Mdm Marie-Louise Martin-Driancourt

Aircraft like those flown in the early days of aviation are today considered ultra-lights and do not need a license, but in 1911, it was a dangerous business and more so for a woman to fly. I found this interesting.

Madame Marie-Louise Driancourt (nee Martin) was born in Lyon on 17 December
1887, she died on 6 November 1914.

She obtained her pilot's licence in 1911, at Caudron brothers piloting school in RUE on the coast near Le Touquet in the north of France. Awarded certificate No.525, she was the fifth French woman to obtain a pilot's licence. Mme Driancourt took part in several air meets including at Juvisy, Troyes, Toulon and Rheims, between 1911 and the beginning of 1914. She also took part in the Paris-Madrid Air Race won by Jules Védrines on 26 May 1911. In March 1914 she suffered a very serious accident which would result in her death in November.

An earlier accident destroyed half her aeroplane, and grounded her for some time. The apparatus was rebuilt and she took up her flying activities again, until March 1914.

Unfortunately, there exists very few mementos of Marie Louise Driancourt, in fact, at that time, very few women dared to pilot a dangerous machine like an aeroplane. This was very badly perceived by the family of her late husband and the majority of her photographs and newspaper articles were destroyed.

de Brantigny

Anne-Lorraine Schmitt

It took me a while to find out why this young woman was on almost every French Royalist site I read. Her name is Anne-Lorraine Schmitt, she was a French journalism student. She had been discovered near death on the morning of Sunday, November 25, 2007, in the railroad station in Creil. She had been stabbed several times with a knife as she struggled to defend herself and her honour from the heinous intentions of a Turkish rapist. He had been convicted for rape previously. The previous crime happened on the same railway line in 1996. For that attack he was sentenced to five years in prison. He had used his weapon of choice in that attack as well, a knife.

May God allow Philippe Schmitt to persevere. May he protect you in your sorrow and sustain you in your hour of need.May He bring you comfort in the sure knowledge that Anne is in Heaven.

de Brantigny

On the Value of Not Voting

From the Contrarians'Review, by John Triolo, If this fellow isn't a Monarchist he has missed his calling.

On the Value of Not Voting-- By John F. Triolo

Every election year in America, several things happen. Candidates, all the while insisting that the people are tired of cynicism and negative campaigning, begin cynical attacks on the reputations of their opponents. Politicians make grand promises which they have no intention of keeping and, indeed, couldn’t even if they did. Finally, and most importantly for the purposes of this article, the people of this fine nation are subjected to endless, sanctimonious and sophistical calls to “be responsible,” “participate in democracy,” and “make a difference” by voting.

I do not intend to here to lay out the case against casting a vote in the upcoming elections. In truth, while there are objections that might be made to blindly voting in every election, there is nothing wrong with exercising one’s right to vote. It is a legitimate exercise of the political liberty which citizens of the United States are afforded under the Constitution. It is not against voting per se which I am arguing, but rather the irrational prejudice held by the partisans of liberal democracy against the choice to refuse to vote in a given election.

We all know the trite, standard-issue truisms that usually hold the place of objections to non-participation: “if you don’t vote, then don’t complain,” “its your civic duty,” “not voting for the candidate who shares more of your political views is like casting a vote for the candidate who doesn’t” and my personal favorite, “Don’t marginalize yourself, vote and change the system from within.” These objections all sound, on the surface, to be fairly reasonable. It is when one looks beyond the surface that he sees that it is not reason but platitudinous sentiment at their core.

“If you don’t vote, then don’t complain.” This means, I believe, that when one does not participate in an election by casting his vote he therefore has no right to complain about the subsequent policies of government officials selected in that race. I freely confess that I do not understand this argument in the least. Of course the people have a right to complain about the errant policies of those in authority, legitimate or otherwise, over them. The fact that a candidate won an election in which a given person did not vote does not absolve that candidate of any legal or moral responsibility to that person. If that conception of the duty of those in authority held water then so would the logical extension that a government official has no responsibility to those who voted for his opponent. After all, they declined to participate in his election by voting for him, what right do they have to complain about his policies? Certainly there is no place left by this argument for felons, children, resident aliens or, in the past, women. They don’t vote and so have no right however justly or intelligently, to complain about the actions of the officials who none-the-less govern in their name. More

Thanks and a Tip of the Beret to John at Contrarians' Review.

de Brantigny

The Conversion of America Through the Eucharist

This is an article from the Web Group Post Conciliar Catholicism and was posted by Robert Banaugh on 7 Mar. 2007

The Conversion of America Through the Eucharist by the late Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Does anyone doubt that America needs to be converted? When the Holy Father spoke to the youth in Denver in 1993, his urgent theme was to pray that America might not lose its soul. The soul of America is Christianity. Christianity is the principle of our national life. As our nation becomes increasingly de-christianized, it loses more and more of its source of vitality. Unless the moral disease is cured, America as the nation we still call the United States, will disappear.

