinskys responded by booking a hotel, requesting time off from work, making arrangements for our animals, creating T-shirts and signs, packing and then setting out on the four hour drive. All around me was eagerness and combined cooperation as our kids put their full efforts into dreaming about the anticipated events. It is times like this when I relish the blessing of being part of a big family, even though in the moment to moment mothering duties I sometimes succumb to my own weaknesses.

When we arrived on Thursday night the forecast for Friday was telling us to expect the worst with a 70% chance of precipitation and low temperatures. We woke up Friday morning undaunted and began our trek to the metro station with rain drizzling down upon us. The kids were troopers, layered in shirts and coats. Watching them reminds me that life is meant to be lived joyfully. They ignore the minor details like rain and cold and simply focus on the excitement of the moment.

Arriving at the metro station, we purchased our tickets for the day and that is when I began to watch more intently. Being unfamiliar with metro mass transit systems' methods of operation, we initially had difficulty purchasing our tickets and then discerning how and when we could use them. At the same time, we were fumbling around from machine to machine, there were several transit employees standing together chatting. Perhaps, they simply didn't notice our family of nine with a double stroller in the lead because no one of them acknowledged our struggle. Once we did garner their attention, the response we received was less than warm and personal. The tickets it seemed required us to stand about for another ten minutes before we could commence our journey. We were like race horses confined by the stall gate waiting to charge forth, but instead God placed us in the moment that tested our patience. Are we too far north for some southern hospitality, I thought?

When finally the clock registered 9:30am, we charged forth navigating each of our children one by one through the ticket gate. I, myself, felt like a child following behind Greg. It all seems like a maze to me, so I simply pulled up the rear of our caravan and grasped the tiny hands of stragglers. After an elevator ride and some quick jockeying around obstacles, we pushed onto the first of our several trains for the day. Mindful of fellow passengers, who might not be accustomed to the commotion and noise that erupts from our children every other minute, we did our best to keep their endless stream of energy and conversation contained to a reasonably tolerable level. All the while I was on guard and watching.

Many of the other occupants on our trains seemed to me to be on their way to work, judging by their attire and baggage. It seems a rational deduction that they might see one another from time to time if they make this same trip daily. But, what struck me like a lightning bolt was the way they ignored each other. It appeared to me that there were no quick, friendly smiles nor even general polite pleasantries like “Good morning.” At one point, the man in front of me was texting a long note when a woman sat down beside him. She began talking to someone on her headset. Another young lady across the entrance was listening to her iPod. In my estimation they never made eye contact, it was as though each was alone on this crowded train. Being made in the image of Christ, we are made for communion. Understandably, we should exercise some cautious and privacy, but written in our very hearts is the desire for communion. This all seemed so unnatural.

Once we reached our destination we found ourselves in different company. Now I don't mean to imply better or worse company, just different company. Perusing the pro-life messages printed on their hand-held signs, we discovered that our new companions were marching in the same direction as we were. We began to exchange nods and smiles and friendly banter. Our communion of purpose was obvious, so I suppose that may be the reason for our greater displays of charity. Of course, it is always easier to show charity to our friends, but we are called to charity for strangers and enemies as well.

As we walked the blocks to the Basilica, we prayed that our Mother Advocate would ask her Divine Son for clear skies and comfortable temperatures. Inside the church we met up with a number of friends both old and new. Together we joined in communion to receive the Word and the Eucharist. Contrasting our feelings of separateness that we experienced on the train rides, I felt united with my fellow Catholic pro-lifers. But if I'm honest and I delve a little deeper, I have to admit that sometimes even inside the pews of my parish there exists a separateness. Some Masses find me, like on the metro, focused on shepherding my children and trying to hear the Word, but scarcely connected to the people sitting in front, beside or behind me.

Ultimately, we found our way to a designated starting point for the March for Life. There were so many people that we could see neither the beginning nor the end of the crowd of protesters. Many schools and churches were represented by large groups of teenagers. The exhilaration was palpable, but we were reminded of the true nature of our mission when we walked passed the images of the tiny, innocent victims of abortion. Our young children had never seen those images beforehand and so they had questions. The tone changed to solemn as we explained that the small limbs belonged to babies who'd been aborted. I know that many would chide me for exposing my children to what they deem “violent” images, but that is how evil continues to exist. When we turn our heads away, we are too easily convinced to accept a lie. We, in that crowd, had a shared purpose which was to walk in the place of those innocent babies and cry out on their behalf. Ironically, the children looked intently at those pictures trying, no doubt, to make sense of it all. It seemed to them, obvious, that those were babies, individual persons worthy of living. Fair to say I believe, those who claim abortion is a simple “choice” are the ones who refuse to look at the reality and consequence of that “choice.”

Blessings flowed throughout the day in the form of helpful friends and sunny skies. We managed to feed everyone while in transit and to keep them all close. There wasn't a whine to be heard. Thanksgiving echoed in my thoughts.

