Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
In the 70's and 80's we were told to avoid coconut oil because it caused cellulite. However, since then, a great deal of research has been done. Coconut oil has been proven to do wonders for the skin and hair. I fell in love with coconut oil during my trip to the Philippines. I found out that my great grandmother used it in her famously beautiful hair. When I created my face creams I made coconut oil a main ingredient. (Read more.)

Cardinal Sarah Supports Young Traditionalists

From The Catholic Herald:
Cardinal Robert Sarah has praised young Catholics who prefer the older form of the Roman Rite, saying he can “personally testify to the sincerity and devotion of these young men and women”. In a speech to the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum Pontificum, held at the Pontifical University of St Thomas (Angelicum), the cardinal added that other Catholics should “open your hearts and minds” to these young people and the “good they do”.

“They are neither nostalgic nor embittered nor encumbered by the ecclesiastical battles of recent decades,” he said. “They are full of the joy of living the life of Christ amidst the challenges of the modern world.”

In turn, he called on Catholics who prefer the Old Rite to leave the “traditionalist ghetto” and mix with other Catholics as “many will benefit” from their faithful witness.

“Almighty God calls you to do this. No one will rob you of the usus antiquior of the Roman rite. But many will benefit, in this life and the next, from your faithful Christian witness which will have so much to offer given the profound formation in the faith that the ancient rites and the associated spiritual and doctrinal ambience has given you.” (Read more.)

Also from The Catholic Herald about young Catholics:
At the end of the day, it’s hard enough to be a young Catholic today, that I think most of us recognise that can’t let “liturgy wars” bring us down. Do you feel closest to God while wearing a veil and chanting Latin? Great. Is the Novus Order Mass in English, with the promise of coffee and donuts afterwards, the only way to get your butt into a pew on Sunday? More power to you. We’re just happy you’re here, because we want you to meet Jesus. (Read more.)

Church Suicide

From Matt Walsh:
Of course, this dissertation on the theological significance of Buzz Lightyear was pretty standard fare. The message preached from most pulpits in America is just like this: superficial, childish, empty, and seemingly designed to insult the intelligence of anyone who hears it. Christianity is dull and lifeless in this country because that’s what the church and its leaders have done to it. They’ve made it into something so bland, generic and inoffensive that it no longer bears any resemblance to the faith of our Christian ancestors. Even the church buildings themselves reflect this trend. Most of them look like shopping malls or government buildings. Sleek, gray, ugly, secular. But inoffensive. Inoffensive in the same way that the DMV is inoffensive.

Indeed, the primary goal of the modern church is to avoid offense, at whatever cost. And this is precisely why they’re dying. The problem is not merely that they’re boring people. After all, there are those who are bored watching anything that doesn’t involve explosions and car chases. The problem more specifically is that they’re starving people. There is no substance, no meat, in the message being preached. The congregants sit there and slowly starve to death.

Your flocks are starving, churches. You are starving them. (Read more.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

More about Louis and Antoinette's Relationship

Continuing the discussion on BlogTalkRadio in which I analyze Queen Marie-Antoinette's relationship with her husband Louis XVI. The two teenagers first met hours before their wedding, endured many trials and humiliations together, and grew into a devoted couple who could only be separated by death. Was Louis really an ungracious dolt, incapable of being a true husband? Was he himself so completely unlovable as he has often been described? Did sexual frustration drive the Queen to spend money, which is the typical Freudian interpretation? Such questions and more will be explored, based upon scholarship, both old and new. Part One is HERE. Part Two, HERE.

(Image source.) Share

The Wall Is Actually Just Renovation of Old Fences

He's right. The fences have been there for awhile. I do not know why everyone acts like barriers on the border are some grandiose innovation. From Breitbart:
The president confirmed the fears of many supporters who worry that his campaign promise of a single “great wall” of “hardened concrete” and “rebar and steel” would go unfulfilled. The promised wall was a feature of Trump’s agenda, as he mocked current border infrastructure. After his inauguration, Trump described current border walls as “little toy walls” in an interview with Sean Hannity in January, vowing to replace them with something new. “I’m talking about a real wall. I’m talking about a wall that’s got to be, like, serious,” Trump said. Trump’s national security officials, including Gen. John Kelly, have argued that a solid concrete wall on the Southern border is not necessary, touting strategic fencing and border infrastructure. Democrats have vowed not to fund Trump’s wall winning an early concession from the administration in May. At the time, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer argued that funding for bollard fencing was an effective way to secure the border, but stopped short of saying that it was the wall that the president had promised. (Read more.)

The Death of Reading

From The Washington Post:
Nicholas Carr’s book “The Shallows” analyzes the phenomenon, and its subtitle says it all: “What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” Carr spells out that most Americans, and young people especially, are showing a precipitous decline in the amount of time spent reading. He says, “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” A 2016 Nielsen report calculates that the average American devotes more than 10 hours per day to consuming media—including radio, TV, and all electronic devices. That constitutes 65 percent of waking hours, leaving little time for the much harder work of focused concentration on reading.

In “The Gutenberg Elegies,” Sven Birkerts laments the loss of “deep reading,” which requires intense concentration, a conscious lowering of the gates of perception, and a slower pace. His book hit me with the force of conviction. I keep putting off Charles Taylor’s “A Secular Age,” and look at my shelf full of Jürgen Multmann’s theology books with a feeling of nostalgia—why am I not reading books like that now? (Read more.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Marie-Antoinette and Motherhood

Here is a podcast on Marie-Antoinette and her children. Her children were her life and she wanted to bring them up herself. She went through a lot to bring children into the world. We will discuss each of her four children and her adopted children as well. Share

Ben Shapiro at UC Berkeley

From Life News:
Popular conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro continued to impress his audience Thursday at UC Berkeley when he rapidly refuted a young man’s abortion arguments.
Shapiro’s speech at the liberal California university drew massive media attention because of the violent protests that have broken out on campus during past conservative speakers’ talks. The university and local police increased security, and several people were arrested Thursday.

Inside the sold-out auditorium, Shapiro received a huge applause when he quickly destroyed a young man’s arguments in favor of first-trimester abortions. A video of the exchange received a lot of attention Friday, and some described Shapiro’s argument as an “epic takedown” of abortion. During the question and answer period Thursday, a young man asked Shapiro why he believes abortion is wrong.

“Why do you think a first-trimester fetus has human value?” the young man asked, explaining that he believes sentience is what makes humans valuable.

“Ok, so when you’re asleep, can I stab you?” Shapiro asked. The young man said no.

“Ok, if you are in a coma from which you may awake, can I stab you?” Shapiro continued.

Again, the young man said no. “But that’s still potential sentience!” he added.

“Do you know what else has potential sentience? Being a fetus,” Shapiro said, followed by a massive applause. (Read more.)

