A Bishop acts like a Bishop

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It took a lot of courage to do this and God bless Bishop Olmsted for having the backbone to do in his diocese what needs to be done to dozens of dioceses all across America. Thank you Bishop Olmsted for this much needed, and long awaited, Christmas gift to the cause for LIFE in this country.

Only in the face of such heroic courage is our nationwide episcopal apathy revealed. Bishop's Olmsted's press conference was not harsh, and he did not come across as some kind of authoritarian dictator. He gently said a state of schism already exists, that the hospital had effectively broken itself from the Church, and that it was his solemn duty, to point out with much regret, that this schism has taken place and the people of his diocese have a right to know. It wasn't hard. He did it. And after making his case thoroughly, and expressing his unwavering support for the Gospel and Canon Law, he actually received a round of applause. This applause came from an audience of reporters that was openly hostile to him with some of their questions. In effect, they may not have liked what he had to say, but they couldn't help but respect him for standing up for what he believed in. Let this be a lesson to every other bishop in the United States.

from Catholic Fire ...How can someone who is Catholic -- much less a Catholic sister who is a bride of Christ and has supposedly mastered the Catholic teachings of the faith -- believe such a heresy? This is shocking and very, very disappointing! I blogged about this earlier this week and felt very disgusted by this. As a crisis pregnancy counselor, I had heard that things like this happen in Catholic hospitals, but are rarely made public. I am happy this story is out and that Bishop Olmstead is speaking out against this "Catholic" Hospital's actions and is speaking the truth by telling those who were involved in this abortion that they are ex-communicated. I am also supportive of the bishop for removing her from this position and assigning her other duties.

Via CNA/EWTN News: - A religious sister who was on a Catholic hospital panel that approved a direct abortion has excommunicated herself, the Diocese of Phoenix said on Tuesday. According to the diocese, Sr. Margaret McBride told Bishop Olmsted that she believed performing an abortion in a specific case from 2009 "was a morally good and allowable act according to Church teaching."
Read the entire story here.

Since when does a sheep tell the shepherd?



Abortion Supporter shows her peaceful side.

Le Femme-The Truth.

Generous donor replaces windows broken by angry Chicago abortion activists...

"...On Thursday, December 2, the Scheidlers were awakened by the sound of shattering glass. They later discovered that someone had hurled two chunks of asphalt through their living room and dining room windows. Glass was all over the floor and outside on the front porch. One of the "missiles" was inside a plastic bag with an expletive-filled note for Joe Scheidler from self-identified "crazy feminist[s]." Click here to read the text of the note (warning: strong language).

"I have to admit it's a little unsettling," said Joe Scheidler, founder and president of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League. "But I have never tried to hide where I live or keep my phone number a secret. I think you have to be accessible, even if that means some of your enemies might show up..."

"I don't agree with what you say, so I am going to try and intimidate you..."


Tommy Tutone, the Two-tone tuque

Here is an interesting story from an unusual source...

Isaac Walters wrote on Wednesday, November 3, 2010"...In a blog that I follow, fellow researcher and reenactor, Nathan Kobuck, gave the following quote from John Henry who was on Arnold’s campaign into Canada:

“...having a fine white blanket coat, and turning my cap or ‘bonnet rouge’ inside out, the inside being white, made me as it were, invisible in the snow...”

In his blog (an excellent blog on historical market hunters and other various bits of 18th century history and reenacting) he questions if this isn’t a lined “Canada Cap.” In my opinion, this is a double tuque with half of the knit tuque knit in red and the other half in white (actually natural wool… undyed and unbleached). This type of knitting is commonly seen and is a frugal way to save on dye, since the one half of the tuque is unseen when tucked into the other half and worn. A knit double cap like the tuque was common in Scandinavia and often used dyed yarn only on the outside. This is mentioned by Sheila McGregor in her book Traditional Scandinavian Knitting. Anyway, the questions to us are 1.) was this seen on tuques in North America, and 2.) was John Henry’s cap a tuque?...

So we have another mystery, "Was Santa a French-Canadien?"

Je vous souhaite une très joyeux noël et bonne année 2011!



No going back...

From Tea at Trianon on Ad Orientum

"Ten Advantages"

What are the advantages of standing at the altar ad orientem, as I have experienced them over the past two years? I can think of ten straight off:
1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is experienced as having a theocentric direction and focus.
2. The faithful are spared the tiresome clerocentrism that has so overtaken the celebration of Holy Mass in the past forty years.
3. It has once again become evident that the Canon of the Mass (Prex Eucharistica) is addressed to the Father, by the priest, in the name of all.
4. The sacrificial character of the Mass is wonderfully expressed and affirmed.
5. Almost imperceptibly one discovers the rightness of praying silently at certain moments, of reciting certain parts of the Mass softly, and of cantillating others.
6. It affords the priest celebrant the boon of a holy modesty.
7. I find myself more and more identified with Christ, Eternal High Priest and Hostia perpetua, in the liturgy of the heavenly sanctuary, beyond the veil, before the Face of the Father.
8. During the Canon of the Mass I am graced with a profound recollection.
9. The people have become more reverent in their demeanour.
10. The entire celebration of Holy Mass has gained in reverence, attention, and devotion.


Thanks to Elena-Maria for this posting...


Women are stupid, so says the Qu'ran

Quran surrah..Tabari I:280 "Allah said, 'It is My obligation to make Eve bleed once every month as she made this tree bleed. I must also make Eve stupid, although I created her intelligent.' Because Allah afflicted Eve, all of the women of this world menstruate and are stupid." more... beware, the additional photo is brutal.

This message speaks for itself.



St. Louis IX King, More anecdotes of dispensing justice in the Outremer

Jean de Joinville relates:

"... And now you shall hear the punishments and sentences that I saw awarded in Cesarea, whilst the King was staying there. First of all, I will tell you of a knight who was caught in a house of ill fame. He was offered according to the custom of the country an alternative: either to be led by a rope through the camp, stripped to his shirt; or to forfeit his horse and armour, and be turned out of the army. He left his horse and armour to the King, and quitted the camp; and I went and begged the King to grant me the horse for a poor gentleman that was in the army. The King replied that it was an unreasonable request, for that the horse was still worth from eighty to a hundred pounds, which was no small sum. Said I: " See how you have broken our bargain, by being angry at what I asked you!" And he said to me, laughing: "Say whatever you please, I will not be angry." But, all the same, I did not get the horse for the poor gentleman.(1)

The second sentence was as follows: The knights of our troop were hunting a wild animal, called a gazelle (which is just like a roebuck). The Brethren of the Hospital dashed in amongst them, and hustled and drove away our knights. I complained to the Master of the Hospital; and he said he would do me justice according to the custom of the Holy Land; which was this; that he would make the brothers who had insulted us, eat on the ground, with only their cloaks under them, until those whom they had insulted should raise them up. The Master kept his word by them. And when we saw that they had been eating in this manner for a good while, I went to the Master, and found him sitting at table, with the brothers eating on their cloaks in front of him; and I begged him to allow them to be properly seated. The knights also to whom the insult had been shown, entreated him. He replied, that he would do nothing of the sort, for that he would not have the brethren ill-use those who came on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Thereupon I sat down with the brothers, and began to eat with them, telling him I would rise when they rose. And he told me, that I left him no choice, and granted my request; and he made me and the knights with me sit at meat with him, and the brothers went and ate with the rest at a raised table.

...The third judgment that I saw delivered at Cesarea was as follows: One of the King's serjeants, called "the Glutton," laid hands on a knight of my troop. I went and complained to the King. The King told me: That it seemed to him I might let the matter rest, for he had done no more than give him a push.-And I told him, that I would never let it rest, and that if he would not see justice done me, I should quit his service, since his serjeants were to be allowed to strike knights. I got justice from him, and the punishment was according to the custom of the country: namely, the serjeant came to my quarters, barefoot and in his breeches, nothing more, with a naked sword in his hand, and kneeled down before the knight, and said to him: " Sir, I come to make amends for laying my hand on you; and I bring you this sword, that you may cut off my hand, if so please you." I begged the knight to lay aside his grudge, and forgive him; which he did...

