If there is something like ‘political imprinting’, Helmut Kohl was part of mine. When I first became aware of such a thing as politics, as a pre-teen during the ‘Wende’ in 1989, Kohl appeared to me as ‘the’ Chancellor of western Germany, a fixture you identified with the office itself. For more than ten years, he was an entirely negative figure to communist-y (PDS-voting) me. My conversion to the Catholic Church fell into the Schröder chancellorship. Since then, there have been a number of elections at various levels during which I decided, somewhat reluctantly, that the ‘Christian’ Democrats (CDU) might at least be the ‘least evil’ among the available options – something absolutely ‘not done’ among my family and basically all my non-Catholic friends. During parliamentary elections, however, I might quite likely not have decided this way had Kohl, not Merkel, been CDU candidate for chancellorship.

When I checked the news last night after a very busy working day, I stumbled upon the simple fact of Kohl’s death as already old news, all news outlets having moved on to the specifics of the funeral and reviews of Kohl’s career already. Politically ill-educated me, through lack of information or else through instinct, did not like Kohl. He was born the same year as my grandmother, but lived more than six years longer: when I so much would have preferred it the other way round. His health was not good, and his death to be expected, and yet – upon reading that he had died, I felt like punched into the gut for the very fact, perhaps, that an era of history through which I grew up was now finally at an end.

And in spite of all I might still feel worthy of criticism:

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.  Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Zion, to Thy Savior sing,
to Thy Shepherd and Thy King!
Let the air with praises ring!
All thou canst, proclaim with mirth,
far higher is His worth
than the glory words may wing.

Lo! before our eyes and living
is the Sacred Bread life-giving,
theme of canticle and hymn.
We profess this Bread from heaven
to the Twelve by Christ was given,
for our faith rest firm in Him.

Let us form a joyful chorus,
may our lauds ascend sonorous,
bursting from each loving breast.
For we solemnly record
how the Table of the Lord
with the Lamb’s own gift was blest.

On this altar of the King
this new Paschal Offering
brings an end to ancient rite.
Shadows flee that truth may stay,
oldness to the new gives way,
and the night’s darkness to the light.

What at Supper Christ completed
He ordained to be repeated,
in His memory Divine.
Wherefore now, with adoration,
we, the Host of our salvation,
consecrate from bread and wine.

Words a nature’s course derange,
that in Flesh the bread may change
and the wine in Christ’s own Blood.
Does it pass thy comprehending?
Faith, the law of light transcending,
leaps to things not understood.

Here beneath these signs are hidden
priceless things, to sense forbidden;
signs, not things, are all we see.
Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine,
yet is Christ in either sign,
all entire confessed to be.

And whoe’er of Him partakes,
severs not, nor rends, nor breaks:
all entire, their Lord receive.
Whether one or thousand eat,
all receive the selfsame meat,
nor do less for others leave.

Both the wicked and the good
eat of this celestial Food:
but with ends how opposite!
With this most substantial Bread,
unto life or death they’re fed,
in a difference infinite.

Nor a single doubt retain,
when they break the Host in twain,
but that in each part remain
what was in the whole before;
For the outward sign alone
may some change have undergone,
while the Signified stays one,
and the same forevermore.

Hail! Bread of the Angels, broken,
for us pilgrims food, and token
of the promise by Christ spoken,
children’s meat, to dogs denied!
Shown in Isaac’s dedication,
in the Manna’s preparation,
in the Paschal immolation,
in old types pre-signified.

Jesus, Shepherd mild and meek,
shield the poor, support the weak;
help all who Thy pardon sue,
placing all their trust in You:
fill them with Your healing grace!
Source of all we have or know,
feed and lead us here below.
grant that with Your Saints above,
sitting at the feast of love
we may see You face to face.
Amen. Alleluia.

O eternal God! O eternal Trinity! Through the union of Thy Divine nature Thou hast made so precious the Blood of Thy only-begotten Son! O eternal Trinity, Thou art as deep a mystery as the sea, in whom the more I seek, the more I find; and the more I find, the more I seek. For even immersed in the depths of Thee, my soul is never satisfied, always famished and hungering for Thee, eternal Trinity, wishing and desiring to see Thee, the True Light.

O eternal Trinity, with the light of understanding I have tasted and seen the depths of Thy mystery and the beauty of Thy creation. In seeing myself in Thee, I have seen that I will become like Thee. O eternal Father, from Thy power and Thy wisdom clearly Thou hast given to me a share of that wisdom which belongs to Thine Only-begotten Son. And truly hast the Holy Spirit, who procedeth from Thee, Father and Son, given to me the desire to love Thee.

O eternal Trinity, Thou art my maker and I am Thy creation. Illuminated by Thee, I have learned that Thou hast made me a new creation through the Blood of Thy Only-begotten Son because Thou art captivated by love at the beauty of Thy creation.

O eternal Trinity, O Divinity, O unfathomable abyss, O deepest sea, what greater gift could Thou givest me then Thy very Self? Thou art a fire that burns eternally yet never consumed, a fire that consumes with Thy heat my self-love. Again and again Thou art the fire who taketh away all cold heartedness and illuminateth the mind by Thy light, the light with which Thou hast made me to know Thy truth.

By this mirrored light I know Thou are the highest good, a good above all good, a fortunate good, an incomprehensible good, an unmeasurable good, a beauty above all beauty, a wisdom above all wisdom, for Thou art wisdom itself, the the food of angels, the fire of love that Thou givest to man.