Independent Homeschoolers

From the Hmmmschooling Mom:
In homeschooling, we don’t have to have deadlines. We don’t have to follow schedules. We don’t have to be at a certain point at a certain time in our school year. We don’t have to get things done at a certain time. If it doesn’t get done today, we do it tomorrow. Or the next day. Or not at all! We are free and we are flexible, hear us roar! I mean, hey, new homeschooling mom, we’re not trying to do public school. But…she sorta had a point. Our independent homeschoolers can sometimes be rather dependent (or scatterbrained or uninspired) regarding tasks they don’t really want to do.

I think there is a fantasy that persists in homeschooling that once our kids get out into life and find that thing they want to do, they will automatically figure out how to manage time and stay on task and deal with less than awesome parts of the thing they love. And maybe some kids are like that. But many kids aren’t. And, just let’s just suppose…what if they need to manage time or follow through on something they really don’t love at all?

Hear me now, homeschooling mamas who crave independent homeschoolers: successful independence is made up of two other things: time management and follow-through. (Read more.)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Keepsakes of the Heart

From Victoria:
Often secreted in the recesses of fine antiques shops or street-side vendor stalls, Grand Tour boxes provide a fascinating link to the past. Seeking out these hidden gems and restoring their lost luster opens doors to imagining the previous owners who once held them so dear. Sometimes, it is the most diminutive thing that finds lodging in the heart. For collectors such as Rose Ann Kendrick, history-rich Grand Tour boxes offer unique insight into an aristocratic rite of passage and, perhaps, a captivating source of mystery. Who can help but wonder what treasures dear to someone’s heart were contained in such lovely cases? (Read more.)

The Secrets of Aloe Vera

From the Trianon Health and Beauty blog:
My grandmother always had a healthy, thriving aloe plant in her sunniest window sill. Whenever anyone would have a burn or a scrape, Grandma would take a piece of aloe and squeeze the juice onto the wound. Of course, I use aloe vera in the Day and Night Creams because of its healing properties and also because it helps to bind the other ingredients together. There is nothing like it in the whole world. (Read more.)


The Life of St. Robert. From Nobility:
His father was Vincenzo Bellarmino, his mother Cinthia Cervini, sister of Cardinal Marcello Cervini, afterwards Pope Marcellus II. He was brought up at the newly founded Jesuit college in his native town, and entered the Society of Jesus on 20 September, 1560, being admitted to his first vows on the following day. The next three years he spent in studying philosophy at the Roman College, after which he taught the humanities first at Florence, then at Mondovi. In 1567 he began his theology at Padua, but in 1569 was sent to finish it at Louvain, where he could obtain a fuller acquaintance with the prevailing heresies. Having been ordained there, he quickly obtained a reputation both as a professor and a preacher, in the latter capacity drawing to his pulpit both Catholics and Protestants, even from distant parts. In 1576 he was recalled to Italy, and entrusted with the chair of Controversies recently founded at the Roman College. He proved himself equal to the arduous task, and the lectures thus delivered grew into the work “De Controversiis” which, amidst so much else of excellence, forms the chief title to his greatness. This monumental work was the earliest attempt to systematize the various controversies of the time, and made an immense impression throughout Europe, the blow it dealt to Protestantism being so acutely felt in Germany and England that special chairs were founded in order to provide replies to it. Nor has it even yet been superseded as the classical book on its subject-matter, though, as was to be expected, the progress of criticism has impaired the value of some of its historical arguments. (Read more.)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Autumn Alfresco

Eat outside as long as you can. From Southern Lady:
Autumn holds such allure, with picture-perfect weather and a colorful swirl of fiery hues all across the landscape. Take advantage of this incredible season by enjoying a meal on the patio. Bring out a rustic table, and dress it up with velvet-upholstered dining chairs. A selection of glazed dinnerware in the Jars Tourron collection anchors the setting, and its rich, earthy hues pair beautifully with shiny black flatware, black horn napkin rings, and tortoiseshell-patterned glasses. Complete the setting and serve our fall salad with molasses vinaigrette and peanut butter tart.  (Read more.)

Humanae Vitae Comes Under Fire

From The National Catholic Register:
In his encyclical, Paul VI re-affirmed the Church’s prohibition of artificial contraception, approved natural family-planning methods, and upheld the Church’s teaching on conjugal love and responsible parenthood. It caused a sensation when published: In the wake of the sexual revolution — when much of the world had accepted birth control — and after a five-year study by a pontifical commission that appeared to be vying for the Church to also approve it, Paul VI’s reaffirmation that contraceptive use is “intrinsically wrong” made it one of the most controversial encyclicals in Church history. Immediately, many clerics and academics outright rejected Humanae Vitae’s teachings.

And yet many, particularly those who have devoted their lives to defending life, vigorously uphold Humanae Vitae as prophetic. They argue that the widespread acceptance of artificial birth control, revolutionized by the contraceptive pill for women, has separated the unitive and procreative purposes of sexual relations. This, in turn, has fueled the sexualization of culture and promiscuity now prevalent in the West, precipitating legalized abortion, the collapse of marriage, and inflicting deep harm on the family. (Read more.)

On Judging

We are duty-bound to judge what is right from what is wrong. From Monsignor Charles Pope:
Who am I to Judge? I am a guardian, called to protect the Church, my family, and the world from wrongdoing. St. Paul warns that Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor 15:33) and that a little leaven (i.e., evil) leavens the whole lump (Gal 5:8).

Thus, in correcting the sinner, we are concerned not only for him or her, but for the community and the common good as well. Sinful and disordered behavior is harmful to community. Not only does it bring suffering to the sinner and others affected by the sin, but it also gives scandal and may incite unhealthy responses such as vengeance or hateful anger. There are times when, after repeated correction of the sinner fails, we must purge the sinful influence for the sake of the community. St. Paul says, We instruct you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who walks in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us (2 Thess 3:6). Here, St. Paul seeks to preserve the community from disorder and heresy. He also declares, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber—not even to eat with such a one. Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (1 Cor 5:11)

These more severe methods are sometimes necessary to reach a hardened sinner as well as to protect the community. Once again, this requires judgment.

Who am I to Judge? I am one who has been commanded by Jesus to do so. Jesus sayid, If your brother sins, go and point out his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won him over (Mat 18:15).

The clear mandate of the Lord to set others right. This is not possible without first judging what is right from what is wrong based on the Lord’s teaching. Then, having observed wrongdoing or error, we must seek to correct it.
The Lord expects us to correct people we know and who are in sin. We ought to do it in humility and with love, but we are to do it. This is especially true if we are in a role of leadership or prominence: a pastor, teacher, parent, or elder.

In all of these senses, who are you not to judge?

