Monday, November 4, 2013

Chivalric Quotations

The Song of Roland contrives to express the idea that Christianity imposes upon its heroes a paradox: a paradox of great humility in the matter of their sins combined with great ferocity in the matter of their ideas. — G.K. Chesterton

Posted on the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo a.D. MMXIII

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Christian Beer

By M.D. Amesse

I know where Men can still be found,
Anger and clamorous accord,
And virtues growing from the ground.
And fellowship of beer and board,
And song, that is a sturdy cord.
And hope, that is a hardy shrub.
And goodness, that is God's last word—
Will sometime take me to a pub? 
(From G.K. Chesterton's "A Ballade of an Anti-Puritan")

A friend of mine recently suggested that, while French Catholics stand up to the enemies of Holy Mother Church, American Catholics brew beer, smoke cigars, and quote Chesterton.  I take exception to this accusation.  I have never brewed beer.  But if I do, I will ask a priest to bless it.  And the Catholic Gentleman has provide us with the blessing from the Rituale Romanum (here).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Durendal Unsheathed

When Durendal was created more than five years ago, its purpose was to highlight those ideas, arts, and customs from the Age of Faith which must endure.  The lasting value of the (so called) Middle Ages as a guide for our present age becomes obvious when one realises that that era marked the height of Christian civilisation. The weblog was not meant to be a collection of essays from antiquarians or hopeless romantics. The weblog's purpose was to militantly confront modernity.  The name Durendal, the sword of Count Roland, which means enduring, was chosen for this reason.  But last March it seemed that Durendal would not live up to its name.  

A number of factors lead the editors to close down Durendal.  Not the least of them was our inability to write content and edit the post submitted by our contributors.  We were unable to keep some of our writers.  As of right now, we are not listing any writers as collaborators, but that may change in the near future.

It remains for me to explain what we plan for Durendal.  We intend to continue writing articles in favour of the Catholic counter-revolution and on the application of the timeless ideas and customs that can and should be retained.  I also intend to write more frequently on current events, something I believe was lacking in the past.  Mr. Wansbuter and I are committed to making at least one post a month, more if time and the Muse are willing.  Your suggestions, as we press forward, are welcome and appreciated.

Posted on the Feast of Christ the King, a.D. MMXIII. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Surrender in the Culture War?

“Now if a sports team is not admonished by its coach, its playing standards begin to fall. If Catholics are not admonished on cultural issues like music, women’s dress, or watching television, their cultural standards begin to fall, which has profound implications for their faith. Traditional parents are being left to struggle alone with their families to keep the worldliness of modern society out of their homes, because the leadership of the SSPX has either missed this cultural revolution, or it is not giving it the attention that it deserves. I have had many long discussions with Traditional families who are concerned about the way that the Traditional movement is going. Religious movements must take a stand on cultural issues if they are to flourish. Tradition was strengthened when it used to take a stand on television. But if a stand is not taken on cultural issues, the stand on doctrinal issues soon begins to weaken."

Bp. Williamson quoting a friend, Eleison Comments No. CCLXXXV, 29 Decemeber 2012

By N.D.C. Wansbutter, Esq.

 In all the debate over "deal" or "no deal" with the Modernist officals in Rome, I believe the very important fact that the S.S.P.X has already surrendered on the cultural issue has been overlooked. Readers of Durendal will know that we've long fancied ourselves champions of cultural issues as an important aspect of the modern-day struggle against the Devil, the Flesh, and the World.

Now, one may rightly question why I am singling-out the S.S.P.X since it may be said, with some justice, that all traditional groups are fairly quiet on cultural issues. And that the S.S.P.X still says at least as much as other groups, such as the C.M.R.I., and more than the indult groups. But with the expulsion of Bp. Williamson and the promotion of a certain layman to a position of power, I suggest the evidence is that the S.S.P.X is slowly moving towards an opposition to such "embarassing" cultural dinosaur-type positions like saying women should not dress as men, or that the television should be cast out of the home (although they seem to be dead-set against the internet of late). Readers may ask why I, a "sedevacantist", care what the S.S.P.X says. I care because the S.S.P.X is the largest and most influential traditionalist group in the world, that has done much good and can do much good yet. And I have many friends who are ministered to by them and I still look to them for a certain level of guidance.