But there is another, and deeper, meaning to America’s danger of losing its soul. Individuals lose their souls when they die estranged from God. There is such a thing as a second death which means everlasting separation from God in what Christ calls eternal punishment. This is the awful prospect awaiting not just single persons but whole societies, unless they repent and return to the God from whom they have strayed by their stubborn resistance to His will.

Sin-Laden America

It is remarkable what a dream world people can be living in. By all material standards, America is a prosperous country. In terms of financial wealth, the United States is the envy of the world. We are the best fed, most expensively clothed, most comfortably housed, most conveniently transported, most lavishly entertained large nation in human history.

But we are also a world leader in sin. I like St. Augustine’s definition. “Sin” he says, “is nothing else than to neglect eternal things and seek after temporal things.” In other words, the very appearance of our country in having access to so many satisfying creatures here on earth is a demonic seduction that lures people from the love of eternal things.

Where do we begin to describe the sinful state of our beloved country? A fair barometer for making an honest estimate is our media of social communications. What do they tell us in thousands of pages of print in the newspapers each day, in thousands of hours of radio and television time, seven days a week? What is the message? What else? Crime and money, sex and entertainment, sports and business—until the minds of millions of Americans are mesmerized to think of nothing else than what the media want the people to think.

I never tire quoting a single sentence statement of the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan. Says McLuhan, “The modern media of communication are engaged in a Luciferian conspiracy against the truth.” To which I answer, “Amen.”

What has been the effect of this Luciferian conspiracy? Inevitably it has led this country into such an ocean of sin that we have to go back to the worst ages of the pre-Christian Roman Empire to find anything so degraded. Murder is now legalized in the bestial dismemberment of unborn children in their mothers’ wombs.

Sodomy is widely publicized, and sodomists are engaging in a network of sex education programs aimed at destroying every vestige of chastity among the young. Contraception has developed into an exact science and adultery has become a fine art.

But the worst form of sin in America is not manifest in the crimes of lust and lechery. It is especially in the widespread neglect of prayer and the worship of God. A standard book of questions has statements like this:

“God give me strength not to trust in God.”
“All the errors and incompetencies of the Creator reach their climax in man.”
“We must be greater than God for we have to undo His injustice.”

Given these statements expressed in books and monographs in our schools today, is it any wonder there is such indifference to God and His glory? Blasphemies are quoted at pleasure, but prayer in public schools is forbidden by law.

Christ the Miracle Worker in the Eucharist

As Catholics, we believe that when God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, He lived visibly on earth for only some thirty-three years.

He took on our human nature so that He might have a body and a soul that could be separated by death and that He might have a human free will to offer Himself willingly on the cross for our salvation.

But that was not all. The night before He died, He instituted a marvelous way of remaining with us, in the fullness of His humanity until the end of time.

In the Eucharist is the same identical Jesus who was carried by Mary for nine months in her womb before she delivered Him in Bethlehem. It is the selfsame Jesus who died on the cross, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.

Why is Christ here on earth in the Eucharist, in the fullness of His humanity and divinity? He is here because He wants to continue doing now in America what He had done in Palestine nineteen centuries ago.

What does He want to do? He wants to exercise His almighty power by working miracles now, in our country, as He had performed in Judea at the dawn of Christianity.

What kind of miracles do the evangelists record of the Savior in His day?

There were physical miracles like healing the sick and the blind and even raising the dead back to life.

There were intellectual miracles like enlightening Elizabeth to recognize Mary as the Mother of God at the Visitation.

There were moral miracles, as when Christ converted the Samaritan woman at the well; and converted the repentant thief who was crucified with Christ on Calvary.

A moral miracle is an effect produced by God which exceeds all the native powers of the human will. The will remains free but God exercises such influence over it as enables a man to perform humanly impossible wonders of moral virtue.