There are certain judgments that we cannot make. For example, I cannot judge that I am holier than you, or that you are more holy than I. Scripture says, Man sees the appearance, but God looks into the heart (1 Sam 16:7). I cannot tell you if someone is in Hell; only God can make that judgment. I am also forbidden the “judgment of condemnation,” wherein I am unnecessarily harsh in punishments or conclusions. In this regard, Jesus, using the poetry of couplets, says, Do not judge and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned (Luke 6:37). Indeed, the Lord further issues this warning regarding unnecessarily harsh judgments: For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Mat 7:2).
None of this is a mandate for silence in the face of sin or wrongdoing. We must judge between good and evil; we cannot shirk our duties to correct error and to rebuke sin in others. Who am I to judge in this regard? I am a watchman, a lover of souls, a guardian, and one who has been commanded by Christ to speak to a brother who sins. And just we are called to correct, we must also be open to correction ourselves. (Read more.)

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Wonders of Shea Butter

I have begun a new health blog. I thought I would begin with an introduction to the wonders of shea butter which is the main ingredient in Trianon Bouquet Beauty Creams. Please visit HERE. Share

Bigotry and Dogma

From Aleteia:
Just days ago, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) sat before an eminently qualified law professor from the University of Notre Dame Law School, Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett, nominated for a federal judgeship on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, was answering questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee when it happened. Senator Feinstein leveled her gaze at Professor Barrett and declared,
When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you…And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.
This was an overt shot at Professor Barrett’s Catholic Faith. At issue was a 1998 Marquette Law Review article titled, Catholic Judges in Capital Cases, in which Professor Barrett clearly states that where a Catholic judge finds a conflict between her fidelity to a faith-informed Conscience and her legal responsibility to uphold the law (specifically in death penalty cases), the judge is obliged to recuse herself from the case. And yet Senator Feinstein’s pronouncement seemed to imply the judge held the opposite view. If that weren’t concerning enough, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Professor Comey if she was an “orthodox Catholic” and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) paraded his concern that the professor’s speech before the Alliance Defending Freedom (a religious liberty law firm which, along with the Becket Fund, successfully defended the right to religious Conscience for Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood Specialties at the Supreme Court) was a disqualifying event because the ADF is a “hate group”. (Read more.)

The Greatness of Churchill

From Nobility:
Allied propaganda often presented him alongside the other two – Roosevelt and Stalin – as if trying to level them. But that effort was futile and even counterproductive. Framed between the old Yankee president with common looks and an unimpressive, standard smile on one side, and on the other side the sinister Soviet dictator under whose hirsute eyebrows sparked two ignorant and threatening eyes, and under whose thick mustache were lips better suited to slander and drink than to speak, Churchill’s extremely expressive physiognomy stood out in a way that one would almost call splendid.

 Obviously, being very expressive is not enough for a person to shine. He also needs to express something worthwhile. The old English lion did so abundantly. His bald head reflected a vigorous and subtle diplomatic thought. His eyes – there would be so much to say about them! – expressed successively fascinating depths of observation, reflection, humor and aristocratic gentleness. His broad muscled cheeks lost nothing of their vigor with age. They looked like two facial buttresses, vigorously framing his highly intellectualized physiognomy. And they gave his face something that displayed an almost perpetual resoluteness and stability, an expressive symbol of the centuries-old strength of the English monarchy. His lips, thin and uncertain in their contour, seemed to accompany the movement of his eyes and thus were always ready to open up to utter an ironic saying, a slogan, to make a monumental speech … or smoke a cigar. (Read more.)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Empress Josephine’s Bedchamber at Malmaison

One must admit that the Bonaparte regime, while it espoused the ideas of the French Revolution, was as ornate, luxurious, and extravagant as anything that came during the Old Regime. Share

Brave Parents

From Conservative Woman:
It’s completely up to adults if they choose to go through a sex-change but utterly wrong to impose an adult agenda on children and then accuse them of bullying or hatred if they find it hard to accept. The Rowes are correct to note that the issues surrounding sex and gender are far too complex for young children to have to grapple with. Regardless of the wisdom of their case, the hate (coupled with a liberal helping of anti-Christian prejudice) unleashed by the media and political establishment upon this plumber and his wife for calmly stating facts, further demonstrates Orwell’s maxim: in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. (Read more.)

Pet Therapy for College Students

For thousands of years it has been known that pets bring comfort to humans. Science has confirmed the healing that a pet can bring to a traumatized person. But some of what passes for therapy is questionable, especially among college students. The question is: why do so many young people, at the most exciting time of their lives, think they need therapy? From LifeZette:
Animal-assisted therapy — in other words, sessions with dogs — is what the University of North Texas (UNT) is now offering its student body. Dog-facilitated workshops started in the spring of 2017 and are now part of the campus culture. Sponsored by UNT’s Counseling and Testing Services team, these sessions are designed to help students enhance their mood and mitigate anxiety while petting therapy dogs.

 Students can choose from among three canine workshops. The first session is called "Healing Arts with Rockstar the Dog," in which students pet Rockstar while completing an art project designed to increase self-awareness, compassion, and gratitude. The second session is entitled "Dog Breath" and allows students to hug Buddy while learning skills to relieve stress and manage anxiety. A third session will begin next month — it will show clips of the television show "The Office" and provide students with the opportunity to cuddle therapy dogs as they "learn to form healthy relationships and increase coping skills," according to a UNT advertisement.

Buddy (a poodle), Rockstar (a terrier mix), Dakota (a yellow Labrador retriever), and Willow (a chocolate Labrador retriever) make up the roster. The overall goal is for students to "learn skills that can be used to relieve stress and manage anxiety while spending time with a loveable pet," according to a campus flyer. (Read more.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Peek Inside Château de Digoine

From The New York Times:
Jean-Louis Remilleux, a journalist and documentary filmmaker who is a member of the committee that oversees La Biennale Paris, is among the most passionate and experienced collectors of items from France’s ancien régime. Mr. Remilleux, 58, has a pied-à-terre in Paris, but his primary residence is the 15-bedroom Château de Digoine, on a 250-acre estate near the city of Beaune, in Burgundy. Parts of it date from the turn of the 18th century, and Architectural Digest has chronicled its contents, which include an array of antiques with a focus on works from the 16th through the 18th centuries. There is also a room dedicated to Marie Antoinette. (Read more.)

More HERE. Share

Camille Paglia on Gender Dysfunction

 From LifeSite:
Paglia says her feminism is the result of her "childhood experience as a fractious rebel against the suffocating conformism of the 1950s." She said that universities and the mainstream media are the new centers of conformism that are "patrolled by well-meaning but ruthless thought police." Paglia said in the video that she is concerned by the "popularity" and "availability" of sex reassignment surgeries.

"Parents are now encouraged to subject the child to procedures that I think are a form of child abuse," she said. These include "hormones to slow puberty" and "actual surgical manipulations" of children and teenagers.

"I think that this is wrong," she said. "People should wait until they're of an informed age of consent. Parents should not be doing this to their children. And I think that even in the teenage years it's too soon to be making this leap. People change, people grow, and people adapt."

Paglia said she suffered "gender dysfunction" as a child, dressing in men's clothing "as often as I could."

"But I still believe that there are fundamentally two sexes that are biologically determined," said Paglia. She wrote her dissertation on androgyny.