Returning to our hotel required another trip on the metro, albeit this trip didn't require any change-overs. Understandably the children had plenty of energy to spare, except the baby of course. Again trying to be considerate of our surrounding travel mates I kept our 3 year old busy with tales of the Three Little Pigs and Five Monkeys Jumping. This time a person or two offered a compliment about the children's good behavior before exiting at their stop. Being a family of nine with so many young children we are often hyper-alert to those around us since not everyone appreciates the beauty of a large brood. I've shared the stories before of comments both complimentary and insulting that strangers and sometimes acquaintances freely utter to us. It's not worth re-mentioning except as an explanation of why we are vigilant in public appearances.

The long ride home a few days later allowed me the opportunity to mull over the whole journey and to apply some more thorough reflection. I took an account of the various encounters we had and applied this to my insights on the purpose for our trek. I thought about the reasons why a mother would abort her child. I considered what we need to do to end this murderous agenda. It hit me so squarely.

Our nature is for communion, but we in this current age suffer from loneliness. Women are life bearers and so they have the ability to manifest communion in a physical way. Husbands and wives join in communion through the marital act. These are facts, but they are regularly distorted. When contraception was created and then invited into the marital embrace, it destroyed communion. The husband and wife broke off from their communal union with God, as pro-creators. They fractured their communion with one another by holding back their fertility and they thwarted communion with the new soul that their love was capable of conceiving. The people on the metro were a glaring example of this. Rather than recognize their connectedness as persons, persons in the image of One God, they were alone in their travels. They separated themselves with things. They ignore opportunities to shine His light to one another, to offer charity, comfort and direction.

When we deny ourselves the truth, true communion, the lie does not suffice. People are lonely, lonely in their relationships, lonely among one another. It is this deep and real loneliness that leads a mother to reject her child or to accept the lie that he isn't really a person in the first place. Abortion can't be eradicated simply through legal means. We need to recognize its roots. We must reach out to one another and share our gifts. Christ abides within us if we abide in Him and through us He accomplishes His work, but we are called to action. He instructed us to love one another as He has loved us, freely, faithfully and fruitfully. In His Presence we are never alone. Women need to feel His love, His support, His forgiveness and it must come through us, her fellow travelers.

It seems such an insurmountable task. Before the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, they couldn't imagine how they would ever carry out Jesus' mission for building His Church. Abortion must become unthinkable to each and every individual. When we all recognize and understand that we are not alone and that every choice we make, every step we take is connected to our fellow journeymen, then the culture of death in all of its forms (contraception, the contraceptive mentality, abortion, euthanasia) will become an sorrowful page in our human history.

So, today I must do my small part by living in the moments and seizing every opportunity to reach out through acts of sacrifice, compassion, charity, honesty, mercy, etc. It is not enough for me to simply watch people, I am called to respond. We are not alone and if we all live that way imagine how lovely and fulfilling this life journey can be.

Greg & Tara
1 Dad + 1 Mama= 8 beloved children

"if a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life." Albert Schweitzer


Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

Tara and Greg may be found on Facebook.

27.1.10

Charlemagne. King of the Franks, on the anniversary of his death 28 January 814

The 28th of January is the 1196th anniversary of the death of the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne. His effect can still be seen today, in laws and in how monarchs should treat the Church and their subjects. By the time of the Hundred Years war he was considered a Saint by the people of France. The Maid of Orleans mentions him several times as recalled by her companions, including the bastard of Orleans, Dunois...

Then Jeanne said to me : "Are you the Bastard of Orleans?" "Yes," I answered; "and I am very glad of your coming !" " Is it you who said I was to come on this side [of the river], and that I should not go direct to the side where Talbot and the English are ?" "Yes, and those more wise than I are of the same opinion, for our greater success and safety." "In God's Name," she then said, "the counsel of My Lord is safer and wiser than yours. You thought to deceive me, and it is yourselves who are deceived, for I bring you better succor than has ever come to any general or town whatsoever the succor of the King of Heaven. This succor does not come from me, but from God Himself, Who, at the prayers of Saint Louis and Saint Charlemagne, has had compassion on the town of Orleans, and will not suffer the enemy to hold at the same time the Duke and his town!"

JEAN, Bastard of Orleans, Count de Dunois testimony at the Trial of Nullification, 1449-1455

On the Anniversary of the death of King Charlemagne, King of the Franks

The greatest of medieval kings was born in 742, at a place unknown. He was of German blood and speech, and shared some characteristics of his people- strength of body, courage of spirit, pride of race, and a crude simplicity many centuries apart from the urbane polish of the modern French. He had little book learning; read only a few books- but good ones; tried in his old age to learn writing, but never quite succeeded; yet he could speak old Teutonic and literary Latin, and understood Greek.

In 771 Carloman II died, and Charles at twenty-nine became sole king. Two years later he received from Pope Hadrian II an urgent appeal for aid against the Lombard Desiderius, who was invading the papal states. Charlemagne besieged and took Pavia, assumed the crown of Lombardy, confirmed the Donation of Pepin, and accepted the role of protector of the Church in all her temporal powers.

Returning to his capital at Aachen, he began a series of fifty-three campaigns- nearly all led in person- designed to round out his empire by conquering and Christianizing Bavaria and Saxony, destroying the troublesome Avars, shielding Italy from the raiding Saracens, and strengthening the defenses of Francia against the expanding Moors of Spain. The Saxons on his eastern frontier were pagans; they had burned down a Christian church, and made occasional incursions into Gaul; these reasons sufficed Charlemagne for eighteen campaigns (772-804), waged with untiring ferocity on both sides. Charles gave the conquered Saxons a choice between baptism and death, and had 4500 Saxon rebels beheaded in one day; after which he proceeded to Thionville to celebrate the nativity of Christ.

