Sunday, April 18, 2010

For Human Law and Divine

And God’s Purpose in Everything

It is chill under the yellow sky of the setting sun. Clouds fade to violet in atonement for the jovial hue, and the wind mourns poignantly as the sun departs. I quickly realize I would regret the linen skirt, and hug myself closer, then shrug my shoulders the next moment. Why should I be comfortable after all?

I glance at my little posey to be sure it was not bruised. Tulips of red and white for Poland are strewn across the cobblestone of Plac Zamkowy alongside the fragrant daffodils for the season of Easter. One cannot forget that we are still in the Great Season. My modest little cluster is meant for the Katyn memorial, as I had left a white rose at a monument for the deceased president. The posey is pink; red is the colour of blood and passion. I am not Poland’s daughter, and do not think I have the right to say I love her so much as to present a red rose. Pink is the colour of affection, but I made certain that my miniature bouquet was a deep, sanguine hue.

The bells toll unceasingly, and the dirge plays through the speakers as we, the crowd and I, watch on the televised projection, the sorrowful procession inching its way forward. The face of Kaczynski’s twin brother sometimes emerges on the screen, eerily suggesting a ghost following the coffin with his loved ones. Sometimes the screen displays the beautiful face of his daughter, who has her father’s nose and mouth, and perhaps her mother’s hair.

Columns of purple clad priests and bishops proceed ahead of them, just behind the acolytes and the cross-bearer. Military men in every form of uniform, armed, unarmed, on foot, and mounted make up the procession. We watch as they progress, as they enter St. John’s Cathedral to the pristine choir’s song. I can imagine them passing the tomb of Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski just before they genuflect to the Tabernacle of the Most High.

Mass begins, and I pray with those mourning, straining my ears for the variable parts, trying catch words and names that will tell me what Scripture is read and what consolation the Cardinal gives. The Mass is the Mass however, and all I need is that moment where the bell is rung in warning, the masses crowded in the Castle’s square fall to their knees on the cobblestone. Young, middle-aged, and old alike bow their heads, and the words are spoken: Bierzcie i jedzcie z tego wszyscy, to jest bowiem Ciało Moje, które za was będzie wydane. We strike our breasts three times.

Twenty minutes after Communion commences, we are dismissed and blessed. Shivering and chattering in my teeth, I make my way to a public restroom and swiftly emerge again. Five more minutes of wandering, and I finally spot a priest in the square, I race to where he stands, giving Communion to three religious sisters, and I fall on my knees beside them.

‘Ciało Chrystusa.’

‘Amen,’ and I bow my head. Eternity is within me for a moment. In my fleshly frame and my finite soul, the lantern’s frame separating Christ from me is pierced, and that Light floods undivided into my individuality. I remain awhile in the square of Zygmunt’s cross. When the votives are glowing in the indigo darkness, and the moon is a pearlescent crescent against Latona’s velvet mantle, I rise with my posey and blue votive to find the dedication to Katyn.

Finding a lonely corner amidst the various bouquets and candles colouring the display even in darkness, I go to my knees and place my little offering there, borrowing light from a great yellow votive to kindle mine. As I stare at a photo depicting the excavation of the dead in Smolensky sixty-seven years ago, seventy years after the atrocity itself, the words of a Polish friend echo in my ear. ‘I am convinced in that incredible accident there`s some mystic meaning, plan. I`d like to understand…’

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O prawa ludzkie i boskie, O wszystko: I by Rachel Rudd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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Saturday, April 17, 2010
What Do Women Disdain?

A Victorian lady once said that a woman who could not control her husband’s vote ought to be ashamed of herself. The reaction such a statement would elicit in a crowd of modern women is no mystery to anyone. The idea of feminine submission or even the use of subterfuge over force is so distasteful to women of the Left (and in parts of the Right) that they cannot tuck their abhorrence in for a moment on hearing it. This burst of emotion is very telling, and it reveals that what liberated women hate most intensely is not men per se, but the mystique of woman and the duties it entails.