...The fourth punishment was as follows: Brother Hugh of Joy, who was Marshall of the Temple, was sent to the Sultan of Damascus from the Master of the Temple, to come to some agreement with the Sultan about a large piece of land which the Templars used to hold, and which the Sultan wanted to share with them. The agreement was concluded on the condition, that the King approved, and Brother Hugh brought an Emir to represent the Sultan of Damascus, and brought the contract in a document called a Power of Attorney. The Master told the King all about it; whereupon the King fell into a great passion, and told him, that he was very presumptuous to have had any dealings or negotiations with the Sultan, without telling him. And the King insisted that he should do penance to him. And the penance was this: the King had the skirts of three of his pavilions removed; and all the rank and file of the camp that chose to come, assembled there; and thither came the Master of the Temple with all his convent, all barefooted through the camp, for their quarters were outside the camp. The King made the Master of the Temple and the Sultan's messenger sit down in front of him; and the King said in a loud voice to the Master: "Master, you will tell the Sultan's messenger, that you repent having made any treaty with him, without telling me; and that because you had not consulted me, you acquit him of his part of the bargain, and return him all his contracts." The Master took the contracts and handed them to the Emir. And then the King told the Master to stand up and make all his brethren stand up; and, when he had done so: "Now kneel down" said the King "and make me amends for having opposed my will." The Master knelt down, and held out the end of his cloak to the King, and offered to the King whatever was his due by way of amends, whatever he might please to dictate. " I order," said the King, " first of all, that Brother Hugh, who made the contract, be banished out of all the kingdom of Jerusalem." Neither the Master, nor the fact that Brother Hugh was gossip to the King through the Count of Alençon (that was born at Castle Pilgrim) nor even the Queen nor anyone, could avail him, but he must quit the Holy Land and the kingdom of Jerusalem...(1)


(1)See the The Memoirs of the Lord of Joinville, pages 262-264

(2)The King had already, while in Cyprus, fallen foul of the Master of the Temple for venturing to listen to overtures of peace from the Sultan of Egypt.

For my friend at Cross of Laeken

The north face of the Matterhorn.

A 2010 National Geographic Photo Contest winner. here...

Gods majesty.


Understand their pain? Understand mine...

Earlier this week I congratulated Bishop Tobin on his statements. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi. Here is an article from the ladies at Le Femmes-The Truth

Angry Nuns and tough love

Mike Voris isn't afraid to call a heretic a heretic and the modernist nuns deserve it. Thanks, Mike. And boo to Archbishop Tobin. The shepherds watching over Holy Mother Church need to recognize that they have a role to teach, govern, and rule. Rule includes discipline and when the teenagers in the Church are having hissy fits because they can't get their way, somebody needs to take away the car keys and send them to their rooms. It's called tough love.

Thank God for orders like the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. I just sent them a Christmas check because their vocations are outstripping their living quarters. What a problem! Meanwhile, the heretical orders are selling off their property because they have no vocations. I guess Gaia isn't listening to their prayers. Wonder why?


Bon Roy Henri returns to France.

Entry of King Henri IV into Paris..

Four centuries after his death, King Henry IV of France is being laid to rest. Or at least his head is.

A team of multidisciplinary researchers announced today (Dec. 14) that a mummified head and its brain contents long thought to belong to the beloved king really are his. The head, which has been in the hands of private owners, had been removed from Henry IV's body by revolutionaries in 1793 during a symbolic desecration of the tombs of the monarchs of France. [See Henry IV's mummified head]

Researchers, led by forensic medical examiner and osteo-archaeologist Philipp Charlier of University Hospital R Poincaré in Garches, France, compared the head with sculptures and portraits of Henry, who had been assassinated in 1610, and digitally reconstructed the face. The result was a dead ringer for the beloved king.

The same techniques could be used on the other mutilated remains of French royalty, the researchers wrote today in the British Medical Journal.

The story of how Henry IV's head became the subject of a forensic investigation can be traced to 1589, when his predecessor, Henry III, was assassinated by a fanatical monk. At the time, the designated heir to the throne was ruling Navarre, a small kingdom in the Pyrenees Mountains. Henry of Navarre was an accomplished tennis player who often wagered on the game, said Pierre Force, a professor of French and history at Columbia University who was not involved in the head identification.

"In the accounting books, there are entries in which the accountant of the kingdom had to pay because the king lost yet another game of tennis to some noble," Force told LiveScience.

Henry IV was also a Protestant, a fact that made his ascension to the throne of Catholic France problematic. By the laws of succession, he would be France's rightful king, but to gain the throne he had to lay siege to Paris and eventually convert to Catholicism, Force said.

"That was a very spectacular gesture and one that brought peace to the country," Force said.

In 1598, Henry IV further cemented his reputation as a fair, peaceful king when he issued an edict guaranteeing religious freedom to Protestants. He became known as "good King Henry" for his popularity, and the "green gallant" for his attractiveness to women.

Off with his head

But in 1610, Henry IV, like his predecessor, lost his life to an assassin. The king was buried in the Basilica of Saint Denis in northern Paris, where his body stayed until 1793. French revolutionaries executed their own king, Louis XVI, that year and then turned their attention to the previous monarchs, opening their tombs and reburying their mutilated bodies in mass graves nearby. It was at this point that Henry IV lost his head.

"It fit into their idea of 'Out, out, damn spot,' of getting rid of, in a symbolic way, the historical burdens of monarchy," John Merriman, a Yale University historian and author of a number of books on European and French history, told LiveScience.

"It seemed, in context, a proper gesture," Merriman, who was not involved in the current study, added.

The head stayed in the hands of private collectors until recently, when Charlier and his colleagues began their investigation. The mummified head was well-preserved, and the royal brain lay undisturbed inside the skull. The head's owner was bald with bad teeth and a cataract in the right eye, the researchers found.

Radiocarbon dating showed that the head's age matched the king's date of death. The head had an irregular mole on the right nostril and an earring hole in the right earlobe, both features seen in portraits and statues of Henry IV.

The method of embalming, which involved leaving the brain intact, matched the historical records of the king's preservation. On the neck of the mummified head, researchers found a black band of carbon, which matched the ingredients that the king's embalmer had reported using on the body to absorb decomposition odors. The mummy's mouth was stuffed with plant matter, also used at the time to absorb odors.

The team could not recover uncontaminated DNA in order to match it to the king's descendants, but the researchers completed a digital facial reconstruction of the skull that matched the plaster mold of Henry IV's face made just after his death.

After all this poking and prodding, the remains of Henry IV will finally get some rest, according to Charlier and his colleagues.

"Now positively identified according to the most rigorous arguments of any forensic anthropology examination, the French king’s head will be reentered in the royal basilica of Saint-Denis after a solemn funeral ceremony," the researchers wrote.


SAR Louis XX discusses the discovery of the Head of Henri IV his ancestor, with Le Figaro.
Duc d'Anjou : «La tête d'Henri IV est un patrimoine national»

More on the assignation of Bon Roy Henri is found here...

An excellent French Cultural site on Henri IV is found here... (recommended)

On Queen Margot, Henri's first Queen, here...

St Batholomew's Day here...

Vive Le Roy! Vive Henri!


Ireland’s pro-life laws violated woman’s rights: European court

This is what happens when a nation gives up it's sovereignty; the country loses it's right to make and administer it's own laws. It is time to repudiate the EU.

by Hilary White

The European Court of Human RightsSTRASBOURG, December 16, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The European Court of Human Rights has found that Ireland’s constitutional legal protections for the unborn violated the right to privacy of one of the three applicants in a mixed decision in the much-anticipated ABC case. The Court ordered the Irish government to pay €15,000 to the third applicant within three months.

However, at the same time the Court dismissed the complaints of the other two women and found that there is “no human right to abortion” stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights, an aspect of the decision that has been welcomed by pro-life leaders.

The case was brought by one Lithuanian living in Ireland and two Irish nationals who sought abortions in the UK and who claimed that Ireland’s 1983 constitutional amendment outlawing abortion violated their rights.

The third woman was in remission from a rare form of cancer at the time she sought an abortion. She claimed that the pregnancy could lead to the cancer’s return. Irish law technically allows abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, but she alleged that “the chilling effect of the Irish legal framework,” had violated her right to be told of the “option” of abortion.

The Court has instructed the Irish government to issue guidance to allow doctors to inform women in what circumstances abortion is a legal option. It claimed that the Irish Constitution gives women a “right” to abortion under its protection of the equal right to life of the mother of an unborn child.