At Paderborn in 777 Ibn al-Arabi, the Moslem governor of Barcelona, had asked the aid of the Christian king against the caliph of Cordova. Charles led an army across the Pyrenees, besieged and captured the Christian city of Pamplona, treated the Christian but incalculable Basques of northern Spain as enemies, and advanced even to Saragossa. But the Moslem uprisings that al-Arabi had promised as part of the strategy against the caliph failed to appear; Charlemagne saw that his unaided forces could not challenge Cordova; news came that the conquered Saxons were in wild revolt and were marching in fury upon Cologne; and with the better part of valor he led his army back, in long and narrow file, through the passes of the Pyrenees.

In one such pass, at Roncesvalles in Navarre, a force of Basques pounced down upon the rear guard of the Franks, and slaughtered nearly every man in it (778); there the noble Hruodland died, who would become three centuries later the hero of France’s most famous poem, the Chanson de Roland.

In 795 Charlemagne sent another army across the Pyrenees; the Spanish March- a strip of northeast Spain- became part of Francia, Barcelona capitulated, and Navarre and Asturias acknowledged the Frankish sovereignty (806). Meanwhile Charlemagne had subdued the Saxons (785), had driven back the advancing Slavs (789), had defeated and dispersed the Avars (790-805), and had, in the thirty-fourth year of his reign and the sixty-third of his age, resigned himself to peace.

In truth he had always loved administration more than war, and had taken to the field to force some unity of government and faith upon a Western Europe torn for centuries past by conflicts of tribe and creed. He had now brought under his rule all the peoples between the Vistula and the Atlantic, between the Baltic and the Pyrenees, with nearly all of Italy and much of the Balkans. How could one man competently govern so vast and varied a realm? He was strong enough in body and nerves to bear a thousand responsibilities, perils, and crises, even to his sons’ plotting to kill him. He had in him the blood or teaching of the wise and cautious Pepin III, and of the ruthless Charles Martel, and was something of a hammer himself. He extended their power, guarded it with firm military organization, propped it with religious sanction and ritual. He could vision large purposes, and could will the means as well as wish the ends. He could lead an army, persuade an assembly, humor the nobility, dominate the clergy, rule a harem.

He made military service a condition of owning more than a pittance of property, and thereby founded martial morale on the defense and extension of one’s land. Every freeman, at the call to arms, had to report in full equipment to the local count, and every noble was responsible for the military fitness of his constituents. The structure of the state rested on this organized force, supported by every available psychological factor in the sanctity of anointed majesty, the ceremonial splendor of the imperial presence, and the tradition of obedience to established rule. Around the king gathered a court of administrative nobles and clergymen- the seneschal or head of the palace, the “count palatine”or chief justice, the “palsgraves”or judges of the palace court, and a hundred scholars, servants, and clerks.

The sense of public participation in the government was furthered by semiannual assemblies of armed property owners, gathered, as military or other convenience might dictate, at Worms, Valenciennes, Aachen, Geneva, Paderborn... usually in the open air. At such assemblies the king submitted to smaller groups of nobles or bishops his proposals for legislation; they considered them, and returned them to him with suggestions; he formulated the capitula, or chapters of legislation, and presented these to the multitude for their shouted approval; rarely the assembly voiced disapproval with a collective grunt or moan. Hincmar, Archbishop of Reims, has transmitted an intimate picture of Charles at one of these gatherings, “saluting the men of most note, conversing with those whom he seldom saw, showing a tender interest toward the elders, and disporting himself with the young.”

At these meetings each provincial bishop and administrator was required to report to the King any significant event in his locality since the previous convocation. “The King wished to know,”says Hincmar, “whether in any part or corner of the Kingdom the people were restless, and the cause thereof.” Sometimes (continuing the old Roman institution of inquisitio) the representatives of the King would summon leading citizens to inquire and give under oath a “true statement”(veredictum) as to the taxable wealth, the state of public order, the existence of crimes or criminals, in the district visited. In the ninth century, in Frank lands, this verdict of a jurata, or sworn group of inquirers, was used to decide many local issues of land ownership or criminal guilt. Out of the jurata, through Norman and English developments, would come the jury system of modern times.

The empire was divided into counties, each governed in spiritual matters by a bishop or archbishop, and in secular affairs by a comes (companion- of the king) or count. A local assembly of landholders convened twice or thrice a year in each provincial capital to pass upon the government of the region, and serve as a provincial court of appeals. The dangerous frontier counties, or marches, had special governors- graf, margrave, or markherzog; Roland of Roncesvalles, for example, was governor of the Breton march. All local administration was subject to missi dominici- “emissaries of the master”- sent by Charlemagne to convey his wishes to local officials, to review their actions, judgments, and accounts; to check bribery, extortion, nepotism, and exploitation, to receive complaints and remedy wrongs, to protect “the Church, the poor, and wards and widows, and the whole people”from malfeasance or tyranny, and to report to the King the condition of the realm; the Capitulare missorum establishing these emissaries was a Magna Carta for the people, four centuries before England’s Magna Carta for the aristocracy. That this capitulary meant what it said appears from the case of the duke of Istria, who, being accused by the missi of divers injustices and extortions, was forced by the King to restore his thievings, compensate every wronged man, publicly confess his crimes, and give security against their repetition.

