Sunday, May 20, 2018

Royal Wedding, May 2018

The new Duchess of Sussex wearing Queen Mary's diamond bandeau

Here, and here are some pictures from the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. I thought the ceremony was beautiful and the gown was the loveliest and most modest I have seen in a long time. It was very 15th century and went with the gothic chapel where Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville are buried, those lovers who defied convention in order to be married. And who can help but love Prince Harry. He reminds me of a Plantagenet. The music was heavenly; the full order of service is HERE. To watch the entire wedding, go HERE.

The Queen of England
Princess Charlotte with her family


Spying on Trump

From Townhall:
Earlier this week the New York Times published a story revealing the FBI was not only spying on the Trump campaign, but had at least one FBI informant embedded within it. Further, the piece reveals the FBI didn't have enough evidence to open a criminal investigation into members of the Trump campaign, so a counterintelligence investigation was launched instead.
Counterintelligence investigations can take years, but if the Russian government had influence over the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. wanted to know quickly. One option was the most direct: interview the campaign officials about their Russian contacts.

That was discussed but not acted on, two former officials said, because interviewing witnesses or subpoenaing documents might thrust the investigation into public view, exactly what F.B.I. officials were trying to avoid during the heat of the presidential race.

They said that anything the F.B.I. did publicly would only give fodder to Mr. Trump’s claims on the campaign trail that the election was rigged.

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.
(Read more.)
And also from Townhall:
For months we've been anxiously awaiting a report from Department of Justice Inspector General David Horowitz detailing how the FBI handled the criminal investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her repeated, improper handling of classified information. According to the Washington Post, the report is finished and has been sent to Congress for review before it is released to the general public.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz notified lawmakers in a Wednesday letter that the draft report was complete and being made available to the agencies and individuals examined in the probe.

The report is expected to blast former FBI director James B. Comey for various steps he took in the investigation, particularly his announcing in July — without telling his Justice Department bosses what he was about to say — that the FBI was recommending that Clinton not be charged, and for revealing to Congress just weeks before the presidential election that the bureau had resumed its work.
Horowitz launched the investigation into the Clinton email probe after emails between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page revealed severe anti-Trump, pro-Hillary bias. Strzok worked on both the Clinton email case and interviewed former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn as part of Robert Mueller's Special Counsel's investigation. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents last year. (Read more.)

Income Tax in Jane Austen’s Time

From Austen Authors:
The tax structure in Jane Austen’s time was far more complex because it was applied to well, just about EVERYTHING. From windows greater than 6 in a building to how many servants an estate employed to mail to anything purchased and even carriages and horses! Despite the high number of taxes, there was interest in levying taxes in a fair manner. For example, take the window tax. The window tax began in 1695 to help compensate for people clipping coins. This is a complicated situation, back then coins were often weighed, not counted. So what people could do was clip just a tiny bit of an edge so the weight would be within the deviation of the scale (we’re not talking digital precision here). Then you take those clippings, melt them down, and press a counterfeit coin with the King’s mark. It would be like if you could tear a little corner off a dollar bill today, take all of those bits and glue them together and print what could pass as a legitimate bill today.

It sounds absurd to tax someone based on how many windows they have, but in 1695, only the rich had more than 6 windows. If you were poor and living in a small cottage, you might only have 3 or 4 windows. And therefore, no tax. But eventually, taxes did creep down to affect the working classes. And it was controversial that taxes went to pay for the poor. We learned at JASNA’s AGM from scholars there that in Jane Austen’s time there was a gross discrimination against the poor as being in such a state from a defect in morality. We can still see these attitudes in modern times when discussions come up about welfare and social programs. Some things, never change. (Read more.)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Cardinal Fesch