Once-Christian countries like our own cannot be converted by what may be called ordinary divine grace. Only a miraculous outpouring of God’s mercy can bring so many millions estranged from Him, back to their spiritual senses and restore them to friendship with their Creator.

That is why Jesus Christ, the Savior, living in our midst in the Blessed Sacrament is the Hope on whom we must rely.

He knows, how well He knows, the ravages of sin that have penetrated our culture. Who ever speaks of sin anymore?

On his first pilgrimage to the United States, the Holy Father pleaded with the bishops to “emphasize Christ’s call to conversion.” After all, that is why He became man, to bring sinners back into friendship with God.

But no ordinary power can convert a country that in its highest judiciary and executive powers has elevated sin to the dignity of a national virtue. Nothing less than the power of the Almighty must be obtained to move the mountains of stubborn pride and lust and cruelty and deceit that have come to characterize the American culture in our day.

Where else can we obtain this elusive power to change criminals into humble servants of God? Where else, but where divine omnipotence is available to those who believe what Jesus told us two thousand years ago.

Amen, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it shall move, and nothing shall be impossible to you (Matthew 17:19).

This is the key to unlocking the infinite power of God. Faith! Faith in what? Faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ now on earth in the Holy Eucharist.

Why Prayer Before the Blessed Sacrament Is So Powerful

All that we have said so far was a prelude to my principal message to you in this conference. What is the message? That the single greatest need in the world today is the practice of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

How can we say this? Logically! We have seen that the conversion of our country calls for an outpouring of marvelous power from God. Christ promised to move mountains at the words of a person who believes. We conclude: there is no greater profession of faith than during prayer before the Holy Eucharist.

Why should prayer before Christ in the Eucharist be so potent in obtaining miracles of conversion? Because it is prayer that is animated by extraordinary faith.

Faith in the Incarnation. The most basic reason why prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is so meritorious is because it is prayer rising from faith in the cardinal mystery of Christianity, which is faith in the Incarnation!

When we pray before the Eucharist, we profess to believe that God took on human flesh and blood from His Virgin Mother. We profess to believe that the infinite Creator of heaven and earth humbled Himself to become a speechless Child. We profess to believe that whenever Christ spoke in human words, it was God Himself, in human form, who preached the Sermon on the Mount. We profess to believe that when Christ wept over unrepentant Jerusalem, it was God shedding human tears. We believe that when Christ bled to death on the First Good Friday, it was God shedding human blood so that we might be spared the fires of hell.

All of this we believe, as we pray before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar or reserved in the tabernacle.

Faith in the Real Presence. Another reason why prayer before the Holy Eucharist is so effective is that we thus profess our faith in Christ’s abiding presence in our midst.

Remember what happened in Palestine when Jesus foretold His institution of the Eucharist; that He would give His own body to eat and blood to drink? Many of His own disciples left Him. “This is intolerable language,” they bitterly complained, and walked away.

There is some Latin that every self-respecting Catholic should know. Like the words of St. Thomas in his famous hymn, “Tantum Ergo.” Says Thomas, “Praestet fides supplementum sensuum defectui” (Let faith supply for the defect of the senses).

What we see looks like bread, but faith tells us that it is really a Man, the Man Jesus Christ who is the Living God in human flesh and blood.

Grace Channeled Through Humanity of Christ. There is one more reason why prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is so effective in converting sinners. It is because such prayer professes faith in Christ’s humanity as the channel of all grace to the human race.

What are we saying? We are saying that such prayer is an unspoken expression of faith in the mystery of God’s communication of grace.

All grace comes from God to us. But all grace comes from God through the humanity of Jesus Christ.

All through His visible ministry on earth, Jesus conferred His blessings as God. But He did so through His humanity as Man.

He spoke with human lips.
He touched with human hands.
He told the wind to be quiet and dead persons to rise from the grave—by using His human voice.

He assured the repentant thief on the cross that paradise would be his that very day—all this Jesus said in human words.
Recall the episode in the Gospel of St. Mark. A woman had been hemorrhaging for a dozen years and no doctor was helping her. She decided, “If only I could touch the hem of His garments, I will be cured.” So she pushed her way through the crowd, and managed to touch His clothes. She was cured at that moment. “Immediately,” St. Mark says, “Christ was aware that power had gone out from Him. So He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” When the frightened woman admitted what she had done, the Savior praised her. “My daughter,” He said, “your faith has restored you to health.”

