Mary . . . is interpreted to mean ‘Star of the Sea.’ This admirably befits the Virgin Mother. There is indeed a wonderful appropriateness in this comparison of her with a star, because as a star sends out its rays without harm to itself, so did the Virgin bring forth her Child without injury to her integrity. And as the ray does not diminish the rightness of the star, so neither did the Child born of her tarnish the beauty of Mary’s virginity. She is therefore that glorious star, which, as the prophet said, arose out of Jacob, whose ray enlightens the whole earth, whose splendour shines out for all to see in heaven and reaches even unto hell. . . She, I say, is that shining and brilliant star, so much needed, set in place above life’s great and spacious sea, glittering with merits, all aglow with examples for our imitation. Oh, whosoever thou art that perceivest thyself during this mortal existence to be rather drifting in treacherous waters, at the mercy of the winds and the waves, than walking on firm ground, turn not away thine eyes from the splendour of this guiding star, unless thou wishest to be submerged by the storm! (St Bernard, Hom. II on “Missus est” 17). 

I have often quoted the wonderful statement of the 1937 Irish Constitution on the nature of the family:

“The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.”

It goes on to say:

“The State acknowledges that the primary and natural educator of the child is the Family and guarantees to respect the inalienable right and duty of parents to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children. Parents shall be free to provide this education in their homes or in private schools or in schools recognised or established by the State.”

The second passage is of course a logical consequence of the first. The original  Bunreacht na hÉireann though not a perfect document (not least in the absence of the word ‘one’ from article 44.1.2) had the good fortune to be written in the reign of Pope Pius XI who, among many other great acheivements, wrote the encyclical Divini Illius Magistri a brilliant exposition of the true nature of education and of the right to educate.

(As an aside it also contains the most hard-line statement of Papal authority in temporals since Unam Sanctam:

“[T]he Church as a perfect society has an independent right to the means conducive to its end, and because every form of instruction, no less than every human action, has a necessary connection with man’s last end, and therefore cannot be withdrawn from the dictates of the divine law, of which the Church is guardian, interpreter and infallible mistress.”)

The Spirit of the Age (aka the Prince of this World) does not like marriage it being the symbol of everything he seeks to destroy and of his greatest defeat. He has invented his own version ‘Gay marriage’ and his alternative to the family: the Leviathan State. The Leviathan State doesn’t like home schooling or the principles enunciated in sections 41-42 of the 1937 Irish Constitution. In fact, they are a declaration of war to the death between the family and the Leviathan.

Hobbes may have christened Leviathan (well presumably it was a humanist naming ceremony) but it has found its natural home in the lands blessed with tongue of Luther. Germany has quite recently been imprisoning parents for home schooling. Austria is now keen to catch up. The law code in Austria (Leviathan loves law codes and hates common law) seems to allow for home schooling but the children have to be tested every year in German (the persecuted parents are not Austrian) with the same exams based on the same curriculum as the state schools. The group of parents seeking to resist are facing tens of thousands of Euros in annual fines, possible imprisonment, and have been threatened with the confiscation of their children.

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Angel of Mons

Angel of Mons

What should we think of the First World War? My impression is that its finest advocates on the English and French side saw it primarily as a spiritual struggle, between (the remnants of) Christendom and (incipient) paganism. By ‘finest advocates’ I mean men who were impressive by a combination of faith, intelligence, a sense of what Europe had been and could be again, and an understanding of how ideas mould history: such men as Chesterton and Maritain, who both supported the war. But were they deluded? Or were there any men of similar calibre on the other side who would have offered an equally high-minded justification for their side? Maybe Notburga can tell us how the German and Austrian bishops spoke of the war at the time?

All that you hoped for, all you had you gave

To save mankind, yourselves you scorned to save.

True or false?

Yes, there are lots of Americans. But they’re not that bad 🙂

If it weren’t Sunday, we’d be paying more attention to the Rosary and to the Battle of Lepanto. Obligatory quotation:

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man’s house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings’ horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign—
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate’s sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

I have been trying to find an online image of the splendid woodcut of the Rosary at the end of The nevv actis and constitutionis of parliament maid be the rycht excellent prince Iames the Fift Kyng of Scottis (printed 1542), but have failed to find it anywhere except within EEBO (which requires an institutional subscription). It has a garland of roses like this one; in the middle is Our Lord crucified, in front of representatives of the various types of saint; in the top left corner (outwith the garland, that is) is the Mass of St Gregory, and in the top right is St Francis receiving the stigmata; in the bottom corners are people praying the rosary, and at the base are souls in the fires of purgatory, who are presumably being hastened to heaven by the Rosary. Most edifying.

(Compare this woodcut, relating to a Rosary confraternity. And, randomly, an article on the late medieval Rosary confraternity in Cologne.)

Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.

Further to the Sanctandreans’ experience – some Austrian politicians are rumbling about bannning protests outside abortion clinics. Doesn’t sound like it’ll happen, but it’s a further indication of climate, no? (This article ends with a quote from a bishop about how Austrians will be ashamed of this one day – unless they have contracepted and aborted themselves out of existence, leaving Austria to Islam.)