Barring his wars, Charlemagne’s was the most just and enlightened government that Europe had known since Theodoric the Goth. The sixty-five capitularies that remain of Charlemagne’s legislation are among the most interesting bodies of medieval law. They were not an organized system, but rather the extension and application of previous “barbarian”codes to new occasion or need.

In some particulars they were less enlightened than the laws of King Liutprand of Lombardy: they kept the old wergild, ordeals, trial by combat, and punishment by mutilation; and decreed death for relapse into paganism, or for eating meat in Lent- though here the priest was allowed to soften the penalty. Nor were all these capitularies laws; some were answers to inquiries, some were questions addressed by Charlemagne to officials, some were moral counsels. “It is necessary,” said one article, “that every man should seek to the best of his strength and ability to serve God and walk in the way of His precepts; for the Lord Emperor cannot watch over every man in personal discipline.” Several articles struggled to bring more order into the sexual and marital relations of the people. Not all these counsels were obeyed; but there runs through the capitularies a conscientious effort to transform barbarism into civilization.

Charlemagne legislated for agriculture, industry, finance, education, and religion as well as for government and morals. His reign fell into a period when the economy of southern France and Italy was at low ebb through the control of the Mediterranean by the Saracens. “The Christians,”said Ibn Khaldun, “could no longer float a plank upon the sea.” The whole structure of commercial relations between Western Europe and Africa and the Levant was disturbed; only the Jews- whom Charlemagne sedulously protected for this reason- connected the now hostile halves of what under Rome had been a united economic world. Commerce survived in Slavic and Byzantine Europe, and in the Teutonic north. The English Channel and the North Sea were alive with trade; but this too would be disordered, even before Charlemagne’s death, by Norse piracy and raids. Vikings on the north and Moslems on the south almost closed the ports of France, and made her an inland and agricultural state. The mercantile middle class declined, leaving no group to compete with the rural aristocracy; French feudalism was promoted by Charlemagne’s land grants and by the triumphs of Islam.

Charlemagne struggled to protect a free peasantry against spreading serfdom, but the power of the nobles, and the force of circumstance, frustrated him. Even slavery grew for a time, as a result of the Carolingian wars against pagan tribes. The King’s own estates, periodically extended by confiscations, gifts, intestate reversions, and reclamation, were the chief source of the royal revenue. For the care of these lands he issued a Capitulare de villis astonishingly detailed, and revealing his careful scrutiny of all state income and expense. Forests, wastelands, highways, ports, and all mineral subsoil resources were the property of the state. Every encouragement was given to such commerce as survived; the fairs were protected, weights and measures and prices were regulated, tolls were moderated, speculation in futures was checked, roads and bridges were built or repaired, a great span was thrown across the Rhine at Mainz, waterways were kept open, and a canal was planned to connect the Rhine and the Danube, and thereby the North with the Black Sea. A stable currency was maintained; but the scarcity of gold in France and the decline of trade led to the replacement of Constantine’s gold solidus with the silver pound. The energy and solicitude of the King reached into every sphere of life. He gave to the four winds the names they bear today. He established a system of poor relief, taxed the nobles and the clergy to pay its costs, and then made mendicancy a crime.

Appalled by the illiteracy of his time, when hardly any but ecclesiastics could read, and by the lack of education among the lower clergy, he called in foreign scholars to restore the schools of France. Paul the Deacon was lured from Monte Cassino, and Alcuin from York (782), to teach the school that Charlemagne organized in the royal palace at Aachen. Alcuin (735-804) was a Saxon, born near York, and educated in the cathedral school that Bishop Egbert had founded there; in the eighth century Britain and Ireland were culturally ahead of France. When King Offa of Mercia sent Alcuin on a mission to Charlemagne, the latter begged the scholar to remain; Alcuin, glad to be out of England when the Danes were “laying it desolate, and dishonoring the monasteries with adultery,”consented to stay. He sent to England and elsewhere for books and teachers, and soon the palace school was an active center of study, of the revision and copying of manuscripts, and of an educational reform that spread throughout the realm.

Among the pupils were Charlemagne, his wife Liutgard, his sons, his daughter Gisela, his secretary Eginhard, a nun, and many more. Charlemagne was the most eager of all; he seized upon learning as he had absorbed states; he studied rhetoric, dialectic, astronomy; he made heroic efforts to write, says Eginhard, “and used to keep tablets under his pillow in order that at leisure hours he might accustom his hand to form the letters; but as he began these efforts so late in life, they met with ill success.” He studied Latin furiously, but continued to speak German at his court; he compiled a German grammar, and collected specimens of early German poetry. When Alcuin, after eight years in the palace school, pled for a less exciting environment, Charlemagne reluctantly made him Abbot of Tours (796). There Alcuin spurred the monks to make fairer and more accurate copies of the Vulgate of Jerome, the Latin Fathers, and the Latin classics; and other monasteries imitated the example. Many of our best classical texts have come down to us from these monastic scriptoria of the ninth century; practically all extant Latin poetry except Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius, and nearly all extant Latin prose except Varro, Tacitus, and Apuleius, were preserved for us by the monks of the Carolingian age. Many of the Caroline manuscripts were handsomely illuminated by the patient art of the monks; to this “Palace School”of illumination belonged the “Vienna”Gospels on which the later German emperors took their coronation oath.