All through the Gospels, the humanity of Christ was the instrument of great power that went out from Him to work signs and wonders never before witnessed on earth. But these signs and wonders were controversial. The condition was that Christ’s contemporaries had to believe.

The same holds true in our day. There is no miracle too great, and no miracle is greater than the conversion of sinners—provided we believe.

That is why we can say and say with complete security; the single most powerful means on earth for the conversion of America is for Catholic Americans to mobilize a crusade of prayer before the Eucharist for the conversion of our nation

Thanks and a Tip of the Beret to Robert Banaugh.

de Brantigny


Baptême de Clovis

Laudem gloriae has an article on the Baptism of Clovis. It is always good to rememder how this came about. My article writen to commerate his death is here.

Clovis was the first king to unite all the Frankish kingdoms under one rule. Three years after marrying the pious Clotilda, he rejected the Arianism of his Frankish forebears to embrace the Catholic faith.

After Clotilda convinced her husband to allow their son to be baptized, she encouraged the same of him. It was only during the battle of Tolbiac, during which he invoked God’s help and promised to become a Christian if his troops were granted victory—which they were—that Clovis agreed to baptism. Thus was born the great kingdom of France and its first Christian king.

On Christmas Day, 496, surrounded by great pomp, St. Remigius, bishop of Reims, baptized the king: Bow thy head, O Sicambrian; adore what thou hast burned and burn what thou hast adored. Clovis’s sister and 3,000 soldiers also embraced Christ. More

Thanks and a tip of the beret to Christine at Laudem gloriae.

de Brantigny


New Style

I changed the blog outlook to this new one because I couldn't rectify a problem with my bars. I hope you like it. There is always a work-around.

de Brantigny


The soldier in the Hundred Years War

Since the beginning of warfare there have been standing armies. In each time there have been different way for a king to be supplied with troops and arms. I will discuss two, namely England and France.

The formation of the Medieval French Army

The system by which armies were formed in France was feudal. in other words the King bestowed a 'benefice', (lands, castle and rents) on his vassal. The vassal was then obligated to provide some sort of service to the lord. This system worked very well during the Caroligian dynasty. It had the advantage of attaching to the King by close personal bonds a devoted following. Unfortunately it had a disadvantage in that it also allowed a subordinate vassal to stand between him and his soldiers. Thes soldiers were also vassals of this subordinate lord and in every practical way they owed allegiance to that lord and not to the King.

Capetians appealed both to their own vassals of the royal domain and to the feudatory lords of the crown and their vassals to obtain any needed troops. From both these sources they could only expect limited support. The fact was that the 'benefice', which could be withdrawn and which implied an unconditional military obligation, had been replaced by the hereditary 'fief', to which only an intermittent military obligation, (fixed at an average of forty days in the year) was attached.

Because these were not a military force worthy of the name the king relied on a new option, mercenary troops. From the twelfth century, whether among the king's knights, of more or less noble descent, or among his "sergeants" on foot or on horseback, or among the light-armed troops, cross-bowmen or archers, professional soldiers are numerous in the armies of the Capets. A bad side effect of this new mercenary force was, while mercenaries fight well when being paid they often turned to pillaging villages when they were out of work. They were called 'routiers'.

Importance has sometimes been attached to the part played in the king's army during this period, particularly under Philip Augustus, by the militia of the non-noble villages of the royal domain. These villages were required to rise in a mass and come to the king's help on proclamation of the levy of vassals and sub-vassals. But the king was not inclined to resort to this extreme measure, which might offer more drawbacks than advantages, and he declared himself satisfied on receiving from the communities contingents of men-at-arms recruited and equipped by them or, instead, the money required to raise and pay them. thus it was by this double principle, that military service was owed to the king or that exemption from it could be obtained for money, that the French kings succeeded in creating a standing army and a royal system of taxation at one and the same time. Farms must be farmed, crops must be reaped and the collection of rents must be paid.