From Shannon Selin:
“Uncle Fesch,” on the other hand, – only six years older than Napoleon – was very much a part of Letizia’s household. He entered the seminary of Aix-en-Provence in 1781, was ordained as a priest in 1785, and became the archdeacon of Ajaccio cathedral at age 24. When Letizia and her family fled Corsica for Toulon in 1793, Fesch accompanied them. As the Catholic Church was suppressed during the French Revolution, Fesch was compelled to unfrock himself and engage in other occupations. Napoleon wrote of him in 1795:
[H]e is just what he always was, building castles in the air and writing me six-page letters on some meticulous point of speculation. The present means no more to him than the past, the future is all in all. (1)
When Napoleon was given command of the French Army of Italy, he found Fesch a post as a commissary. Basically Fesch was involved in contracting the army’s supplies, a role in which he turned a tidy profit for himself. Fesch’s fortunes continued to rise when Napoleon became First Consul. Fesch returned to the cloth and helped Napoleon and Pope Pius VII negotiate the Concordat of 1801, which reestablished the Catholic Church in France. As a reward, in 1802 he was made Archbishop of Lyon. The following year he became Cardinal Fesch. (Read more.)

Trump, Alinsky, and Catholics

From Church Militant:
Of all the Left's criticism of President Trump, the one that is perhaps the most revealing is "He's not very presidential." They go on about his tweets and brash language and street-fighter demeanor and his calling them out and their media allies. But he's not polite or statesman-like or diplomatic or genteel enough for them. That's true. And the reason he isn't is because that sort of political posturing and style gets political conservatism nowhere.

The Left never abides by those rules of engagement but throws out the double standard that conservatives must always conduct themselves in such a manner. The Left employs a style of political and cultural combat that conservatives don't do with. They understand the battle and how to win it, much more than conservatives do — and then along came Trump.

The Left has largely conducted themselves according to the "Bible" prepared for them by Saul Alinsky, his blueprint book, Rules for Radicals, which he dedicated to Lucifer. Trump has essentially been taking a page from Alinsky's book and playing by those rules, but in this case, it's the Left that's getting smacked by them. Trump had the insight to understand that whatever philosophy controls the media controls the whole shooting match. Knowledge is king, and whoever controls knowledge and its dissemination wins the game. That's why the Nazis had a massive propaganda agency headed up by Joseph Goebbels, and the Bolsheviks immediately grabbed control of the newspapers.

Trump stepped onto the political and cultural stage just at the right moment in history, and frankly only he could have been the man to do so. The death grip the leftist mainstream media had on information was for a brief moment relaxed owing to the internet. They had become so accustomed to having control that they had grown lazy and did not sense the great cultural shift happening under their feet. Political and theological conservatives had seized the moment while the Left had fallen asleep, and they made the most of it.

Trump understood the moment as well. He knew it would be a narrow window of opportunity and he seized it. In copying Alinsky's methods, he did exactly what the Left had done to political conservatives and faithful Catholics for decades. He isolated the leftist media, demonized them which they deserved because, as Fr. John Hardon said, they are the Luciferian media. He gave them back exactly what they deserved, and after isolating them he went on to the next Alinsky tactic — he mocked them. He ridiculed them. Again, they are deserving of every bit of it. CNN is now seen, again rightly, as fake news. Trump's street style was exactly what the political conservative movement needed. He's not the guy you want as an enemy if you are up to anything untoward which, let's admit, the Left is always about — one of the ruling elite's own used their methods on them and has brought the Left to its knees. Only in America, right? (Read more.)

The Change of Modern Royal Weddings

From Victoria:
On April 29, 2011, millions of viewers sat in front of their televisions to watch the much-anticipated moment when Prince William and Kate Middleton would say I do. And now, as we anxiously await the marriage of younger brother Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle, our televisions and social media will be overflowing with royal causerie. Why is it that we are so enthralled with the royal family and their weddings? To understand how we became enamored with the royals’ private lives, we must go back to where it all started, with Queen Victoria.

By the nineteenth century, printing of news in British society was becoming more accessible and affordable. Images were being printed more often and in color, and the growth of material culture was more popular due to the publishing industry. According to Queen Victoria: First Media Monarch by John Plunkett, the press was both criticized and celebrated for the way it removed royal mystique and involved its readers in the lives of the royal family. Before Victoria, the royal family was only seen when making their tours or attending public events, and little was known about their private lives. The new media wave in the nineteenth century created an imaginative identification for the public with Victoria that hadn’t existed with royals before her.