Reproductive biology is clear that there are only two sexes, Paglia said, and only a "very small," "minute" number of people are born with genetic abnormalities that make their "gender...ambiguous." It seems she is referring to hermaphrodites. 
On another occasion, she called the subjection of children to puberty blockers "a criminal violation of human rights." (Read more.)

Fr Tom Uzhunnalil is Free!

From The Catholic Herald:
Kidnapped Indian priest Fr Tom Uzhunnalil has been freed from captivity and flown to Oman, the country’s government has said. Fr Tom was kidnapped when his care home in the Yemeni city of Aden was attacked in March 2016. Four gunmen posing as relatives of one of the residents killed four Indian nuns, two Yemeni staff members, eight elderly residents and a security guard. In May this year, a video was posted online showing the priest in poor health, calling for help. (Read more.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A New Project

 Announcing the opening of my Etsy shop, Trianon Bouquet, where I will be selling homemade, all natural face creams. Both the night treatment Midnight Bouquet and the day treatment Morning Bouquet are offered. The beauty creams were created for women over thirty-five. The restorative formula is designed to help diminish signs of aging, as well as revive the skin's suppleness and softness, with regular use. The essential oils of orange blossom, rosemary, lavender and rose are reminiscent of the gardens of Trianon. Midnight Bouquet may also be used as skin therapy for dry elbows, knees, and feet, and as a hair masque to repair split ends. Trianon Bouquet Beauty Creams are inspired by Queen Marie-Antoinette, who loved her gardens at Petit Trianon, and was known to have beauty products made from her own herbs and flowers.

After traveling to the Far East, I fell in love with coconut oil, a time-proven beauty product of women in South East Asia. I decided to combine it with olive oil and other oils traditionally used in the West, to make an effective facial treatment for busy, stressed-out modern women. In the meantime, I was inspired to use the herbal and floral fragrances that Marie-Antoinette would have had in her gardens. I remembered how the Queen was fascinated by other cultures, and so would have appreciated the exotic touch of coconut oil as well as the wonders of African shea butter.

Please visit my shop HERE.


Giving Up on Matrimony

From The New York Post:
The share of Americans ages 25-34 who are married dropped 13 percentage points from 2000 to 2014. A new book by sociologist Mark Regnerus blames this declining rate on how easy it is for men to get off. Regnerus calls it “cheap sex,” an economic term meant to describe sex that has very little cost in terms of time or emotional investment, giving it little value. Regnerus bases his ideas, in part, on the work of British social theorist Anthony Giddens, who argued that the pill isolated sex from marriage and children. Add online pornography and dating sites to the mix and you don’t even need relationships. (Read more.)

The Problem with Politically Correct History

Historical persons do not always fit neatly into our preconceived categories. From Town Hall:
Even a Confederate general can change. Confederate Gen. William Mahone, one of General Robert E. Lee's most able commanders, owned slaves before the Civil War. But after the war, he led an interracial political movement. He organized and became the leader of the Readjuster Party, the most successful interracial political alliance in the post-emancipation South. In 1881, Mahone was elected to the U.S. Senate, at the time split 37-37 between Republicans and Democrats. But Mahone aligned with the Republicans, the party founded two decades earlier by Northerners trying to stop the expansion of slavery. From 1879 through 1883, Mahone's Readjuster Party dominated Virginia, with a governor in the statehouse, two Readjusters in the U.S. Senate and Readjusters representing six of the state's 10 congressional districts. Under Mahone's leadership, his coalition also controlled the state legislature, the courts and many of the state's coveted federal offices. (Read more.)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Montreal and Quebec City: A Tale of Two Cities

From Victoria:
Both Montreal and Quebec City remain, at their core, the towns French settlers built almost four hundred years ago, with plenty of joie de vivre. Autumn is the perfect time to explore the long history and exciting contemporary flair of these cities. Strolling the narrow streets of Vieux-Montréal, Montreal’s Old City, on an early autumn evening, it’s easy to think you’ve dropped out of time and place. Surely this is a long-ago evening in France, with cobbled streets and stone buildings rambling on either side. A visitor stops to read the menu outside a little auberge, while another practices lèche-vitrines (window-shopping) as she stands at the patisserie, transfixed by what a talented baker has done with butter and chocolate. Two children ride by on bicycles, giggling with one another, and in the distance, the smell of fresh, crusty bread fills the air. With a weekend ahead to sample the pleasures of the city, simply walking can be its own reward; there’s a discovery to be made everywhere you look. In the fall, the trees seem to pour rivers of scarlet and gold over the hills. The blaze of bold color is in sharp contrast to the St. Lawrence River’s pewter water and the gray of the old stone buildings. The air is mild but has just enough of a chill to make the homey inns and restaurants even cozier. (Read more.)

Hiring American

The ups and downs. From Politico:
The Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit, a seaside village in southeastern Maine, didn’t receive the eight H-2B visas it requested to supplement its summer housekeeping staff. To make ends meet, owner Sarah Diment recruited college kids through her Facebook network and cobbled together part-time shifts, some filled by American students and some by foreign students here on cultural exchange visas. In the past year, Diment estimates she had to boost housekeeping wages roughly 10 percent to keep employees. Diment could continue to increase wages, but the higher staffing costs, she says, would make it difficult to keep the business open year-round. “Raising wages is good in theory, until you put it into practice,” she said.

North American Midway Entertainment, a large traveling-amusement-park company headquartered in Indiana, requested roughly 400 H-2B workers this year, a quarter of its total seasonal workforce. But the Department of Homeland Security reached its 66,000-visa cap before the company could secure the guest workers. Company President Danny Huston said he had to skip three fairs and contract out some ride operations because of the visa shortage. In total, he estimates that North American Midway may have lost as much as $800,000. But the company was able to cover about one-third of the vacancies by hiring American through job fairs, newspaper advertisements, and social media. "We even set up a job fair in Puerto Rico," Huston said.

Other employers say hiring American just isn't an option. Michael Martin owns a Maryland-based landscaping company. Roughly 40 percent of his workers — and the majority of those performing manual labor — hold H-2B visas, he told POLITICO. Martin received his H-2B workers on time this year, but he knows other landscapers who didn't, and lost clients as a result. "It affects people, their bottom line," he said, "whether they’re still in business, whether they’re going to make it next year."
(Read more.)

The Orans Posture

From Catholic365:
A discussion that is common in Catholic parishes between the more orthodox members of the parish and the more “progressive” members is whether or not the faithful should use the Orans Posture during the Our Father. When such a question comes up, the obvious solution is to go to the rubrics. Unfortunately, in this case, the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) is relatively silent on the topic. Because of the GIRM’s silence, many people have taken this to mean that the faithful may do whatever they want. However, this is not the case. In the document, Instruction On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests, put out by the Vatican on August 15, 1997, we read,

"In eucharistic celebrations deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers — e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology — or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest. Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to "quasi preside" at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity" (ICP Practical Provisions 6 §2).