In 1302 a great need of troops arose from the rebellion in Flanders. This is how Philip the Fair (IV) met it. He first called up for a period of four months all commoners possessing a stated minimum of wealth, either in goods or property. Next, at the close of 1303, in view of the next year's campaign, a fresh summons was issued, by which commoners of the domain and of the kingdom had to serve either in person or in the proportion of so many men per group of householders. This was appealed against, and the king moderated his demands, allowing, in particular, the townships and villages of the domain to pay for exemptions at the rate of two sous a day per man. These exemptions proved numerous and the money which they brought in was used for the enrolment, at half a sou a day per man, of infantry from Dauphiné and the South of France and of cross-bowmen from Italy. The army so constituted and numbering 60,000 infantry won the battle of Mons-en-Pévèle.

To make the army a reliable (read loyal) instrument of warfare the king's army still needed organisation by statute. This was to come, under the stress of necessity, in the Hundred Years' War. In 1351 under John the Good, by an ordinance which determined the organisation of all troops, infantry were to be formed into connétablies of twenty-five to thirty men. Their equipment and pay were fixed.

They consisted first of all in permanently establishing in the king's army a preponderance of mercenary bands. The king scarcely made any further attempts to enroll men-at-arms individually. Rather, extending a practice which appeared as early as the thirteenth century, he relied on 'routiers', leaders of mercenary bands, for the hire of their troops to him. He had, indeed, no choice in the matter, for the state of war had become almost permanent since the middle of the fourteenth century and greatly increased the number of the mercenary companies, which were joined by all whom thoughts of battle and plunder attracted. They were with difficulty brought under control.


The Knights armor has been covered in a a previous article, here

so I will briefly describe his arms.

First was the sword.

The sword was a standard fighting weapon long before the evolution of the medieval knight. Nevertheless, the medieval knight found the sword to be an effective weapon. Medieval swords usually were made from a mild steel (low carbon steel). Most swords were double-edged, and featured a crossguard, hilt, and pommel. Many surviving examples of medieval swords feature some form of engraving, such as a prayer, or the sword owner's name. How elaborate the sword was decorated depended upon its owner's wealth, with some of the more intricate ones encrusted with jewels and fine engravings.

Vivaldi - Cecilia Bartoli

Ceclia Bartoli and Vivaldi, It just doesn't get better.

Happy Birthday Father Antonio!
4 March 1678

de Brantigny


The Hollywood elite must have tired to portraying ever Catholic Priests as a paedophile. So they have come out with a new twist, lets see how many "historical" priests we can trash in the movies. Gone are the days when Bing Crosby made memorable films such as "Going my Way", and "The Bells of St Mary's" of John Wayne's film "The Quiet Man". we are presented with their latest spectacular, "The Red Priest". No I ma not talking about a commie, I speak of Fr Antonio Vivaldi, 1678 - 1741. I reprint an article from the London Times, "The Red priest Unfrocked". I reprint it in full, except the picture at the header.

To me I think this is just a matter of projection. The Hollywood types have no self control so they naturally believe that good Catholics have none either. I believe also that salacious films are just a way for them to expose them selves on film. In that way they can say they are "serious" actors and actresses and not porn stars. The porn stars know they are sinning, the "serious" actors and actresses have rationalized their sin away all in the name of freedom. I ever tire of being told by politicians, actors, sports figures, and rock stars how I need to believe. What condescension. What hubris.

de Brantigny


The Red Priest Unfrocked
Amanda Holloway

First they did it to Mozart, then it was Beethoven’s turn. The Baroque genius Antonio Vivaldi is the latest composer to receive more attention for his sex life than his music. Known mainly for The Four Seasonsand the Gloria, Vivaldi is now the inspiration for a movie and a rash of lurid novels based on (highly speculative) versions of his life. In addition, an all-women choir that tries to reproduce the sound of Vivaldi’s original choristers will give concerts in London and Bristol next week.

Vivaldi’s Virgins, by Barbara Quick, paints the composer as “tarnished with scandal”, while Hidden Harmonies: the Secret Life of Antonio Vivaldi, by André Romijn, offers an insight into the personal life of the “priest, lover, composer”. Now a Hollywood biopic is in the pipeline, with Joseph Fiennes as Vivaldi and Gérard Depardieu and Jacqueline Bissett as co-stars. One paper heralded the film as “Vivaldi, the sex-obsessed rock star”, giving some idea of the tone of this likely bonkbuster.

Trying to hold back this tide of hype is a lone English researcher, Micky White. She was a Wimbledon photographer when she came across a biography of Vivaldi and immediately fell for his eccentric charm. “He was just like John McEnroe – an unconventional genius.” White moved to Venice and devoted herself to translating the 18th-century record-books of the Pietà, where Vivaldi had been employed for nearly 40 years. She intends to produce a definitive biography next year.

It makes a much better story to suggest that “the red priest”, a flame-haired musical genius living in the licentious city-state of Venice, must have been sleeping with his female pupils. But White insists that there’s no evidence to show that Vivaldi, who lived with his parents, had sex with anyone. It’s true that he worked with teenage girls – between 1703 and 1740 he taught the violin and conducted the choir and orchestra at the Ospedale della Pietà, a foundation for illegitimate children. These unwanted babies, shoved like parcels through a hatch in the wall of the Pietà, were brought up at the city’s expense. The most musical girls were groomed for the elite Figlie del Choro, who performed the daily services in the church.

Vivaldi’s name has been linked to two women outside the Pietà, his personal assistant at the Venice Opera, Paulina Tessiere, and her half-sister or possibly daughter, Anna Giró, who was one of his singing pupils at the opera. Although there’s much speculation about his fondness for Anna, White says it’s ludicrous to suggest that anything improper took place between a priest and a girl 32 years his junior. “He would have been called a paedophile and thrown out of Venice. And he’d never have been able to continue teaching at the Pietà for 38 years.”

“Vivaldi was very respectful of the women at the Pietà,” White continues, “and they respected him. That’s why the music worked so well, because he wrote it with these girls in mind.” From the names on the scores we can tell which virtuoso arias were written for Appolonia dal Sopran, who had a spectacular voice and fiery temper (records show she was punished for punching someone in the face). There was also Cecilia dal Contralto, Paulina dal Tenor and Anna dal Basso.

Based on White’s findings, Richard Vendome, an Oxford musicologist, started a project to reproduce the sound of Vivaldi’s choir for the first time in 250 years, with women singing tenor and bass lines at pitch. Vendome’s choir and orchestra, known as Schola Pietatis Antonio Vivaldi (SPAV), also reflects the age range of the original musicians, with women from 14 to 60 plus. Where Vivaldi had Anna dal Basso, Vendome has a retired civil servant called Margaret Jackson-Roberts, along with three others. Their low notes are impressive – accurate, but with a much softer timbre than male basses. Next week, as part of the Southbank’s Luigi Nono festival, Fragments of Venice, Schola Pietatis join the OAE to recreate a Pietà concert in London, at St John’s Smith Square.

Attending Mass in the Pietà church was one of the highlights of the 18th-century Grand Tour. What was it like to be in the congregation when Vivaldi’s foundling choir was singing? Up in the choir lofts the girls were hidden from curious eyes by a metal grille. The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau describes what happened when he finally wangled an introduction: “M. le Blond introduced me to one after another of those famous singers whose voices and names were all that were known to me. ‘Come, Sophie,’ – she was horrible. ‘Come, Cattina,’ – she was blind in one eye. ‘Come, Bettina,’ – the smallpox had disfigured her. Scarcely one was without some considerable blemish . . . I was desolate.” However, by the end of the meal he was won over by their charm. “My way of looking at them changed so much that I left nearly in love with all these ugly girls.”


Hundred Years War Background part 2

In my last installment we left at the end of the Capitian Dynasty with the death of Charles IV.

With the death of Charles IV the French throne was left in turmoil. Living in England, Charles IV's sister Isabella, the widow of Edward II, was at the time effectively in control of the English crown in the name of her son. Edward III, being the nephew of Charles IV, was his closest living male relative, and was at that time the only surviving male descendant of the senior line of the Capetian dynasty descending through Philip VI. By the English interpretation of feudal law, this made Edward III the legitimate heir to the throne of France.

The French nobles, however, would not have a foreign king as their sovereign especially one who was the King of England. Basing their interpretation feudal law on the ancient Salic Law, royal inheritance could not pass to a woman or through a woman to her offspring. Therefore, the next male of the Capetian dynasty after Charles IV, Philip of Valois, the regent after Charles IV's death, was the legitimate heir of the French crown, and was allowed to take the throne after Charles' widow who was with child gave birth to a daughter. He was crowned as Philip VI. He was the first of the House of Valois.

After Philip's accession to the throne, the English were still in control of the region of Gascony. Gascony was a supplier of salt from the sea and wine. It was a separate fief, held of the French crown, rather than a territory of England. The homage done for its possession was a bone of contention between the two kings. Philip VI demanded Edward's recognition as sovereign; Edward wanted the return of further lands lost by his father. A "homage" in 1329 pleased neither side; but in 1331, facing serious problems with the Scots, Edward accepted Philip as King of France. Edward III gives up his claim to the French throne. In effect, England will keep Gascony, in return for Edward giving up his claims to be the rightful king of France.

In 1333, Edward III went to war with David II of Scotland, a French ally under the Auld Alliance, and began the Second War of Scottish Independence. Philip saw the opportunity to reclaim Gascony while England's attention was concentrated northwards. However, the war was, initially at least, a quick success for England, and David was forced to flee to France after being defeated by King Edward and Edward Balliol at the Battle of Halidon Hill in July. In 1336, Philip VI made plans for an expedition to restore David to the Scottish throne, and to also seize Gascony.

The Hundred Years War begins.

Open hostilities broke out as French ships began scouting coastal settlements on the English Channel and in 1337 Philip reclaimed the Gascon fief, citing feudal law and saying that Edward had broken his oath a visible sin, an incredible breach of chivalry and felony by not attending to the needs and demands of his lord, by homage. Edward III responded by saying he was in fact the rightful heir to the French throne (thought he had given up claim to it, and on All Saints' Day, Henry Burghersh, Bishop of Lincoln, arrived in Paris with the defiance of the king of England. War had been declared.

In the beginning Edward III found allies in the Low Countries and the burghers of Flanders, however after two campaigns where nothing was achieved, the alliance fell apart in 1340. Payments to the German princes and the cost of maintaining an army abroad dragged the English government into bankruptcy. This was a blow to Edward’s prestige.

At sea, France enjoyed supremacy for some time, through the use of Genoese ships and crews. Several towns on the English coast were sacked, some repeatedly. This caused fear and disruption along the English coast. There was a constant fear during this part of the war that the French would invade. France's sea power led to economic disruptions in England as it cut down on the wool trade to Flanders and the wine trade from Gascony.

The first major battle of the war, Sluys was a naval battle and determined who would control the English Channel. Medieval naval battles in the channel were rare, because the seas were too rough for oar driven galleys, and the square sailed cogs could not tack well. Therefore, one fleet or the other was usually confined to port, by thw wind. Without the use of oars, ramming and clipping enemy ships was impractical, so sea battles resembled land battles fought at sea. In such a battle, the English ships had a definite advantage, since the longbows of their soldiers provided rapid firepower to clear the french decks and allow the English to storm the French ships. As a result, the Battle of Sluys was decisively a victory for the English. The English now had the ability to raid France unmolested while securing their own ports from French raids.

In 1341, another conflict came to a head over the succession to the Duchy of Brittany. Thus began the Breton War of Succession, in which Edward backed John of Montfort and Philip backed Charles of Blois. Action for the next few years focused around a back and forth struggle in Brittany, with the city of Vannes changing hands several times, as well as further campaigns in Gascony with mixed success for both sides.

Next installement Crecy...

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Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven Trailer with Music

Ben Kennedy from "Joan of Arc, Maid of Heaven" sent this to me. I found it interesting, so I have added it to my blog. He has written the book which is detailed in the the trailer. Any new material on La Pucelle is always welcome.

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Say the Black, do the Red

Sometimes I hear the parishoners at my parish say, Father S is too strict, he doesn't allowances for the modern church, and I dont understand why he can't do such and such. Well here is an example of a priest who felt his opinion was more valuable to his flock than what the Church teaches.


The consequences of invalid baptisms

Back in 2004, Archbishop John Bathersby wrote to Fr Peter Kennedy, parish priest of St Mary's, South Brisbane, to ask that he comply with Redemptionis Sacramentum, follow the liturgical norms and stop baptising people "in the Name of the Creator and of the Liberator and of the Sustainer". They were doing this to make the sacrament "more inclusive, less patriarchal." Fr Kennedy begged to differ from the Bishop's suggestion that he had been baptising invalidly. (see Brisbane Archbishop stops "inclusive" baptism)

Well the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith begs to differ from Fr Kennedy: Responsa ad Proposita Dubia de validitate baptismatis 1 Feb 2008. The original is in Latin; here is the official English translation: More

A New Blog

A new blog today has appeared in the Blog-O-Sphere. It may be found here Mark has blessed my blog with an article now and again, find one here, and here.


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