In 787 Charlemagne issued to all the bishops and abbots of Francia an historic Capitulare de litteris colendis, or directive on the study of letters. It reproached ecclesiastics for “uncouth language”and “unlettered tongues,”and exhorted every cathedral and monastery to establish schools where clergy and laity alike might learn to read and write. A further capitulary of 789 urged the directors of these schools to “take care to make no difference between the sons of serfs and of freemen, so that they might come and sit on the same benches to study grammar, music, and arithmetic.”A capitulary of 805 provided for medical education, and another condemned medical superstitions. That his appeals were not fruitless appears from the many cathedral or monastic schools that now sprang up in France and western Germany. Theodulf, Bishop of Orleans, organized schools in every parish of his diocese, welcomed all children to them, and forbade the priest instructors to take any fees; this is the first instance in history of free and general education. Important schools, nearly all attached to monasteries, rose in the ninth century at Tours, Auxerre, Pavia, St. Gall, Fulda, Ghent, and elsewhere.

To meet the demand for teachers Charlemagne imported scholars from Ireland, Britain, and Italy. Out of these schools were to come the universities of Europe. We must not overestimate the intellectual quality of the age; this scholastic resurrection was the awakening of children rather than the maturity of such cultures as then existed in Constantinople, Baghdad, and Cordova. It did not produce any great writers. The formal compositions of Alcuin are stiflingly dull; only his letters and occasional verses show him as no pompous pedant but a kindly soul who could reconcile happiness with piety. Many men wrote poetry in this short-lived renaissance, and the poems of Theodulf are pleasant enough in their minor way. But the only lasting composition of that Gallic age was the brief and simple biography of Charlemagne by Eginhard. It follows the plan of Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars, and even snatches passages therefrom to apply to Charlemagne; but all is forgiven to an author who modestly describes himself as “a barbarian, very little versed in the Roman tongue.”

He must have been a man of talent nevertheless, for Charlemagne made him royal steward and treasurer and intimate friend, and chose him to supervise, perhaps to design, much of the architecture of this creative reign. Palaces were built for the Emperor at Ingelheim and Nijmegen; and at Aachen, his favorite capital, he raised the famous palace and chapel that survived a thousand dangers to crumble under the shells and bombs of the Second World War. The unknown architects modeled its plan on the church of San Vitale at Ravenna, which owed its form to Byzantine and Syrian exemplars; the result was an Oriental cathedral stranded in the West. The octagonal structure was surmounted by a circular dome; the interior was divided by a circular two-storied colonnade, and was “adorned with gold and silver and lamps, railings and doors of solid bronze, columns and crucibles brought from Rome and Ravenna,” and a famous mosaic in the dome.

Charlemagne was profusely generous to the Church; at the same time he made himself her master, and used her doctrines and personnel as instruments of education and government. Much of his correspondence was about religion; he hurled scriptural quotations at corrupt officials or worldly clerics; and the intensity of his utterance forbids suspicion that his piety was a political pose. He sent money to distressed Christians in foreign lands, and in his negotiations with Moslem rulers he insisted on fair treatment of their Christian population.

Bishops played a leading part in his councils, assemblies, and administration; but he looked upon them, however reverently, as his agents under God; and he did not hesitate to command them, even in matters of doctrine or morals. He denounced image worship while the popes were defending it; required from every priest a written description of how baptism was administered in his parish, sent the popes directives as numerous as his gifts, suppressed insubordination in monasteries, and ordered a strict watch on convents to prevent “whoring, drunkenness, and covetousness” among the nuns.

In a capitulary of 811 he asked the clergy what they meant by professing to renounce the world, when “we see some of them laboring day by day, by all sorts of means, to augment their possessions; now making use, for this purpose, of menaces of eternal flames, now of promises of eternal beatitude; despoiling simple-minded people of their property in the name of God or some saint, to the infinite prejudice of their lawful heirs.” Nevertheless he allowed the clergy their own courts, decreed that a tithe or tenth of all produce of the land should be turned over to the Church, gave the clergy control of marriages and wills, and himself bequeathed two thirds of his estates to the bishoprics of his realm. But he required the bishops now and then to make substantial “gifts”to help meet the expenses of the government. Out of this intimate co-operation of Church and state came one of the most brilliant ideas in the history of statesmanship: the transformation of Charlemagne’s realm into a Holy Roman Empire that should have behind it all the prestige, sanctity, and stability of both Imperial and papal Rome. The popes had long resented their territorial subordination to a Byzantium that gave them no protection and no security; they saw the increasing subjection of the patriarch to the emperor at Constantinople, and feared for their own freedom. We do not know who conceived or arranged the plan of a papal coronation of Charlemagne as Roman emperor; Alcuin, Theodulf, and others close to him had discussed its possibility; perhaps the initiative lay with them, perhaps with the councilors of the popes.

