Sunday, 17 July 2016

Vanity Fair...

An Anglican priest (another splendid old bugger) once told me, in reply to my question about why he hadn't joined the Ordinariate (on account of his sincerely-held beliefs), that he thought it supremely unwise for men to change their allegiance, except in the rarest of circumstances, and he was far too old for such a change anyway. I thought when I went home (I am, after all, a bit slow in the uptake!) that that was an admonition for me to return to the Roman Catholic church and stop pretending to be an Anglican. Pretending! Surely pretending requires some effort? All that seemed to be required of me as an Anglican was to turn up on Sunday, or when I felt like it. I never felt as though I fit in anyway. Most of the congregation were wealthy, influential people; not riff-raff like me, and I found most of them too frivolous in matters religious. And as for being homosexual, they might have forgotten the sins of the cities of the plain, but I certainly hadn't. Nor shall I ever. So perhaps I was a pretender.

I was certainly not a pretend Roman Catholic, except perhaps in the last days when the veracity of the claims of that church crumbled not only before the Novus Ordo crowd (the ascendant ones, on whom I had given up around 2002) but also under the sheer weight of the hypocrisy of the traditionalists. It also occurred to me that the very existence of a "traditionalist" movement meant that tradition, something I always cared more about than allegiance, was no more. The Roman Catholic church soon became the bane of my life, and I railed against her with utter contempt. Long-standing readers know the story. This caused the disintegration of several former friendships (which I regret), and the loss of any credibility I might once have had (which I don't). To have carried on as a Roman Catholic in the baleful knowledge that it is a false religion would have been pretending.

Ever since my extrusion or flight from Rome, I have been houseless, witless, carried about with every wind of doctrine, as the Scripture says. I was thrust out into the wilderness of this world and my only notion of direction in this open field with no sign posts, but very many ditches, was simply not to go back but either to stumble on in search of some new home, or to sit down and perish alone. Among many of life's fateful choices, this latter seemed the best one for the time being. For the time being, mind you. After all, it is not enough to leave one church and rationalize that choice. Nor is it enough to simply sign up to another, bearing the old prejudices and regrets, and all the baggage that goes with with all that. The strait and narrow Way to life (Matthew 7:14; Acts 9:2) is not some casual tour of Vanity Fair; nor does the Way have much to do with high ecclesiastical policies, theology or gossip (see 1 Timothy 6:5); on the contrary "a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt thou not despise," Psalms 50:17. Christ is the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13), and He demands more than just a change of allegiance. Everything must be tried as by fire; your way of life, your seeing, breathing and hearing; your repose and your waking; your eating and drinking; your physical exercise; the literature that you read, and the music that you listen to; the thoughts in your head; the company you keep; your prayer. As Our Lord says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect," Matthew 5:48.

It is for these reasons that I have not (yet) joined the Orthodox Church. Conversion, true conversion to God, is not a question of liturgy, or the kalendar, or ecclesiastical polity (although these things have their eminent place); it is a question of Christ Our God, and at the present my faith is cold. I am, nonetheless, comforted by the words of St Bede the Venerable, who longed piously (as recorded of him by his friend and disciple St Cuthbert):
Tempus vero absolutionis meae prope est, etenim anima mea desiderat Regem meum Christum in decore suo videre.

Friday, 15 July 2016


Just watch as the quacks, pundits and politicians come out and express the same tired, phony outrage and sympathy for the French victims of the latest terror attack. They will be careful not to omit the demonstrable lie that Islamic terror has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam. I woke up this morning, saw the news and sighed: "another one?" What a tragedy for the victims' families to be treated with such boredom.

What we need to do is to fix our oil problem (and by extension our transport industry). We need to deport all Muslims back to the Middle East and Africa. We need to stop supporting Israel, and then adopt a non-interventionist foreign policy. We need to create a situation where Sunnis and Shias are killing each other, rather than us, and all Muslims are killing Israelis. And a pox on both their houses!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Isles, Part III...

Wherein is concluded my account of my peregrinatio to the Ionian Islands.

The modest church built into the rock above Lassi.

I returned to the monastery for another look around (and to cool down) but, being alone and in the middle of nowhere, where most people had their own motor cars, I began to fear that I'd be left stranded. Vivi, my friend at the hotel reception, had told me that the bus would come back at 2:30pm. I didn't suspect her of mendacity, of course, but whenever I am alone like this, in the middle of nowhere, without much money, &c, &c I become anxious, and I needed to be reassured from locals that the bus would come back. I found a cheap taverna on the road to Argostoli and took some water and light refreshment with what money I had and looked around at the countryside as I waited for the bus. I thought how beautiful it was, perilously beautiful. When the bus returned (at 2:30pm exactly) I was still anxious because the driver did not immediately turn back, but carried on past the monastery and into the hills. An elderly woman disembarked at a bend in the road, at another Kandylakia in fact, whereupon the driver did a u-turn, and drove back to Argostoli. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and went back to the hotel.

On the road to St Gerasimos' Cave, a wasp.

On Saturday morning, my friend and I went to St Gerasimos' Cave in the uphills of Lassi. When St Gerasimos landed at Kefalonia in circa 1555 he dwelt in this cave for five years as a hermit, praying for and educating the many people that came to him. The cave is up another winding track, shaded at the top by olives and firs but very much exposed most of the way up! We passed blackberry bushes and grape vines on the way to the modest church built into the hillside. It was empty, but open to visitors. Nothing much to report about the cave, save that it was lit by a small hole pointing east and littered with icons. A quick Collect (for Purity), and The Lord's Prayer, and we were off again. My friend and I returned to Trenti's that evening for a last view of the sunset over cocktails. It was, subjectively, the most beautiful sunset we had seen that week; a pale blue vault rejoicing in fire as the bright day sank to slumber to his palace in the West (that's Thomas More). Unfortunately the view was blighted by a family of tubbo's (they had to be British; the Greeks aren't that fat) who spent the entire evening on their mobile devices. My friend, who has a skill for this kind of thing, nicknamed them "the Golightly's," and we both thought how unsociable to spend an evening engrossed in a piece of technology; how philistinistic to ignore the view, and how pernicious Globalisation really is. Not just the working class abroad but the fact that we had seen in remotest Ithaka cans of Coca Cola on sale, and the fact that many of the Greeks spoke proficient English (which, I must admit, spared them my feeble attempts at Greek), and the music on the radio tended to be Western pop music, except for a few cabs and restaurants.Where was the national costume, except as a quaint curiosity aimed at British tourists, who, from what my friend and I could see, knew and cared little about Hellenic culture and history? We saw Greek dancers during the week but they were laughed at, and all those old widow women in black I remember from Corfu in 1993, where were they? Dead and gone, that's where, and replaced by tourists whose fat lives and influence are slowly poisoning the island. May the curse of Babel strike all their tongues till they can only say baa baa, say I.

I can't remember who is depicted in that icon but it was his feast day.

On Sunday morning my companion and I went to Divine Service in Argostoli. Just a priest and two cantors, and someone to ring the bell. As parochial, and simple and utterly honest as one could wish, with a natural, seamless quality and a timeless ethos that seemed to transcend the locale and the people (I suppose that just means "catholicity" in a round about way), as though we really were praying in the Spirit and the beauty of holiness, and yet faithful to Tradition as a guide rather than a rule. No rubricism here! Not one of the women covered their heads, as I have seen among the Greeks in London, which I must admit I find irritating. And before you start about such things as slavery being sanctioned by St Paul, let me ask at what point do we cease dispensing with the commands of Scripture as being out of date? Is it at the point of complete negation? Because it seems to me that such things as head covering for women are not as trivial as they seem, and the decline in this godly discipline came about not by ecclesiastical reform but by the ineluctable tide of a culture that long ago dispensed with Christianity; the very tides that brought us multiculturalism and the dogma of equality. Anyway, to return to Mare Nostrum, my friend and I left the church with the Antidoron, and went to the airport.

Another view of Ithaka...

Kefalonia and Ithaka are indeed beautiful but they are becoming increasingly like Tenerife and any number of Mediterranean "little Britains." This is shameful. Just like my companion's comment about building a tunnel through Ithaka. What an abominable notion! The most regrettable irony of Globalisation is that the bigger, cleaner, and more advanced things become, the smaller, dirtier and more backwards we become. It is painful to see the Kefalonians subsisting on the sale of tawdry junk to the Golightly's of this world, without, it seems, any moral or intellectual advancement in the buyers. Why go to Greece to burn on a sunbed when you can do that quite easily at home? And why would you do that in the first place? Why would you go to a foreign country and expect the locals to speak your language? Is there any place on earth where reactionary back numbers like me can go without having to put up with the bloody English? The locals all liked me, of course! Vivi, Sofia, Angela, Constas, the lady from La Gondola in Argostoli whose name I can't remember...they all encouraged and corrected my Greek, and were visibly delighted when I said that we shared the same catholick and apostolick faith. I was embraced on Sunday morning when I recited the Trisagion for two of the maids in my hotel who had missed church! I like to think that my companion and I left an impression of the English abroad unlike the others who go simply to drink lager, tan, buy junk and speak English everywhere.

The next time I go, if I go at all, it will, God willing, be in the winter, when there are no tourists. Hopefully to see Theophany.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Isles, Part II...

The most complete map of Ithaka I could find in Google Images. The island has an area of about 38 square miles, and is mostly mountainous. For me it remains the jewel in my memory of Greece. It is a paradise.

The second part of my account of my personal Itinerarium to the Ionian Isles.

We left Kathara at 2 o'clock and drove down the mountains along the coast. Along isolated, little-used country roads with few anti-crash barriers, it was not encouraging to see a rusted car wreck, overgrown with weeds, over a gorge outside Agios Ioannis. Our tour guide conspicuously did not point this out to us, neither did she say that there are, in fact, no hospitals on Ithaka. I told my companion this, who chose before we set off to give me the window seat. Presently we came to Stavros, and I was desirous to see the church again, but the coach didn't stop so "Mrs Pastry" (I wish I could remember her real name) told us that we would stop in the town on the way back. Through a countryside rich with an abundance of olive groves, cypresses, almond trees in blossom and wild flowers, we went on our way until we could see the sea on the other side of the island, washing the shores of Kioni. At Kioni the coach stopped at the top of the town because the roads were too narrow for him to go further downhill, so we had a pleasant walk past many a tended garden to the seafront. We had a lunch of seafood linguine and local wine in a charming little restaurant by a stone beach with a spectacular view of the sheltered bay, where the harbourage was good. A man was snorkeling in the bay. Our waiter told us that he was 80 years old and had been doing so for many years! It was here that my companion came up with our tour guide's nickname. We were both amazed that on such a hot day this plump lady could polish off two generous meat pies in ten minutes; hence the eponymous "Mrs Pastry."

We went back uphill to the coach after lunch, passing another one of those little green lizards basking on a flint wall covered with dry olive leaves. It soon disappeared. The coach then took us back to Stavros, where we had precious little time to explore. My companion and I went into the church of St Joachim the Ithakan, whose silver reliquary is decorated with precious stones. We did obeisance to him and then went to a cafe to sample some of the home-made ice cream. I tell you, when you have the real thing, you can no longer stomach shop-bought stuff. Or I can't.

I told you it was a ghastly tour...

We were summoned to the coach at last, and that was the end of our tour of Ithaka. By this time it was after 4 o'clock. Naturally, I wanted to see more of the island but for that we would need a hire car, and my friend (the only one of us who can drive) was put off first by everything on the wrong side, and the rusted old car confirmed his fear that hiring a car would lead to disaster. We saw goats running in the hills on the way back to Aetos but I fell asleep on the coach in Kefalonia and woke up as we reached Argostoli. It was a taxing day. I just wish I could have done a bit more walking. There is more to trees, as Treebeard can tell you, than the sight of them from a coach, and those splendid hills are full of them.

A ruined Venetian lighthouse north west of Fiscardo. On the left is the new one.

On Thursday we were picked up by another coach, and another tour guide; this time to take us on a boat tour of the island. We drove again through the fertile Omala valley, this time to the port of Agia Effimia, south east of Sami, where we boarded the "Romantika II," a cruiser. We sailed to Fiscardo, a town whose name is derived from Kefalonia's almost forgotten Norman heritage. It was Robert Guiscard, the man who destroyed Byzantine rite and rule in southern Italy, who died there in 1085. I found an Icon shop in Fiscardo, from which I bought an Icon of the Crucifixion, hand-written (graphia) in egg tempera and gold on wood. I was hard-pressed to find decent Icons in Kefalonia. Most of them were cheap lithographs aimed at tourists, the vast majority of them depicting the island's patron saint, St Gerasimos. We left Fiscardo and sailed north and west around the tip of the island. The sea became "rough," in the estimation of the boat's captain, and we had to abandon our aim of reaching Assos (which boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world) and go to a beach on northern Ithaka instead, which was a disappointment to say the least. I suppose it was another case of "health and safety" gone mad. If the captain thought that that was rough he should try the Irish Sea between Scotland and Belfast when everyone on board is sick! Otherwise I can think of nothing more to say about this mostly-wasted day. Standing at the prow of the boat as the white spray gushed up, and the contrary winds blew, was exhilarating, and the captain's son was nice to look at, but this day out (my companion's idea) was uneventful, and a lot of waiting around. I shan't be doing that again.

The katholikon of Agios Gerasimos. I did not take pictures here. I found this on the Greek Wikipedia entry for the monastery.

On Friday morning my friend and I went to Argostoli, he to do his own thing (whatever that may have been), I to catch the 10:30 bus to Agios Gerasimos, the most prestigious monastery and the centre of religious life on Kefalonia. Agios Gerasimos is in the midst of the Omala Valley, in the foothills of Mount Ainos. It was founded by St Gerasimos (1509-1579), of the dispossessed Byzantine Notaras family, in circa 1560/61. Much of the monastery, including the katholikon, was destroyed in the devastating Ionian Earthquake of 1953. The katholikon was rebuilt soon after but I thought was rather ugly, too modern and "light" for my taste (I prefer dim churches to churches where you can see all the dirt, even if there's none). The small conventual church of the Panayia, with its impressive Iconostasis was far more welcome. It is here that the relics of St Gerasimos himself are interred in a silver casket, on which images from his life, including his own falling asleep, are carved with considerable skill. I bought a prayer rope from a nun in the narthex of this church, and went in, and out. I walked through one of the monastery's many gardens, past wells dug by St Gerasimos himself; past the nuns in straw hats with their watering cans and baskets who paid me no heed as they tended the shrubs and flowers that grew there in holiness.

Presently the bells of the campanile rang out and I turned to see people going into the church of the Panayia, so I went back. The priest who had been sat outside with his prayer rope had put on his Epitrachelion and began a chant which I interpreted in my mind (based on frequent repetition of "Yerasimon," and "anesti") as a kontakion in honour of the saint, as the reliquary was opened for veneration. The priest had one key to the reliquary, an elderly nun (the abbess?) had another. St Gerasimos was there in the flesh, incorrupt, beneath a red pall embroidered with gold. There was quite a queue to venerate the relics. Upon reaching the front, I presented the nun with my newly-purchased prayer rope, which she took and crossed three times over the body of the saint and gave back into my hand. I then kissed her hand and venerated the saint, and left. I drew water from the well to quench my thirst and turned past the katholikon, down the steps to the roadside. The bus wasn't scheduled to return until 2:30pm, and I think the time then was about midday, so I turned left and walked to the Robola Winery.

Icons from St Spyridon, Argostoli. This photo was taken on Monday, if I remember rightly.

The Robola Winery is about half a mile from Agios Gerasimos, and all uphill. I passed another Kandylakia on the way, a welcome reminder to the Greeks, and to tourists like me, even if they bewilder the rest of the world. I paused, crossed myself and thought of Christian as he stood before the Cross as the burden fell from his back, and began to tumble. I carried on. There isn't much to see at the Robola Winery but I would recommend "San Gerasimo" (described there as the "full expression" of the Robola grape, which grows high on the slopes of Mount Ainos where there is less rain, and more sunshine). I wondered why they called it "San Gerasimo," rather than "Agios Gerasimos," but then I thought that perhaps it was easier to pronounce. Who knows.

End of Part II.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Isles, Part I...

Lord Byron, most famous of Philhellenes, in Greek costume at the time of the Greek War of Independence. Byron landed at Kefalonia in 1823 with money, medicine and arms for the Greeks in their struggle against the Turks.

As promised, an account of my trip to the Ionian Islands, part I.

I went with a companion this time, that is someone who could stand my company, to Kefalonia. We arrived on Sunday 3rd July (new style) at around 2 o'clock local time and went to our hotel in Lassi. Tired from the flight and unused to the heat, we decided to stay in the village, have some lunch, and buy some tea and milk for our room, and generally dossed around. We went to a cocktail bar in the evening called Trenti's which has a beautiful terrace looking west over the bay. It was a delight to watch the Sun go down beyond the hills as the stars kindled overhead, and I was anxious to try the bar's signature cocktail again, which I remembered from last year: a mixture of Vodka, Passoa, orange and pineapple juice. Four of those on a hot evening was quite enough!

On Monday my companion and I went to Argostoli, the island's capital. We went first to the quayside where the local fishers process the morning's catch because last year I learned that Caretta caretta, the only species of sea turtle native to the Mediterranean, feed there every morning on the fishy offal thrown overboard by the fishermen. At first, as we walked along the quay, we saw nothing, then suddenly Look! my friend pulled at my sleeve as a turtle came to the surface of the water for a puff of air and swam back down again. We followed her (I assumed it was female) as she swam by the boats, and she was joined by another, as well as many a school of small fish. Other than the fishermen, and two young ladies who were clearly conservationists, my friend and I were entirely alone. Where were the tourists, I wondered? Looking for tourist shops, or other tourists? How strange that here was a local miracle and my friend and I were alone. It was the same last year. We watched the turtles for about twenty minutes as they fed (and fought!) until we were conscious that the morning sun grew too hot for our fair skin and we decided to get our own breakfast.

St Spyridon's, Argostoli.

We broke our fast at one of the restaurants in the town square. I had toast with local marmalade, a savoury bun with sesame, drizzled with thyme honey, Greek coffee and peach juice. My friend had sausages and fried eggs with a kind of butter sauce, and tea. We sat talking for an hour in the shade of the plane trees of the square, ordered more coffee, when my friend said that there was a Muslim woman crossing the square. I said: "are you sure it's not a nun on her way to the bus station?" "See for yourself," said he. Well, I was aghast! Coming towards us was a young woman in a white hijab pushing a pram. Here, in heavily-Christian provincial Greece, was an infidel in our midst. I noticed that the locals stared at her in an openly unfriendly way. I didn't blame them, although I felt rather sorry for the woman, and wondered where her husband was. I also wondered what on earth she was doing there. Was she on holiday, like my friend and me? If so, what did she expect to see or find in Greece? There are no mosques, and, unlike here in England, the local shops won't sell halal meat. I thought then that it would do her the world of good to visit any of the local churches. So, I expect, did the Greeks.

On Tuesday my companion and I took the ferry from Argostoli to Lixouri, on the west side of the gulf of Argostoli. Unless I am quite mistaken, there isn't much to see in Lixouri other than the same junk shops we saw in Argostoli but we did visit the Monastery of Kipoureon, the residence of one elderly monk. A char woman sitting outside the katholikon let us wander about for a bit but we became bored and soon left, returning by ferry to Argostoli for lunch. Walking through the trees in a side street to avoid the sun I spotted a small green lizard, which soon disappeared into some foliage. My friend, who didn't actually see it, guessed it to have been a species of rock lizard.

The only cloud we saw that day. Aetos is to the right of this promontory.

On the morning of Wednesday we were picked up outside the hotel by a coach to take us to the legendary Kingdom of Ithaka on a ghastly one-day tour. We were driven through the Omala valley, brimming with orchards and vineyards, through winding mountainside roads to the seaside town of Sami, from which the ferry took us to Ithaka. It might have been a combination of slight hangover, the heat of the mid-morning Sun and the ceaseless up-down motion of the Ionian waves, but I felt rather sick and, unlike last year, did not go out to the deck to view Odysseus' antient home from a distance but sat in the shade with a bottle of water, hoping that I would not throw up. I didn't. We landed at Aetos at just after 10 o'clock, from which the coach took us by a narrow coastal road to the island's capital at Vathy for a two hour stop. It was a long and circuitous route, and my companion, uneasy at the sharp turns along the way, said that the EU might well have built a tunnel from one end to the other. I do not share this view, and think that, in addition to corrupting the natural beauty of the island, a tunnel would totally negate the worth of the journey (or pilgrimage); something I can only compare to the cheap, evanescent thrill a gambler feels at winning the lottery.

Vathy has a museum of, mostly broken, Classical artifacts. I saw it last year but I went in for my companion's sake. We then went into the church of Christ the Saviour, whose 15th century Iconostasis was miraculously preserved in the cataclysmic earthquake of 1953. A priest saw my companion and I cross ourselves outside the church as we went in but said nothing. Conscious of the time, my companion and I hastily crossed the town to refresh ourselves at a cafe with sorbet and water, whereupon we returned to the coach to move on. We went by another coastal route into the mountains, passing a roadside shrine, or Kandylakia, on the way. The shores outside Vathy were as I imagined the pearly strands of Alqualondë at the noontide of Valinor; as pure and clear as if I looked upon their first Creation, and flowing from green and turquoise shallows into a sapphire sea. O, the paucity of mere words! Presently we came by steep and winding roads to the Monastery of Kathara, a skete overlooking the bay of Vathy. "Mrs Pastry" (my companion's nickname for the plump tour guide with the comical voice) spent the forty five minutes there talking to another char woman, dressed head to foot in black (a rare sight in modern Greece and Spain). As in the other churches I had seen, my companion and I were greeted by the Byzantine double-headed eagle as we went in, and I prayed for a return of the Emperor before the Icon of Sts Constantine and Helena. As I had done last year, I climbed to the top of the belfry there and looked out to the sea. It was a hot, dusty day so we didn't stay up there for long but the belfry there, standing over a thousand feet above the sea, boasts a panoramic view of the south of Ithaka. Below us to the south we could see clearly the islet in the bay, whose name I can't remember, upon which was built a church and where, on Theophany Even, the sea is blessed using the old Greek rite. I'd like to see that.

End of Part I.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Away again...

I have been away again to the Ionian Islands. Comments awaiting moderation since Sunday last have now been published. A friend suggested that I might go to be Baptised by the Greeks, in Greece. The thought had crossed my mind but something held me back. More on that when I write an account of my trip. I did, however, in token of Baptism, buy an Icon (not a lithographic print on plywood) of Christ's Baptism in the Jordan in a monastery. It now hangs in my bedroom, pride of place, where that old Spanish crucifix (the one I gave away) once was.

Now to catch up on everything...

Saturday, 2 July 2016

A response to Fr Anthony...

This was going to be a comment on Fr Anthony Chadwick's blog on his latest post but it has grown in the telling and was too bulky to be a mere comment.

Tolkien shared your sympathy for Germany too, father, and said that he had a bitter personal feud during the War against Hitler himself, who bastardised that "noble Germanic spirit." But I have to say there is something dark and aggressive about Germany, and I don't just mean the Nazis. Germany has been an aggressive power since the 1860's, first of all as a pan-German, pietist Protestant nation under Bismarck; then as the imperial power we fought against during the Great War; then as the libertine, elitist, anything-goes Weimar Republic, whose degenerate policies included pioneering in Jewish psycho-sexual innovation (proto-transsexual surgery, legalisation of sodomy, &c); then along comes Hitler and revives a humiliated country, and says things about various things that rather a lot of people then thought. Just as Henry VIII's break with Rome hardly "invented" the spirit of national pride that made it so successful, Hitler's policies were not exactly imposed on an unwilling people (except Jews, who were the greatest beneficiaries of the Weimar Republic). Unfortunately, mobs, crowds, rallies of angry people...well, you know where I'm going.

And we're seeing this to-day. The European Union is a socialist institution. We see this most clearly in policies such as the expansion into poverty-stricken former Communist countries and having to bail out countries like Greece, who, unlike we British, won't work more than thirty-two hours a week. And with the expansion, together with the principle of "free movement," comes mass immigration. Then comes the inevitable spiraling down of wages because a Polish builder (for example) is willing to work longer hours than a British builder, and for much less money. How is this not going to cause resentment among the native people? And that's only the immigrants that work! My mother has seen Romanian men on Eltham High Street who are inebriated bums going through bins; unemployed, unwanted and a waste of space! What right do they have to be here? And if they do have a "right," which clearly trumps the rights of the British people, what duties do they have to their host nation? Because these drunken bums clearly don't want to learn English...

And this resentment, we're told by the metropolitan elite, is gratuitous xenophobia and racism. Remember when Gordon Brown called Gillian Duffy a "bigoted woman" for raising genuine concerns about immigration? That's the kind of sneering condescension people like me face to-day. When a legitimate concern is dismissed as a phobia then the accuser can simply avoid answering the question and dismiss his opponent as an ignorant yokel. What a sham!

And as for Mrs Merkel, another champagne socialist, her utterly daft policy of open doors is going to destroy Europe. Perhaps she thought that an open-door policy would provide a counter to Germany's appalling record of aggression since the 1860's, but, in reality, by destroying the social fabric of Europe, she will have added to that record. She will go down in history as worse, much worse, than Hitler. And she is not alone in championing this self-destruction. There are many MPs in the British Parliament, such as Yvette Cooper and the late Jo Cox who, out of misplaced compassion and moral superiority (or cowardice), are our silent killers. And we vote for them (well, I don't)! And since the candidates who stand before us at general elections are pre-selected by closed committees of elitists absolutely loyal to the "party line," which, since the 1990's, has been pan-Blairism across the political parties (with, from what I can see, similar politics practiced by the political establishments on the continent), and totally uninterested in their constituents, the electorate might as well just be incidental to the whole process. It boils down to politicians seeking the votes of real people whose real opinions and concerns they secretly despise.

But coming back to the open-door policy, to where does this inevitably lead? In twenty years I can see the political class and the working class evolving into the Inner Party and the Proles; the Inner Party being the "democratically elected" leaders, safely cordoned off from the Proles by body guards, heavily armed police, and living in separate communes (true communards), riddled with a standard of living not shared by most, and debating policies in parliament that really only affect them because the Proles have descended into poverty, tribalism, crime, disorder, ignorance and idleness. I imagine sectarian conflict between the Sharia communities of Muslims, and football hooligans. I imagine car bombs, demolition of churches (there would still be cathedrals but these will be for the Inner Party, who come together at certain times for pagan, humanistic services orchestrated by people who dress like Christian ministers, but really aren't). I imagine abortions taking place on street corners. I imagine sex in public places. I imagine waste being collected once a month, with rats and foxes prowling the streets by day. I imagine grim, grey high rise flats that stink of stale urine and cheap lager. I imagine Christ's Name openly scorned. I imagine mass surveillance and identity cards. I imagine toxic fumes rising from slag heaps. I imagine corpses being left to rot. I imagine stabbings and shootings in broad daylight. I imagine blood feuds. It will be Hell.

But there'll still be freedom, and the rule of law, and the glories of a multi-racial, tolerant and diverse society. There'll still be Victory gin, and month-old razor blades. Doubleplus good, eh!

To return to the unhappy present, Fr Anthony raises concerns about nationalism and a rise in far-right politics, racism and so on. I must say I'm not as concerned about that myself. This sort of thing happens when the Left is in charge. The real beast is the Left itself. I can't remember who said it but in Britain there is an inch of difference between the two political parties, and it is in that inch that we all live. Since the Restoration of 1660 Britain has enjoyed a curious liberty, precariously in the balance. George Orwell mentions something like this in his essay The Lion and The Unicorn, where you set up the Nazi Storm Trooper against the hanging judge, a figure almost as savage but as old as the hills and part of the fabric of the unwritten constitution. Of course, that figure no longer exists and in his place has appeared an armed police force, and a detached political class overwhelmingly on the Left, even when they sit on the Right of the Commons chamber. "Compromise" is the word I'm searching for, and there is absolutely no compromise to-day. It is within the parameters of compromise that we enjoy liberty. If there is no compromise, whether to the Right or Left, then one side will be in the ascendancy and the other will be brimming below the surface, ready to erupt at something completely innocuous.

Something needs to change. We're seeing some kind of change in Britain at the moment, but whether for the better remains to be seen. As for change on the continent, what with Austrian elections being re-run for fear of electoral fraud and the rise in far-right nationalism, well...God grant that we can say: "that's no longer our concern."

Friday, 1 July 2016

The wilderness of this world...

G.B.Smith (second from the left at the back), a childhood friend of J.R.R. Tolkien and member of the Tea Club and Barovian Society, with other soldiers in the 19th Lancashire Fusiliers. All died during the War.

Let us commit to the LORD the most heroic and Christian men, admirable templates for Tolkien's "Samwise Gamgee," who made the ultimate sacrifice one hundred years ago at the Somme; a battle so unutterably tragic and wasteful that I, who have never seen bloodshed, can scarce conceive of it. I chose the title in deference to Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, a work known to most men of that time, many of whom tried to reconcile it with what they saw around them.
"I am going to my Father's, and though with great difficulty I have got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who will now be my rewarder. When the day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the river-side, into which as he went, he said, Death, where is thy sting? And as he went down deeper, he said, Grave, where is thy victory? So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side."
Eternal rest grant unto them, O LORD, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

European Power will be humbled...

The European Parliament building in Strasbourg, whose architects were clearly inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder's powerful, mysterious rendering of the Tower of Babel (below), deliberately left unfinished to symbolize that not all national governments are yet subject to its will.

"Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the LORD hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped." Isaiah 10:12-14.

Be not afraid of the Assyrian, or the European! For the Lord God of Hosts shall scourge him, "and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled." Faith is more important than "economic benefits," and those who would sacrifice faith on the altar of Mammon are damned to Hell.

It is the duty of every Orthodox Christian to pray for the destruction of the European Union.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Europe is Babel...

Just think. All those heroic veterans who marched over the parapet of their trenches, shot down and killed...for this.

I'm sick of being told that multiculturalism and multiracialism are axiomatically good. It seems to me that, with the rise of great supranational blocs in this world; the United States of America, and the European Union (which has had a flimsy, temporary setback), whose more "liberal" partisans champion miscegenation, mass immigration, and the enforced settling of huge numbers of "refugees" from Afro-Asian countries deliberately destabilized by disgraceful and bloody interventions for this purpose; together with a deliberate policy to destroy the Church and demonize Russia, we are in the midst of people who would build a new Tower of Babel. That was, I have no doubt, the magnificent monument to another multicultural, multiracial people who had equally no time for God and who marveled in their own collective wisdom, enriched by the blending of tongues, of cultures and races into one people. I have no doubt that the builders of this tower sneered at "little" nations and separatists, who resented the watering down of their identities by deliberate policy, and who had their metaphorical teeth extracted by charges of bigotry and backwardness; sneered at also because they kept the memory of a higher and nobler truth than pan-utopianism and the pseudo-philosophy of diversity. What happened to the builders? Well, because of their hubris God cursed them. And God will curse the partisans of multiculturalism and multiracialism too, because they are not good.
"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." Genesis 11:1-9.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Union...

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20.

"In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent, even Leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." Isaiah 27:1.

What a weekend to read the great Isaiah! Now would be a good time to read the whole of chapter three.

As I progress along as narrow a path as I can tread towards Orthodoxy I am struck by how little I now care about the Union of Great Britain. I see it now as one of the more unfortunate legacies of the Norman Conquest, when the Kingdom of England was absorbed into a European, feudal hegemony, against the will of the English, under the dominion of the pope of Rome (who was really the first President of the European Commission), with disastrous consequences for the English language, custom, law, church and so on. And there are many similarities throughout the subsequent history of these islands; "the Pale" in Leinster, the Pilgrimage of Grace, the Jacobite risings, the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland. British entry into the Common Market is another example. But British secession therefrom will be the first to break this unfortunate tendency, and is therefore a great boon for English people, even if they don't yet understand this. Where some see this as a kind of Gunpowder Plot or Pride's Purge, I see this as a new Reformation, even a Restoration, and we can certainly see the obvious parallel between "Brexit" and the Peasants' Revolt. I hope "Brexit" is more successful!

Now there are those who say that the attitude of "Brexiteers" is small-minded, isolationist, generally backwards. One of my correspondents quoted that famous poem by John Donne (without, incidentally, saying anything else):

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.

That says more to me about human solidarity in general than the European Union, which is so corrupt and dictatorial that it deserves to collapse. In Donne's time the continent was still largely under another corrupt and dictatorial union, the Papal Communion, while we British, for the first time since the Norman Conquest, enjoyed the liberty of the Gospel. Using Donne, who rejected that corrupt union by joining the Church of England, to bolster EU membership dishonours his memory. Another correspondent quoted Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold, saying that the beach at Dover is bare, with only a hint of humanity in a light that "gleams and is gone." He hears the sound of the sea as "the eternal note of sadness." The Greek tragic playwright Sophocles also heard this sound as he stood on the shores of the Aegean. I find this stuff hard to swallow because it's articulated in a very grandiose, theoretical way about how lovely it is that we're all neighbours, that we all share these utopian ideals, and so on. Much of the time, I find these sentiments coming from people who don't care much for Christ our God, such as the metropolitan elite. To hear them from people who read my blog (who are all Christian, of various confessions) is very distressing.

For me, the European Union is the fulfillment of Daniel's Prophecy about the king of the north (see Daniel chapter 11). Who would not then rejoice to see the tentacles of that unhappy, unholy union chopped away! What does the Prophet Isaiah say about Leviathan? The Church of England has failed. The Italian Mission to the Irish has failed. Now, in the 950th year since the flower of Orthodoxy withered, I see great hope that Orthodoxy will rise stronger and greater from the compost heap of the two bastardized confessions that took her place for hundreds of years. I doubt this would have been possible in the European Union, or in the Union that has survived (barely) since 1707. If the price of faith is the destruction of that union, so be it.

Art: Giorgio Vasari. Even us "Brexiteers" enjoy continental art, musick, food and wine.

Friday, 24 June 2016

God be praised!

I haven't felt this elated about British politics for as long as I can remember; probably never. I bless God that to-day I cannot say with Húrin of his own people, that as thralls they have found thrall hearts. On the contrary, as thralls they have found courage and have smitten the face of that godless, tyrannical monster and leach on the continent to which we have all been vassalled for years. Now we can hope that the nascent empire of Antichrist will begin to crumble as men of faith in France, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere take heart and follow the example of the British, once again a beacon and example to the nations, and begin to dismantle this unholy union in their own lands.

But it's only the beginning. It is not enough for us to have left the European Union. We need also to leave the Common Market, and abandon the nation-killing principle of free movement. We need to see the destruction of the two main political parties in this country and their replacement with parties of principle, of faith, built on trust and the confidence of their voters rather than the radical left and virtually indistinguishable parties who arrogantly disdain their voters that we currently have (whose membership has plummeted anyway). We need to see a renaissance of Orthodoxy in this country. We need to systematically dismantle the principles of inclusion, diversity and multiculturalism. There are so many issues to address that I actually don't feel that this referendum is good enough on its own, and will not (I feel) achieve the desired result. I said earlier that I feel elated, but that will pass. The referendum ought to signal all the things that I have mentioned, but who can say that it will do so? Already we've heard Nicola Sturgeon's aim of holding another ("once in a generation!") independence referendum for Scotland. Martin McGuinness has called for a united Ireland after the nationalists voted in favour of "remain," because that's in the interest of Sinn Féin. What about London? I live in the borough of Bexley, which voted 63% in favour of leaving, in sharp disparity to the rest of the metropolitan area. Will London also secede from an independent England? Will the United Kingdom disintegrate completely? Will England be balkanized into a few insignificant districts? The future is greatly uncertain. If London does have its own unique border, and becomes a new "international" city, then the English capital must move to Winchester.

Of course, I don't believe that any union on earth is sacrosanct. The Angevin "empire" was no more sacrosanct than the United Kingdom or the European Union. There is nothing more special about huge feudal empires than there is about utopian political ones. Tolkien hated the union too, and would no doubt have despised the European Union, for cultural and linguistic reasons, but also because he was an anarchist (like me). Nothing is certain. For the time being things will go on as they have done, but who knows what things will be like two, ten, thirty years from now. Either we stand at the crossroads of a new, brighter future (or a bleak one), or things will remain as they are and this will have been a costly, nasty waste of everybody's time, and a cheat of their sincerest hopes. The latter seems much more likely to me. As if the empire of Antichrist could be defeated by the democratic voice of simple people!

Thursday, 23 June 2016


Sauron was a European utopian idealist. Remember when he posed as Annatar, the lord of gifts; an emissary of the Valar sent to heal the disorders of the world after a prolonged and bloody world war? Do you remember those rings of power made to unite the peoples in a false unity, under his dominion? Do you remember how he and his minions in Hollin sought to create a utopian paradise, without reference to and in defiance of the Valar over the sea, because they no longer wished to submit themselves to the ordinances of the appointed and just rulers of Arda? They no longer believed in the life eternal, and so they sought to perfect life on earth. Remember what Gandalf said to Frodo about hobbits being miserable and enslaved being much more to Sauron's liking than hobbits happy and free? Do you remember Saruman's sanctimonious speech to Gandalf in the tower, about the "new power" rising? Or the ruffians who invaded the Shire, "gathering" and "redistributing" all the food and beer, and taking anyone who protested into gaol? Do you remember all those "rules" posted everywhere? Do you remember the miserable hobbits who obeyed the rules out of sullen fear? Do you remember the rising of the Shire hobbits against their oppressors? Do you remember what Sam said about Mordor having come home, and being brought so home that it was worse than that foreign place far east and south because you could remember what it used to be like?

The Shire under Sharkey's tyranny is not described in too much detail but you can guarantee that its currency was the Euro, greengrocers were sent to gaol for selling apples by the pound rather than the kilo, that hobbits who complained about being supplanted by foreign ruffians were called "racists," and "bigots," and I have no doubt that the ruffians' sneering condescension about the hobbits being backwards, and in need of "waking up" is a reference to that depressingly modern ideology of our own European political class (in Tolkien's time the likes of Roy Jenkins and Ted Heath), of anti-Christian, utopian, atheistic multiculturalism, internationalism, globalisation, bohemianism, Marxism, philistinism, elitism, a class of unscrupulous, ambitious, mendacious people who rely on the votes of people they openly despise. Sauron was a European. Saruman was a European. Gandalf was not. Aragorn was not. Neither were the hobbits.

Which are you?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Popery vs Gospel...

"But the apparent success of the Papacy when closely examined cannot be justly pronounced legitimate, or fairly won. Rome ever swims with the tide. The evils and passions of society, which a true benefactress would have made it her business to cure - at least, to alleviate - Rome has studied rather to foster into strength, that she might be borne to power on the foul current which she herself had created. Amid battles, bloodshed, and confusion, has her path lain. The edicts of subservient councils, the forgeries of hireling priests, the arms of craven monarchs, and the thunderbolts of excommunication have never been wanting to open her path. Exploits won by weapons of this sort are what her historians delight to chronicle. These are the victories that constitute her glory! Yet another great deduction from the apparent grandeur of her success is the success of the clergy. During her early career, the Roman Church rendered certain important services to society but when she grew to maturity all acknowledge that her principles implied the ruin of all interests save her own.

"But the career of Rome, with all the fictitious brilliance that encompasses it, is utterly eclipsed when placed beside the silent and sublime progress of the Gospel. The latter we see winning its way over mighty obstacles solely by the force and sweetness of its own truth. It touches the deep wounds of society only to heal them. It speaks not to awaken but to hush the rough voice of strife and war. It enlightens, purifies, and blesses men wherever it comes, and it does all this so gently and unboastingly! Reviled, it reviles not again. For curses it returns blessings. It unsheathes no sword; it spills no blood. Cast into chains, its victories are as many as when free, and more glorious; dragged to the stake and burned, from the ashes of the martyr there start up a thousand confessors, to speed on its career and swell the glory of its triumph. Compared with this how different has been the career of Rome! - as different, in fact, as the thundercloud which comes onward, mantling the skies in gloom and scathing the earth with fiery bolts, is different from the morning descending from the mountain-tops, scattering around it the silvery light, and awakening at its presence songs of joy." The History of Protestantism by Rev. James A. Wylie, sometime Lecturer in Popery at the Scottish Protestant Institute.

"Rome ever swims with the tide" is the most salient point. One time it was acceptable for popes to confine Jews to ghettos. Now we have a pope who says that anyone who takes even an anti-Zionist position is an anti-Semite. At one time popes said that the separation of church and state was an absurd notion; now the pope says the opposite, among many other total reversals in doctrine. Ever read the "syllabus of errors" and Gaudium et Spes in the same afternoon? They might as well be penned by two opposing organisations! Why these changes? Please don't entertain the notion that it is some newfound wisdom. If anything these changes represent a cynical power struggle with the world. Secularism was created by the Papal Communion, who now opposes it and yet simultaneously aligns herself with the godless creature she herself created by her own secularising reforms. Rome is not interested in the salvation (or damnation) of souls. She is only interested in herself and her own preservation. Isn't it about time this monstrous institution was administered its long-overdue death blow?

Monday, 13 June 2016

A harmless nuisance?

As I came home from work this morning, I passed a middle-aged man in my neighbour's driveway who bid me a good morning. Like one of Bilbo's utterances I greeted him in like fashion, and then I noticed two women holding files and dressed like proprietresses of the funeral home and I realised what they were. I couldn't pretend to not be in as they were standing in front of the porch door so I said: "good morning, can I help you?" And they then introduced themselves as Jehovah's Witnesses, adding for good measure: "you've probably seen us about before." They first of all quoted James 1:19, saying: "Know this, my beloved brothers: Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak," from their own translation, and I thought a very resourceful way of compelling people to shut up and listen, so I let them speak. They asked me if I had any religious beliefs, and I said: "I am an Orthodox Christian." This made almost no difference to the conversation as they were clearly following a prescribed method, which I made every effort to disrupt. I told them what I thought of Charles Taze Russell (I can't remember exactly what I said but the words "charlatan" and "renegade" were used; and also that "nothing good ever came out of America"). They asked if I ever said The Lord's Prayer, which of course I do, and I made sure to remind them of the real words as found in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and then asked what I thought was meant by the petition: "hallowed be thy name." I thought for a second, thinking this was a genuine question, so I said: "well, name-worship is an absurd heresy, and I don't believe it is appropriate to..." and then I realised what they were up to, and also that they hadn't listened to a single word I had said, so I cut off and said: "I see where you're going with this but you will not convince me that God's Name is to be invoked without full purpose and reverence."

We had reached a stalemate but the other lady (she must have been about 80) then asked what I thought of the present state of Christianity. So I said: "well, dead, frankly." At last we agreed! I then pointed out the reasons why, chiefly blaming the Papal Communion, and then said that I had actually written to Mr Putin asking him to invade us and annex us to Russia, and to send as many priests and monks as he could spare to convert us. This seemed too outlandish, even for them. The old lady then got out her umbrella from her bag as it started to rain, which seemed as good a moment as any to say: "well it's been pleasant chatting but I really must be getting on." They did promise to come back so I said "please don't," and went in to make some tea.

That was the first time I have ever had a conversation with a Jehovah's Witness. Most of our interactions to date have been "we're not interested," but those have invariably been answering the door from inside. But I do wish I had been more prepared. They had come to convert me, or to at least arouse some interest in their religion. I simply defended myself against proselytism, without having made much of an effort to bring them into the Church (it would have been a good idea to have mentioned the Sunday just gone, which was the commemoration of the 318 Holy Fathers of Nicaea who, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, defined the Divinity of Christ, but I forgot). On this basis our interaction was a complete waste of time and in the balance it would probably have been better over all to have simply ordered them off my father's land without engaging them. The marrow of their bones has been filled with erroneous doctrine and I am in no position to evangelize myself.

What are Jehovah's Witnesses? Are they dangerous? Or a harmless nuisance? To me, as to my readers, I am sure they present no real threat. As I told them in my own words (which I don't remember), I am not interested in restorationist, Protestant, conspiracist movements which make bogus claims and predictions. As Scripture says: "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him," Deuteronomy 18:22. But to others, wayward in their beliefs, these cults present a real danger, and the danger of blasphemy. Now, in terms of the hierarchy of dangerous religions, as it were, you may say that the Jehovah's Witnesses do not come close to militant Islam. Nonetheless there is a demonic undertow to this religion which far outbalances two seemingly kindly ladies in plain raiment and in our contest for mastery over the Mujahideen it suffices to say that these people don't help. How do you treat them, then? Is "sorry, we're not interested" enough?

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Did they know? Oh, yes they did!

Poor old Bugnini, always being blamed for everything...

Rather like how that old fraud Marcel Lefebvre claimed, years later, that he only signed the conciliar decrees to indicate he was present at the Second Vatican Council and not to endorse them (!), I think the idea that the Novus Ordo was suddenly sprung upon an unsuspecting episcopate (who famously did so much to resist its implementation), who knew nothing about it until the late 1960's, is...cobblers, to be frank. It is well known, even if some choose to deny the knowledge, that all the revolutionary aspects of the new rite were being planned in detail at a series of liturgical conferences, beginning at Maria Larch in 1951, and organised by various liturgical scholars in consultation with the commission set up by Pius XII in 1948 for the general reform of the liturgy.

Do people suppose that these conferences were clandestine affairs? Illicit congresses of Freemasons and conspirators? That some of them probably were Freemasons notwithstanding, these conferences had the enthusiastic support of the Sacred Congregation of Rites and Pius XII himself, and their conclusions were sent immediately to Rome at the deliberate request of the pope. As Colonel Ross-Duggan observed from his trip to the Lugano Conference in 1953 (emphasis my own):

"There was every evidence that the Holy Father, the Sacred Congregation of Rites and all higher authorities were very seriously interested in our deliberations." (Quoted in Pecklers, "Dynamic Equivalence: The Living Language of Christian Worship").

J.D Crichton said of the Lugano Conference (emphasis my own):

"It should be a great relief to know that the Holy See is taking a very active part in this reform of the Liturgy. And perhaps we may sat at this point that if 'reform' sounds too strong a word, what the Church is seeking to do is to adapt certain parts of the Liturgy so that the people may take their rightful part in it more fully and with greater profit." (Crichton, "Rome and Liturgical Reform").

Fulton Sheen "experimenting" with vernacular liturgy in 1955. A Byzantine mitre, and Roman gauntlets, and a bit of lace.

There is further proof out there, that is if you care more for knowledge than propaganda, but, as you can see, the idea that Pius XII was invincibly ignorant of what was going on is as credible as the Flat Earth Society. So what about the bishops? Well the Commission set up by Pius XII in 1948 wrote to all Metropolitans and Archbishops asking for their views on liturgical reform, and some of their responses were quite revolutionary (which surely indicates a liturgical malaise and ignorance already engendered that had no need of the "spirit" of the council, no doubt already in the planning, to provide later?). One wrote back with the suggestion that the Divine Office should be streamlined to bring it more into line with the abortive Quiñones breviary (recognisably the Prayer Book offices of Mattins and Evensong). Another, the Archbishop of Dakar (you can look him up here), was a tad more conservative than this but later denied any knowledge of these nascent reforms. All these things can be read in the Congregatio Sacrorum Rituum, Sectio Historica.

The benefits or malefits of these reforms have been debated far too much, and there is no consensus about what to do for the best. Probably nothing, and that it's a dead horse - that's my belief. The Roman Rite is finished. The liturgical scholars appointed by Pius XII for his commission were the ecclesiastical equivalent of our contemporary political elite; that is people with a measured amount of ideology and contempt for the lay people and their own patrimony. The pope, with all his "Petrine" authority, played his part to the end, but what shall we say of the bishops? That these people supinely allowed these reforms to take place, and enthusiastically imposed them in their dioceses, really says something about the problems fraught in having an episcopate appointed directly by Rome rather than elected by a cathedral chapter, and consecrated without reference to Rome.

Who is to blame in all this? Well, you may say that the Novus Ordo is the triumph of the "experts," or Freemasons, if you like, but I take the view that the buck stops, as in any organisation, with who is in charge. Who appointed the commission? The pope. Who personally chose Annibale Bugnini to chair the commission? The pope. Who sanctioned their reforms? The pope. Who carried out and completed the reforms, before, during and after the Council? Three popes. Who had no intention of reversing these reforms, even if they could be reversed? The pope. It's dead, it's gone, it's finished. And that's just the Roman Rite! How long before the Uniates, with their bastard Byzantine rite suffer a similar fate? Already Robert Taft has called for a general reform of that rite. Mark my words! Rome just cannot help it. It relishes nothing more than tearing something antient to pieces and reconstructing it in its own image. After all, what is the modern Roman Rite but a kind of Frankenstein's monster?

Saturday, 11 June 2016

An observation...

I watched (part of) the pagan, diverse and utterly boring service of thanksgiving for HM The Queen's 90th birthday yesterday. Did anybody else pick up on the subtle inclusion of a German anthem? Ostensibly to remind Her Majesty of her German ancestry but in the midst of a very controversial, and certainly heavily biased, campaign to remain within the European Union I thought it was a breach of impartiality.

Look at the picture above. Apart from readings given by unprincipled, incompetent politicians, lesbians and atheists they just had to drag every religious and ethnic minority on at the end. But I wonder sometimes just how different that makes the Church of England from other fallen institutions, like the Roman Catholic church, or the Phanar. Look at these pictures below and tell me if they have not sold their souls.

"Don't worry, master, we'll constrain the churches into a pan(theistic) synod before long..."

(Left to right) A Jew, a (presumable) Christian, a blasphemer and a Muslim. We're all the same really...

Two Freemasons together. Spiritual fornication with the Antichrist.

One world religion, one world government, under the authority of the man in the picture. Jews, Christians, and Muslims, all world religions melded into one, with the pope as supreme.

What do the ordinary people think of all this? Do people really care about diversity, or joint declarations, or prelates embracing and supposed historic milestones? Because I don't, and I am deeply suspicious of them. It does seem to be a power thing, a thing that men (and not seldom women) of power have in solidarity, and a "let the people eat cake" attitude. Who cares what we think! We're only the faithful, and the electorate; we're just ignorant, prejudiced rabble.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

A liturgical abuse...

Click to enlarge.

It's not often that I look at Rorate Caeli these days. This is why. Surely the essence of Christian worship is its common (or "corporate") nature? "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," saith The LORD; not "where a bent old priest mumbles to himself from a book, facing a brick wall." "New Catholic" says:

"Sacrifice. Silence. Like the simple seven words on Golgotha. The essence, before our very eyes: the epitome of unplanned and truly organic development - Roman order and terseness displayed forever and everywhere."

Low Mass is indeed "sacrifice," but it is not a sacrifice of praise; it is the sacrifice of right worship on the altar of Popery. It is indeed "silent," but the silence is not holy (or even golden), it is the silence of choirs singing with voices and the choir books, diaconal vestments, &c. gathering dust as the memory of right worship wanes with each generation. Since the days of Durandus, Roman controversialists have ascribed mystical and mythical attributes to their erroneous worship. "New Catholic's" comparison to the seven last words is just another one. All these "organic" developments have just turned out to be abuses in various forms, like the denial of the chalice and the maintenance of Latin long after it had expired as a lingua franca, or even a language of lore. And as for Roman terseness, and order, I'd have thought some of the older antiphons and collects would better fit that description. Low Mass is a liturgical abuse. That is as true as the grass is green and the sky is blue. It is defective worship that destroys holiness and the catholicity of the Church, and the only reason traditionalists like it is because it is one of those things, like the "immaculate conception," the universal jurisdiction of the pope, Latin, &c, &c that distinguishes them from other Christians. If the ungodly fruits of enforced clerical celibacy are a generation of perverse priests then the evil fruit of low Mass is (or rather was) the noose around the Western liturgical neck. It only took the pope to kick away the proverbial stool, in whatever year you like, 1588, 1629, &c. with a fantastical display of the rightness of his jurisdiction.

Image. A simple screenshot. I had thought to find a typical devotional painting of low Mass, and typed into Google, and Google provided a "terse" and "ordered" answer: "(in the Catholic Church) Mass with no music and a minimum of ceremony." And you'd think only fundamentalist Protestants and Wahhabi/Salafist Muslims despised music and ceremony.

Popes and Zionism...

On 26th January 1904 Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement, had an audience with Pius X in the Vatican to seek his support for the Zionist aim of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine. He recorded his account of the meeting in his diary. The "Lippay" to whom he refers is Count Berthold Dominik Lippay, an Austrian papal portraitist, whom Herzl had met in Venice and who had arranged the audience. You can read the whole account of the audience here. There are some amusing observations. Herzl's description of the pope as "a good, coarse-grained village priest, to whom Christianity has remained a living thing even in the Vatican," is a very fitting one. Even in the Vatican! The awkwardness over etiquette, manifestly Herzl's refusal to kneel and kiss the pope's hand too, leading to the pope's stern response to the tenets of Zionism:
"We cannot give approval to this movement. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem—but we could never sanction it. The soil of Jerusalem, if it was not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church I cannot tell you anything different. The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people."
Except for "head of the church," this all seems quite reasonable. It went on like this, back and forth between "Rome," represented by Sarto, and "Jerusalem," represented by Herzl, and then broke off. Upon leaving Herzl says that he saw a painting. In his own words:
"In the Raphael stanze [rooms], where I spent the next hour, I saw a picture of an Emperor kneeling to let a seated Pope put the crown on his head. That's the way Rome wants it."

Quite. Pius XII continued to opposed Zionism, associating it, rightly, with Communism (another Jewish ideology), and issued three bland encyclicals on peace in the Holy Land. To his credit, he never recognised the nascent Jewish state, despite Golda Meyerson's (stage name "Meir") cynical appraisal of his war time endeavours to safeguard Rome's Jews with the title "righteous Goy." I wonder if she knew he was actually Jewish? That would certainly explain the liturgical reforms that took place under his supervision. After all, why would Jews care about Christian worship? If you don't believe me, here is a photograph of Pius XII presiding over a Jewish service in a synagogue in the mid-1940's. I discovered it on a website dedicated to exposing that inveterate liar Elie Wiesel.

Fast forward to our own time. John Paul II recognised Israel in 1993 and visited the Holy Land defiled by those bearded, Hebrew-speaking Gentiles several times; "prayed" at the fallaciously nicknamed "wailing wall" (never a holy place for Jews before the Balfour Declaration), thereby committing spiritual fornication and countenancing a hoax with the Jews in the land belonging to the Arabs. Those Assisi gatherings did not even come close to this scandal.

And now pope Francis says that to take an anti-Zionist stance is to be an anti-Semite. Well, you can think that if you want, monsignor, but I prefer the Tradition of the Church to your silly rhetoric. I prefer the Church's traditional attitude of hostility to the Jews, collectively culpable for Christ's death (Matthew 27:25) and many gross enormities, to the fundamental reversal in doctrine represented by modern Rome. I prefer Ecclesia in beauty and triumph to Synagoga, faithless and accursed.

We're all friends now, eh?

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Clericalism and Gender...

The most obvious question: where is Christ?

Fr Andrew has excelled himself once again in this succinct piece over on Orthodox England. He says:
"The crisis of masculinity (and so of femininity also) began in Western Europe in the second half of the eleventh century. This was when the most powerful men in Western Europe introduced compulsory clerical celibacy in a shocking revolution that ran counter to the Christian Tradition up until then. This revolution itself, which was caused by and led directly to what is now known as clericalism, was an anti-woman phenomenon, an act of misogyny, for it asserted that women were unworthy to share in priests’ lives. It is no surprise to learn that many of those behind this revolutionary innovation were homosexuals (1). However, although initially expressing hatred for women, the revolution came to bring hatred for men too – by metaphorically castrating them, making them less than real men."
I used to think that clerical celibacy was right and proper, and foolishly looked down at married priests. Then I realised that chastity and celibacy were not interpenetrating qualities. Roman controversialists might deny any link between enforced clerical celibacy and the absolute horror of child molestation but these sins (see Mark 9:42) really do demonstrate the danger of sexual repression among men. This is not my area, and it's not for me to pick up where Fr Andrew has left off, but I do. All this stuff is related. The so-called "Gregorian reforms," attributed falsely by their zealous proponents to St Gregory the Great and Preacher of Dialogues (who would no doubt have been horrified by them), were a fundamentally secular revolution, not unlike the rather secular reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Carried all over Europe by the Romanising monks of Cluny, the proto-Ultramontane party of the early feudal world, these reforms destroyed Orthodoxy in Western Europe and established Popery in its place. Feudalism, enforced celibacy, the sharp disparity between Church and State (epitomised in the Road to Canossa and the murder of Thomas Becket), legends and images of St Mary that obliterate the divine motherhood, the maintenance of Latin, the decline of liturgy as corporate worship and its confinement to portable breviaries, competing religious orders, &c. These are just some of the subjects that have their uttermost origin in this secular revolution. In fact, it's not too much of a stretch to attribute the driving force for the liturgical reforms of the 20th century to the Gregorian revolution 900 years previous.

I can't remember who said it but the pope, celibacy and Latin are the only three things Roman Catholics care about.