Bernadette Smyth of the Irish pro-life group Precious Life said that “we welcome” the decision that there is no “human right” to abortion under the European Convention. However, she continued, “the Court has misinterpreted the Irish Constitution in its ruling on the third woman.”

Liam Gibson, who works in Ireland for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and spoke to LifeSiteNews.com minutes after the decision was issued, agreed that the Court had “totally misunderstood” Irish law under which there is no such thing as a “right” to abortion.

“The court is pretending there is a legal option for abortion,” Gibson said. “But abortion is not health care. Under Irish law, everyone has the right to adequate medical care to protect life, but this can never include direct abortion, the deliberate killing of an unborn child,” he said.

The ruling, he said, “has turned the pro-life amendment on its head and says it gives a right to abortion. But that’s a complete reversal of what the constitution says and the purpose of it.

“Recognising the equal right of the mother and the child does not give the mother a right to abortion.”

Pro-life interveners made lengthy submissions to the Court demonstrating that abortion is never included in any definition of health care in Ireland. “They should have thrown the case out completely,” Gibson said. “But the ideology of abortion runs right through the European Court of Human rights.”

John Smeaton, the head of SPUC in London warned that the decision will have far-reaching effects on the attempts in Europe to secure the right to life of all persons.

“This warped decision lacks all legitimacy,” Smeaton said. “This case was never about helping women faced with a crisis pregnancy. It was instigated by the international abortion lobby, which has with the ultimate aim of forcing governments across the globe to recognise access to abortion as a legal right.”

Gibson said that ECHR, due to its “pervasive” pro-abortion mentality, has assumed that abortion is invariably included in health care. He warned that the decision will be used as a pretext for weakening Irish law, saying there is a strongly pro-abortion mentality within Ireland’s political class. While it does not immediately overturn the law, the ECHR ruling will likely cause problems at the next general election, he said.

Abortion is prohibited not only by Ireland’s constitution, but under criminal law by section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. According to the Civil Liability Act, “the law relating to wrongs shall apply to an unborn child for his protection in like manner as if the child were born, provided the child is subsequently born alive”.

Gibson said that a new government would likely try to bring in abortion through medical practice guidelines, binding on physicians, that would not be subject to a referendum.

Such guidelines have been repeatedly brought forward by pro-abortion activists in the British government in Northern Ireland, although they have been rejected as contrary to Northern Irish law that also prohibits abortion.

Gibson said, “The problem will be when an incoming government chooses to use this ruling to establish a wider access to abortion.”

“The attitude will certainly be favourable to the pro-abortion side,” in any new government. “They’ve only been too eager to try to put through some legislation or guideline that will not have to be brought to the people.”


Catholic mother faces the death penalty in Pakistan, for blaspheming Muhammad

The so called "Religion of Peace" once again demonstrates it's gentle side.

Aasia Bibi, a Christian (Catholic) mother of five, is sitting in a Pakistani jail awaiting a death sentence for blaspheming the prophet Muhammad—and an appeal by the pope hasn't saved her. Asra Nomani on a horrifying case.

The email zipped across the globe from a Catholic nun of the Sisters of Loretto, living in rural Pakistan, to Sister Anna Koop, who was visiting their home order in rural Kentucky. The subject line: “Punjab: Christian Woman Sentenced To Death For Blasphemy."

Sent Nov. 11, the nun's message told the story of a Catholic farm worker, Aasia Bibi, convicted of violating antiquated blasphemy law propped up by Pakistan's Islamist political parties. Allegedly, when some women workers pressured Aasia to renounce her Christian faith and accept Islam in the summer of 2009, Aasia responded that Jesus had died on the cross for the sins of humanity and she asked them what Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, had done for them. Her crime, blaspheming the prophet, carries a mandatory death sentence.

Koop, a 72-year-old nun who signs her emails "Peace to you," was horrified by the news. Last year, she left the homeless shelter where she lives and works outside Denver to visit the four Pakistani nuns in her order living in Pakistan, and she feared not only for Aasia, a mother of five, but also the sisters in her order and the country's other estimated 2.8 million Christians, who make up about 2 percent of the population.

Last year, the Sisters of Loretto in Pakistan pooled their resources to give the archdiocese of Faisalabad a 21st century-style gift for the 50th anniversary of the archdiocese: a website, complete with a catchy jubilee sing-song in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. A website message they wrote: “We Hope this online experience will touch your heart and soul.”

"There is so much violence directed toward Christians" in Pakistan, says Koop. "It's hard to know where that might strike next." She tapped away at her keyboard, sending emails around the world, trying to raise the alarm. On Nov. 17, Pope Benedict XVI called for Aasia's release in his weekly public audience, saying that Christians in Pakistan are "often victims of violence and discrimination."

The case of Aasia Bibi underscores the challenge of forging an Islamic identity in the 21st century that expresses a tolerant interpretation of Islam. The showdown is coming down to a sad clash of the nuns and the mullahs. And it's a battle in which the mullahs must lose. My mother grew up going to St. Joseph's Convent in the hill station of Panchgani, India, her brother going to St. Peter's, and there is something valuable we can learn about other faiths—and ourselves—just by living peacefully together.

And there is something divinely radical that connects rebellious women within Islam and Catholicism. We both face an imbedded patriarchy. Catholic women have had more advances than we have had in Islam, but we have it easier on one front: We don't have a Vatican. Last month, I spoke at the national conference of Call to Action, a Catholic group seeking reforms in the church. The title of my talk: "Bad Girls of Faith: The Daughters of Sarah and Hajar Standing Together to Reclaim the Feminist Tradition." Thousands of years ago, our common histories say that Sarah and Hajar (or Hagar as she is known in Christianity and Judaism) feuded in, essentially, a chick fight that was a precursor to the interfaith troubles we have today. My theory: We could see progress if we stood together now. Soon after, I got one of the emails sent out by Sister Anna, the nun running a homeless shelter outside Denver.

The survival of the blasphemy of laws in Pakistan is a window into just how medieval aspects of Pakistan continue to be, betraying at least one example from the life of the prophet Muhammad. In one hadith, or tradition from the life of Muhammad, it's said that when a man threw dirt on the prophet's face, he just ignored the smear.

What's more, by refusing to take on the Islamist political parties that back Pakistan's outdated blasphemy law, secular leaders from Gen. Pervez Musharraf to the current president, Asif Ali Zardari fail to live up to the moderate, tolerant vision of the country's birth.

The case of Aasia Bibi underscores the challenge of forging an Islamic identity in the 21st century that expresses a tolerant interpretation of Islam.

• Asra Q. Nomani: Let’s Profile MuslimsIn a presidential address on Aug. 11, 1947, the year Pakistan was forged out of India's independence from the British, the country's founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, declared, "You are free. You are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state."

He was a student of history and he said, "The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some states in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state."

The Aasia Bibi case isn't just one of outsiders speaking out against the blasphemy law. Ali Dayan Hasan, a Pakistani and the South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, calls the blasphemy law a "heinous law" that should be repealed, and notes that it's "become an instrument of coercion used to terrorize minorities."

It's time that Pakistan join the 21st century with the vision of its founder and set Aasia Bibi and itself free from the reign of the mullahs. Original story is here.

Montjoie! Saint Denis!

Asra Q. Nomani is the author of Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam. She is co-director of the Pearl Project, an investigation into the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Her activism for women's rights at her mosque in W.V. is the subject of a PBS documentary, The Mosque in Morgantown. She recently published a monograph, Milestones for a Spiritual Jihad: Toward an Islam of Grace. asra@asranomani.com

Note: I have included a link to the Sisters of Loretto site in the narrative of this story, however, I am troubled by some of the captions therein, (especially for the picture of liturgical dancing during the offertory at Mass) therefore I have chosen not to place them on my site links. I pray that they will return to orthodox Roman Catholic teaching concerning such the Mass.


Open letter to Inactive Catholics...


My dear Brother or Sister: In the spirit of the Advent and Christmas Season, and as the Diocese of Providence nears the end of its “Year of Evangelization,” I’m writing this letter to inactive Catholics of our Diocese – perhaps you’re in that category – to let you know that we miss you, we love you and we want you to come home to the Church.

The first dilemma I faced in writing this letter was how to describe you – an “inactive Catholic,” a “fallen-away Catholic” or a “former-Catholic.” I chose the first option.