There were great difficulties in the way: the Greek monarch already had the title of Roman emperor, and full historic right to that title; the Church had no recognized authority to convey or transfer the title; to give it to a rival of Byzantium might precipitate a gigantic war of Christian East against Christian West, leaving a ruined Europe to a conquering Islam. It was of some help that Irene had seized the Greek throne (797); now, some said, there was no Greek emperor, and the field was open to any claimant. If the bold scheme could be carried through there would again be a Roman emperor in the West, Latin Christianity would stand strong and unified against schismatic Byzantium and threatening Saracens, and, by the awe and magic of the imperial name, barbarized Europe might reach back across centuries of darkness, and inherit and Christianize the civilization and culture of the ancient world. On December 26, 795, Leo III was chosen Pope. The Roman populace did not like him; it accused him of various misdeeds; and on April 25, 799, it attacked him, maltreated him, and imprisoned him in a monastery. He escaped, and fled for protection to Charlemagne at Paderborn. The King received him kindly, and sent him back to Rome under armed escort, and ordered the Pope and his accusers to appear before him there in the following year. On November 24, 800, Charlemagne entered the ancient capital in state; on December 1 an assembly of Franks and Romans agreed to drop the charges against Leo if he would deny them on solemn oath; he did; and the way was cleared for a magnificent celebration of the Nativity. On Christmas Day, as Charlemagne, in the chlamys and sandals of a patricius Romanus, knelt before St. Peter’s altar in prayer, Leo suddenly produced a jeweled crown, and set it upon the King’s head.

The congregation, perhaps instructed beforehand to act according to ancient ritual as the senatus populusque Romanus confirming a coronation, thrice cried out: “Hail to Charles the Augustus, crowned by God the great and peace-bringing Emperor of the Romans!” The royal head was anointed with holy oil, the Pope saluted Charlemagne as Emperor and Augustus, and offered him the act of homage reserved since 476 for the Eastern emperor. If we may believe Eginhard, Charlemagne told him that had he known Leo’s intention to crown him he would not have entered the church. Perhaps he had learned of the general plan, but regretted the haste and circumstances of its execution; it may not have pleased him to receive the crown from a pope, opening the door to centuries of dispute as to the relative dignity and power of donor and recipient; and presumably he anticipated difficulties with Byzantium.

He now sent frequent embassies and letters to Constantinople, seeking to heal the breach; and for a long time he made no use of his new title. In 802 he offered marriage to Irene as a means of mutually legitimizing their dubious titles; but Irene’s fall from power shattered this elegant plan. To discourage any martial attack by Byzantium he arranged an entente with Harun al-Rashid, who sealed their understanding by sending him some elephants and the keys to the Christian holy places in Jerusalem. The Eastern emperor, in retaliation, encouraged the emirof Cordova to renounce allegiance to Baghdad. Finally, in 812, the Greek basileus recognized Charlemagne as coemperor, in return for Charlemagne’s acknowledgment of Venice and southern Italy as belonging to Byzantium. The coronation had results for a thousand years. It strengthened the papacy and the bishops by making civil authority derive from ecclesiastical conferment; Gregory VII and Innocent III would build a mightier Church on the events of 800 in Rome. It strengthened Charlemagne against baronial and other disaffection by making him a very vicar of God; it vastly advanced the theory of the divine right of kings. It contributed to the schism of Greek from Latin Christianity; the Greek Church did not relish subordination to a Roman Church allied with an empire rival to Byzantium. The fact that Charlemagne (as the Pope desired) continued to make Aachen, not Rome, his capital, underlined the passage of political power from the Mediterranean to northern Europe, from the Latin peoples to the Teutons. Above all, the coronation established the Holy Roman Empire in fact, though not in theory.

Charlemagne and his advisers conceived of his new authority as a revival of the old imperial power; only with Otto I was the distinctively new character of the regime recognized; and it became “holy” only when Frederick Barbarossa introduced the word sacrum into his title in 1155. All in all, despite its threat to the liberty of the mind and the citizen, the Holy Roman Empire was a noble conception, a dream of security and peace, order and civilization restored in a world heroically won from barbarism, violence, and ignorance. Imperial formalities now hedged in the Emperor on occasions of state.

Then he had to wear embroidered robes, a golden buckle, jeweled shoes, and a crown of gold and gems, and visitors prostrated themselves to kiss his foot or knee; so much had Charlemagne learned from Byzantium, and Byzantium from Ctesiphon. But in other days, Eginhard assures us, his dress varied little from the common garb of the Franks- linen shirt and breeches next to the skin, and over these a woolen tunic perhaps fringed with silk; hose fastened by bands covered his legs, leather shoes his feet; in winter he added a close-fitting coat of otter or marten skins; and always a sword at his side. He was six feet four inches tall, and built to scale. He had blond hair, animated eyes, a powerful nose, a mustache but no beard, a presence “always stately and dignified.” He was temperate in eating and drinking, abominated drunkenness, and kept in good health despite every exposure and hardship. He often hunted, or took vigorous exercise on horseback. He was a good swimmer, and liked to bathe in the warm springs of Aachen. He rarely entertained, preferring to hear music or the reading of a book while he ate.