Modern brides almost always walk down the aisle in a long white dress, but early nineteenth century brides were most likely to be seen in colored dresses on their wedding day. According to Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird, white was not then a conventional color or even an option, as bleaching techniques were not yet mastered, making it a rare and expensive choice. Victoria’s reasons for wearing white were twofold: she believed it was the perfect color to highlight the delicate Honiton lace, and it appeared as more a symbol of wealth than purity. On the day of her wedding, hundreds of spectators had gathered outside in the dreary weather just to get a glimpse of the royal couple. With the upsurge of media, the details of her gown had spread across Europe and became a popular dress choice thereafter.

By the time of King George VI’s wedding with Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923, radio had already been invented. To break with tradition, it was decided that the wedding would be more of a public affair to lift the spirits of the nation after the effects of the Great War. It is also noted by the BBC that Elizabeth laid her bouquet at the tomb of the unknown warrior in the abbey, and royal brides since have copied the gesture. (Read more.)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Napoleon, Metternich and the Congress of Vienna

 From TCW:
The Congress of Vienna is often seen as an effort to “carve up” Europe among the great powers. France was included as, now that it was back under the control of the King, the other powers wanted it to be seen as taking its proper place amongst European nations. While there is no doubt that each of the Powers sought whatever advantage it could gain, the objective of the Congress was to arrange a net of alliances between powers that meant that any future conflict would inevitably draw in the whole of the continent. They believed that, rather than face war on the scale that Europe had just witnessed, states would negotiate peace. It was, if you like, an early form of Mutually Assured Destruction. It worked, maintaining peace in Europe for almost 100 years. When a major conflict did break out, one by one all of the major European powers were drawn in and the result was World War I. That, I can’t help feeling, is the problem with Mutually Assured Destruction. One day, somebody just can’t resist pressing the big red button. (Read more.)

Shannon Selin discusses the great Austrian diplomat, Clemens von Metternich:
Metternich attempted to erode Napoleon’s power. He arranged the marriage of Napoleon to Marie Louise, the daughter of Austrian Emperor Francis I. Though Metternich credits the French with initiating the marriage, the French chargé d’affaires in Vienna said it was Metternich who first raised the prospect. Metternich successfully duped Napoleon into thinking that Austria supported France’s 1812 invasion of Russia. Meanwhile, Austria secretly encouraged a Russian victory (you can read the details of Metternich’s machinations on the Age of the Sage website). After the French retreat, Metternich dropped the cover of neutrality. He led Austria into outright alliance with the coalition against Napoleon. In a famous encounter described on the Past Now website, Metternich and Napoleon met for the last time on June 26, 1813 in Dresden. According to Metternich, he told Napoleon that he was finished.

With Austria on their side, Russia, Prussia and Britain were able to overthrow Napoleon in 1814. As a reward for his success, Francis I made Metternich a hereditary Prince of the Austrian Empire. Metternich would have liked to see France governed by a regency under Marie Louise, but the Bourbon restoration proposed by Russia, England and the French diplomat Talleyrand won the day. (Read more.)


In Defense of Altar Boys

From Eric Sammons:
Another problem with altar girls is that service at the altar is supposed to dispose boys to the priesthood. It’s not that every altar boy will be a priest, but priests often come from altar boys. Allowing girls to serve at the altar while not allowing them to be priests is cruel, to be frank. It’s like letting a kid practice with a team, but then not allowing him to play in the game. Of course, some think the answer is to allow women priests, but Our Lord already precluded that possibility.

When girls serve at the altar, we make that service no longer about training for the priesthood; it’s simply another profane activity, like sweeping the church after Mass. Such an activity is an important service, but it’s not sacred, as the priesthood and service at the altar are supposed to be. Some might complain that the Church therefore thinks men are more sacred than women. Yet sacred duties are not about the person performing it, but about God who is being served. A proscription against girls serving at the altar was never a statement about the worthiness of girls, just as the fact that men can’t join a Carmelite convent doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy enough to follow St. Theresa of Avila. Likewise, the Blessed Mother isn’t “less sacred” than the Apostles just because she wasn’t chosen as one of the Twelve by the Lord (quite the contrary, in fact).

Further, having girls at the altar restricts the ability of the priest to really open up about life as a priest. If he has a mixed-sex gathering of altar servers, how can he talk about the priesthood without being insensitive to those who can never become priests? However, if there are only boys, he can reveal to them more openly what it means to be a priest. (Read more.)