cult of mediocrity

What a joke. Islam is code of belief and practice that one may adhere to or reject in whole or part. If I wish to disapprove of Islam and (in proportion to their freedom in the matter) its adherents I bloody well shall. In regard to persons who have no responsibility for their adherence to Islam (minors, the simple, the inculpably ignorant and oppressed women) I might still oppose their emigration to the United Kingdom simply because the bankrupt secular culture of the UK cannot fail to be overwhelmed by the infusion of multitudes from a coherent and vigorous rival civilisation. Disapproval of someone’s ethnicity on the other hand is irrational and immoral. The very equation of anti-Semitism and ‘Islamophobia’ is anti-Semitic. I do not suppose Jeremy Corbyn disapproves of Jewish ethnicity per se. He disapproves of the existence of the state of Israel. The problem now is that the state of Israel is a fact. To position ‘I have nothing against the French. I just want to deport them to Canada and partition their country between Germany and Spain’ is difficult to distinguish from just being anti-French. The Islamic vote upon which Labour is increasingly dependent does indeed disapprove of the ethnicity of the Jews per se and adheres to a religion which looks forward to the eventual genocide of all Jews who do not convert to Islam. I, along with Western Civilisation as a whole, accept the great bulk of Judaism as true and good but lament the failure of its adherents to recognise the Messiah. Corbyn rejects Judaism as a whole and finds the ultimately supernatural basis of its claim to the Holy Land deeply offensive. This is the ultimate root of non-Islamic left-wing anti-Semitism. The Left are the vanguard of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment is a movement to eliminate divine revelation as a source of public policy and public law. The destruction of confessional schools, of the diplomatic recognition of the Holy See, the National Anthem, the Coronation and the state of Israel, are necessarily essential aims of the Left. Islam may not be their ideology of choice but they sympathise with its internationalism and its willingness to use violence to advance its cause. As Burke said of them in the first flush of their victory “to those who have observed the spirit of their conduct, it has long been clear that nothing was wanted but the power of carrying the intolerance of the tongue and of the pen into a persecution which would strike at property, liberty, and life.”

Former top SNP advisor Alex Bell has exposed the complete incoherence of the  SNP plan (lower taxes + higher public spending + free money) for Scottish Independence. Plunging oil prices are putting the delusions of the National Socialist Scottish Workers Party into sharper and sharper relief.

“Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.”

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

Napoleon Bonaparte is the great tragedy of Arthurian Republicanism. The French Revolution overthrew the useless Teutonic parasite that was the Second Estate of the Ancien Regime. Alas for Henry IV! If the heretic king of Navarre had not decided to accept the Mass in exchange for Paris, if Philip II had not insisted that his daughter – the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia – marry a Habsburg, the French Republic might have been founded in 1589 on the basis of the Holy Catholic Faith instead of the pestilential errors of the ‘Enlightenment’. And yet, a wonderful opportunity presented itself when the Corsican general sought to make peace with Pius VII and to restore the meritocratic monarchy swept away by the Sicambrians, Welches and other savages from the woods and swamps of ancient Germany. The foul Talleyrand persuaded the First Consul to recognise Catholicism not as the one true religion but merely as that of the Consul himself and that of the greater number of the French people. A still more wonderful opportunity presented itself when Bonaparte sought the purple and the blessing of the Pope to do so. Napoleon then committed two further terrible errors: he took the title ‘French’ and not ‘Roman’ Emperor and he made his office hereditary. Thus, he tied his laurels to a mere nation and fell back into the blood superstition of the barbarians.

As Beethoven declared “He, too, then, is nothing better than an ordinary man! Now he will trample on all human rights only to humour his ambition; he will place himself above all others,–become a tyrant!” If only Napoleon had restrained himself then the Church might have been forever liberated from the dead weight of the deposed ‘aristocracy’ endlessly demanding that the Lay faithful waste their energies labouring to restore the Ancien Regime instead of the Kingship of Christ, the privileges of the descendants of Alaric and Attila instead of those of Holy Mother Church. If only Napoleon had remained faithful to the Republic then Leo XIII might not have had to expend himself trying to get the obstinate French royalists to rally to it. As Belloc saw “When you have reconciled these two things – I mean the high Stoicism of the Republic and the humility of the Church (for they can co-exist) – then you will have the perfect state.” Of course, St Hippolytus foresaw that the Antichrist would restore the Roman Empire to the government it enjoyed at the time of Augustus, so if Napoleon had done all these things he would no doubt have proved to be the Antichrist in person and not merely a warm-up act. But this does not mean that these priceless acts would not have been in themselves the right things to do. As Pius VII taught as bishop of Imola,

“Strive to attain to the full height of virtue and you will be true democrats. Fulfill faithfully the precepts of the Gospel and you will be the joy of the Republic.”