Like every great man he valued time; he gave audiences and heard cases in the morning while dressing and putting on his shoes. Behind his poise and majesty were passion and energy, but harnessed to his aims by a clairvoyant intelligence. His vital force was not consumed by half a hundred campaigns; he gave himself also, with never aging enthusiasm, to science, law, literature, and theology; he fretted at leaving any part of the earth, or any section of knowledge, unmastered or unexplored. In some ways he was mentally ingenuous; he scorned superstition and proscribed diviners and soothsayers, but he accepted many mythical marvels, and exaggerated the power of legislation to induce goodness or intelligence. This simplicity of soul had its fair side: there was in his thought and speech a directness and honesty seldom permitted to statesmanship. He could be ruthless when policy required, and was especially cruel in his efforts to spread Christianity. Yet he was a man of great kindness, many charities, warm friendships, and varied loves. He wept at the death of his sons, his daughter, and Pope Hadrian. In a poem Ad Carolum regem Theodulf draws a pleasant picture of the Emperor at home. On his arrival from labors his children gather about him; son Charles takes off the father’s cloak, son Louis his sword; his six daughters embrace him, bring him bread, wine, apples, flowers; the bishop comes in to bless the King’s food; Alcuin is near to discuss letters with him; the diminutive Eginhard runs to and fro like an ant, bringing in enormous books.

He was so fond of his daughters that he dissuaded them from marriage, saying that he could not bear to be without them. They consoled themselves with unlicensed amours, and bore several illegitimate children. Charlemagne accepted these accidents with good humor, since he himself, following the custom of his predecessors, had four successive wives and five mistresses or concubines. His abounding vitality made him extremely sensitive to feminine charms; and his women preferred a share in him to the monopoly of any other man. His harem bore him some eighteen children, of whom eight were legitimate.

The ecclesiastics of the court and of Rome winked leniently at the Moslem morals of so Christian a king. He was now head of an empire far greater than the Byzantine, surpassed, in the white man’s world, only by the realm of the Abbasid caliphate. But every extended frontier of empire or knowledge opens up new problems. Western Europe had tried to protect itself from the Germans by taking them into its civilization; but now Germany had to be protected against the Norse and the Slavs. The Vikings had by 800 established a kingdom in Jutland, and were raiding the Frisian coast. Charles hastened up from Rome, built fleets and forts on shores and rivers, and stationed garrisons at danger points. In 810 the king of Jutland invaded Frisia and was repulsed; but shortly thereafter, if we may follow the chronicle of the Monk of St. Gall, Charlemagne, from his palace at Narbonne, was shocked to see Danish pirate vessels in the Gulf of Lyons. Perhaps because he foresaw, like Diocletian, that his overreaching empire needed quick defense at many points at once, he divided it in 806among his three sons- Pepin, Louis, and Charles. But Pepin died in 810, Charles in 811; only Louis remained, so absorbed in piety as to seem unfit to govern a rough and treacherous world. Nevertheless, in 813, at a solemn ceremony, Louis was elevated from the rank of king to that of emperor, and the old monarch uttered his nunc dimittis: “Blessed be Thou, O Lord God, Who hast granted me the grace to see with my own eyes my son seated on my throne!”

Four months later, wintering at Aachen, he was seized with a high fever, and developed pleurisy. He tried to cure himself by taking only liquids; but after an illness of seven days he died, in the forty-seventh year of his reign and the seventy-second year of his life (814). He was buried under the dome of the cathedral at Aachen, dressed in his imperial robes. Soon all the world called him Carolus Magnus, Karl der Grosse, Charlemagne; and in 1165, when time had washed away all memory of his mistresses, the Church which he had served so well enrolled him among the blessed.

Dieu le Roy
de Brantigny

STORY OF CIVILIZATION, Will Durant 1950

Degeneracy

The Irish Tory speaks about the over regulation of our lives through an over minding legislature. His article refers to Britain, but it is the same in the United States...

Imagine how it would have been if adults always felt able to discipline wayward children in the street, if local policemen had existed at all and felt free to wallop miscreants.

Imagine if the place was full of experienced mothers, whose main task was to raise children, and hard-working fathers with real jobs.

Imagine disciplined children in orderly schools. Imagine pubs governed by strict opening hours.


...Both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ are frauds, they are the same controlled people, parroting the same clichés and debating the same ‘within limits’ subjects that they believe are safe to ‘debate’, just so us saps will think there is freedom in our countries, after all, we have parliamentary debates and disagreements! Yes, the acting is great! see more...


Well done and so true. Governments around the world have decided that the populace is too dumb to think for themselves, so therefore it is necessary to police people who do not care to be policed. Hubris should be a crime.

Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

Babies 'cry in mother's tongue'

The BBC

Babies' cries imitate their mother tongue as early as three days old
German researchers say babies begin to pick up the nuances of their parents' accents while still in the womb.

The researchers studied the cries of 60 healthy babies born to families speaking French and German.

The French newborns cried with a rising "accent" while the German babies' cries had a falling inflection.

Writing in the journal Current Biology, they say the babies are probably trying to form a bond with their mothers by imitating them.

The findings suggest that unborn babies are influenced by the sound of the first language that penetrates the womb.