Thou art the garment covering our nakedness. Thou feedest our family with Thy sweetness, a sweetness Thou art from which there is no trace of bitterness. O Eternal Trinity!

~ St. Catherine of Siena

Labour will continue to ensure a woman’s right to choose a safe, legal abortion – and we will work with the Assembly to extend that right to women in Northern Ireland.

– Labour Manifesto 2017

Paul Staines, Founder of Guido Fawkes blog

History shows that the idea that “the science is settled” has never been true. The atom was not the indivisible unit that was it was once accepted to be. Scientists are not infallible, they are very prone to groupthink, intellectual fashion and evil ideas like eugenics. Science advances theories that are tested and refined. Much of “the science” provides a working hypothesis upon which humanity advances. “The science” is not an end state. More scientific humility would be a good thing.

 

Burke?

The most revealing things in this election are what Theresa May says when she doesn’t have to and what Jeremy Corbyn refuses to say. There was no need for Theresa May to make the declaration she made in the Tory Manifesto. She clearly feels an ideological imperative to shift the Conservative Party away from Thatcherite Whiggery and back towards Anglican Toryism. This is not pleasing to a great many in her party and while she might have felt the need to change the mood music somewhat in order to appropriate Brexit, the theoretical declarations carry no obvious political advantage and plenty of risk. So perhaps she believes them to be true.

The problem is of course that Anglican Toryism is incoherent. Pragmatic paternalistic traditionalism backing Francophile would-be absolutism to avoid non-conformist anarchy. The traditionalism is more edifying in many ways than the Francophile would-be absolutism but the problem is that many of the goods the Whigs purport to defend are key to the tradition the Tories seek to preserve. The one thing James II was right about is the Creed (and its rights) which is the only principle truly capable of the integral reconciliation of authority and liberty. Acton’s claim that St Thomas was the ‘first Whig’ is offensive nonsense. Samuel Jonson was much closer to the mark (cf. Libertas §14). Nevertheless, if the Steward were to read his Summa (and De Regno) with more attention then what is true in Whiggery might be extracted and what is false in Toryism eliminated and the King could come back over the water. In spirit anyway (but who knows…).

Which is an obscure way of saying that the the state is not a necessary evil but a system of order willed by God and inherent to human nature with a vital role, indeed the vital role, in achieving man’s natural good. However, the natural good for man cannot be attained in this order of providence without man’s supernatural good. Consequently, there being no habitual grace outside the Catholic Church, a state with takes a proactive role in solving society’s ills outside the Church will simply become the first and most terrible of those ills.

The spontaneous organic structures of human society can only develop (and so indicate by their natural limitations the areas of the state’s proper activity) when the law of man’s nature is generally observed and this is impossible without habitual grace. This, incidentally, is why some conservative Catholics irritated at the (in the absence of heroic sanctity) multigenerational project of converting an entire society and looking to some dynasty or strong-man to do the job for them, are drawn to implicitism. They would do better to pursue heroic sanctity. The bloated state that seeks to remedy society’s ills without grace triggers a withering away of those organic structures that have been able to take root in the poor soil of fallen nature and so it, and its task, grows until nothing else remains.

Which brings us neatly to Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn rightly perceives that the state as it is concretely organised everywhere in the world is a system of oppression and exploitation. (Indeed, even a truly Catholic state would remain a system of oppression and exploitation insofar as its subjects allowed themselves to fall into mortal sin). He perceives that every expansion of the state in order to remedy the ills of man (which he wrongly supposes arise from this oppression and exploitation) creates inequities and further disorders. He thus desires the seizure of the state by the oppressed and exploited, or rather by their enlightened representatives, and its expansion until the distinction between society and the state is abolished. The Irish Nationalist and Islamismist are, for Corbyn, just the incoherent mouthpieces of the oppressed and exploited, the unenlightened foot soldiers whose true interests can only be understood and articulated by Jeremy, John and Diane (who are none-the-less grateful for the pawns’ sacrifice).

They correctly recognise that those who now hold onto the organs of power would never relinquish them without violent resistance and (falsely imagining that this civil brigandage is the essential curse of humanity) they suppose their violent acquisition of them will inaugurate utopia. They seek the overthrow of the United Kingdom and its replacement by a peoples’ republic and are willing to ally themselves with each and anyone who shares the first of those goals.

Their cynicism about the state is entirely accurate their error lies in their atheism and their situating of the ultimate malady in the macrocosm instead of the microcosm. The essential curse of humanity is laid upon the heart of each individual and the latrocinium is merely its inevitable consequence and expression. It must be lifted one soul at a time. The use of any and all means to obtain the levers of power by the vanguard of the oppressed will only redouble the curse and create an even more terrible leviathan, as history has shown.

One of the great paradoxical advantages of the Whig settlement is that it establishes the principle that theological truth determines legitimate rule. The creed in question is false but the principle has guarded the United Kingdom against the scourge of laicism. Ultimately it is a principle that makes sense only in the light of the Catholic Faith as Burke himself, perhaps, came to realise before his death. So, in the end, better Burke Bungled than a Marxism which however insightful is never lite.

“If I was a young, devout Muslim man in some of our northern cities and I looked at what has become culture on a Friday and Saturday night, I would not want to integrate with it.” – Lord Tebbit

“The terrorists will never win — and our values, our country and our way of life will always prevail.” – Theresa May

“In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered; national traditions, differences in nation and culture are being erased.” – Vladimir Putin