Tuesday, July 15, 2014

14 July

Yesterday was my 36th birthday. There was also some sort of "holiday" in France but I prefer to focus on sharing my birthday with the Duke of Bavaria (81) and the Crown Princess of Sweden (37). I had a delightful evening with four local monarchist friends at Medieval Times. Having lived in Dallas for six years now, I'd driven by that castle so many times and thought I should go (I went to the one in California with three other monarchist friends, including Charles Coulombe, almost eight years ago in 2006), but the right opportunity never came along until yesterday. Since we don't have real castles in America, we have to make do with fake ones; it was all good fun. (Shame the "Ozark Medieval Fortress" project in Arkansas stalled.) With its glorious pageant of feudal, hierarchical, & chivalric civilisation, Medieval Times should be commended for showing its audiences what's really worth celebrating on 14 July or any other day. Appropriately, our section's champion the Blue Knight was festooned with the fleur-de-lis of the French Monarchy.

I get tired of pedants pointing out, as they occasionally do, that technically yesterday's disgusting "holiday" in France is supposed to commemorate the events of 14 July 1790 (over which poor Louis XVI presided) rather than those of 14 July 1789. It makes no difference. Whatever its merits, the constitutional monarchy obviously did not last, so there is nothing to celebrate. Nations that turn their backs on their Kings do not deserve unity and do not deserve celebrations. The only real France, the only source of everything beautiful in France, is the Catholic and Royal France of the forty Kings who in a thousand years made France. Everything else is an abomination deserving of nothing but contempt. Only those who are ignorant, stupid, or evil celebrate the diabolical French Revolution. Monarchy yesterday, Monarchy today, Monarchy forever. A bas la république! VIVE LE ROI!!!

It's funny; I feel like when it comes to some historical topics such as the French Revolution or the Spanish Civil War, or some contemporary controversies such as the purported "ordination" of women, I'm more Catholic than most Catholics. More Catholic than the Pope, even. (Some would say that's not too hard at the moment.) It's when it comes to other historical topics such as Queen Elizabeth I and the British Monarchy, or Ireland, or the sublimity of Choral Evensong, that I'm not quite there.


Pair O' Dimes said...

Happy Birthday! Hope it was a good one! And thanks for letting me know whose royal birthdays it also was!

I fully agree with you about France, the Eldest Daughter of the Church. In fact, in the years 1789-1815 I see all of salvation history in microcosm, and certainly the Bourbon monarchy represent God and Jesus Christ, as well they should given that the revolutionaries persecuted the Church.

However, I didn't see the need for that last paragraph, especially what you said about the Pope. I don't deny that he's made questionable decisions, but all I will say is that I'm glad you're not Catholic given that you said that. He is still the Pope, and this overlooks the good things he has done, including some very bold moves for which he doesn't get credit. To me, that's like criticizing Pope Pius XII for "not doing enough" to prevent or speak out against the Holocaust.

If you want to talk about being "more Catholic" or "less Catholic" (which I don't), I don't respect the decision of Catholics, especially "traditional" Catholics, to condemn their own Pope. I see this as being cut from the same cloth as the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees. After all, the whole point of the Christian faith (and monarchism) is persons before ideology--if a tyrant is still a rightful King, Emperor, Bishop, or Pope, and his person is sacred and inviolable, so is a liberal. I think traditional Catholics and monarchists shoot themselves in the foot by acting like that. Certainly don't regard them as impeccable, but if they do sin, why not take it up with them rather than trashing their reputation?

Please excuse me for that part being the longest part of my comment here, but I'm not sorry I said it and I don't want forgiveness. I don't accuse what you said here of being the worst of it--not by a long shot--and I'll believe you if you say it wasn't your intention to attack the Pope here. This is just a pervasive problem that really irritates me as both a Catholic and a monarchist. How do we expect nonmembers to take us seriously if we act like that?

In any case, I still hope you had a happy birthday, and may God grant you many blessed years!

Pair O' Dimes said...

Okay, I think I need to reiterate what I said above--I fear I didn't make it clear, but most of my ire was not directed at you, and if I didn't make that clear then I do beg your pardon.

It just really burns me up when people talk about being "more Catholic than the Pope", and "some would say" is another phrase that gets on my nerves, as when it isn't followed by "I say" it gives the impression that the person uses "some would say" to mean "I agree" but they won't admit it for whatever reason.

But you're not alone in how you feel. I am Catholic and am becoming more and more monarchist all the time. And before I returned to the Catholic Church I was very much a liberal--I would have disagreed with you on all the topics you mentioned in that last paragraph, including the "ordination" of women. Now I agree with you on them all. So I hope you'll take heart.

Theodore Harvey said...

Well good grief that wasn't supposed to be the main point of the post. But I stand by what I said. The main reason I'm not a Catholic is that I can't stand the post-Vatican II liturgy ("Novus Ordo"), so if a pope isn't supportive of the Latin mass and traditional sacred music & ceremonial as Benedict XVI was, then no, I'm not going to be impressed with him. I think traditionalists have many other valid criticisms of Pope Francis as well. He says and does whatever he wants whenever he wants, whatever the consequences, and the world calls that "humility." It's ridiculous.

Just as being a monarchist does not mean that one must adore all individual monarchs, being a Catholic does not mean that one can never criticize the Pope; that would turn the Papacy into idolatry (which is indeed what some neoconservative Catholics seem to fall into). Though I think there is much more to criticize in the current Pope than in current European monarchs.

Pair O' Dimes said...

I know, and that's why I felt bad for making that the main point of my comment.

Is it the Novus Ordo per se, or is it how it's been done in practice? I hope that's not the only reason you're not Catholic.

I don't think Pope Francis has done everything right, and that concerns me, but I'm not going to gossip about him or judge his heart. I'm not saying you're doing that, but there it is.

I know that. Paul rebuked the first Pope. Nor do I idolize Pope Francis. But I'm trying to know my place. With some (not all) of what so-called "traditionalists" have said, it sounds a lot like they're being less Catholic than the Pope, and less monarchist than they might be.

Theodore Harvey said...

I have no problem with a Latin Novus Ordo mass in a beautiful church with exceptionally fine music as at St Agnes in St Paul Minnesota, but there are reasons why that's not usually the way the Novus Ordo is.

What's perhaps more important though is that it was the specifically Anglican liturgical and musical tradition I fell in love with via the webcasts of Saint Thomas Church in New York in 2007, just as my peculiar relationship with the SSPX in North Carolina was unraveling, and that made it possible for me to become a Christian after years of agnosticism.

Pair O' Dimes said...

I would love to see that kind of Novus Ordo Mass. What are the reasons?

Ah, I see. Well, God be praised that you did become a Christian! I was away from the Church for most of my life myself, but I returned to the Catholic Church a few years ago, and it's been the best thing for me. I'm still trying to work out a lot, though.

Anyway, I don't want there to be bad blood between us. I like reading your blog and looking at your website, and I appreciate that you're passionate about this, and you provide some facts that I didn't know and give me things to think about. Especially given that I'd like to rise above our disagreements, however strong they may be.

God bless you, and I do hope you had a good birthday.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

It looks like you had a great time, sir, and I hope you did.

I must go to one of those places some time, but it does seem a bit plastic, somewhat like going to Las Vegas to see the Eiffel Tower.