What the above statement means is that we may not say the Eucharistic prayers along with the priest — believe it or not, I see people mouthing the words along with the priest every week. More importantly to this topic, this also means the faithful may not use the same gestures that are reserved for the priest celebrant.

As mentioned above, the GIRM is silent with regard to the posture of the faithful during the Our Father, however, the Sacramentary (the book of prayers for Mass used by the priest) states that the celebrant is to pray the Our Father with hands extended. Looking back at ICP, the faithful are NOT to use gestures or actions proper to the priest celebrant. Using this argument, one would think that the rubrics could be used to appeal to the faithful. Unfortunately, many of the faithful view the rubrics as another set of rules and those of us who wish to enforce the rubrics are no better than the Pharisees. (Read more.)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Saints in Art

From Daniel Mitsui:
 As an artist, my preference is to draw saints from the Apostolic age, the age of the Fathers, and the Middle Ages. The task here is to construct an iconographic likeness of the holy man or woman - a different (and to me at least, more interesting) task than to represent a physical likeness known from photographs or portrait paintings.

When drawing saints who lived after Biblical times, I refer to the traditional hagiographies, those wonderful accounts of their miracle-filled lives. The Golden Legend is usually the first reference book that I pull off my shelf. It is a thirteenth-century encyclopedia of saints’ lives compiled from liturgical lectionaries and patristic writings. It represents the entire tradition better than any other single book.

When I first read The Golden Legend, I was impressed by the enormous wealth of information, and by the intellectual seriousness with which its compiler, Blessed Jacobus de Voragine, approached his task. He readily admits when a story is based on a doubtful source, or when different versions of it exist. Yet his attitude to the hagiographies is generous; he gives them the benefit of doubt whenever possible.

This starkly contrasts the attitudes of so many Christians of modern times, which are derisive, dismissive, or at best patronizing. It is cute, they may say, to draw St. Brendan celebrating Mass on the back of a whale, but of course we know that that didn’t really happen. Well, really? We do? What evidence is there against it? This is a very strange assertion for those who professes faith in an omnipotent God and in His revealed Word.

For St. Brendan’s whale is no less plausible than Jonah’s; the miracles of St. Nicholas are no more fantastic than the miracles of Elijah. The dragon defeated by St. Sylvester is no stranger than the dragon defeated by Daniel (a demonically-possessed crocodile would fit the description of either, although heraldic dragons are more fun to draw). No hagiography is stranger than the stories of the Old Testament and the stories of the New. What could be stranger than the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Of course, the Resurrection is an article of faith, something that a Christian is simply not permitted to disbelieve, and the words of the Old and New Testaments are inerrant; hagiographies are not (as Blessed Jacobus would be the first to admit). But our attitude toward the legends of the saints reveals and affects our attitude toward God, toward His creation, and toward His revelation.

We either live in a world in which these sort of things happen, or we do not.
(Read more.)


Antifa and Neo-Nazis

From The Washington Post:
As if to prove Cummings’s point, the antifa movement responded with jackboots and clubs — because their definition of “fascist” includes not just neo-Nazis but also anyone who opposes their totalitarian worldview.

And let’s be clear: Totalitarian is precisely what they are. Mark Bray, a Dartmouth lecturer who has defended antifa’s violent tactics, recently explained in The Post, “Its adherents are predominantly communists, socialists and anarchists” who believe that physical violence “is both ethically justifiable and strategically effective.” In other words, they are no different from neo-Nazis. Neo-Nazis are the violent advocates of a murderous ideology that killed 25 million people last century. Antifa members are the violent advocates of a murderous ideology that, according to “The Black Book of Communism,” killed between 85 million and 100 million people last century. Both practice violence and preach hate. They are morally indistinguishable. There is no difference between those who beat innocent people in the name of the ideology that gave us Hitler and Himmler and those who beat innocent people in the name of the ideology that gave us Stalin and Dzerzhinsky. (Read more.)
And the KKK's war on Catholics from The Catholic Herald:
 Ahead of the cataclysm, the Klan explained, Catholics would do their level best to ruin public morals and undermine American values. Klan audiences in the 1920s were routinely treated to speeches by women who claimed to be former nuns: they would often display leather bags in which, it was alleged, the newborn children of illicit liaisons between nuns and priests were carried to church furnaces to be cremated. Did people not realise, a Klan member in Sacramento asked, that “nearly all the bawdy houses, bootleg joints and other dives are owned or controlled by Romanists”? (Read more.)

The Need for Skilled Workers

 From PBS:
The United States has 30 million jobs that pay an average of $55,000 per year and don’t require a bachelor’s degree, according to the Georgetown center. People with career and technical educations are actually slightly more likely to be employed than their counterparts with academic credentials, the U.S. Department of Education reports, and significantly more likely to be working in their fields of study. At California Steel Industries, where Esparza was learning industrial computing, some supervisors without college degrees make as much as $120,000 per year and electricians also can make six figures, company officials said. (Read more.)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Our Lady of Revelation

From Unveiling the Apocalypse:
It has only been just over two weeks since the occurrence of the Great American Eclipse at the start of St. Michael's Lent, and we have already experienced a whole plethora of foreboding events. First we had the earthquake at Ischia occurring just nine minutes after the eclipse ended on US soil, which just so happens to be the site of alleged Marian apparitions which foretell the destruction of New York City in conjunction with visions of volcanic eruptions and an entire island sinking into the sea. This earthquake destroyed the Church of St. Michael (known locally as the "Church of Purgatory"), which was right next to the alleged apparition site at Zaro in Ischia. Four days later, we had the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey, which was the most powerful hurricane in a decade to strike the American coast. This was followed in quick succession by North Korea's hydrogen bomb test on Sept 4th, amidst several other provocations, accompanied by a threat of an EMP attack made by its leader Kim Jong-un. Since 2nd Sept, there has been an ongoing earthquake swarm in Idaho centred on Soda Springs - a location immediately adjacent to the path of totality, and just south of the caldera of the Yellowstone supervolcano. The largest earthquake measured here was 5.3 on the Richer scale, and there are concerns of a larger quake to come. Now we have the threat of Hurricane Irma bearing down on the coast of Florida which is currently Category 5, followed by other potential threats from Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Katia.

While all of this has been taking place on the ground, the night skies have been illuminated by another occurrence of the Northern Lights, following a powerful geomagnetic storm on 6th September, 2017. It is a well-known fact that Sr. Lucia had linked the Great Aurora of 1938 with Our Lady's words in the Second Secret, concerning the beginning of World War II:

"When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father."

Scanning through the various reactions on social media, the dramatic uptick of significant events that has already taken place since the eclipse and the start of St. Michael's Lent has not went by unnoticed. In the post The Sign of Jonah and the Unbinding of Satan, we had already noted that it was a chain of catastrophic events centred around the timing of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh that had ripened the inhabitants' receptiveness to the words of the Prophet Jonah, causing them to repent en masse. In light of this combination of recent events, the idea that America has entered into a 40-day period of trial from the date of the eclipse to the feast of Yom Kippur/Michaelmas now no longer seems so far-fetched.  (Read more.)

