Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.

“But the legalized looting of the monasteries and chantries by the Crown and its agents in the 1530s and 1540s set an example which other were swift to follow.” The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy

As seen on Instapundit

Benedictine Monks Return to Historic Solignac Abbey for First Time Since French Revolution.

Weekend 504.1

“lyke tru and fayghthefull crystyn pepyll this was restoryd to this churche by the wyche doyngis hyt schowyth that they dyd lyke good catholyke men.” – Sir Christopher Trychay

I’m almost finished with The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy. It’s such an exquisite work, and whilst academic, has some very lovely prose (e.g. the dead became as shadowy as the blanks in the in the stripped matrices of their gravestones). My progress has been slowed by work commitments, copious note taking, and passages of old English¹.

In terms of personal impact, this book cracks my top ten and joins the ranks of Admiral of the Ocean Sea by Samuel Eliot Morison and The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis. All these books (and probably authors) would be burned today by SJWs (and ironically Morison taught at Oxford and Harvard). Duffy’s book makes it clear though that in order to snuff out tradition (the permanent things) the radicals will grow more violent, extreme, and deceptive but that some saints and laity will labor at great sacrifice to preserve those traditions. The BIG debate is whether or not there is hope in the proles -or- if men without chests can be engineered by our elites.

“When the Edwardine spoilation of the church began William Clopton systematically bought up many of the images, and was given a free hand by the wardens to remove material from the Clopton family aisle and chapel, including all the images, ‘and to do yt at hys plesur’. One of these images, of the Virgin and Child in bed being venerated by the Magi, was discovered unbroken under the church floor in the nineteenth century, so it seems likely that Clopton took the images to preserve them.”

One other book is my top ten is C.S. Lewis for the Third Millennium by Peter Kreeft (Boston College) and this interview with him on Pints with Aquinas is recommended. It’s related to this post because Kreeft wrestles with Aquinas on the subject of whether or not the permanent things are extinguishable.

‘Where Is Your God Now?’ Portland Cops Do NOTHING as Antifa Attacks Prayer Event Led by Persecuted Christian Pastor (PJ Media)

Shaun King [BLM] says Jesus images ‘a form of white supremacy’ that must go: ‘They should all come down’ (Washington Times)

¹MY ambitions of being a Medieval scholar were dashed by my inability to handle old English.

Weekend 500.0

“wher soo ever the devyll…doo see the syne of this crosse, he flees, he byddes not, he strykys not, he cannot hurte.”

(1) Quotes from The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy:

“If prayers like the “Fifteen Oes” or the “Obsecro Te” take us into the mainstream of late medieval affective piety, and the centrality of the Passion of Jesus as a focus for prayer and meditation, these prayers for deliverance from evil seem to point rather to a devotional underground of dubiously orthodox religion in which the dividing line between prayer and magic is not always clear. Confronting such prayers, we seem worlds away from the élite piety of the disciples of Rolle, of the Carthusians of Sheen and Mount Grace, and of well-to-do lay devotees like the Lady Margaret. In fact, as we shall see, the issues are not so simple: the “popular” religion revealed in these prayers has more in common not only with the élite piety of the devout, but with the official liturgy of the Church, than might at first appear.”

“The printing of the Charlemagne prayers and related invocations and charms in the Horae does not bear out these generalizations, and neither does the provenance of many of the surviving manuscript versions. There certainly are indications that such devotions were attractive to peasant Catholics of “symple” outlook…This is not the devotional underground, it is the devotional mainstream, and the prominence within it of the Charlemagne legend and other related invocations and prayers suggests that any attempt to explain this dimension of late medieval piety in terms of pagan survivalism among the uneducated peasantry is misconceived. These prayers were clearly a manifestation of popular religion, but it was a popular religion which extended from the court downwards, encompassing both clerical and lay devotion, which could place the Charlemagne prayers, without any apparent sense of incongruity, alongside classic devotional texts such as the “O Bone Jesu” or “Anima Christi”.

And in any case, it would be a mistake to see even these “magical” prayers as standing altogether outside the framework of the official worship and teaching of the Church. The world-view they enshrined, in which humanity was beleaguered by hostile troops of devils seeking the destruction of body and soul, and to which the appropriate and guaranteed antidote was the incantatory or manual invocation of the cross or names of Christ, is not a construct of the folk imagination. Such ideas were built into the very structure of the liturgy, and formed the focus for some of its most solemn and popularly accessible moments.”

“The application of the sacramentals to this-worldly concerns, which some historians have seen as a mark of the superficiality of late medieval Christianity, was amply legitimated by the liturgy itself.”

“We are not dealing here with some obsessive bureaucratic tidy-mindedness but with a religious act. This degree of comprehensiveness was aimed at so the dead might receive the prayers which were their due, in charity and in justice. But the names of the dead were also preserved because the bede-roll was integral to the parish’s sense of identity, both in conserving a sense of a shared past and in fostering a continuing commitment to the religious ideals and the social and religious structures embodied in the parish church.”

Weekend 498.2

My library is password protected because in the words of Christopher de Hamel¹, “we all know what a lot you can tell about any person by looking at the book they own”, and in an era of cancel culture, censorship and persecution publishing this list would be dangerous.

One book that is in my library in the Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis. I suspect that Lewis (religious) and Orwell (secular) are like Holy Water to progressives and it’s great to see both writers (titans) appearing in reading lists at book clubs like Unsafe Space. As mentioned in a previous post, I don’t know what to make of Bishop Barron (of Word on Fire). He seems to be protecting and advancing an “Ascendant Liberal Christianity” (NYT) either out of naiveté or something else more sinister. In any case, Word on Fire has published a companion to Abolition of Man by Michael Ward that I’m going to read/review.

One book I can recommend as a companion to AOM is C.S. Lewis for the Third Millennium by Peter Kreeft. I’ve quoted this book extensively over the years.

Bishop Barron Catholicism?

¹The Book in the Cathedral

Weekend 498.0 (mirror of divine clarity or omniscience)

(1) Quotes from The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy:

“Market forces dominated, a fact which permits some degree of confidence in using the resulting compilations as indicators of lay opinion. Lay people wanted prayer-books which, in addition to the core materials of Little Office and ‘Dirige’, enabled them to say their morning prayers, helped them venerate the Sacrament at Mass, or prepared them for its reception at Easter time. They wanted prayers which helped them cultivate that intense relationship of affectionate, penitential intimacy with Christ and his Mother which was the devotional lingua franca of the late Middle Ages, and they wanted prayers which focused on their day-to-day hopes and fears. They wanted books which would provide them with illustrations, indulgences, and other spiritual benefits. And increasingly in the years before the break with Rome, they wanted more vernacular material.”

“All fifteen of the ‘Oes’ [Fifteen Oes of St Bridget] are conceived as pleas for mercy to a merciful Saviour whose understanding of the human condition is guaranteed by the fact that he took flesh and suffered for us, and whose suffering forms and enduring bond of endearment and tenderness between him and suffering humanity. Jesus in these prayers, as in the affective tradition in general, is loving, tender, brotherly.”

(2) Coventry Ring (British Museum)

Weekend 494.1

(1) A quote from The Art and Craft of Stained Glass by E.W. Twining:

“To be able to design for glass, in colour, a beautiful figure, perfectly proportioned, gracefully posed and draped in a suitable setting is a fine thing. To be able to do the same with a number of figures grouped in a well balanced composition is a glorious achievement indeed, but to be able to do this latter and then carry the design through to its ultimate end places the artist in the very front rank of his profession. It has been said, and I think truly, that stained glass is either a trade or an art, according to whether the various portions of the craft are divided up amongst a number of operatives or whether it is carried through by one brain and pair of hands.”

(2) British Society of Master Glass Painters

(3) Tracery Tales – Exploring History, Architecture and Culture – One Adventure At A Time

The image is a scan from The Art and Craft of Stained Glass

Weekend 492.3 (and all the rest)

Needed a placeholder. There’s a growing tension between Catholics regarding the Church pre and post Second Vatican Council. Not sure I have an opinion yet that isn’t influenced by causality and empiricism (some heavy reading and discernment is ongoing).

The desire of the Church via the Second Vatican Council is that “all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations” (art. 14) but when I read The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy the laity in the 1400s were incredibly involved in the life of the Church. There’s something else at work here and I think it’s more about belonging to the world (John 17:11-19).

“This was indeed a modest requirement (1530). It demanded from the laity no more than decency in church and the recitation of the rosary while the priest got on with the sacrifice at the altar. His liturgy and theirs converged only at the climatic moment when Earth and Heaven met in the fragile disc of bread he held above his head, and everyone found some heightened form of words to greet and to petition the sacramental Christ for salvation, health, and blessing.”

What Was the Actual Purpose of Vatican II? (Bishop Barron)
The Hans Kung Controversy (1980) (CSM)

(1) Good prose from 100 Churches 100 Years published / commissioned by the Twentieth Century Society:

“Elsewhere, the traditional figurative style continued but was recast in bright, sometimes cinematically brilliant Technicolor colours…”

(2) Stephen Fry: The History Of The First Printing Press (YouTube)

Weekend 492.1

I’m waiting for the café next door to open…need coffee.

Yesterday I went to Mass at Our Lady of Fatima in Harlow. The church was featured in 100 Churches 100 Years published / commissioned by the Twentieth Century Society. The apron of the church is a perfect square and surrounded by “great expanses” of stained glass by Benedictine monk and artist Charles Norris (OSB).

“Its [the church] plan is a clear and straightforward expression of liturgical reform principles that sought to put the Mass center-stage, enveloped by the congregation.”

The Miracle of the Sun, also known as the Miracle of Fátima, occurred in 1917 . On my way back to the train station I stopped at the 1914-1918 War Memorial. It seemed appropriate since Our Lady promised that God would grant peace to the entire world if Her requests for prayer, reparation and consecration were heard and obeyed.

I took photos and will post them on Flickr.

Weekend 492.0

(1) Steven Sykes created the hanging cross above the altar at St. Margaret of Scotland in Twickenham. He lived a very extraordinary life. The church and artist are featured in 100 Churches 100 Years published / commissioned by the Twentieth Century Society.

Sykes was born in Formby, Lancashire. His father was a family doctor, A. B. Sykes of Ashhurst, Formby. He went to the Oratory School in Caversham, Berkshire and studied stained glass design at the Royal College of Art. He won a travel scholarship to France and Italy in 1936 and on his return he joined Herbert Hendrie’s stained glass studio in Edinburgh. Sykes married artist Jean Judd in February 1940. At his death in 1999, he left two sons and a daughter.


Weekend 479.0

Fantasia“O Lord, let me know my end and the number of days left to me; show me how fleeting my life is.” — Daily Meditations on the Psalms

Reflection: When time is limited, we prioritize and focus on what we should be doing. If we remain aware that our time on earth is quite limited, with God’s grace we will focus on doing what will make us saintly.

Quotes from How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of your Life by Pat Williams with Jim Denney:

“I believe that one of the most crucial traits Walt possessed was his awareness of the brevity of life. It gave him a sense of mission, purpose and urgency. It forced him to focus on his goals.

Most of us go through life pretending that death doesn’t apply to us. We avoid facing the fact that God has granted us a limited number of days, hours, seconds and heartbeats in which to accomplish our life’s work. When it’s over, it’s over, whether our work is done or not.

Jesus once told his disciples, ‘As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work’ (John 9:4 NIV). That was the mindset of Walt Disney. He knew that the night was coming. He lived with a sense of urgency.”

“Walt showed us how to face our mortality—and he taught us to accept it. The awareness of death forces us to think about what is truly important in life. The reality of death forces us to deal with the realities of living—our search for meaning, our need to express love and seek forgiveness, our need for God.”

“Walt built his own heaven and called it Disneyland. It was the happiest place on earth, and he was always happiest when he could be there…but God has set a dream in our hearts that is even bigger than anything Walt could imagine. God has set eternity in our hearts. He placed eternity in the heart of Walt Disney, and in your heart and mine…that longing for eternity is inside us all. We instinctively know that there is something about us that is truly immortal. We all long for something that we cannot have in this world. We catch glimpses of it every now and then—in an achingly beautiful sunset, or a perfect evening with close friends, or a day at Disneyland. But a glimpse is all it is. The sunset fades, the friends say goodnight, the park closes. We had something beautiful and perfect in our hands, but it slipped away. Heaven is a place where such moments go on forever and ever—but we can only reach heaven by dying.”

A quote from Life Lessons from the Monastery: Wisdom on Love, Prayer, Calling, & Commitment by Jerome Kodell, OSB:

“Our life is an arc of ascent and descent. And this is for our good, because the project of this life is to learn how to turn over control to the Creator so that we may have the interior freedom to leave this world in peace and be ready for new life with God. If we haven’t been able to surrender before our body starts breaking down, the gradual reduction of our abilities gives us a new opportunity before we die; if we have begun to surrender, the suffering and diminishment give us an opportunity for even deeper freedom from ego and self. We all have to die, but we have a choice whether to give our life or have it wrenched from us.”

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.