Find Bishop Tobin on Facebook

I decided against “fallen-away Catholic” for it suggests someone falling off a fence or out of a tree. The image isn’t helpful.

And there’s really no such thing as a “former Catholic.” If you were baptized a Catholic, you’re a Catholic for life – even if you haven’t been to Mass for years, even if you’ve renounced the title and joined another Church. Your baptism infused your soul with Catholic DNA – it defines who and what you are.

Thus, I’ve chosen the title, “inactive Catholic,” because even though you haven’t been “active” in the Catholic community for awhile, especially by attending Sunday Mass, receiving the sacraments and otherwise participating in the life of the Church, you’re still a Catholic. Sorry . . . you’re stuck with us!

Perhaps the exact name isn’t very important though. What’s more important is why you drifted away from the Church, why you stopped coming to Mass, and what we can do about it.

Did you leave the Church because you disagree with some of the Church’s teachings and practices; or because you found it boring and “didn’t get anything out of it”; or because someone in the Church offended you or disappointed you; or because you just got a little complacent, spiritually lazy, in the fulfillment of your obligations? Let’s look at each of these reasons.

If you left the Church because you disagree with the fundamental teachings of the Church I’m afraid there’s not much I can do to help you. The essential teachings of the Church on matters of faith and morals aren’t negotiable – they weren’t made up arbitrarily by human beings but, in fact, were given to us by Christ. They can’t be changed, even if they’re unpopular or difficult to live with. I hope that you’ll take some time to really understand what the Church teaches and why. Sometimes, we find, good folks get bad information and that leads to confusion and then alienation.

If you left the Church because you found it to be boring and “didn’t get anything out of it,” well, I understand. Sometimes, it’s true, leaders of the Church haven’t fed the flock very well – sometimes we haven’t provided sound and challenging teaching and preaching, and sometimes our worship has been banal and bland. Perhaps we haven’t been very kind or welcoming. I apologize for that; we can and should do better.

On the other hand, when you attend Mass it shouldn’t be all about you – the focus is God! You should attend Mass to give, as well as receive – to worship the Lord, to ask forgiveness of your sins, to thank Him for His gifts and to pray for others. And for Catholics the most important reason to attend Mass is to receive the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, the Bread of Life. You can’t do that anywhere else!

If you left the Church because another member of the Church offended or disappointed you, I’m truly sorry for that offense and in the name of the Church I sincerely apologize. I hope you’ll forgive us and give us another chance. Members of the Church – including priests and bishops – are completely human. Sometimes we say things and do things that are totally unacceptable, even immoral. But let’s face it – we belong to a community of sinners – that’s why we begin every Mass by calling to mind our sins and asking for God’s forgiveness. The virtue of forgiveness is an essential part of the Christian life – we all need to seek and grant forgiveness now and then.

Finally, if you left the Church because of your own spiritual laziness – complacency – I guess the ball’s in your court. I can only encourage you to start over – to think about your relationship with God and try to understand how important the Church is in helping you fulfill your God-given potential and, more importantly, helping you achieve eternal life.

You see, the Church isn’t just another human organization, some sort of social club. We believe that the Church has divine elements – that it was founded by Christ and is guided by the Holy Spirit. You need the Church – you need the teachings of the Church, the life-giving sacraments of the Church, and the support of a community that shares your faith and values. But the Church also needs you – we need the gifts of your time and talent, your faith and commitment. The Church has an awful lot to offer you, but if in fact we’ve been imperfect fulfilling our mission, in serving the Lord and caring for one another, perhaps you can help us to do better.

The irony of this letter, of course, is that if you’ve been an inactive Catholic, you might not see it. But I’m counting on a Catholic member of your family, or a friend, neighbor or co-worker, to see it and share it.

The Christmas Season is a wonderful, grace-filled time, a time when we remember that the Word of God became flesh and that Jesus is “Emmanuel” – God with us. God came to earth to search for us, to embrace us, to lift us up, and to take us with Him to eternal life. He came to invite you to be His friend and companion along the way.

Dear brother or sister, if you’ve been away from the Church for awhile, it’s time to come home. If there’s an issue or a problem we can help you with, please contact your local parish, or contact me here at the Diocese of Providence. I might not be able to solve every problem and meet every need, but I’ll try. Please know, however, that we miss you, we love you and we hope to see you soon.

Your brother in Christ,

Bishop Tobin


Bishop Tobin in November 2007 instructed the Priests of his diocese to refuse Holy Communion to Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, the Democratic lawmaker from Rhode Island, and the son of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy for his opposition to the Churches teaching on abortion. This is no wimpy Bishop. The Chattabox in a not to friendly tone wrote, ..."Bishop Tobin’s public condemnation of a Catholic lawmaker and a Holy Communion ban is extremely harsh. And not every Catholic official is in agreement with Tobin’s politicizing of Holy Communion."... To which I add, too bad. Get in Line with the Churches teachings or end up in Hell. Choice.


The Jacobin Mob, attacks the Prince

The Prince of Wales and his wife were attacked the other day. Although it was unscheduled, and unscripted, none the less they ran headlong into the mob.

...The Duchess of Cornwall was physically attacked through an open car window as thugs rampaged in London, the Standard can reveal today.

A rioter managed to push a stick into the royal limousine and jab her in the ribs. Camilla's terrifying ordeal came as a baying mob surrounded her and husband Prince Charles when they rode through central London in the vintage Rolls-Royce last night.

A police source said one of the car's rear windows was opened in error as tuition fee protesters moved in.

The attack is the biggest royal security breach in decades and raises new questions about protection of the couple. Charlie Gilmour, the son of Pink Floyd guitarist David, was with protesters in Regent Street when the car was hit...

The reason for the protest? Raising the tuition to 9000 Pounds (14,000 dollars). My daughters college tuition, not government funded was about 16,000 dollars for each of the last three years of her education. I did not riot, I guess that is the difference of someone who feels entitled to something by the government and someone who does not.

This type of thing has just begun. Can we now expect heads on a pike carried throught the streets of London?



Snow in Paris, ah Paris...

The Eiffel Tower is outlined by a snow covered blanket. More photos are here...

Catherine delors has posted this today.

It's beginning to look like Christmas is coming.

Joyeux Noël !


Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Mary

Immaculate Mary, thy praises we sing;
Who reignest in splendor with Jesus our King.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

In heaven, the blessed thy glory proclaim;
On earth we, thy children, invoke thy fair name.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

We pray for God's glory; may His kingdom come;
We pray for His vicar, our father, and Rome.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!

We pray for our Mother, the Church upon earth,
And bless, dearest Lady, the land of our birth.
Ave, ave, ave, Maria! Ave, ave, Maria!



Refined attitudes never go out of style.

Swell and Dandy has posted this article. Madonna could learn from this...

Vogue Etiquette

In 1924, Vogue magazine published a book of etiquette for the "great rising mass" to be educated in proper behaviour. Thanks to BuzzFeed, we came across some interesting clippings from that book, now available to you here. more...

Thank You, Percy.

You should be knighted, Sir Percy has such a ring to it.



Was Medieval England more Merrie than thought?

LONDON (Reuters) – Maybe being a serf or a villein in the Middle Ages was not such a grim existence as it seems.

Medieval England was not only far more prosperous than previously believed, it also actually boasted an average income that would be more than double the average per capita income of the world's poorest nations today, according to new research.

Living standards in medieval England were far above the "bare bones subsistence" experience of people in many of today's poor countries, a study says.

"The majority of the British population in medieval times could afford to consume what we call a 'respectability basket' of consumer goods that allowed for occasional luxuries," said University of Warwick economist Professor Stephen Broadberry, who led the research.

"By the late Middle Ages, the English people were in a position to afford a varied diet including meat, dairy produce and ale, as well as the less highly processed grain products that comprised the bulk of the bare bones subsistence diet," he added.

He said a figure of $400 annually (as expressed in 1990 international dollars) is commonly is used as a measure of bare bones subsistence and was previously believed to be the average income in England in the Middle Ages.

But the researchers found that English per capita incomes in the late Middle Ages were actually of the order of $1,000.

Even on the eve of the Black Death plague, which first struck in 1348/49, the researchers found per capita incomes in England of more than $800.

That compares with today's estimates of for example Zaire at $249, Burundi $479 and Niger $514.