Monsignor Charles Pope writes on earth, air, fire and water:
 God’s and nature’s most life-giving gifts are but a few degrees separated from disaster and instant death. We live on the edge of an abyss because that is where life is found. It’s such a thin line, really. Mors et vita duello, conflixere mirando! (Death and life compete in a stupendous conflict!)  To live is to cheat death.

All of the basic elements and forces: earth, air, water, and fire, are so death-dealing and yet so life-giving; somehow they are all part of the great cycle of living and dying that God intends. Only God is existence itself; the rest of us are contingent beings and part of a cycle. Only in union with Christ, who said, I am the life, will we ever cheat death. As Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, “Christ gave the earth the only serious wound it ever received, the wound of an empty tomb.” With Christ—and only with Christ—will we one day give the earth that same wound. For now, we live above the cauldron upon a thin crust; beneath us burns a tremendous fire. Somehow, mysteriously, it is the source of our bread. (Read more.)

How Britain Has Changed

From The Spectator Australia:
Across the UK, ‘sex education’ has been transformed and disfigured. TV programmes, aimed at children as young as three, promote ‘gender fluidity’, as an enabler of thoughtfulness and individuality.

At the same time, Ministers have denied worried parents the right to withdraw their children from primary school classes. Meanwhile, ‘outside educators’ teach children about sex positions, ‘satisfying’ pornography consumption and how to masturbate. Concerns regarding STI’s and Promiscuity, are derided as ‘old-fashioned’.

Independent religious schools are under intense scrutiny. Dame Louise Casey, a senior government advisor, recently insisted that it is now: Not Ok for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage’.
Ofsted, the body responsible for school-assessment, has been wildly politicised. In 2013, Prior to the redefinition of marriage, Ofsted visited Vishnitz Jewish Girls School. They passed the school with flying colours. In fact, they went out of their way to highlight the committed and attentive approach to student welfare and development. Four years later, Ofsted returned. This time, they failed the school on one issue alone. While again, noting that students were ‘confident in thinking for themselves‘, their report, pointed to the inadequate promotion of homosexuality and gender reassignment. As such, it was failing to ensure: a full understanding of fundamental British values’. It is one of an initial seven faith schools that face closure. (Read more.)

Who Killed the Princes in the Tower?

From On the Tudor Trail:
My biggest problem lies with the traditionally accused King Richard III and it boils down to two key holes in the case against him. Richard III must remain the prime suspect in any investigation, if the boys were indeed killed. The first problem with accepting that Richard III killed his nephews to prevent them being a threat to him is his failure to act against other nephews and nieces. If Richard chose to dispose of Edward IV’s sons to secure his own position, why would he fail to deal with Edward’s daughters and the children of his other older brother, George? It is true that they probably represented less of an obvious threat than the Princes in the Tower, but by October 1483 Henry Tudor was invading with the intention of marrying one of Edward’s daughters to improve his own claim to the throne, so within weeks of the disappearance of the Princes, their sisters were being identified as clear threats. George’s children Edward, Earl of Warwick and Margaret, later Countess of Salisbury lacked a personal affinity but nevertheless, Edward possessed a male line claim senior to Richard’s. He was barred by his father’s attainder, but that might be overturned by Parliament in an instant. Every other niece and nephew of Richard’s that was alive at the start of his reign was still alive at his death, so why not the sons of Edward IV? (Read more.)

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Harp Lesson

Young Marie-Antoinette, in her state bedchamber at Versailles, is instructed in music while being painted by D'Agoty. The Queen is in déshabillée, as was her custom in the mornings, even while receiving merchants, artists, tutors and petitioners. Share

St. Thomas Aquinas and Immigration

From Roman Catholic Man:
In looking at the debate over immigration, it is almost automatically assumed that the Church’s position is one of unconditional charity toward those who enter the nation, legally or illegally. However, is this the case? What does the Bible say about immigration? What do Church doctors and theologians say? Above all, what does the greatest of doctors, Saint Thomas Aquinas, say about immigration? Does his opinion offer some insights to the burning issues now shaking the nation and blurring the national borders?

Immigration is a modern problem and so some might think that the medieval Saint Thomas would have no opinion about the problem. And yet, he does. One has only to look in his masterpiece, the Summa Theologica, in the First part of the Second Part, question 105, article 3 (I-II, Q. 105, Art. 3). There one finds his analysis based on biblical insights that can add to the national debate. They are entirely applicable to the present.

Saint Thomas: “Man’s relations with foreigners are twofold: peaceful, and hostile: and in directing both kinds of relation the Law contained suitable precepts.”

Commentary: In making this affirmation, Saint Thomas affirms that not all immigrants are equal. Every nation has the right to decide which immigrants are beneficial, that is, “peaceful,” to the common good. As a matter of self-defense, the State can reject those criminal elements, traitors, enemies and others who it deems harmful or “hostile” to its citizens.

The second thing he affirms is that the manner of dealing with immigration is determined by law in the cases of both beneficial and “hostile” immigration. The State has the right and duty to apply its law. (Read more.)

How To Breakfast Like A French Socialite

From The London Economic:
Beautifully crafted tartines with butter and jam, croissants and other flaky delights, paired with an orange juice and perhaps a coffee — this is the usual formula for a French breakfast. But to eat in true French fashion, the ingredients must be fresh and natural. Junk food isn’t part of the French way of life. Each meal is to be savoured and snacking just isn’t part of the culture.

French culture sees a meal as an important moment in the day, something to be cherished as much as conversation. It’s all about taking pleasure in what you’re eating and setting the time aside to fully enjoy yourself. There’s a common French saying: “mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup”, which means “eat well, laugh often, love much”. This perfectly sums up the nation’s approach to food. (Read more.)


Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Controversial Restoration

I think she looks lovely, before and after. From The New York Times:
The decision to remove what a plaque in the cathedral calls the “unsightly coating” from the 16th-century wooden icon has come to symbolize the contested transformation of Chartres, which has been undergoing a decade-long restoration. For almost 500 years, pilgrims worshiped the Virgin’s dark visage, and it accrued the kind of mythic currency integral to Catholic worship. To some critics, the repainting has erased a cultural memory from a building its restorers say they are saving.

Now, the interior of the cathedral is clear of scaffolding for the first time in a decade, and the full impact of a project can be seen. This is its most substantial renovation since Chartres was rebuilt between 1194 and 1225. In the intervening 800 years, the building has changed almost beyond recognition, as smoke from burning candles, oil lamps and fires darkened the walls, the statues (including the Madonna) and the exquisite stained glass.

The restoration aims not only to clean and maintain the structure, but also to offer an insight into what the cathedral would have looked like in the 13th century. Its interior was designed to be a radiant vision, as close to heaven on earth as a pilgrim might come, although many modern visitors have responded more with shock than with awe. The architecture critic Martin Filler has described the project as a “scandalous desecration of a cultural holy place.”

