Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The White Lady

As mentioned in the novel Trianon. Via Tiny-Librarian. To quote:
The “White Lady” is a ghostly apparition of a woman dressed all in white, who is said to appear whenever a descendant of the House of Habsburg is about to die.
According to folklore, she was seen at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna the night before Marie Antoinette was executed. She was also reported to have been seen by some near Mayerling, where crown Prince Rudolf committed suicide, and by his mother, Empress Elisabeth, shortly before she was assassinated.

Meriam Speaks

From Aleteia:
“God is good.”

With those words, a beaming Meriam Ibrahim, a 27-year-old Sudanese woman who became an international symbol of religious persecution, delivered a speech to 500 people at the Values Voter Summit Saturday night. Her words were spoken in halting and broken English, but the audience at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in northwest D.C. heard them. The crowd clapped, whistled, and cheered its approval. To Ibrahim’s left was her wheelchair bound husband, Daniel.

Ibrahim described her captivity in a jail cell in the country’s capital of Khartoum. The daughter of a Christian mother and Muslim father, Ibrahim had been imprisoned and given a death sentence for allegedly apostasizing from Islam. She said the most difficult episodes were the visits of her husband to see her and the couple’s young son, Martin. Prison rules proscribed the visits to no more than 10 minutes. “Martin wanted to go with (Daniel) after the time limit was up, and I could do nothing to help him,” Ibrahim said. “I am not a criminal. The Lord is with us.”

Ibrahim gave birth to a daughter, Maya, while in shackles, according to media reports. Religious and political leaders, including Pope Francis, urged Sudanese officials to release her. In July, they got their wish after Ibrahim reunited with her husband, an American citizen. The couple lives in New Hampshire with their two children.

Ibrahim thanked many people who worked to secure her release, including Reps. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). She also praised God.

“We must believe in the Lord and follow him with all of your steps because he loves us,” she said before ending her 10-minute speech with one last spiritual exhortation. “Be strong and the Lord will be with you.” (Read more.)

In Search of Catholic Scotland

From Regina Magazine:
In matters of religion, however, Scotland has a fascinating story. It may surprise some, but for a thousand years Scotland was a deeply devout Catholic country, converted by Irish monks in the 500s. 

But the 1500’s Scottish Revolution — the traditional term ‘Reformation’ does not do that conflagration justice — touched off a tidal wave of rebellion throughout Christendom. Over the ensuing centuries, the ‘ripple effect’ extended around the world. 

First, to America with Scottish emigrants and from there to the Far East as Scottish Presbyterians worked assiduously to spread their version of the Faith – Bible-based, puritan and fiercely anti-Catholic. (The ‘Scottish Rite’ of the Masonic cult is a case in point.) 

Regardless of where it took root, Presbyterianism stressed hard work and thrift. It also taught ‘pre-destination’—that God had chosen His favorites from the beginning of time. (How to spot the ‘elect’? Stern adherence to Calvinist ideas, and worldly success.)

Presbyterianism was an ideology perfect for the industrial revolution, and it spawned success stories from Andrew Carnegie in the 19th century to the economic ‘miracle’ of Presbyterian South Korea in the 20th century. 

In recent decades, it has morphed into the world-wide ‘mega-church’ phenomenon. What some disparagingly term ‘Christianity-lite’, this new version is short on doctrine and long on socializing, perfect for millions of Christians set adrift from their ancient Faith. (Read more.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Queen of Spain and Hemophilia

The tragedy of Queen Victoria's Catholic granddaughter, Victoria Eugenie, who in turn was the grandmother of King Juan Carlos. To quote:
The first half of the twentieth century seemed to be quite a dangerous time for some of the granddaughters of Victoria and the royal curse of haemophilia.

Victoria Eugenie known to the family and British public as Ena was no different and below I want to tell her story.

Victoria Eugenie was born on the 24th October 1887 at Balmoral Castle to Prince Henry of Battenberg and Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom. She spent most of her childhood between Balmoral, Osborne House and Windsor Castle. As part of Victoria’s agreement for her daughter Beatrice to marry Henry she had to stay as her full time companion and personal secretary which meant Victoria Eugenie would spent a lot of her time as a child in Victoria’s household.

Victoria Eugenie was bridesmaid to Mary of Teck in her wedding to the future King George V in 1893. In 1896 her father died and in 1901 Queen Victoria herself also died. After this the Battenberg’s took up residence in Kensington Palace, London.

In 1905 King Alfonso XIII of Spain made an official visit to the United Kingdom and King Edward VII hosted a dinner at Buckingham Palace in his honour. It was known that Alfonso was looking for a suitable wife. It was thought that Princess Patricia, another of Edward VII’s nieces was the most suitable match for Alfonso but she was unimpressed by his advances and then his attention turned to Victoria Eugenie.

On his return to Spain Alfonso he wrote to Victoria Eugenie sending her numerous post cards. His mother Maria Christina didn’t approve of his interest in the British princess preferring for her son to marry from her own Habsburg family from Austria. There was also the issue of religion. Spain was a Roman Catholic country and Victoria Eugenie came from a Protestant background. The royal curse of haemophilia was also a concern.

This did not stop Alfonso and he would not be held back from his continued attention to the British princess and after about a year of communication and rumours about who Alfonso would marry, his mother finally caved in and agreed to the marriage. She wrote to Princess Beatrice telling her about the love her son had for Victoria Eugenie and things then moved quickly and a couple of days later at Windsor King Edward congratulated his niece on her future engagement. (Read more.)

Pope Clement X's Letter to Mary of Modena

The Holy Father persuades the Italian Princess to marry the Catholic Duke of York, the future James II. From Nobility:
Dear daughter in Christ, noble Damsel, greeting etc. Since the design of the Duke of York to contract alliance with your Nobility reached our ears, We return thanks to the Father of Mercies who, knowing our solicitude for His Glory, is preparing for us, in the Kingdom of England an ample harvest of joy. Considering, in effect, the influence of your virtues, We easily conceived a firm hope that an end might come to the persecution still smoldering in that kingdom and that the orthodox faith, reinstated by you in a place of honor might recover the splendor and security of former days, an effect which no exterior power could accomplish and which might become due to the victory of your piety, the inheritance of your eminently religious family. You can therefore easily understand, dear daughter in Christ, the anxiety which filled Us when We were informed of your repugnance for marriage. For although we understood that it arose from a desire, most laudable in itself, to embrace religious discipline, reflecting that in the present occasion it opposes itself to the progress of religion, we were nevertheless sincerely grieved. (Read more.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Remembering Louis XVIII

Our friend in Oxford remembers the last King of France to die while on the throne. Two of his siblings died on the guillotine and one died in exile, Louis XVIII, the most unscrupulous of politicians, died in his bed. To quote:
As effective King of France from 1814-15 he was successful in re-establishing the traditional monarchy within a model of contemporary understandings of constitutionalism. That might well have been a basis for a longer term settlement than it turned out to be. He himself expressed his doubts as to whether his brother and heir, Charles Count of Artois, was going to be able to maintain that settlement. The fact that he did not prove able to do so has always invited comparison with King Charles II and King James II in England.
Cynical and calculating, a wary man, he was successful as a monarch, less attractive as an individual. Unlike the jibe about his dynasty he certainly had learned from the events of 1789 and thereafter, as indeed had King Charles X, even if they were different lessons. When it came to forgetting King Louis remained hostile to the House of Orleans in a way his supposedly more reactionary brother was not.

In some respects, including his appearance, he remained in many ways an eighteenth century figure, unlike King Charles X, who, although only two years younger, had embraced ideas and concepts of the times in which he found himself. King Louis XVIII had late eighteenth century cynicism, suited to the politics of any age, King Charles X possessed early nineteenth century romantic idealism, which is a less sure source of political strength in troubled times.
When King Charles X died in 1836 King Leopold I of the Belgians wrote to his niece Princess Victoria in England  "Poor Charles X is dead. history will state that Louis XVIII was a most liberal monarch, reigning with great mildness and justice to his end, but that his brother, from his despotic and harsh disposition, upset all the other had done and lost the throne. Louis XVIII was a clever, hard-hearted man, shackled by no principle, very proud and false. Charles X an honest man, a kind friend, an honourable master, sincere in his opinions and inclined to do everything that is right."  (Read more.)

The Banning of Corrie ten Boom

Remember the book The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, about a Dutch family who hid and rescued hundreds of Jews during the Nazi occupation? It is now a banned book. To quote:
The ten Boom family are heroes by any standard, successfully hiding and saving the lives of some 800 Jews from the Gestapo. Eventually, the Nazis arrested the ten Booms. Corrie’s father was taken to Scheveningen prison, where he died. Corrie and her sister Betsie were taken to Ravensbrück, where Betsie died. Corrie survived and told the tale.

And what motivated the family’s self-sacrifice? Their Christian faith, something to which Corrie’s memoir amply testifies.

Countless Christians were similarly motivated by their faith to harbor Jews or otherwise resist the genocidal horror of the Nazis. Take, for example, Japanese diplomat and Orthodox convert Chiune Sugihara, who helped thousand of Jews escape death in Lithuania. Or take Maria Skobtsova, who sheltered Jews in her Paris home and died in a Ravensbrück gas chamber.

“There is not only a Jewish question, but a Christian question,” said Maria when it came time for Jews to register and wear the yellow Star. “If we were true Christians we would all wear the Star.”

Corrie ten Boom’s father donned the Star. Given this Christian impulse to identify with the oppressed and save those in danger, to remove The Hiding Place from library shelves betrays a sort of societal self-defeat, and similar examples multiply as our culture fumbles toward a more rigorously enforced secularity. We’re like the cannibal committing suicide one nibble at a time. (Read more.)

The Other Mountbattens

The sons of Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry of Battenburg. To quote:
During the First World War a lot of anti-German sentiment grew in Great Britain and because of this the British Royal family relinquished their German titles and changed their names. Battenberg changed to Mountbatten. This was when Alexander was given the titles of Marquess of Carisbrooke, Earl of Berkampsted and Viscount Launceston.

Alexander also got married in 1917 to Lady Irene Adza Denison (1890-1956) daughter of the 2nd Earl of Londesborough and Lady Grace Adelaide Fane. They married at the Chapel Royal in St James Palace, London. Alexander and Lady Irene had one daughter together, Lady Iris Mountbatten born in 1920.
After the First World War he started life as an ordinary clerk in the offices of Lazard Brothers, the bankers. Later he would become a director of Lazard Brothers.

Early in the Second World War he joined the RAF where he served as a staff officer attached to Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory before moving to Fighter Command Headquarters.

After the war he lived in Kings Cottage overlooking Kew Garderns before moving on to Kensington Palace.
Alexander died in 1960 aged 73 at Kensington Palace and was buried in the Battenberg Chapel, St Mildred’s Church, Whippngham on the Isle of Wight. The title Marquess of Carisbrooke became extinct upon his death. At his death he was the last surviving grandson of Queen Victoria. (Read more.)