The research also showed that the path to the Industrial Revolution began far earlier than usually thought.

"A widely held view of economic history suggests that the Industrial Revolution of 1800 suddenly took off, in the wake of centuries without sustained economic growth or appreciable improvements in living standards in England from the days of the hunter-gatherer," said Broadberry in a statement.

"By contrast, we find that the Industrial Revolution did not come out of the blue. Rather, it was the culmination of a long period of economic development stretching back as far as the late medieval period." The research is published in "British Economic Growth, 1270-1870" which is available on Warwick University's website.

Original article is here...
by Stephen Addison



Austerlitz, or the Battle of The Three Emperors

..."Soldiers, I am pleased with you! You have, on this day of Austerlitz, justified all that I had expected from your courage, and you have honoured your eagles with immortal glory. In less than 4 hours, an army of 100,000 men, commanded by the Emperors of Russia and Austria, has been cut down or scattered. Such enemy as escaped your bayonets have drowned in the lakes.

40 colours, the standards of the Russian Imperial Guard, 120 pieces of artillery, 20 generals and over 30,000 prisoners are the result of this day - to be for ever celebrated. That such vaunted infantry, so superior in numbers, could not resist your charge, proves henceforth you have no longer any rivals to fear. Thus in 2 months, this Third Coalition has been overthrown and dissolved. Peace cannot now be far away...

Soldiers, when everything necessary for the happiness and prosperity of the motherland has been accomplished, I will lead you back to France: there you will be the object of my tenderest solicitude. My people will greet you with joy, and it will suffice for you to say, 'I was at the battle of Austerlitz', for them to reply: 'there is one of the brave...'"

Austerlitz or the Battle of The Three Emperors, Napoleon, Tsar Alexander I and Francis II (although command was exercised by Alexander) fought on 2 December 1805, was the penultimate of Napoleon's masterpieces. Though outnumbered, Napoleon managed to rout the combined Austrian and Russian army destroying the Third Coalition.

Through deception, Napoleon allowed the Allies to think that his army was weak and could easily be swept aside. The Austro-Russians fell for his trick and were lured to turn the French right. The allied attack began at dawn although the battlefield was shrouded in mist.

Right:: French Infantry

When Napoleon judged that the Allies were fully committed to an attack on his right he gave Marshall Soult the order for the Austro-Russian center located on the Pratzen to be carried. The legendary "Sun of Austerlitz" at 9 AM burned off the mist. To the Austro-Russians it appeared that the entire french Army was attacking them. By 11 AM the French had carried the Pratzen Heights.

At the same time a cavalry battle was taking place on the French left which commanded by General Lannes. When Lannes judged the moment when the final push should begin he pushed forward his infantry. The Infantry advanced with elan despite terrible losses. By noon the Coalition was collapsing.
Above left: Austrian Grenadiers*

Above:Russian Guard Infantry

On the Pratzen, counterattacks against the French failed. The Russian Imperial Guard Corps under Grand Duke Constantine was thrown into battle in a last ditch effort. The Russian Imperial Guard, 3000 Grenadiers and 15 squadrons of Cavalry assaulted the Pratzen, routing the 4th Line Infantry and 24th Light Infantry Regiments. This caused a break in the french position. This hole in the French line was filled by the French Imperial Guard Chasseurs-a-cheval (light cavalry) and the Grenadiers-a-cheval (heavy cavalry). As the two forces of Guard Cavalry met fierce disorganized close combat insued. Napoleon ordered the Mamelukes of the Guard and 2 more squadrons of Chasseurs-a-cheval into the fray. Suddenly, the Russians retired.

As the French had control of the center, Napoleon ordered his troops to right wheel in order to roll up the extended Austro-Russian left. This was the beginning of the end for the Austro-Russians. Their troops began to retreat and soon they were in full route. The only escape for the Austro-Russians was to the south, and across the frozen Lake Satschan.

French losses amounted to 9000 casualties. The Austro-Russians lost 27000. A ratio of 1 Frenchman to every 3 Austro-Russians.

Dieu Le Roy!

* Hungarian troops would be in the same uniform with light blue trousers with Hungarian knots at the waist over each leg.

Photos were borrowed from my freind Nicolas Mozaks site
Russian Generals of the Napoleon Epoch and the Austerlitz battle reenactment which occured in Gatchina Russia in 2001.
More photos may be found here of the 2005 Austerlitz, the text is in Russian, sorry. You have to trust me when I say it supposed to be Austerlitz, (Gratchina , Russia)
Yes, I know some of the uniforms are not 100% correct for the period of 1805.

Eternal Father

The USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor.
My career as a Marine was puntuated from time to time by the singing of this hymn at a service for a fallen comrade or comrades. It is appropriate to play it now for those who are still at sea, or on patrol, in the sky or under the sea. It is very emotional for me still.

Rest in peace.

Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941

Ford Island and East Loch *

The 7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great defining moments in history. A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire's southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.

Eighteen months earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had transferred the United States Fleet to Pearl Harbor as a presumed deterrent to Japanese aggression. The Japanese military, deeply engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials. Commercial access to these was gradually curtailed as the conquests continued. In July 1941 the Western powers effectively halted trade with Japan. From then on, as the desperate Japanese schemed to seize the oil and mineral-rich East Indies and Southeast Asia, a Pacific war was virtually inevitable.

By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan's diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.

The Pearl Harbor naval base was recognized by both the Japanese and the United States Navies as a potential target for hostile carrier air power. The U.S. Navy had even explored the issue during some of its interwar "Fleet Problems". However, its distance from Japan and shallow harbor, the certainty that Japan's navy would have many other pressing needs for its aircraft carriers in the event of war, and a belief that intelligence would provide warning persuaded senior U.S. officers that the prospect of an attack on Pearl Harbor could be safely discounted.

During the interwar period, the Japanese had reached similar conclusions. However, their pressing need for secure flanks during the planned offensive into Southeast Asia and the East Indies spurred the dynamic commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto to revisit the issue. His staff found that the assault was feasible, given the greater capabilities of newer aircraft types, modifications to aerial torpedoes, a high level of communications security and a reasonable level of good luck. Japan's feelings of desperation helped Yamamoto persuade the Naval high command and Government to undertake the venture should war become inevitable, as appeared increasingly likely during October and November 1941.

All six of Japan's first-line aircraft carriers, Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku and Zuikaku, were assigned to the mission. With over 420 embarked planes, these ships constituted by far the most powerful carrier task force ever assembled. Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, an experienced, cautious officer, would command the operation. His Pearl Harbor Striking Force also included fast battleships, cruisers and destroyers, with tankers to fuel the ships during their passage across the Pacific. An Advance Expeditionary Force of large submarines, five of them carrying midget submarines, was sent to scout around Hawaii, dispatch the midgets into Pearl Harbor to attack ships there, and torpedo American warships that might escape to sea.

Under the greatest secrecy, Nagumo took his ships to sea on 26 November 1941, with orders to abort the mission if he was discovered, or should diplomacy work an unanticipated miracle. Before dawn on the 7th of December, undiscovered and with diplomatic prospects firmly at an end, the Pearl Harbor Striking Force was less than three-hundred miles north of Pearl Harbor. A first attack wave of over 180 aircraft, including torpedo planes, high-level bombers, dive bombers and fighters, was launched in the darkness and flew off to the south. When first group had taken off, a second attack wave of similar size, but with more dive bombers and no torpedo planes, was brought up from the carriers' hangar decks and sent off into the emerging morning light. Near Oahu's southern shore, the five midget submarines had already cast loose from their "mother" subs and were trying to make their way into Pearl Harbor's narrow entrance channel.

Japanese planes hit just before 8AM on 7 December. Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead. Soon after, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.

These great Japanese successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purposeful unity hardly seen before or since. For the next five months, until the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, Japan's far-reaching offensives proceeded untroubled by fruitful opposition. American and Allied morale suffered accordingly. Under normal political circumstances, an accommodation might have been considered.

However, the memory of the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 1942 had eliminated much of Japan's striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies, as future threats to World peace.