As the extent of the restoration has become visible, art critics, curators and historians have debated its merits in publications in France, Britain and the United States. A petition to the French ministry of culture sought to halt the project. The campaign contended that the restoration violates the 1964 Charter of Venice, which prohibits the renovation of monuments or historic sites for cosmetic rather than structural reasons. (Read more.)

Racism and Catholicism

From The Catholic Thing:

The Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis are, rightly, regarded as deplorable modern racists. Curiously, the racism of Black supremacists/anti-Semites such as Louis Farrakhan Sr. (“an American religious leader, African-American activist, and social commentator” – Wikipedia) is not included. And reckless race baiting, impugning the motives of political adversaries has become common and inflammatory. In 2012, then Vice President Joseph Biden, in a campaign address to African-Americans that his opponents would “put y’all back in chains.”  Really?

Some clear instances of real racism are glossed over. Consider this recent report: “The 22-year-old man [Fredrick Demond Scott] suspected of shooting five middle-aged white men since last year – including four on south Kansas City walking trails – threatened in 2014 to shoot up a school and ‘kill all white people,’ according to court records. . . .Scott, who is black, has been charged with murder in the deaths of Steven Gibbons, 57, and John Palmer, 54. . . .Police said they did not know if the shootings were racially motivated.” Really?

But racism in its more subtle forms is sometimes considered acceptable in polite company, especially when it’s rooted in condescension disguised as affection and sensitivity. So, for example, in order to be sensitive to ethnic differences, academic and even behavioral standards are lowered to be inclusive, the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” A helping hand to the downtrodden is praiseworthy, but failing to challenge the human spirit with objective moral and academic standards effectively denies human dignity.

So-called multicultural programs – and within the Church, multi-cultural ministries – are arguably examples of this soft racism based on sentimentality. There are many diversity programs such as “African American Ministry” and “Hispanic Ministry – but never “Caucasian Ministry.”  Apparently, there is no need to minister to white people by taking into account the Caucasian culture (if such exists). A better explanation is that mostly white people are in charge of Multi-Cultural Ministries, the programs reveal an unwitting and sentimental condescension – and a form of real, albeit unintentional, institutional racism.

If these programs were indeed image-of-God based, they would include a systematic identification of truly racist organizations like Planned Parenthood. After all, PP was founded by the racist and eugenicist Margaret Sanger who targeted ethnic minorities for control and extinction (look it up).

This is not to suggest that attempts to understand ethnic and racial differences are optional in matters of human relations and evangelization. Our differences extend far beyond ethnic and racial diversity, and all differences bring challenges but also possibilities of enriching life. Hence, recognizing a person as a “child of God” with equal dignity includes the struggle to understand the various strains of cultural influences and practices, distinguish between the good and evil, as well as a frequent examination of conscience for failures in maintaining goodwill. Mutual understanding doesn’t come with a lumbering bureaucratic program; it comes with a generous spirit, attentiveness to the inherent dignity of others, and overall Christian – or at least Godly – formation. (Read more.)

Remembering Jane Austen

From Victoria:
Award-winning authoress Julie Klassen found her calling in the rich heritage of British literature. Classics read during childhood, such as Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, revealed the magic of storytelling, but the works of Jane Austen helped her develop a voice for creative expression. “I continue to consult Austen’s novels and letters as language references when I write,” Julie explains. She often includes subtle nods to the foremost name in Regency fiction—a gesture that many fans appreciate. (Read more.)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Allure of Asheville

From Southern Lady:
Asheville is the kind of place people love to claim. Leaf peepers, foodies, and art fans alike will tell you this is their ideal getaway. Never fear, there’s plenty of town to go around. Previously a primitive outpost for frontiersmen, Asheville was truly discovered with the invention of the railroad. Around the 1880s, the seasonal population soared with visitors seeking the therapeutic powers of mountaintop resorts. In 1888, George Vanderbilt visited the area and became enamored. A year later, he broke ground on the Biltmore House & Gardens. (Read more.)

Cardinal Sarah on the LGBT Controversy

There seems to be a huge debate raging on the Catholic internet about Fr. James Martin, SJ. I have stayed away from it since I already have enough debates going on about other things. And I just assumed that I had already made it clear where I stood. Nevertheless, I have been "unfriended" on Facebook by people on both "sides" of the debate, which is odd but not unusual. On the topic of ministering to Catholics with a same-sex orientation, I totally agree with Cardinal Sarah. From the Catholic News Agency:
Cardinal Sarah stressed the importance of both truth and love.

“To love someone as Christ loves us means to love that person in the truth,” he said. “Those who speak on behalf of the Church must be faithful to the unchanging teachings of Christ because only by living in harmony with God’s creative design do we find deep and lasting fulfillment.”

Cardinal Sarah summarized Catholic teaching on same-sex attraction: the person is good because he or she is a child of God. Homosexual attractions are not sinful if not willed or acted upon, even though they are not in harmony with human nature. However, homosexual actions are “gravely sinful and tremendously harmful to the well-being of those who partake in them.”

“People who identify as members of the LGBT community are owed this truth in charity, especially from clergy who speak on behalf of the Church about this complex and difficult topic,” the cardinal continued. The cardinal recommended the book by American author Daniel Mattson titled “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay,” for which he wrote the foreword.

“It is my prayer that the world will finally heed the voices of Christians who experience same-sex attractions and who have discovered peace and joy by living the truth of the Gospel,” Cardinal Sarah said. “I have been blessed by my encounters with them, and their witness moves me deeply.” (Read more.)

Rules for My Son

From Aaron Conrad:
A few favorites from the book Rules for My Unborn Son.
1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.
2. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs ain’t one.
3. The man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king.
4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.
5. Act like you’ve been there before. Especially in the end zone.
6. Request the late check-out.
7. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
8. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.
9. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.
10. Don’t fill up on bread. (Read more.)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Farmhouse Beauty

From Southern Lady:
Something about the return of early fall beckons us to enjoy the simple pleasures of this transitional season, so welcome friends and family to your September table with a relaxed spread that exudes comfort and charm. A centerpiece filled with softly muted hydrangeas captures the fading colors of summer while hinting at the hues of fall to come. (Read more.)

The Totalitarianism of the Now

From Mark Steyn:
But you can only learn "almost everything about life" if you stumble across movies. Very few people seek out Goodbye, My Fancy (1951). For the ensuing third of a century, it was the sort of thing that would turn up on the Late Show when you weren't quite ready to call it a night - or on a rainy afternoon when you were overly familiar with that day's "Leave It to Beaver" rerun and weren't in the mood for Merv Griffin. Now we live in an age where the haphazard rewards of "stumbling across" have been entirely eliminated: You programme your own tastes on your own device, and you can live within those constraints 24/7.

The appeal of "old" stories used to be that their truths were so enduring you didn't mind the crinolines and powdered wigs: When I read bedtime stories to my little girl - Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, Black Beauty - she did not have an adult's conception of time and so was too young to know or to care that all these people lived years before she was born and were all now dead. She was simply engaged by their quandaries. The endurance of Shakespeare is, as the cliché has it, that he "understands human nature" and so you cut him some slack on the doublet and hose. (Read more.)