It is worthwhile to look at feminine archetypes a moment, and gauge the reaction of womankind to such characters. One such type is the 'faërie princess,' a lovely ideal that adores her husband after being caught, is his intellectual inferior—yet cultivated enough to please him—and also inexplicably heroic in the face of suffering on his behalf and that of her children. Needless to say this image produces a great deal of sneering from both sexes for many reasons, but let us look at how one great female author viewed this archetype.

On perusing Middlemarch, the politically correct reader may find himself/herself bristling at Dr. Lydgate’s rather patronizing view of women. George Eliot probably did not expect such a reaction—or at least such a strong one—in her readers at the time. Even her friend and colleague, Anthony Trollope, espoused such views of women according to both his stories and his personal letters. In fact, looking at Eliot’s doctor through the lens of her period, he very aptly personifies (in a far more compelling way than Dorothea) the erstwhile great man doomed to unconsummated genius by the pettiness of the small people encompassing him.

Eliot probably intended Lydgate’s dismissal of women as the one flaw Aristotle requires in his definition of a tragedy. This 'flaw' is a blemish that may ruin a man, but must be forgivable, otherwise his downfall obviously will not be sorrowful, but celebrated. One may argue whether that theory covers all possibilities of tragedy, but Eliot undoubtedly believed it did, as she carried out the principle’s requirements to the letter in her The Mill on the Floss. She did so much so that many have said the ending was quite forced.

Lydgate certainly reaps every imaginable woes sewn by his condescension, as Oedipus reaped those of his rage, and both fell due to their wives. The spouse Eliot gives the idealistic doctor drives him towards professional misery and financial ruin with more tenacity than all three of the Greek Furies combined. far he had travelled from his old dreamland, in which Rosamond Vincy appeared to be that perfect piece of womanhood who would reverence her husband's mind after the fashion of an accomplished mermaid, using her comb and looking-glass and singing her song for the relaxation of his adored wisdom alone….There was gathering within him an amazed sense of his powerlessness over Rosamond. His superior knowledge and mental force, instead of being, as he had imagined, a shrine to consult on all occasions, was simply set aside on every practical question. _George Eliot, Middlemarch

Lydgate had found his ideal woman in Rosamond Vincy. Beautiful, mild-tempered, accomplished, and charming. The only flaw in her adorable person is that she has no soul whatsoever. She is wholly materialistic, manipulative, and sinfully reckless of the health and wellbeing of others.

How delightful to make captives from the throne of marriage with a husband as crown-prince by your side - himself in fact a subject - while the captives look up forever hopeless, losing their rest probably, and if their appetite too, so much the better!

Though Lydgate in the end bears all the suffering for his marital folly (his self-seeking wife breaks him and his dreams to conform to her wishes); which of the two as a literary character is condemned to fictional perdition by the omniscient reader?

Rosamond is most certainly the object of Eliot’s scorn, not Lydgate with whom she herself seems to be in love. Miss Vincy is mocked unceasingly in the tale by the likable, sensible Mary Garth, who never has a good word for her. Mary never once recollects some moment where Rosamond did something sweet for her, or shared something with her, or sided with her. One cannot live as sisters or cousins in one unmitigated round of scorn and rivalry, but in their case, this seems to be so.

The masculine world Eliot is so apt to satirize is of course infatuated with Miss Vincy. Her brother Fred, being a man who cannot have any romantic interest in her, is the only male character that sees through her from beginning to end. Will Ladislaw, who discovers what Rosamond truly is later, is also disgusted with her character.

As the omniscient one, Eliot herself certainly spares no pains in taking sides in her narrative. When it appears that Lydgate may have slipped her nets, and that she is not to marry him after all, the author likens her to Ariadne. For the briefest moment, Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne comes to mind. The sickened, chilled feeling of the abandoned woman, deserted by the man whom she herself had rescued from the labyrinth, gasping in horror at the sight of the disembarking ship, her clothes in disarray from sleep, grip the heart with sympathy. But it is not Titian’s Ariadne Eliot refers to, but a ‘charming stage Ariadne left behind with all her boxes.’

H. L. Mencken defined a misogynist as: 'A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.' Apparently he never encountered real sisters. Of course this opinion is to be discounted—the reasoning behind all broad sweeping statements are suspect—but there is some truth in the pithy witticism. Female rivalry does occasionally exist, and most bitterly where it concerns men.

George Eliot betrays herself in The Mill on the Floss in a conversation between the lovely, brunette heroine, Maggie, and her informal tutor, Philip:

I'm determined to read no more books where the blond haired women carry away all the happiness. I should begin to have a prejudice against them - If you could give me some story, now, where the dark woman triumphs, it would restore the balance - I want to avenge Rebecca and Flora Mac-Ivor, and Minna and all the rest of the dark unhappy ones.
_Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

Maggie most certainly, albeit unintentionally, accomplishes this vengeance and to the ruin of all, in accordance with the tragedy that Eliot stated she wished to write.

Even without an angry woman authoring it, it is often very difficult at times to enjoy the fae beauties in other stories and through other media. 'New women' so often eviscerate the heroines, especially in opera. Again, let us narrow the field and take the example of the popular Tosca, who is dismissed as ‘a 19th-century male construct, a fantasy of the perfect female artist, as free and exciting in bed as she is on the stage’ (

Some feminist critics take a fiendish delight that Mario’s macho enjoyment of a woman pathologically obsessed with him is what de facto accomplishes his death, while others such as the author of the above quotation, more magnanimously observe:

One hundred years ago, a beautiful hysteric may have been an acceptable sex object; today, not even the most entrenched chauvinist would want to date a dame who carries on as Tosca sometimes does.
_Stephanie Von Buchau

Now why does it not occur to Ms. Von Buchau that Tosca, whom the author is aware is very religious, is tormented by the guilt of an extramarital liaison? ‘She hides nothing from her confessor’ so it is obvious that her confessor, unless he is a complete heterodox, has been telling her to give Mario up. Being the sort of passionate creature that seizes every opportunity to delight others, she would hide this misgiving from an atheist who, being also a devotee of Rousseau, thinks their affair is natural and perhaps even preferable to a Church witnessed union.

Then of course the fact that Mario is not bound to his dark Floria by any religious, social, or philosophical, principle renders the woman (and so many women sharing her circumstances) insecure to a fateful extreme. If Tosca’s hysteria is the reason for the opera’s tragic outcome, all who provoked it should have a share in the blame, but feminists only blame the woman for acting on her feminist instincts. In literature, film, and song, the same pattern repeats itself--scorn is poured on the woman that dares to have succeeded in feminine mystique.

Flitting from the Left to the Right, Laura Schlessinger is unambiguously anti-woman in her stance against the feminine. Instead of taking a balanced view of the good and bad in both sexes and their qualities, she essentially sides with the male. She agrees with feminists concerning what the best things in life are (careers, ambitions, etc.), but she thinks women are to blame for not dominating in them as men do. Henry Higgins monologue from the musical My Fair Lady, ‘Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?’ is her anthem. Many other women cut from her cloth also disdain feminine fluff and intone that women deserve to be subjected to man, as if as a punishment for their emotional irrationality.

When participating in the annual March for Life in San Francisco, I found that the middle-aged women who came to chide, insult, and occasionally scream at us, focused on the females in the group the most. Pro-life women are traitors after all, choosing sexual imprisonment over the extinction of another being’s life. Were the issue not so grave, it would have been comically ironic the way some brushed their right index finger over their left and schoolmarmishly said, ‘Shame on you!’ No doubt Maureen Dowd wears an expression of matronly disappointment every time she sees a woman wearing a shirt with ‘MRS.’ girlishly sequined across it.

In spite of all the ill feeling liberated women express against men and masculinity, one really ought not to take it seriously. As soon as men give these women what they want, they are more than forgiven for their gender. As a former Times contributor, Nina Burleigh said of Bill Clinton:

‘I would be happy to give him a b------ just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.’

This from a member of the same party that applauds itself on ending sexual exploitation of women!

It is not man that the new woman abominates, but woman. When the pyschiatrist, Karl Stern, wrote his epic work, The Flight from Woman, he naturally centred on men who despised the womanly, but he also spoke of women who abominated anything traditionally or 'stereotypically' feminine:

The female counterpart to all this (i.e., the uber masculine male) is frequently encountered today in the woman who finds it difficult to accept her womanly role. This is quite independent of the injustices imposed on women in many societies: it is rather an over-evaluation of masculine achievement and a debasement of values which one commonly associates with the aping of man. (Karl Stern, The Flight From Woman: Introduction, paranthetical note and emphasis is mine)

That abhorrence of the womanly much the same feeling the independent, pragmatic Laura Cheveley bears for Gertrude Chiltern in Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. For it is not Robert Chiltern, but his wife and her old schoolmate that Mrs. Cheveley actually despises: ‘I hate her. I hate her now more than ever.’ (Act III) Yet, even Lady Chiltern is not the real object of scorn, but the morality the woman represents. It is not so much the women of the past and the ‘young fogeys’ of today that feminists dislike, but the duties that imitating them entails. And what exactly are those duties?
Saturday, April 10, 2010
What Have Women Sought?

It should be observed that true men have never feared greatness in women, even in the ones whom they have loved. While many devotees of theatre love the song, Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better, a delightful tune whose charm springs from the spunky clash of the sexes, it does not in anyway capture the historical relationship between Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. On the contrary, Frank understood perfectly well that Annie was a prodigy and promoted her advancement in showmanship. He was hardly a ‘swollen-headed stiff.’

G. K. Chesterton drew this distinction between the woman glorified as a demi-goddess for her greatness and the grasping woman so often put down to being a shrew by ‘old fogeys’:

No honest man dislikes the public woman. He can only dislike the political woman; an entirely different thing…. A husband would be pleased if his wife wore a gold crown and proclaimed laws from a throne of marble; or if she uttered oracles from the tripod of a priestess; or if she could walk in mystical motherhood before the procession of some great religious order. But that she should stand on a platform in the exact altitude in which he stands; leaning forward a little more than is graceful and holding her mouth open a little longer and wider than is dignified--well, I only write here of the facts of natural history; and the fact is that it is this, and not publicity or importance, that hurts. (G. K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men: The Suffragette)

In the above excerpt one has an illustration of woman not competing with men, but being placed in a position of power and yielding to exercise it for the greater good. This is her duty and her glory, yet it is passive. What is the influence that woman may seek actively? The great religious educator, Mother Janet Erskine Stuart wrote of it thus:

The only way to govern is to love…this is a woman’s order and must be governed in a woman’s way—by the heart not by logic. The heart is the mainspring of a woman’s government. Therefore, anything that takes nearer to the heart of people is our great power. Unselfishness and love are our levers.

There are petty-minded, small men in this world that do feel threatened by women. These would be flawed men, but what member of humanity is not flawed? And are women without spiritual blemish? Hardly. This fact has shown itself in the way ‘Women’s Liberation’ has campaigned for its goals.

First, what have they demanded? Rights. Do they speak of duties? No. Yet, rights do not exist where there are no duties. A woman’s right to be respected necessitates a man’s duty to respect. However, feminists insisted on only half of this reality. Yes, they demanded rights and esteem with a hazy sort of logic, wishing to be put on what they saw as equal terms with men, arguing from commonality of species and brushing aside differences in gender. It never occurred to them to consider the reasons certain fences had been erected before tearing them down, or if differences in gender did sometimes entail differences in duties, and consequentially, in rights.

When suffragettes indecorously chained themselves to fence posts (not that being indecorous is always wrong), they did not stop to think what a vote even was or whether perhaps a married woman should be contented with her husband having one vote for the entire family.

‘But a woman is not a mute appendage of her husband!’ Rightfully so! However, is the vote merely an expression of one’s personal opinion? Is it really as trivial as preferring blue stripes to green, apples to oranges, or hiking to horseback-riding? Or is it as personal as religious affiliation, philosophical disposition, or artistic taste? By all means then, if a political vote is just an expression of one’s identity, then women ought to have it, and so should her children, too by the way. One cannot argue against completely universal suffrage, if the ability to take part in a ballot represents one’s dignity as a human being. The ill-informed, the criminal, and the extremely young ought to have a vote, as well, if the quality of humanity is the basis for this entitlement.

I am not a democrat by any means, but I at least concede that if a democracy is to work, then the ballot ought to be taken seriously. A nation’s people ought to have some say in the determination of their country, and this ought not to be a matter of personal prejudice but of a soul’s conviction of what is right.

A husband and wife may beg to differ on the superiority of Italian or Russian opera, but they should be united on the future they wish for their children. The more serious the issue, the more it determines the fate of their country, the more a man and his wife must be united if their household is to have any sort of unity and happiness. In such a case, having two votes is indeed superfluous. As to common, single women? Well, frankly, I’m not so sure that common, single men should even be able to vote. He that has no stake in a nation’s future is not likely to make sagacious choices.

Thus, a matter feminists confused for discrimination on the basis of gender, was actually the question of a form of government (true democracy) and its failure to succeed against the onslaught of another (mercantile aristocracy). Other issues for which women campaigned fail to bear the scrutiny of logic as well.

Second, just as Women’s Liberation proponents have not considered the full extent of what they demand, they have not thought of the rippling effects of getting what they want. E.g., they see that the other gender is able to copulate as it pleases without worrying about the burden of a child, and that it may often receive the approbation of other male peers after sexual exploits (never mind how the old societies looked down on such seducers). Infidelity on a man’s part seems easier as well, and civilization has often been more inclined to overlook it, or in the cases of polygamous societies, indulge it.

Without even considering the fact that women are more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases or that a woman’s heart is not easily polyandrous (as science can virtually demonstrate with its developing research on oxytocin), feminists declared that they wanted the same liberties as rakes and wanted them immediately. They only saw one stumbling block—the inconvenience of the miracle of life. Abortion and contraceptives then had to be requirements in their campaign, and the life of another human being was laid on the altar to female appetite.
Ironically, the sort of abusive males that created the ‘need’ for this sort of escape could not have been more pleased with this development. Males are frequently the ones dropping the mothers of their children off at abortion mills to ‘have it taken care of.’ Males also engineered the pill, and sacrificed women’s lives via experimentation to do so. An equivalent of the birth control pill for men was tested, with the effect of shrinking the subject’s maleness; experiments here ceased immediately. Did such doctors evince any concern for women’s welfare here?

In a patriarchal system, a father is at least held to accountability, yet instead of declaring war on the behaviour that demeaned women and striving to revive chivalry and paternity, feminists actually chose to imitate the men that had abused them. Instead of insisting on premarital abstinence and that husbands strive for fidelity, they lobbied for the means to behave in the same way. It didn’t matter how many lives got in the way, or even whether those lives were female. The death toll is still mounting by the tens of millions, and due to the widespread .practice of gender selective abortion, most of those victims are female.

Summarising the problems of the Women’s Liberation movement thus far: first, women did not even understand the things they were demanding. Second, they evinced extreme selfishness in not giving a mongrel’s bark for the consequences of the revolution they were bringing on. Now for the third, 'Woman’s Liberation' was in effect an act of treachery against mankind—mankind in the very literal sense that she declared war on men and women.

Note, I do not say war on males, but war on men. It was not that these women wished vile seducers and oppressors to be punished, but that they yearned for the ability to play the same games.

‘I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect to office women who are as incompetent as some of the men who are already there.’ _Maureen Reagan.

Well, Ms. Reagan, be glad and rejoice, for there isn’t much competence or compassion in the foremost women holding office at all. Instead of seeking to bring that which lacked in the masculine gender up to the standards of the feminine, feminists have laid us all low.
Friday, April 2, 2010
God's Messenger

Five years before the scandal began to emerge in secular print, I had been prepared in my youth by a priest to whom my confidence is forever and irrevocably dedicated, for I do not trust him as a prince, but as himself. He may not be called ‘Venerable.’ The Church has certainly not yet named him ‘Saint’ or ‘Blessed.’ I may only call him ‘Beloved.’ Beloved Malachy—Father Malachi Martin.

As a child of the South-eastern corner of the American States, I grew up surrounded by souls, well-meaning as they were, who brutally assaulted the Church so dear to my heart with the wildest accusations about her practises and the continuous threat of my personal damnation. Their arguments being based on emotion and ill-informed prejudice, I often had occasion to take pride in the pristine philosophy of Roman Catholic theology and the immemorial structure of the Body of Christ.

Though at thirteen, I had been taught more than most and had studied more than most Catholics, I was by no means wise. I certainly could not distinguish between the essence and the accidents of the Church’s rites. To see a divorce between the two would have been most injurious to any young soul, and this revelation was creeping on me day by day as I realized more and more the differences between the post-Vatican culture in which I partook of the Sacraments and the Traditional teachings instilled by my parents.

Scandals committed by clergy and religious against the Church first erupted in my world through the news I read and the pervading ugliness in Novus Ordo churches and Masses. These were revolutions against doctrine primarily. The declining beauty of the churches my family attended (we changed parishes several times) was a necessary evil in fleeing from the heretical dissidence preached by our former pastors. It was either ironic or deliberately unkind that the bishop gave the beautiful sanctuaries to the Leftist priests, but then that Ordinary himself was the object of more egregious scandal but a few years ago.

‘Well before the year 2,000 there will no longer be a religious institute recognisable as the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church of today... There will be no centralised control, no uniformity in teaching, no universality in practice of worship, prayer, sacrifice, and priesthood.’ _Malachi Martin

Just so. Such statements and such facts had the power to wrench my peace into shambles, but Father Martin always had a way of putting me back together. Whenever the Pope bewildered me, or a primate scandalized me, there he was the—true Jesuit, full of Ignatian fire for the papacy and for the truth.

‘We’ve never sat in his chair. He is the man chosen by the Holy Spirit; stop trying to be Pope.’ Such words mean so much coming from a man who looks on the facts unflinchingly and quite willingly discusses them. The same line means very little from the Neo-Conservative Catholics practicing this ignominious rule: ‘never criticize a priest.’

The further addition of Father Malachy’s personal theories and opinions behind papal motives were stunning, humbling, and wholly convincing. Through his works of thinly veiled ‘faction’, I found myself moved not only to forgive, but even to understand the plight tearing Holy Mother Church apart. It is the same condition tearing mankind apart everyday, and it comes back to the grossly simple principle that man is fallen.

He is fickle, weak, self-centred, and choked with sloth. Man’s is the nature that may on one day hail the Great Rabbi as he rides into Jerusalem on a stately ass with palms and praise, and five days late foam at the mouth for his death. In an hour of precious intimacy, he vows to follow his beloved Friend even to death; not a day later he denies every knowing Him.

It is a daunting task, in the wake of these fresh scandals, to turn one’s eyes to the countenance of the Lord. His indignation would surely burn us to cinders, yet if we could look at Him, there would be no surprise in His face. He recoiled in horror already at Gethsemane, underwent the torment required for expiation on the cross, and pronounced the words of forgiveness even in the midst of His Passion.

Yet, one must learn to emulate Dismas and not Gesmas in order to be with Him in paradise. We must not expect God to prove Himself by rescuing us from torment, or that which we love.
Malachi Martin made the inexorable point that in trying to play the World's game, even in the name of charity and prudence, leads to servitude of Mammon. It must be a crucified, perhaps marginalized, Church to which we belong, not one exalted in this world.

Accept this then: Judas has manifested himself again. The calumny, torture, and death at the hand of the World are to follow.

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Warsaw, Poland
Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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