Thursday, 31 January 2013

More patrimony...

I recommend this post from the now-seemingly-defunct ''Mutual Enrichment'' blog (formerly Liturgical Notes) from when John Hunwicke was still sane. Hunwicke describes the history of the canonisation process relative to the Latinity of the liturgical books and the cult of St Charles the Martyr. That Hunwicke is an unfortunate example of how Popery ruins everything need not be belaboured here to-day. I wonder if Hunwicke commemorated St Charles in whatever service he celebrated yestermorn?

As for me, I was at the Banqueting House at Whitehall yesterday for the annual service put on by the Society of King Charles the Martyr on that solemn and serious day on which barbarous tyranny prevailed against the Lord's Annointed. I was in the company of some very distinguished men, a good many familiar faces, and the ethos of the day's devotions was of goodness, obedience, and no riff-raff. When I was at school and I first saw that famous German relief of the martyrdom of St Charles (at the top of this post), I thought how unnatural it was for a kingdom to kill its own king. Edward II and Richard II (who, one might say, deserved their fates) were ''done away with'' (Richard was most likely starved to death), but this was different. Where these former were supplanted by another King, the death of St Charles heralded the death of Kingship itself. Parliament had passed an act making kingship obsolete even so. St Charles was brought to ''trial'' by mere force of arms, was ''judged'' by an oligarchy of his enemies, men of reprobate religious minds, and was publically executed as a ''traitor'' and enemy of the state - charges actually fitting the leaders of the parliamentarians themselves. The death of St Charles was illegal, unjustifiable, an act of judicial murder and an absolute, unmitigated atrocity. A black day for this Kingdom, forsooth!

A most distinguished friend and I were musing over lunch afterward about the relationship of unsound political opinions and unsound religious opinions, that they always seem to interpenetrate. The Regicides (correct me if I am mistaken) were all Puritans. Most of the Parliamentarians were Puritans. The Kirk of Scotland (James VI and I having re-established episcopacy in 1584 notwithstanding), which was where the Civil War really started, was ''Presbyterian'' in polity. The Protectorate abolished liturgy, bishops, suppressed the writings of the Caroline Divines and their Jacobean fathers and set about a movement of gross Iconoclasm far worse than that of the reign of Edward VI. Oliver Cromwell, so clearly fanatical and a regicidal lunatic, epitomises the dangers of Protestantism. That just leaves the Roman Catholics. During the reign of Elizabeth I there were popish plots, in France, Spain and Rome, ordered to one end: her assassination and the coronation of Mary Stuart who would, presumably, once again impose Romanism on the land. Thankfully, Francis Walsingham exposed most of them, but they never really went away, and really we ought to consider their implications for societal and religious order. Such things as Regnans in Excelsis of ''saint'' Pius V, in which the pope released the English from loyalty to their Sovereign; Guy Fawkes and his notorious plot to ruin the Kingdom by the shedding of blood; the fact that so many recusant Roman Catholics were willing to commit murder, espionage and other acts of treachery for the sake of the ordinances of the pope, all of these things justify the Penal Laws. If a group or cult is dangerous, naturally the State takes measures to suppress their activities and influence on public life. Modern Roman Catholics are really no different to their 16th and 17th century ancestors, just as dangerous, just as contemptuous of the Church Established and the Monarchy. Irish Republicans are a noteworthy example, as are some traditionalists. They all have this hubris about the fact that The Queen is an Anglican, that the finest churches in the land (built before the Reformation) are Anglican churches which ought to be ''given back'' (to whom?). So what? Should your personal loyalty and obedience to the Sovereign be less because she is not a Roman Catholic? I'm sorry but this attitude of modern Roman Catholics to the Sovereign, which is the latter day yoke of Pius V and Guy Fawkes but lulled to sleep, is a most uncatholic and unnatural tendency and contrary to the express word of Scripture:

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme.

As for the cult of St Charles the Martyr, what is the problem? Does the Second Vatican Council not say that many elements of sanctity and piety exist beyond the confines of the Roman communion? And are not episcopacy, ecclesiastical polity, kingship and tradition not worthy causes for which to die? But then the Romans would interject and say that St Charles had a few priests put to death and was obstinate, could be fickle and uncompromising. Oh I see, so you'd rather venerate Pius V who encouraged the assassination of Blessed Elizabeth and oversaw many uncatholic reforms in his pontificate? But it doesn't matter, does it? Personal piety, deference to a regal tradition, etc mean nothing to Roman Catholics. The real reason they cannot stand St Charles is because he would not bend the knee to Rome. And so I might conclude by repeating what I said earlier: unsound political and unsound religious opinions do indeed interpenetrate, for they proceed from the same delusion. In other words, Roman Catholics are just ritualistic puritans; and puritans are just unsmiling Roman Catholics. Two sides of the same coin, with one side featuring the head of Oliver Cromwell, and the other the bishop of Rome. And who can tell the difference? How, exactly, was Cromwell any different to somebody like Pius XII?
St Charles, King and Martyr, pray for us.


  1. The removal of the concept of nobility among Christians of all stripes has strangely escaped comment from most theologians. It is possibly more significant than the distinctions that separate Protestants and Catholics- for let's face it, most Christians are feelers, not thinkers, and can't understand the theological arguments. I came at an appreciation of the old regimes from the other side- the minarchist/anarchist side, especially after reading Hans Herman Hoppe's Democracy, the God that Failed. Those in the Austrian School of Economics recognize a natural nobility- or at least take note of the existence of inequality. They also notice that, everything else held the same, a king has reason to improve the realm and pass it on to his heirs rather than indulging in whims and destroying it, while our representatives have every reason to take everything until it is gone.
    One of the great deceptions currently practiced on the populace is to lump the old regimes in with our modern states, either to lambaste them all (on my libertarian side), or to support the legitimacy of whatever is being contemplated now. Instead, I see Western Europe was very competitive in the arena of governance, and they were sensible family businesses. Things go all wonky when the corporate model is introduced, and even worse when they betray the corporate model and introduce universal suffrage. Now we've got institutionalized oppression.

