Friday, May 23, 2003

It's been overcast, drizzly and in the 50s Fahrenheit here in this part of the US... reminds me of England.

Blair plotting map towards euro entry
The day Britain drops the pound is the beginning of the end

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Dave McLaughlin
For every sincere Anglo-Catholic who has 'poped' or has considered 'poping' to get away from all the 'womanchurch'-ery and New Agery in the Anglican Communion

‘Thought you got away, did you, Fr Spike? EH-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh!’

Sometime correspondent Stuart Koehl, an orthodox Byzantine Catholic, has some keen observations on neo-pagan tomfoolery. The practitioners don't literally believe in the gods and goddesses they worship - they see them as Jungian archetypes of male and female or suchlike (which I'm sure the demons have a good larf about). Neo-paganism, with its sexual overtones, is a modern invention for women - by men! (Wicca was invented by an Englishman in the 1930s - he spelt it Wica - and included nudism, unknown to real European pagans centuries ago.) Stuart points out it's really a sanitized, Christianized set of beliefs ('harm no one', white magic, etc.), created whole cloth by apostate Christians and striking out Christ as the head - real paganism OTOH was/is about bashing in an animal's skull and sacrificing its blood on a rock to put curses on people and to appease gods who are very much believed in.

Maybe there should be a revival of 'pagan fundamentalism' (yea, brother) to give the ex-Christian dabblers a reality check and perhaps teach them a very scary lesson or two.

BTW, to prevent any questions along these lines, no, 'health food', homeopathic medicine and massage therapy are not ipso facto New Age or pagan. In the Middle Ages, all physicians and midwives used herbal medicine and potions, not the imaginary 'wise women' of the pseudo-pagans' mythology. (Read the late Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mystery novels, well-researched historical fiction about a Catholic 'medical doctor' of the period.)

Today in church history
Lots of stake-burnings today - ugh!

May 23, 1430: French mystic and military hero Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians. They sold her to English, who tried her for sorcery and heresy.

Interesting fact: this was during the two-, then three-way schism in the Catholic Church when there were several men claiming to be Pope. Joan sincerely sided with a man later determined not to be the real Pope; I think the English who burned her for political reasons were under the real one. Nevertheless, perhaps because it was a confusing time and she was sincere, she was later canonized.

May 23, 1498: Italian reformer Dominican Girolamo Savonarola, who preached aggressively against the corruption of northern Italy's church and society, is hanged for heresy and his body burned. After gaining fame for successful prophecies, he sought to establish an ascetic Christian community. Scholars still debate whether he was a saintly prophet or a fanatic.

Savonarola is a man to admire - orthodox, sincere and holy, but like some of the saints he had his faults. (But to be fair, the excesses of the Renaissance were anti-Christ, part of the domino effect that caused the 'Reformation', 'Enlightenment' and today's secularism.) IMO he's canonizable. He was 'puritanical' in the commonly understood meaning of the word. Saints are meant to be examples but not all can or should be emulated in every detail! Has anybody reading or writing this got the stamina to live on top of a pillar for years?

BTW, there is a story, I think true, that one or two of his followers, disillusioned by their leader's execution, travelled to Eastern Europe and became devoted Orthodox monks. One, Maximos, may have been Greek to begin with. I think the other, an Italian, went to Russia and was canonized there - St Anthony the Roman. He became a monk of the great schema - the US Marine Corps of Orthodox monasticism.

Speaking of the 'Reformation'...

May 23, 1533: Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, declares King Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon null and void: a key moment in the English Reformation.

The birth of Anglicanism: cynicism, political opportunism, compromise and early modern nation-state building... 'the Church has one foundation' and it sure isn't those things!

To be fair, Henrician Anglicanism wasn't Protestant - Cranmer was an out-and-out heretic who arguably got what he deserved (light the fire, lads) but he kept a low profile until old Harry died, five wives later. It was a schism that, if it had happened 50 years earlier, would have ended with his death.

Factoids I picked up last night while reading about Tony Blair's background: England has surpassed the Scandinavian countries as the most irreligious country in the West. About 3% of the people regularly worship in Harry's church today - such is his legacy.

From today
What feminism hath wrought
by Angela Fiori

West Pointer who changed his mind on war
Ex-Capt. David Wiggins resigned his Army commission on the front during Gulf War I and is now a doctor

I’m honored
If the neocons hate this blog, it's doing what it should do

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