Happy (yes, Happy!), Holy and Blessed Good Friday!
The following are links to stuff I found fascinating, amusing or both:
A. Mike Flynn on the history leading up to the 1st Crusade. Just wow. I had some inklings on about 5% of that stuff. The Crusades have long been on that nagging list of things I know I need to read up on A LOT more (1), things critical to understanding the present and the past. This is a great start to that project.
Here, the great OFloinn goes through the state of affairs leading up to the rise of Islam. One point I’ve made (with far, far less erudition) is that Islam happened to arise at a point in history when there were no great powers in the immediate neighborhood, and only one – the Eastern Roman Empire – anywhere in the West that could put up any kind of sustained fight. If Mohammed’s heirs had had to lead their armies against Rome in its vigor, or Alexander in his, the Greece of Athens and Sparta or even a Pharoah’s Egypt or Persia under Xerxes or Babylonia or Summaria or the Assyrians at their peaks, their road to victory would have been much, much more difficult. Without the initial victories against the tired, declawed remnants of long-past empires, perhaps the recruiting of future Jihadis would not have gone so well? Certainly, the funding of those far-flung armies would have been near impossible!
But that’s not what happened. The rise of Islam is a tragedy, perhaps the great tragedy of history.
B. More Flynn, here talking about an event I knew nothing about (to my shame!) the reading of an anti-Nazi encyclical on Palm Sunday from every Catholic pulpit in Germany. Seems the Pope wasn’t happy with the way things were going:
8. Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community – however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things – whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.
9. Beware, Venerable Brethren, of that growing abuse, in speech as in writing, of the name of God as though it were a meaningless label, to be affixed to any creation, more or less arbitrary, of human speculation. Use your influence on the Faithful, that they refuse to yield to this aberration. Our God is the Personal God, supernatural, omnipotent, infinitely perfect, one in the Trinity of Persons, tri-personal in the unity of divine essence, the Creator of all existence. Lord, King and ultimate Consummator of the history of the world, who will not, and cannot, tolerate a rival God by His side.
10. This God, this Sovereign Master, has issued commandments whose value is independent of time and space, country and race. As God’s sun shines on every human face so His law knows neither privilege nor exception. Rulers and subjects, crowned and uncrowned, rich and poor are equally subject to His word. From the fullness of the Creators’ right there naturally arises the fullness of His right to be obeyed by individuals and communities, whoever they are. This obedience permeates all branches of activity in which moral values claim harmony with the law of God, and pervades all integration of the ever-changing laws of man into the immutable laws of God.
11. None but superficial minds could stumble into concepts of a national God, of a national religion; or attempt to lock within the frontiers of a single people, within the narrow limits of a single race, God, the Creator of the universe, King and Legislator of all nations before whose immensity they are “as a drop of a bucket” (Isaiah xI, 15).
So, being a Nazi would be *bad* in the eyes of the Church, evil even? And the modern demand that we make God conform to our whims and the whims of the state – not good, either? The story Flynn relays of how this encyclical got created and promulgated is wonderful and terrifying.
The whole encyclical is wonderful. A pope who minces few words.
C. Larry Correia has got his mountain. What more could a gun-toting, liberal-apoplexy-causing (but I repeat myself) large, manly, successful and prosperous writer want? How about a tank? (2) It’s the little things in life:
If I slap a snow plow on there, and I can even pretend it is practical. Because tank. How often do you see cars slid off the side of the road in winter? All the time. How often do you see tanks? Never. See?
Commuter lane? Hell. Whatever lane I’m in is the commuter lane, and that includes if I feel like driving into oncoming traffic.
D. The description of the Good Friday liturgy from the 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia.
There is, perhaps, no office in the whole liturgy so peculiar, so interesting, so composite, so dramatic as the office and ceremonial of Good Friday.
It is good to see how much has been retained in the Ordinary Form. Although we don’t get prayers quite like this anymore:
Let us pray, dearly beloved, to God the Father almighty, that He would cleanse the world of all errors: take away diseases, drive away famine, open prisons, break chains, grant a sure return to travellers, health to the sick, and a safe haven to those at sea.
Off now to gather up an old friend who is in town who, while not Catholic or even Christian, says he wants to go to Good Friday services – we’re heading to St. Margaret Mary’s in Oakland to attend Services in the Extraordinary Form – a first for me, and why I was reading that Catholic Encyclopedia article above. If you have a minute, please pray for my friend and his family, who are having a very rough time at the moment.
- Off the top of my head: French Revolution, Chinese history, Europe in general from maybe 1500 – 1900, post WWII Europe/Cold War, classical economics (Mises, who I’ve read not at all), Thomas (I mean, really, I should have a large chunk of Thomas more or less in RAM, rather than feeble memories of about a 100 pages stashed in my brain’s Rare Books Room). For that matter, Aristotle – just MORE! Then there are those huge subjects I’ve read maybe one book on – modern Middle East, Balkan history, Genghis Khan, Charlemagne, Alexander the Great. And on and on. I figure you get the list, start somewhere, and die (preferably at some point in the not too near future) trying. If I think much about how much I have to read + how long it takes me to read stuff + how much time I have or are likely to have to read – it is to despair!
- A British Chieftain. Of course, the International Lord of Hate would know, ‘natch, where one shops for a real main-line battle tank. He will be looking for something a little roomier, as those Brit tanks get a little cramped inside. I humbly suggest this.