Jhesu + Marie,

*A nearly vertical view of Ford Island and the East Loch. This view shows 8 battleships and an aircraft carrier possibly the USS Saratoga or the Lexington (judging by the size of the aircraft carrier's superstructure). The battleships are in the possition they would be in during the raid 19 months later. This view also shows the airfield which maintained seaplanes and the aircraft groups (CAG) assigned to the carriers which were landed when the carriers were in port. The other ships including the battle groups escorts; cruisers, destoyers and refuelers.

Naval Historical Command


Der Lange Kerls, of Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia

One of the things I like best about history are the unique footnotes which for me bring history alive. One example, Louis XVI imported potatoes and served them at his own table, his daughter Marie-Thérèse loved to eat them fried. Now what kid doesn't eat french fries? A connection with the past.

Today I write about another. The Prussian infantry regiment No 6, called the Lange Kerls, which basically translates into the long guys. Formed in 1675, by Prince Frederick of Brandenburg, who later became Frederick I of Prussia. Frederick I's son Frederick Wilhelm became the nominal commander at his birth. He continued with recruiting and maintaining the regiment all through his reign.

King Frederick Wilhelm was consumed by thing military and this regiment in particular. All over his kingdom tall men were sought out. Farmers and landowners could be payed a supplement if they gave up their tallest labourer. Kingdoms who desired good diplomatic relations would send men to be enlisted as soldiers to Frederick Wilhelm I. If men of the correct height could not be found legally they might be kidnapped. Even priests and monks were not safe.

Frederick Wilhelm I drilled his personal soldiers everyday. Tall women were called in to marry soldiers so that tall children might be born who would continue to serve in the ranks and maintain the regiment.

Discipline in the Prussian army was severe. Any infraction, even as small as being out of step could result in running the gauntlet, being flogged or beaten with an iron ram rod. Naturally, desertion was not uncommon, nor was suicide.

The uniform was spectacular however, a dark blue coat, with a red sleeved vest worn under the coat, red pants, and a grenadier cap. He carried a musket of the Prussian pattern, white leather belts, and a grenadier sword. The grenadier cap had the effect of making the soldiers appear even taller.

Frederick the Great, der Alte Fritz, son and heir of Frederick Wilhelm I, considered the regiment a waste of money and the regiment was reduced to a battalion (half a regiment) with most of the soldiers being sent to other regiments. This did not mean that kidnapping of men (not impressment) for the ranks ceased and even captured soldiers were employed to fill the ranks of the Prussian regiments, the pool of Prussian men being exhausted by years of warfare.

The battalion served at Hohenfriedberg during the War of Austrian succession, and at Rossbach, Leuthen, Hochkirch, Liegnitz und Torgau throughout the Seven Years War. The battalion existed until 1806 and the Prussian defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt by Napoleon.

Vive le Roy.

Salic Law and the Royal Line of Succession to Louis XX

The Crown of France is one of the most ancient in Europe reigning without a break until 1792, and then restored again in 1815. The country continued to be ruled by a Monarch, Louis-Philippe, for seventeen and a half years following the 1830 revolution, but this last King was head of a junior branch of the House and could not claim to be the legitimate successor of the deposed Monarch, Charles X. The senior line became extinct with the death of Henri, Count of Chambord Henri V to legitimists) in 1883, at which time the succession was disputed between the representative of the surviving senior line (the Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain), and the grandson of Louis-Philippe, the Count of Pars. There is no doubt that the Kings of France before 1792 and between 1814 and 1830 had believed themselves to be the inheritors of the ancient Kingly prerogative and rights invested in Hugh Capet in 987, and passed on to his descendants, successors to the Crown. This very antiquity gave the force of precedence to the system of succession, and established precedence being most easily understood is less subject to ambiguous interpretation. Long before the revolution of 1789 French constitutional authorities had identified a system of laws, the fundamental laws of succession, which they showed had governed the succession to the Crown since at least the early fourteenth century, and whose origins go to the foundation of the Capetian Monarchy.

Until the short-lived Constitution of 1791 France's succession was ruled by custom, and these customs were enshrined in a system of laws which at various times were held, by those competent to adjudicate in such matters (primarily the Parliament of Paris composed of Magistrates and Peers), to be fixed and constant. The restoration of 1814 re-established the ancient Monarchy with all its pre-1789 powers and prerogatives, subject only to any limitations imposed by the Constitutional Charter of 1814 (article 74). The Charter did not attempt otherwise to regulate the succession to the Crown. It conferred on the members of the royal family (elsewhere defined as the children and grandchildren of the King) and on the Princes du Sang (Princes of the Blood), the right to a seat in the Chamber of Peers with precedence immediately after the President in order of their position in the succession, but these Princes could not take their seat without the prior permission of the King before each session, and could not vote until they were twenty-five years old.

The fundamental laws enshrined certain principles which bound the nation and the succession to the Crown for the first eight-hundred years of the Capetian Monarchy. During the interregnum of 1793-1814 these principles were applied to assure the titular succession of Louis XVIII rather than his niece, Marie-Therese, whom some French monarchists thought a more appealing focus for royalist loyalties. From 1815 they once again dictated the legal succession, and these selfsame principles were applied by French legitimists without dissent, until the death of Henri V (titular King), in 1883. These laws insured the peace of the Kingdom by allowing for there to be no doubt about the person of the heir to the throne, and thereby reducing the chances of a civil war over the succession. By preventing either the Sovereign, or any individual Prince, from alienating their own dynastic rights or those of other dynasts, these laws insured that personal preference or short-term interest could not divert the succession and thereby risk future challenges and dissent. The existence of fundamental laws which may not be overridden even by acts of the Sovereign registered in the Parliament is comparable to the supremacy of the Constitution of the United States, whose principles cannot be suborned by the acts of individual States or even Congress, and to parts of the modern French Republican Constitution which define the state as a Republic. In the USA, the individual states or Congress may pass laws which appear to have all the proper foundation which nonetheless may be struck down by the Supreme Court because if they conflict with the U.S. Constitution. In the same way a Monarch may issue properly registered decrees or letters patent that actually conflicted with the fundamental laws and were therefore void and ineffective. In France, there was no official body established to review these fundamental laws, but they were known and understood by all constitutional jurists

The French fundamental laws of succession may be identified as follows:
A. Succession to the Crown is limited to male princes descended from Hugh Capet.
B. Succession to the Crown must pass by primogeniture descent.
C. Neither the Sovereign, nor any other person or body, can divert the succession from the primogeniture male heir.
D. The House of France is one single House with reigning and non-reigning branches.
E. The nationality of a dynast does not affect his right

Go here to see the line of sucession from Hughes Capet to Louis XX



D'Artagnan in a contemporary art.

Adam Frans van der Meulen 1673, accompanied Louis XIV on his invasion of Holland, and painted for the king. The above painting "Arrivée de Louis XIV au camp devant Maestricht" - may possibly show the face of D'Artagnan. He is most likely the figure on horseback wearing blue trimmed in gold, close to the tree on the right.

Un pour tous, tous pour un !

Vive le Roy!
Suggested by an article in the Wars of Louis Quatorze

D’Artagnan’s death at the 1673 siege of Maastricht

I have a great admiration of great literature. The great novels by Alexandre Dumas are incomparabel for their adventure, suspence, and pure reading enjoyment. One of the most beloved characters, is Charles de Batz de Castlemore, known by his nom-de-guerre D'Artagnan. So having found some more information about his real life personna can only serve to think.

If you have the chance, on a sunny morning, to contemplate the medieval towers of Maastricht from Mount Saint Pieter, you will not find it hard to imagine yourself back in centuries past. Strolling down the hill towards the city, you might pass along cornfields, stroke a horse’s head over the barbed wire and pick a poppy flower from the grass. Your steps slowly lead you towards Aldenhof park, at the gates of Maastricht…

But suddenly a tall cast iron statue reminds you that this place was not always so quiet and peaceful. Indeed, in ancient turbulent times, these very spots once resonated with the thunderous clamour of weapons. The statue portrays the glorious musketeer Charles de Batz-Castelmore, better known as d’Artagnan, who perished in 1673 during the siege of Maastricht by the armies of the French king Louis XIV.

Un pour tous, tous pour un, read the chiselled letters on the socle - One for all, all for one. The bold eyes of the musketeer, who is drawing his sword, speak of firmness. The statue is a tribute to a noble man’s courage and contempt of death as he remained true to his king and comrades.

The myth of d’Artagnan

The name of d’Artagnan acquired world fame thanks to the 19th century novels of the flamboyant French writer Alexandre Dumas, who in a matchless style described the gallant conversations and splendid sword fights of his hero. The D’Artagnan romances, which comprise The Three Musketeers and its sequels Vingt ans après and Le Vicomte de Bragelonne celebrate the martial exploits of the French king’s elite troops in gripping merry ventures.

Dumas found the basis for his characters in a novel published in 1701 by a certain Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras. Dumas’ stories, on their turn, were a source of inspiration for countless other books, plays and films about d’Artagnan and his fellow musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis.

But d’Artagnan is not just a myth. In France, schoolchildren learn how the illustrious Lieutenant-Captain of the king’s musketeers was killed before the ramparts of Maastricht. Dumas’ famous three other musketeers truly existed too.

The reality of war

Yet, even though it successfully stirs interest, the romantic genre which brought so much success to Dumas is not suited to reproduce a correct picture of history.

Indeed, the d’Artagnan romances do not report on the violent reality of war, with its aftermath of plagues and misery. They do not ponder much on the injustice that fell upon poor local peasants when passing armies would lay them under contribution, or when rough soldiers would quarter in their villages and tear down their humble dwellings if these happened to be standing in the line of fire.

Nor did Dumas describe the fate of the besieged citizens of Maastricht, who were forced to help dig trenches, suffered of starvation and were killed by cannon balls flying about. No word either about the beastly rage of mercenaries, to whose merciless hands a city would sometimes be abandoned if it surrendered only after a long siege.

But why should indeed Dumas have written about the miseries of war? His primary intention was after all to tell stories in which readers would dream away…

Who was the real d’Artagnan?
Charles de Batz-Castelmore, Count d’Artagnan, was born in 1610 or 1611 in the castle of Castelmore in Lupiac, in the French province of Gascogne. In 1627, like many young noblemen, he travelled to the court of Louis XIII in Paris. There he became commander of the ‘grey’ musketeers, named after the colour of their horses. In fact, they were the king’s lifeguards, and accompanied him everywhere. D’Artagnan accomplished delicate tasks at the service of the crown: he escorted important prisoners and carried secret messages. He married in 1659, fathered two sons, but divorced a few years later. In 1672, he became governor of the Flemish city of Lille, which had come under French rule only a few years earlier. Here, too, he had to act with tact and authority.

The young republic
In 1632, the Dutch prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange had conquered the fortified city of Maastricht from the catholic Spanish Habsburg king. From that moment on, the city served as an outpost in the hands of the protestant Republic of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.

The young republic entered its golden age. Ship owners from Amsterdam sent their vessels around the world and rapidly acquired enormous riches. Holland became a refuge for Huguenots and free thinkers of all kinds, and a centre of art and science. Established powers like England and France saw this bloom with a mixture of envy and disdain, and tried in turns to deflate the daring Dutchmen. But this was no easy task.

During two sea wars against England, the fleet of the admirals Tromp and de Ruyter remained intact with remarkable skillfulness. But in 1672, the ‘year of disaster’, the situation became threatening: there was much discord in Holland about the princes of Orange, whose prominent position did not seem to fit a republic. Now England, France, Münster and Cologne all at once turned against the United Provinces of the Netherlands.

The Sun King
In those years, the French Sun King Louis XIV was building his baroque palace in Versailles. He was the soul of the alliance against Holland. Yonder in that small country of frogs by the sea, those princes of Orange were thinking a great deal of themselves, weren’t they? But had they been anointed kings like himself, his very Christian majesty by the grace of God? Didn’t his marriage with the Spanish infante Maria Theresa give him more rights to lay claims on the Spanish northern hereditary lands? The Dutch were just peasants. A country without a king was not a real country. Even France’s existence depended on its king. “L’Etat, c’est moi”, declared Louis XIV.

The Sun King believed that the French speaking regions of Alsace and Wallonia belonged to France’s natural territory. He wished to shift the country’s frontiers to the Rhine river. So he declared war on Holland.

Around this time, the famous poet Jean de la Fontaine wrote a political fable for his monarch, in which he portrayed ungrateful frogs (the Dutch) rising in revolt against the Sun (the French King), who was warming them. In the final lines of Le Soleil et les Grenouilles, the frogs are warned to beware against provoking the sun’s wrath:

Car si le soleil se pique,
Il le leur fera sentir ;
La république aquatique
Pourrait bien s’en repentir.

(For, should the sun in anger rise,
And hurl his vengeance from the skies,
That kingless, half-aquatic crew
Their impudence would sorely rue.)

But there was however one problem for the French: to reach the Rhine, Louis XIV had to conquer Maastricht. And Maastricht was one of the strongest fortified cities of Europe.

The siege of Maastricht
The thirty-four year old Sun King took personal command over the siege of Maastricht. He pitched his tents on the Louwberg hill, next to the church of Wolder. His renowned fortifications engineer Vauban organised the technical aspects of the siege, such as the construction of provisional circumvallations to avert any relief force, and trenches of approach towards the city. Their English allies were under the guidance of the duke of Monmouth, a natural son of King Charles II.

D’Artagnan was Lieutenant Captain of the first company of the King’s musketeers. He was to concentrate his troops’ assault on the Tongerse gate (Tongersepoort).

In 1673, the fortress of Sint Pieter, the High and Low Fronts and the Waldeck bastion did not exist yet. But the walls around the city had already been provided with large outworks. To the north of the Tongerse gate for instance, stood a seventy metre long and forty metre wide earthen hornwork, perpendicular to the wall and supplied with a hiding place made of stone. Before the gate, among other fortifications, the Dutch had built a brick covered lunette, which later became known as the ‘demi-lune des mousquetaires’. To the south, stood yet another lunette, next to the De Reek watergate, where the Jeker streams into the city. The city had also been provided with underground passages which helped the besieged garrison identify and undermine the trenches of approach.

The attack
On the night of Saturday 24 to Sunday 25 of June, 1673, the French army captured the advanced lunette before the Tongerse gate. On Sunday morning, however, the Dutch garrison reconquered it with the use of explosives. The young and unthinking duke of Monmouth now persuaded the sixty-two year old d’Artagnan to take part in a counter attack without sufficient cover.

The musketeer had hardly recovered from the battle of the previous night. As he passed a bottleneck, he was hit in the throat by a musket bullet. D’Artagnan fell and succumbed to the fatal wound.

The duke stepped across his corpse and recaptured the lunette. Within a few days, the French army was able to make a breach in the city wall. The siege of Maastricht had lasted only thirteen days when the city surrendered on June 30, 1673.

D’Artagnan had been loved not only by his fellow musketeers, but also by the king himself. On the evening of that fateful Sunday, Louis XIV wrote in a letter to his wife: “Madame, today I lost d’Artagnan, in whom I had every confidence”.

After the capture of Maastricht, Louis XIV ordered a triumphal arc to be erected in Paris to celebrate this glorious feat of arms: a sculpture on the Porte Saint Denis represents an allegory of the surrender of the Dutch stronghold.

The King further immortalised the siege of Maastricht in paintings, struck medals and built a scale model of the city of Maastricht and its surroundings.

But the glory of war turned out to be transient: Sic transit gloria mundi. Within five years after the conquest of Maastricht, Louis XIV was forced to relinquish the city again, as a concession to the Dutch stadtholder, prince William III of Orange, who married Mary Stuart in 1677 and later on became king of England.

By Hennie Reuvers, 19 Dec 2006
Crossroads Magazine, guide to Maastricht

The Grave D`Artagnan may have been found, see this...


Suggested by an article in The Wars of Louis Quatorze

...because fashion is timeless...



"A short history of the Hootenanny Mass & other absurdities..."

Father Know it All continues to Part 3 of "A short history of the Hootenanny Mass & other absurdities..."

...(There is a story here that I can’t resist telling. Julius planned his tomb right in the middle of the new St. Peter’s, smack dab on top of the apostle’s grave. It was to be a sort of stepped pyramid, covered with Michelangelo statues. The whole thing took longer than Julius imagined; 120 years to be exact. They didn’t quite finish on time and Julius didn’t get the glorious tomb he had planned in the new basilica. They put Julius elsewhere for the time being and the few statues finished by Michelangelo at the time of Julius’ demise were scattered around Rome Finally, the remains of Pope Julius were interred in St. Peter’s many years later. If you visit St. Peter’s today, walk toward the great altar and over on the right side you will see a large wooden console that I believe holds organ pipes. Around behind it they stack folding chairs for special events. Under the folding chairs you will find the grave of Julius II. The wonder of it all.)... more...