  2. In the Belgian context, the Papacy never supported the revolt of the catholic south against the protestant king. I don't think the Vatican supported Irish nationalism either. In the case of Elizabeth (I'm not sure what merits calling her blessed, though), I think the main motivation for the bull was the existence of Mary, Queen of Scots.

    My two more nuanced cents:
    The suppression of Roman Catholics was deplorable, the extreme measures taken by Roman Catholics against it were detestable. Charles I was a saint, and Roman Jacobites shoudln't ignore that, as they follow his line as well. Most troubles in the Catholic Church are because of the excessive centralisation of every direct authority in the Pope.

    And concerning the difference between Pius XII and Cromwell. Pius XII was a typical Italian pope with no feeling for or knowledge of good liturgy who probably thought he was doing the right thing. Cromwell was a violent regicide, and every statue of his ought to be decapitated.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Yours, August, was very informative and has given me much thought.

    Actually, Tom L, the Papacy did support Irish nationalism, at least in the context of the War of the Three Kingdoms. In 1645 pope Innocent X sent his nuncio, Giovanni Battista Rinuccini, to Ireland with a great quantity of arms and gunpowder with the express intention of driving back the English, and possibly to use the island of Ireland as a back-door entry for his Italian missions to re-convert England. Of course his only success was to cause even more disunity among the Irish Confederates and in 1649 he returned to Rome, bewailing his failure in a lengthy memoir and leaving the poor Irish Romanists to the armies of Oliver Cromwell who ''rejoiced to exercise the utmost severity against them.''

    I don't think that the suppression of Roman Catholicism was itself deplorable, it was necessary. The kind of Roman Catholicism in question was very political, reactionary, and I daresay not very catholic in the first place. Remember that this was the height of the Counter-Reformation, when the Tridentine reforms were being carried out all over Europe, enthusiastically propagated by the Jesuits, creeping and spying everywhere as the pope's spies and thralls. I agree that most problems in Romanism are directly linked to the question of centralisation and Papal authority. In fact, the crux of all Christian disunity can be drawn to the very question of papal authority.

    That every statue of Oliver Cromwell should be decapitated, every image of his likeness be defaced is a most salutary notion; however I would treat Pius XII in a similar way. Pius XII's legacy is one of desolation no less than Cromwell. They are only different in manner, not degree.


  4. Well, at least those Irish acknowledged their rightful king. But it's a sad story indeed.

    Concerning the suppression of catholicism, the ordinary faithful shouldn't share the blame. If anything, the whole religious situation was extremely political. The protestant reformation being (ab)used for political motives, and the counter-reformation simply being the Roman equivalent of it, proving just as deadly for proper Christendom. If the whole conflict had happened before the rise of protestantism, it would probably just be something like the investiture conflict. And the Jesuits are really the culmination of that dreadful reformation. The only good things that they have ever done in my opinion are the intellectual work done during missions to China and North America, but even that could be said to be despite the missionaries being Jesuits. Not that they are a problem anymore since Vatican II, and the new traditionalist equivalent (Servi Jesu et Mariae) lacks both the power and the ambition the Jesuits had.

    I'd say Pius XII is simply the culmination of a long proces. I don't really understand why you fixate on him. Negligence was his worst flaw, letting Bugnini run wild in the 50s, but he was also active before and after the pontificate of Pius XII. Pius himself is rather unremarkable, like the lackluster monarchs who only seem to be remembered because they appear in the lists.

  5. Yes, it is sad.

    If you mean the English Civil War happening before the Reformation, then I think you may be mistaken as I cannot possibly conceive of a war of this nature happening in an era without the heresy of Protestantism (although the Peasants' Revolt is interesting from this perspective - Wat Tyler and John Ball were both Lollards). Precisely because Protestantism consists in the rejection of all Tradition which has not its uttermost source in the Bible. Kingship is the most traditional form of government.

    The Jesuits did excellent work in China, before the intervention of the pope and the ''Chinese Rites Controversy,'' another historical incidence of the arrogance and stupidity of Rome. Afterards I say kudos to the Chinese Emperor who banned Jesuit missionaries.

    You are correct that papa Pacelli was the culmination of a long process. In fact, these days I question the sanity of people who disagree with his reforms and yet utter Filioque in the Creed.

  6. I was thinking about the conflict between the popes and the English monarch. My bad, I should have been clearer. Concerning kingship, I do find it peculiar that even though popular 'traditional' popes like Pius X affirm kingship, most traditionalists in my country are republican. Of course, the Belgian monarchy is one of the Orleanist style, but even in this watered down form it is to be preferred above a contemporary republic.

    Yes, the Chinese Rites Controversy is another one of those sad times. Ironically, it was Pius XII who reversed that (or rather, the commissions serving under him), and the Chinese Church did bloom again. But one can only wonder what Chinese Christendom would have become if it had properly inculturated.

    The situation of the Filioque in post-Vatican catholicism is very strange. The Eastern Catholics for example are encouraged to omit it, but they have to accept it theologically. It also omitted from the creed if said in Greek. Removing it all together is such a little step now...

  7. Tom. L, "omitted" is perhaps not the right word, wouldn't you agree? It implies that the filioque once was there, and then purposely left out. The exact opposite is true; it was never in for the first nine centuries or so after Christ. And, as Greek was the first language of the Church in Rome, this is the last historical remembrance of that fact.

  8. English is not my first language, this error was not intentional. :)