Monday, December 30, 2019
Are American Monarchists Dreamers? - Crisis Magazine: One of the commentators on a recent Crisis article of mine declared that “Charles Coulombe is a weird person who desires the destruction of democracy and its replacement with monarchy again. There is a bizarre thread in Crisis now that desires such stupid stuff.” I suppose I am a weird person, so I can’t disagree …
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
The Well-Fought Fight - Crisis Magazine: The incorporation of Anglican hymnody into English-language Catholic worship is one of the great blessings of the past 50 years. And within that noble musical patrimony, Ralph Vaughan Williams surely holds pride of place among modern composers. Well do I remember the summer day in 1965 when I heard a massed chorus of men and …
Monday, December 23, 2019
Proclaiming the Gospel in a secularized world
DECEMBER 23, 2019
Viktor Orbán, Defender of the FaithFR. BENEDICT KIELY
Just a day after the second World Conference on Persecuted Christians ended this November in Budapest, Hungary, a “reformed” jihadi terrorist stabbed two innocent people to death in London, before being shot by police. The inability of the liberal secularists, who are at the center of most Western governmental policies and who control most of the information the public receives via the media and academia, to comprehend the motivation for such an attack is the reason why they will only increase.
The London Islamist attack, one of many over the last decade in Europe, focused many to ask why certain European countries have been targeted regularly and why other countries have not been targeted at all. Hungary, the host nation for the conference and still the only nation in the world to have a specific governmental ministry devoted to the assistance of persecuted Christians everywhere is regularly attacked by the European elites. Yet, strangely, it has not suffered a single Islamist attack. The unashamedly Christian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, in a speech which should be seen as clarion call for European renewal, stated that the “key” to Hungary’s survival over the last eleven hundred years was the adoption of Christianity—meaning, of course, Catholicism—by the great Hungarian king St. Stephen. This was a “spiritual rebirth and a true conversion.”
Mr. Orbán linked the persecution of Christians in other parts of the globe with the increasing hostility towards mainstream Christianity in Europe. A “mysterious force seals the lips,” not only of politicians in the West to this persecution, but also of most of those in the media. Is this just rabble-rousing or conspiracy lunacy, or is there, in fact, as he went on to say, an “organized and wide-ranging attack on European culture and civilization?
One answer or significant piece of evidence to affirm his contention goes back to the deliberate omission from the European Constitution of the foundational place of Christianity in the formation of all that is meant by the term “Europe.” At the time, St. John Paul, and then his successors, pointed out the grave danger this “forgetfulness” would bring to the future of Europe. Both Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have spoken of the “spiritual vacuum” at the heart of secular Europe; a vacuum will eventually be filled and, as the demographics of Europe shift via massive immigration, what will fill the vacuum will be Islam.
The curious marriage between radical Islam and the secular liberalism of the elites in Europe is, at least on the surface, difficult to comprehend, but if Mr. Orbán is correct and it is essentially an attack on European culture and civilization, the ugly union becomes more obvious. On a spiritual level, secularism and radical Islam hate the cross and the victory it signifies. European civilization and culture is—or was—inescapably a Christian culture, and the hatred for that culture and history is almost a hallmark of the left. Academia and the media place all the ills of the world at the door of Western colonialism, oppression, and the evangelization of the Church. The recent Amazon Synod at the Vatican was a perfect example of how that mindset has entered the highest levels of the Church. The naīve glorification of “native cultures,” resplendent in a prelapsarian world in union with nature, then destroyed by the proclamation of the Gospel, was symbolized perfectly by the presence of the pagan fertility statue of Pachamama in the Vatican itself.
Europe, said Mr. Orbán, is “in deep trouble.” The cause he identifies is its deliberate and organized desire to forget or eradicate its Christian identity. The liberals are using what the Hungarian Prime Minister called the “muzzle of political correctness” to accomplish their death wish, which, coupled with the advancement of radical Islam, will eventually produce, if this self-loathing continues, a Europe that will be cut off from its roots. Any horticulturalist knows that a tree will die when it is rootless.
Hungary has no intention of allowing that to happen. This is obviously the reason why the policies of the Mr. Orbán government to promote the family, Christianity, and authentic Hungarian culture are so relentlessly condemned by the empty vessels who direct the European Union, which is the most hostile agency in Europe towards orthodox Christianity.
Hungary’s Christian revival is a small sign of hope in an otherwise bleak European landscape. Christians, said Mr. Orbán, have the “right to defend our culture and the way of life that has grown from it.” It is precisely this language which so antagonizes both the liberal intelligentsia and the forces who wish to radically change Europe itself. Hearing about the persecution of Christians in other cultures, the “greatest mistake Europeans can ever make,” Mr. Orbán warned, is “to say this could never happen to them—it is much closer to us than many people think.”
Both the Prime Minister and his energetic and dynamic Families Minster, Katalin Novak, spoke beautifully about the gift the persecuted Christians give to the lethargic and somewhat weak Christians of the West. Mrs. Novak described the lack of courage of so much of Western Christianity, and Mr. Orbán declared that the persecuted Christians give the West what it needs most: “Christian faith, love, and perseverance.”
Budapest, described by one participant at the conference as a “citadel of Christian freedom”, is leading the way to save European civilization because—as Hilaire Belloc so prophetically said—either “Europe will return to the Faith or she will perish.”
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Friday, December 20, 2019
English Historical Fiction Authors: Behind the Scenes of Charles Dickens' 'A Christ...: by Nancy Bilyeau It may well be the most beloved Christmas story ever written. Charles Dickens' novella, originally titled Christma...
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Progressive Inhumanity, Part One: The State against the Family - Crisis Magazine: When they were casting for the old western The Rifleman, one small boy was brought into the room after another, to meet the star Chuck Connors and the director. Then young Johnny Crawford came in, a little gangly in the arms and legs, with tousled hair and large brown eyes. “That’s the son of Lucas …
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Monday, December 2, 2019
Christ, the King of Advent - Crisis Magazine: “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” In the Church calendar, the days of holy feasts and solemnities go by with dizzying speed. And sometimes the chronology seems disordered. We might wonder, for example, why the Slaughter of the Innocents on December 28th comes before the Epiphany on January 6th. The short …