Alyoshenka (appropriately enough) bought me The Brothers Karamazov a while ago. I am not very good at novels. Napoleon once said novels are for women while history is for men. Usually therefore, I have to find some long journey devoid of internet access and make sure I only have the novel with me and so have to read it. Ideally this then provides me with sufficient momentum to finish the thing when I get back. I was making a transatlantic flight a few weeks ago and I had ordered the most negative revisionist history of the American Revolution I could find to read on the way over. Alas! It did not arrive in time so, as it was at the top of the pile, I took The Brothers Karamazov instead. To be more specific, I took The Karamazov Brothers translated by Ignat Avsey for Oxford World’s Classics. Knowing no Russian I have no idea if this is a good translation, it certainly reads nicely. OUP is usually seen as a rather respectable publisher. I don’t know anything about Mr Avesy but I am pretty sure he is a theosophist. He not only translated the text he also provided the notes. I was already very suspicious when… on page 82 …in the course of an attack on the Church and an encomium of ‘Orthodoxy’ Fr Paisy (a minor character in the novel) remarks “The star will shine forth from the East”. There then follows a lengthy endnote by Mr Avesy. After correctly identifying Fr Paisy’s words as an allusion to Matthew 2:2 Avesy goes on to explain:

“It has been said that the current of culture arises in the East and moves West, eventually dying in the Americas. [fairy nuff] Thus Rudolf Steiner [uh-oh…]  claimed that, on the death of the Atlantean age and civilization [come again?], the Arians, under the leadership of Manu [wow], migrated to India, forming the pre-Vedic Indian culture. When that culture itself became decadent, a new culture was founded in Persia by Zoroaster or Zarathustra (the name means ‘Morning Star’ [how reassuring]). That culture was, in its turn, succeeded by the cultures of the Middle East, particularly those of Egypt and Babylonia. Following the decline of those cultures, the cultures of Greece and then Rome arose. Since the fifteenth century AD the Northern European or Germanic/Anglo-Saxon culture has emerged the culture which is still dominant today [thank you Mr Himmler!].”

Remember this the OUP edition of the greatest Russian novel. This is full-on National Socialist mumbo jumbo delivered as sober fact. Avesy then mentions that some Russians think that when the Californians have finished with Western Civ. it might get round to being their turn before giving us some references:

“See Rudolf Steiner, Occult Science and Lectures upon the Apocalypse; the several works of Valentin Tomberg (privately printed in Riga, 1936-9 repr. by Candeur Manuscripts, Spring Valley, New York, 1977-9); Maria Schindler, Europe a Cosmic Picture (New Knowledge Books, Horsham, Sussex, 1975-6) …”

Rudolf Steiner is, of course, a famous purveyor of mumbo jumbo but Valentin Tomberg has a special interest as the occultist for whose Introduction to the Tarot Hans Urs Von Balthasar wrote his sinister forward. In the light of this connection I would dearly love to know if the Maria Schindler cited here has any connection to the Schindler dynasty of creepy Balthasarians. Given the ease with which Balthasar and his followers have managed to infiltrate allegedly respectable Catholic theological circles I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at a spot of kindred occultism in the endnotes of an Oxford World’s Classics volume.

So! Occultism and Nazism with Balthasarian connections – a long haul flight well spent methinks…

The Prior General of the Community of St John P. Thomas Joachim has announced that there exist “convergent and credible testimonies concerning the failures in chastity of their founder” Marie Dominique Philippe. Apparently these failures regard between five and ten adult women to whom he gave spiritual guidance and with whom he was romantically involved but do not extend as far as sexual intercourse. In an interview for La Croix the Prior General has rejected comparisons with Marcial Maciel.

I remember attending a lecture by Fr John Saward many years ago in which he pointed out that there have as yet been no saints raised on the Novus Ordo. One of the attendees was very annoyed by this comment and indeed it is still relatively early days. Nevertheless, we were promised the wrath of Almighty God and the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul if we overthrew the Missal of St Pius V and it is hard not to suspect that is what we have received. The very idea of jettisoning a patristic rite of apostolic origin in favour of the work of committee of academics and officials in the nineteen sixties only needs to be expressed for its absurdity to be seen. There is an urgent need to recover the powerful feeling of the Fathers that ‘novelty’ is a dirty word. In this regard I am reminded of the thirteenth canon of the Fourth Lateran Council which has been so spectacularly ignored over the last eight hundred years,

“Lest too great a variety of religious orders leads to grave confusion in God’s church, we strictly forbid anyone henceforth to found a new religious order. Whoever wants to become a religious should enter one of the already approved orders. Likewise, whoever wishes to found a new religious house should take the rule and institutes from already approved religious orders…”

There are many extremely sensible disciplinary provisions in the Councils (such as the prohibition of Nicaea against the translation of a bishop from one diocese to another) which might have done much good to the Church if they had been observed. St Pius X is of course a great and glorious pontiff but the decision to codify canon law and the reform of the Roman Breviary seem to reflect an unfortunate conception of the proper relationship of the Holy See to tradition which bore evil fruit later in the century.

I spent a week listening to the lectures of Marie Dominique Philippe once and I am afraid I was not impressed. He seemed to think no one had really understood a word of St Thomas until he came along and, as he had now surpassed the Angelic Doctor in many important respects, there was not much point in approaching the Angelic Doctor except through him. He had taken Maritain’s ideas about the supposed distinction between the Individual and the Person and run with it. He held that the end of the person was the knowledge of God but the end of the individual was reproduction. I expressed scepticism about this idea to one of the Priests of the community who insisted it was a wonderful insight which was very helpful in understanding the challenges of celibacy. That seemed unlikely to me.

I bumped into quite a number of friends and acquaintances at Saint-Jodard one of the them was a novice in the contemplative sisters who (unbeknownst to me) was about to leave. She complained that all they did was pray the five offices of the Novus Ordo breviary that the last of these (Compline) was often substituted by a lecture or reflection of the founder. They spent an awfully long time listening to his lectures and she had noticed considerable divergence between what struck her as the authentic doctrine of St Thomas and what she was being told. She wished there was some productive work to be done. She wasn’t sure she could cope with a lifetime of these lectures. I pointed out that Fr Philippe was rather elderly and thus a lifetime of his lectures did not seem very likely. She grabbed my arm with a rather desperate look in her eyes “No! There are tapes, there are thousands of tapes!”

Many new orders were founded in the Tridentine period, particularly in the nineteenth century. They seem to have done a lot of good. Nevertheless, they have fared very badly in the post-conciliar period. The Jesuits would be the most spectacular casualty of an enforcement of canon thirteen of Lateran IV. They have of course been dissolved before and it is not inconceivable that it could happen again. It is certainly much easier to read Dominus ac Redemptor with sympathy when one reflects on the state of the Society now and the many unfortunate theological positions such as implicit faith, the third degree of obedience, the ‘black is white’ doctrine, scientia media, indirectism, the denial of the real distinction between essence and existence etc. which the Society has sponsored and which have done so much harm to the Church. In general the sponsorship of theological systems by religious orders has been a shelter under which many errors have grown up. This is particularly true of the Franciscans (whose rule was the last to be approved before 1215) who were obviously straying from the charism of the Seraphic Father by engagement in such activities. Nevertheless, it was the Jesuits who were in the forefront of the effort to prevent Benedict XV enforcing the Twenty Four Theses (admittedly written by a Jesuit!) promulgated by St Pius X in the last month of his pontificate.

The Rules of St Basil, St Augustine, St Benedict and St Francis have vast centuries of sanctity to commend them to the Church. To join a community based on one of these is to know that whatever the failings of individuals the foundation is sure. It is dispiriting to realise one has taken a wrong turn and have to retrace one’s steps and start again but, in the end perhaps, salutary.

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