Bizarre Anti-Catholic Myths

From The Catholic Herald:
So where did my acquaintance get the idea from? Well, take a look at any current GCSE textbook and you will see that the Church’s ban on dissection is still being taught as fact to young people across the country. The popular BBC GCSE Bitesize revision website reflects the consensus. Its entry on Medical Stagnation in the Middle Ages states (with helpful bold type): “The Church played a big part in medical stagnation in the Middle Ages. It discouraged progress by … forbidding dissection of human corpses”.

How can it be that such an easily-disprovable slur against the Church is being taught to thousands of youngsters across the country? In fact, the problem seems to be wider than one incorrect statement. I do urge you to read the BBC GCSE Bitesize page in its entirety. It places the blame for lack of medical progress in the Middle Ages almost entirely on the Church. Apart from the mythical ban on dissection, the website criticises the Church’s “encouragement of prayer and superstition” and the “emphasis on authority rather than observation and investigation”. Pupils are also told that the Church’s “belief that disease was a punishment from God” prevented investigation into cures.

There is one piece of good news: apparently the Church’s only positive contribution to medical progress was that it encouraged people to go on the Crusades, where they came into contact with more advanced Muslim doctors! I promise you, I am not making this up – check for yourselves.

It’s a complex subject, and of course no-one wants to whitewash the Church’s record. But is it really fair not to mention the contribution of monks to preserving Greek and Roman learning during the dark ages, the Catholic insistence on the use of reason in academic study, the Church’s sponsorship of universities, the developments in surgery in the 13th century under the patronage of Pope Innocent IV, or the contributions of Grosseteste, Bacon, Magnus and countless other Catholic scientists? Professional historians will be able to give a more informed view here. Still, the overall content of the webpage (and indeed many standard textbooks) seems to me at best misleading. Frankly, it verges on straightforward anti-Catholic prejudice. (Read more.)

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Fate of La Pérouse

There are new discussions of the evidence which shed light on the fate of the mission so dear to the heart of Louis XVI. From The Conversation:
The expedition left the French port of Brest in 1785. The two vessels, with a complement of 225 officers, crew and scientists, were crammed with supplies and trade goods for a four-year long Pacific voyage that sought to emulate the feats of discovery of Captain James Cook. King Louis XVI took a personal interest in the undertaking and helped draft the plans and itinerary.

 La Pérouse also had orders to investigate the new British colony in Australia. He arrived off Botany Bay, New South Wales in January 1788 to see Arthur Philip’s First Fleet at anchor, and so witnessed the beginning of European settlement of the continent. For six weeks the French camped on the northern shores of the Bay: the area now home to the south-eastern Sydney suburb bearing his name.

 Before departing Australia to continue his voyage, La Pérouse left letters with the British for forwarding to the French Naval Ministry. In them he detailed how he planned to leave the Pacific Ocean via Torres Strait, the narrow waterway separating Australia and New Guinea, and be back in France by June 1789. Concern mounted when they did not arrive as expected. In 1791 the French National Assembly commissioned an expedition to search for the overdue navigator, without success. It is said that King Louis XVI, on his way to the guillotine in 1793, enquired of his captors “Is there news of La Pérouse?”

A dogged Irish captain finally solved the puzzle almost four decades later. In 1826 Peter Dillon saw European objects at Tikopia in the Solomon Islands, which locals told him came from a nearby island called Vanikoro. He suspected they were from La Pérouse’s ships. Eventually, he was given command of the survey vessel Research and arrived at Vanikoro in 1827, going on to learn the awful fate of L’Astrolabe and La Boussole: both frigates had smashed against the island’s fringing reef during a storm. Artefacts collected by Dillon were taken to Paris where they were identified as belonging to the expedition vessels.

The Vanikoro Islanders also related how survivors from Le Pérouse’s ships had spent several months constructing a small two-masted schooner, using timber salvaged from wreckage and hewn from the island’s dense forests. Once completed, they launched the vessel and sailed away. (Read more.)
More from

While researching a project on the history of Torres Strait, Dr Hitchcock came across an article published in an 1818 Indian newspaper, The Madras Courier. He is confident the article reveals what became of the survivors.
The article tells the story of Shaik Jumaul, a castaway Indian seaman who survived the sinking of the merchant ship Morning Star which was wrecked off the coast of north Queensland in 1814. Jumaul made it to Murray Island, where he lived for four years, learning the language and culture of the Islanders. He was finally rescued by two merchant ships that passed through the area in 1818.
"Jumaul informed his rescuers that he had seen cutlasses and muskets on the islands which he recognised as not being of English make, as well as a compass and a gold watch," he said.
"When he asked the Islanders where they obtained these things, they related how approximately thirty years earlier, a ship had been wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef to the east, in sight of the island.
"Boats with crew had come ashore, but in the fighting that followed, all were eventually killed, except a boy, who was saved and brought up as one of their own, later marrying a local woman."
The La Pérouse expedition crew list includes a ship's boy (mousse), François Mordelle, from the port town of Tréguier in Brittany, northwestern France. Dr Hitchcock wonders if Mordelle could be the last survivor of the La Pérouse expedition.
"The Indian newspaper article featuring the castaway's account was later reproduced in several other newspapers and periodicals of the day, in Australia, Britain, France and other countries, and observers noted that this might refer to the La Pérouse expedition," Dr Hitchcock said.

Read more at:
While researching a project on the history of Torres Strait, Dr Hitchcock came across an article published in an 1818 Indian newspaper, The Madras Courier. He is confident the article reveals what became of the survivors.
The article tells the story of Shaik Jumaul, a castaway Indian seaman who survived the sinking of the merchant ship Morning Star which was wrecked off the coast of north Queensland in 1814. Jumaul made it to Murray Island, where he lived for four years, learning the language and culture of the Islanders. He was finally rescued by two merchant ships that passed through the area in 1818.
"Jumaul informed his rescuers that he had seen cutlasses and muskets on the islands which he recognised as not being of English make, as well as a compass and a gold watch," he said.
"When he asked the Islanders where they obtained these things, they related how approximately thirty years earlier, a ship had been wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef to the east, in sight of the island.
"Boats with crew had come ashore, but in the fighting that followed, all were eventually killed, except a boy, who was saved and brought up as one of their own, later marrying a local woman."
The La Pérouse expedition crew list includes a ship's boy (mousse), François Mordelle, from the port town of Tréguier in Brittany, northwestern France. Dr Hitchcock wonders if Mordelle could be the last survivor of the La Pérouse expedition.
"The Indian newspaper article featuring the castaway's account was later reproduced in several other newspapers and periodicals of the day, in Australia, Britain, France and other countries, and observers noted that this might refer to the La Pérouse expedition," Dr Hitchcock said.

Read more at: