St Joan of Arc
The 16th May was the anniversary of the Canonisation of St Joan of Arc. This remarkable young lady had to await 500 years to be canonised, a fate not suffered by some late candidates for canonisation. There are two quotations from St Joan which ought to be the watchwords of our beleaguered faith: the first is that ‘God must be served first’, the second is that ‘the men at arms will fight and God will grant victory’. That God must be served first derives, of course, from the First Commandment – ‘And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind and with thy whole strength’ (Mark 12:30). In accordance with the doctrine of the Kingship of Christ this applies not only to individuals but to every element of society including the state.
Modern society considers such a requirement as redundant, indeed obnoxious, requiring as it does that society, states and politicians be subservient to another – to Christ the King. In their application of practical atheism even nominally Christian states, as it is suggested the UK is by its current Prime Minister, act as if God does not exist, especially so in their flouting the moral and natural law in their legislative enactment of murderous or morally repugnant laws.
Scots are expected to vote later this year on the question of Scottish independence from the UK; an independence which paradoxically is predicated upon membership of the European Union, an organisation which is hardly known for its application of the principle of subsidiarity.The question of whether Scotland should once again be an independent nation is not a matter of dogma. It is a matter of practical politics – whether the common good of folks living in Scotland will be better served by an independent nation or through the unity of the United Kingdom.
But for Catholics there is also another consideration whether their nation – which has not always been benign in its treatment of Catholics and where, even now, according to some, an anti-Catholic bias still persists, particularly in the West of Scotland – will abandon all Christian principles and substitute secular humanist persecution for that which once arose from another direction.
Compton Mackenzie, in his work Catholicism and Scotland, published by George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., in 1936, when bigotry still persisted, made the following observations concerning Scottish independence. Whereas then his focus was concerning religious bigotry, one wonders, were he alive today, if he might have asked if national independence can be achieved at too dear a price if such independence is to mean a rejection of the moral and natural law? Here are the concluding thoughts of Mackenzie on pages 187-188 of his work:
‘Even national independence can be achieved at too dear a price if such independence is to mean a recession along the dim and tortuous paths of religious bigotry. Remove from the pages of Scottish History those written with the blood of Scottish Catholics, and how pale that history will be! Obliterate from the annals of patriotism the names of Malcolm Canmore, of Alexander III, of Wallace, of Bruce, of Andrew of Moray, of Bishop Wishart and Bishop Lamberton, of Cardinal Beaton, of Mary Queen of Scots, of Prince Charles Edward Stewart, and would not these annals seem a little thin afterwards? Yet, rather than help in any way by word, or action the re-creation of a sovereign Scotland in which the old religious hatred were re-created with it, the Scottish Catholic would prefer to admit that his glorious patriotic past is irrevocable in the present. The blame would rest in the country which rejected him, on the country which esteemed higher the preservation of her little Established Kirk at the cost of injustice to her 600,000 Catholics, all of whom would be the most loyal Scots in a Scotland that was herself again. For remotely for his peace of mind, the Scottish Catholic knows that he can do his country no richer service than to devote all his energy, all his emotion, all his eloquence to upholding and spreading what he believes to be the only Truth that can guide man safely towards his immortal destiny. The Real Presence of God upon her altars will be more precious to Scotland than the real presence of a Parliament in Edinburgh. The Scottish Catholic can afford to forget Bannockburn, will repine no more at Flodden or Pinkie Cleugh, and may count even Culloden well lost, if he remind himself that no country’s independence is worth winning unless it be won for the dedication of it to the greater glory of God.’ (Our emphasis on the last sentence – Ed. Apropos).
To which we might add, Amen.
Compton Mackenzie’s latter observation is perfectly in tune with that of St Joan of Arc who placed France’s independence in the hands of God. We understand from one source that Scots may have accounted for around a quarter of St Joan’s army and that she was escorted by Scots and a Scottish piper on her entry to Orleans. But as both St Joan of Arc and Compton Mackenzie have taught us: no country’s independence is worth winning unless it be won for the dedication of it to the greater glory of God. That at least might give us real food for thought amongst the political froth which has thus far marked the independence debate.
We have posted below three articles concerning St Joan authored respectively by Pierre Virion, Robert Hickson and Solange Hertz. That by Paul Virion considers St Joan’s role in a Europe that was covetous with ambition – an ambition which required the destruction of the French nation and ultimately other Christian nations. An ambition challenged with no little effect by the Maid of Orleans. Robert Hickson in his short article reflects upon the works of Bernanos and Belloc regarding St Joan and her ultimate sacrifice for God and country. Solange Hertz in her work considers St Joan in relation to man’s constant seeking after Utopia and her supernaturally aided challenge to the utopianism of her age.
Here are some more musings from Charles Kerr, a columnist who contributed to the print version of Apropos before its demise.
An OK Corollary – in this reflection, Charles comments on immigration policy with reference to Native Americans. One prays that the tribes to which he refers are a least self-sustaining unlike some of the European nations whose native populations are dwindling and who have lost their loyalty to their nation’s past and to the faith which shaped them.
Invocation – in this article Charles discusses the role of the Epiclesis in the Roman Rite and in the Western Rite Orthodox liturgies.
Sacerdotal – Some inspiring anecdotes about three Scottish clerics.
Scriptural Inequality – or a matter of definition?
We have attached this article concerning reaction to Cardinal Kasper’s voiced opinion on the status of the re-married and divorced. It appeared in the SSPX E-pistola updates on 16-05-14.
Piers Paul Read
We note that Piers Paul Reid has also lent a cautionary tone to the revolutions in the Ukraine and has also bravely made observations concerning anti-Semitism in Ukraine and Lithuania. In The Catholic Herald of May 2nd 2014, he remarked:
‘In Vilnius in 1989, I heard writers express anti-Semitic sentiments in a most casual way. This was particularly disturbing because Lithuania’s considerable pre-war Jewish community – in Kaunus, Jews made up around 30 per cent of the population – was liquidated during the Holocaust.
What was the source of this anti-Semitism? Sir Thomas Hetherington, in his 1989 report on the prosecution of war criminals in Britain, pointed out that a large number of those who deported Catholic Lithuanians to the gulags in Siberia were Jews. It was the same in the Ukraine. “About a third of high-ranking NKVD officers were Jewish by nationality,” wrote Timothy Snyder in Bloodlands, and Stalin’s policy of forced agricultural collectivism which led to famine – the Holomodor – was implemented by the commissar Genrikh Yagoda, who was also Jewish. Many consider Yagoda responsible for the death of between 7 and 10 million Ukrainians.
The memory of the Holodomor does not excuse but may partly explain the anti-Semitism found in some of the Maidan protestors now in power in Kiev. It may also help explain the loathing felt for Putin whom many see as an heir to Stalin. Putin, I suspect, sees himself as the heir to the Tsars – not just the father of all Russians but the protector of Christians in Syria and Christian morality in Russia’
Read questions whether in supporting our co-religionists in the Ukraine ‘we may be drawn into…nationalistic rivalries and perpetrate an injustice in supporting our co-religionists “right or wrong”. He also asks whether there was perhaps ‘some justification in the complaints made by Putin in the speech he made in Moscow on April 19. Did the US and the EU help engineer the fall of the democratically elected president Victor Yanukovych? How would we have felt if the foreign ministers of Russia and China had come to London to give their support to the anti-Thatcher poll-tax rioters in 1990?’
We refer our readers to this article concerning Ukraine on Peter Hitchen’s blog. While we do not necessarily agree with all he says we consider it necessary that views such as his be considered to give balance to a debate in which only one side is generally portrayed in the media:
Harts Catholic Doctrine
The Scottish Government’s guidance on sex-education following same-sex “marriage” legislation afforded paltry protection, if any, to teachers, pupils and parents who wished to opt-out of sex-education on the grounds that it offends their conciences. Some local authorities and health boards have made representations to the Scottish Government to remove even the paltry protection afforded – another manifestation of the totalitarian intolerance of the liberal establishment. We would ask our readers to act upon the request of Scotland for Marriage which may be accessed by clicking here.
The Coalition for Marriage has published a summary of a poll commissioned by them concerning the forthcoming Euro elections. The poll indicates that David Cameron’s support for same-sex “marriage” has undoubtedly damaged his party’s electoral hopes.