Cry melodies

It was already known that foetuses could memorise sounds from the outside world in the last three months of pregnancy and were particularly sensitive to the contour of the melody in both music and human voices.

Earlier studies had shown that infants could match vowel sounds presented to them by adult speakers, but only from 12 weeks of age.

Kathleen Wermke from the University of Wurzburg, who led the research, said: "The dramatic finding of this study is that not only are human neonates capable of producing different cry melodies, but they prefer to produce those melody patterns that are typical for the ambient language they have heard during their foetal life.


Newborns are highly motivated to imitate their mother's behaviour in order to attract her and hence to foster bonding

Dr Wermke's team recorded and analysed the cries of 60 healthy newborns when they were three to five days old.

Their analysis revealed clear differences in the shape of the infants' cry melodies that corresponded to their mother tongue.

They say the babies need only well-co-ordinated respiratory-laryngeal systems to imitate melody contours and not the vocal control that develops later.

Dr Wermke said: "Newborns are highly motivated to imitate their mother's behaviour in order to attract her and hence to foster bonding.

"Because melody contour may be the only aspect of their mother's speech that newborns are able to imitate, this might explain why we found melody contour imitation at that early age."

Debbie Mills, a reader in developmental cognitive neuroscience at Bangor University, said: "This is really interesting because it suggests that they are producing sounds they have heard in the womb and that means learning and that it is not an innate behaviour.

"Many of the early infant behaviours are almost like reflexes that go away after the first month and then come back later in a different form.

"It would be interesting to look at these babies after a month and see if their ability to follow the melodic contours of their language is still there."


God is so awesome!

An example of the difference in a German baby and a French baby may be found here...

Dieu le Roy!,
Brantigny
Baby Audrey can imitate Ah-goo which makes her smile and laugh.

26.1.10

Venerable Mary Ward (1585-1645)

Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit redirected me to this...

Westminster celebration for Venerable Mary Ward

Archbishop Vincent Nichols today, 23 January 2010, conducted a celebratory Mass in Westminster Cathedral in honour of Englishwoman Mary Ward and the 400th Jubilee of the foundation of the Congregation of Jesus and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters).

Mary Ward was a Yorkshire woman who, at a time of severe repression of Roman Catholics in England, felt called by God to found a congregation of religious sisters on the model of the Jesuits (Society of Jesus).

Her vision was for a non-enclosed order of religious sisters who might serve their faith actively as educators and missionaries across Europe, set free from the restrictions of monastic enclosure.

In an era when women were considered intellectually and morally incapable of doing good for themselves, Mary soon came into conflict with the Papal authorities.

Having founded a community of sisters in St Omer in Flanders in 1609, Mary was initially allowed to open schools across Europe without restriction and continued to secretly assist persecuted Catholics in Protestant England.

Her order of ‘English Ladies’ considered itself directly answerable to the Pope without other intervening male authority.

But when Mary travelled to Rome to seek Papal recognition for her congregation of so-called ‘Jesuitesses’, Pope Urban VIII ruled against her refusal of enclosure and imprisoned her as a heretic.

Despite centuries of struggle in a Church and a world unprepared for Mary Ward’s pioneering vision, her sisters today are fulfilling her dream of apostolic service and opportunities for women all over the world.

The cause for Mary Ward’s canonisation was opened in 1929. The historical research was accepted by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in 1995. Theologians completed their investigations in 2009 and recommended unanimously that her cause should go forward.

Mary Ward’s foundation exists today worldwide under the names Congregation of Jesus and Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters) with around 3,000 members.

The sisters are active in 44 countries across five continents.

A documentary on Mary Ward was launched in Dublin on Thursday by Sr Marian Moriarty, IBVM, General Superior of the Loreto Sisters.

‘Mary Ward – Dangerous Visionary’ tells the story of this 17th century religious and educational pioneer through re-enactments of seminal moments in her life and this is interspersed with historical commentary.

The documentary crew also filmed in South Sudan and Canada where Mary Ward’s Sisters are working at the coalface today.


Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

Abortion and Black Genocide

The “Final Solution,” was a euphemism for murder that started in the summer of 1941 and was believed to answer the “Jewish Question” and create an end to the Jews. The euphemism used now to kill African American's is called "Choice".

Meet Margaret Sanger in her own words...
Now let's see how Planned Parenthood is doing the Klans job...

Remember what the man-made-god said about abortion in the movie you just watched. Ask yourself if he is looking out for the United States and African-American community?

Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

25.1.10

Aerial Phenomenon seen in Russia

This is from Sanctus Christopher Blog


I don't know...

Seems that Constantine saw something like this at the Malvian bridge, the story of which is being disputed as a sword, or Aurora Borealis. Still, God is the master. Who are we to say what tools he can use...

Diue Le Roy!
Brantigny

A prolife family

If ever I should think I do enough for the prolife movement I will remember Tara and Greg Brelinsky. This couple are actively engaged the Kingdom of God on Earth. Below is a picture of their family in Washington last week for the "March for Life."
Tara home schools the children while Greg works long hours.

The boys used to serve Mass at our parish. In fact when ever these guys were at Mass I* never had to worry if we would have enough servers.

Tara and Greg are also Natural Family Planning Instructors.

Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

*It is one of my ministries as the chairman of Christian formation...