Reducing history to the lowest common denominator.


American Revolution, The Prequel

America’s Revolution: The Prequel

Bath, England

PICTURE the scene: Out of the dawn mist, a fleet of longboats glides across the water, packed full of musket-wielding patriots and weather-beaten Massachusetts militiamen. Standing in the prow of the lead boat, like Washington crossing the Delaware, is a man with long flowing hair and a blood-red banner emblazoned with two words: Vincit veritas. Truth Conquers.

But it’s not Washington, and it’s not the American Revolution. In fact, it’s not even America. This daring amphibious assault by Col. Thomas Rainborowe and his regiment of New Englanders took place 3,000 miles away, in old England, and in 1644, more than 130 years before those famous shots were fired at Lexington to herald what we Brits insist on calling the War of American Independence. More...

Print: For King and Kingdom by Chris Collingwood.
Depicts Royalist troops at an early stage of the war, readying for battle. Faces set with grim determination to fight and die for King and Kingdom. Chris Collingwood.
Find here...



Anglican bishop lays his mitre and crozier at the feet of Our Lady as he leaves for Rome.

An intensely touching detail from the final Anglican sermon of the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, delivered yesterday at St John the Evangelist, New Hinksey, Oxford. As the Ordinariate Portal reports, at the end of the service, Bishop Burnham – who will be ordained into the Ordinariate as a Catholic priest – “laid aside his crozier and mitre at the feet of Our Lady”. Here is his sermon:

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? John 14:2

Thank you, all of you, for getting out the snow-chains and coming here today. It was a bit of an after-thought to put on this service: I am supposed to be on Study Leave and I knew, in my heart, that it would turn into Gardening Leave, that I should be resigning rather than returning to the work of a bishop in your midst. But I shall always remember my wife, Cathy, telling the students at St Stephen’s House on the Leavers’ Course, that it is vital to leave properly, to say your goodbyes, and move on. It’s not quite what the Americans call ‘closure’ but it’s something like it. It is what distinguishes a decent departure from a death. In some ways, leaving is uncomfortably like dying. As I sit in my office, I hear about what is going on. Other bishops providing cover: and we are already grateful to Bishop Lindsay Urwin for that. The Council of Priests meeting and talking about what kind of Bishop of Ebbsfleet is needed in future. Stories that suggest that people are not moving off but simply moving on, looking forward to a new bishop and life returning to normal.

Death is often cruelly disruptive, leaving all kinds of unfinished business, and a multitude of ‘if onlys’. A decent departure sorts out some of the things that need to be sorted out, makes proper arrangements. I keep returning to the Passion Narrative and the departure of Jesus. Make no mistake, I have no delusions of grandeur but, as I said in my Pastoral Letter, I have found the Farewell Discourses in St John’s Gospel immensely rich. As I said in that letter:

‘Looking through the Farewell Discourses, there is not only Jesus going ahead to prepare a place but also the promise of a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit (John 14). Jesus is the True Vine and, cut off from him, we can do nothing but wither and be thrown into the fire and burned (John 15). His new commandment is to love one another. ‘By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another’. The work of the Spirit is to guide us into all the truth (John 16:13) and to glorify the Father and the Son. Thus our sorrow will be turned into joy. We learn of the gift of Peace, which, amidst the tribulation of the world is found only in Christ. Finally Jesus prays for the gift of Unity (John 17). It is that gift of Unity, I believe, which is offered to us, and through us eventually to all separated Christians, in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. It is because it is a gift of the Holy Spirit, abiding in his Church, that I believe I must accept it and invite others to come with me on the journey.’

‘I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you.’ Jesus’ departure was a death, but it was a death that brought about salvation, and, part of the secret of doing that, humanly speaking, was the way he prepared his disciples and what he was then going on to do. Jesus’ death was a departure but in no sense was it a decent departure. There was the cruelty of the Passion, the desolation of Golgotha, the anguish of the Pièta, and the chill of the sepulchre. My point is that it is that departure – that death – explained beforehand and back-announced gloriously in the Resurrection that must inform all our attempts to be disciples of Jesus. And so, a decent departure, explained beforehand and – who knows? – back-announced in what comes later. That isn’t a Messiah complex but an attempt to follow Jesus, as a disciple.

So what am I leaving behind? 75 parishes – not to mention the couple of dozen parishes I lost in Exeter diocese two or three years ago, a loss which I still notice. The mostly wonderful – and otherwise usually loveable – priests who serve those parishes. Fr X who calls a spade an ‘effin’ shovel’. Fr Y whose private generosity to me and support has been extraordinary. Fr Z who gets in touch every few months with yet another tranche of candidates for me to confirm. And then there are those people who must be named: Vicky Hayman and Jackie Ottaway in the office, and former staff, who have kept the whole thing going. Alan who has driven me around for nearly ten years and has heard me gently snoring through the ten o’clock news as he has driven me home. Fr Bill, my chaplain, who has left my stuff behind in a whole variety of sacristies but who has gone round the bun fights doing most of the Bishop’s pastoral work for him. The team has been fabulous. And there are others too: His Honour Mr Judge Patrick, who used to give me free legal advice and support but who, now he’s a judge is no longer allowed to. The two or three deans who have kept in touch on the phone more or less every week for ten years. Talking of which I should mention my Council of Priests, which became a Council of Friends. The people of the parishes, showing time and time again a commitment to the Lord and to each other which I have found humbling, instructive, and life-enhancing. Various key lay people – on the Lay Council, running Brean, turning up at Parish Evangelism Weekends – serving with devotion and skill.

I’m also leaving behind the hugely maddening Anglo-catholic movement: its frailty and fearlessness, its humour and its holiness. It is a home for some slightly disreputable characters – and the ministry of Jesus specialised in being at table with slightly disreputable characters. Ten years touring round the West and the South West has had its moments. No time for anecdotes, but there was the time when I stopped at a service station and bought two cups of tea, which I promptly dropped all over ‘me privates’. From Burnham-on-Sea (Burnham-on-Crouch?) back to Oxford in a sodden suit. What would people have thought had I been on the way there rather than on the way back?

The Anglo-catholic movement has fought a losing battle for 150 years, trying to convince the Church of England that she would be Catholic if only she conformed herself to the Catholic Faith and fully embraced Catholic Faith and Order. It was a losing battle when I was a little boy of ten, told off for sticking saints’ names into the Confiteor at the Early Communion. It was a losing battle when I was twenty and Fr Hooper was still going strong at Mary Mags, filled to the gunwales despite its extreme churchmanship. It is a losing battle now, as the General Synod presumes to discuss matters of Faith and Order on which classical Anglicanism always claimed to have the same view as the universal Church, the Church of the First Millennium, East and West.

But I love the Church of England – the mainstream bit – and shall miss her. She taught me the psalms and the Revised Standard Version. She taught me about music in the service of God. She taught me about the beauty of holiness. Oh yes, the naughty excitement of the Folies Bergère may be available in Anglo-catholic worship but the dull dignity of cathedral worship, the seemliness and the decency, is something I shall also miss. I have tried to gather some of that up in today’s service. There is nothing more Anglican than Herbert Howells’ Collegium Regale, ‘Let all mortal flesh keep silence’ by Edward Bairstow, one-time organist of York Minster, and the psalm chant by George Thalben-Ball, long-time organist of the Temple Church. There is little more beautiful in literature than the Cranmerian cadences of the traditional language of the Prayer Book, which, rather unusually, we are using today. I shall even miss some of those in the mainstream whom I have known and with whom I have worked.

So, if leaving well is calling to mind what one will miss, then I am learning to leave. If it is about looking forward to what is coming next, then I’m not sure: I have never been less sure of how the future will unfold. But, finally – and I have given up trying to make this address into a proper sermon – I must say, if I am to leave properly, thank you for all you have done for me, for all you have been for me, and for all you are to me, and always will be to me. For many, I hope it will be ‘see you soon’ rather than ‘good-bye’ but, on your journey of discipleship, look not to me but to the Lord whom we serve. He alone can teach us how to be pilgrims on the way that leads to Paradise.

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?