A debate I had with the aforementioned layman, Maximilian Krah, on the forum "Ignis Ardens", I believe is illustrative of the new direction and the problem, since he is a prominent layman who wields more power in the S.S.P.X than the great majority of its priests. The debate started when I commented on Dr. Krah's interview with the Remnant Magazine, stating:

This interview confirms, crystal clearly, that Max "He who shall remain nameless" represents the "moderate" "respectable" new face of the S.S.P.X which is, essentially, a compatimentalized Sunday Catholicism. A man who thinks that modern-day Germany is a "model" nation, a "moral nation" and those moral values, "such as the equality of women, are non-negotiable and worth defending". Am man who thinks that being Catholic is somehow believes love of the mini skirt and love of The Blessed Virgin Mary are not contradictory. (cf. I think this is amply proven by his very comments about how he believes in being "optimistic" and "moderate" (a mentality that smacks very much of John XXIII and Vatican II's attitudes towards the modern world. So, too, his condescending tone for those of us who are not "moderate".

Now, a strong supporter of the S.S.P.X establishment made the point that Herr Krah is just a confused 35 year-old who is still learning the faith, and that I should be more generous with him since many a trad was perhaps even a Novus Ordinarian at 35. A point well taken, but in my view Herr Krah is not just any 35 year old lawyer. He is a person of considerable power and influence in the S.S.P.X and in being interviewed in such a way is being held up as an exemplar of the S.S.P.X faithful and Tradition. At least this is my impression, again, especially because of the influence he has. That said, "there but for the grace of God go I, and I don't point all this out to cast stones at Herr Krah but to raise a concern about the direction that the largest traditional group is taking.

Dr. Krah, for his part, had a fair bit to say in response to my comments, the most salient bits being:

Now I get attacked for somhow being "not Catholic enough", what in a very fundamental way thrives the question what being Catholic means. The Church answers it quite clear: You have to hold the faith, attending to the sacraments. Being Catholic is not about history, politics, not about style and fashion ...

He went on to call my comments about the rottenness of the modern world "clear heresy". After some more back-and-forth I inquired as to where Dr. Krah received his ideas about the goodness of modern society, the fact that the Church has nothing to say about history, clothing &c. and his response was important: "you can be sure that I often and openly discuss it with various priests, mostly SSPX-clergy. My understanding of theology was formed by and within the SSPX. I added some reading, and for sure, I use my special legal training and my knowledge in philosphy, especially theory of law. During my travel to the New Seminary Project and the Angelus Press Conference some days ago, I once again could talk to several priest from the US-district. Noone doubted in any way my faith."

Anecdotally, many traditionalists will comment on the "de-Williamsonising" of the S.S.P.X in the U.S., and to be sure, the Angelus, when I stopped my subscription a couple years ago, did not feature the "radical" cultural articles it used to under Fr. Novak's watch. So, given that, in my view, the S.S.P.X has surrendered -- or is in the process of surrendering -- its part in the culture war, I think the danger is clear. I fully agree with Bp. Williamson's friend and we've already written much on the topic here, here and here. And it shall continue to be one of Durendal's purposes to take a stand on cultural issues and discuss them.

Posted on the Feast of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr, a.D. MMXII

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Strange Case of Giuseppe Cardinal Siri

Giuseppe Cardinal Siri ((20 May 1906 - 2 May 1989)

By N.D.C. Wansbutter, Esq.

Some years ago a prominent "mainstream" Catholic monthly, Inside the Vatican, took the time to debunk the so-called "Siri Thesis" that holds Giuseppe Cardinal Siri was elected Pope in the 1958 and '63 Conclaves. I find it interesting, because the number of people that believe this thesis are a very small number; why then would Inside the Vatican give the theory any legitimacy by going to the effort to disprove it?

I've always loved mystery-shrouded conspiracy theories, which is one of the reasons I was such an avid X-Files devotee in my younger days (I was, in fact, called "Monsier X-file" by my highschool French teacher). Therefore, like a Trad Catholic Mulder, I decided to look into this particular conspiracy theory and share my findings and thoughts with our readers.

The story seems to have a few variations, but they all boil down to this: that on the third ballot of the 1958 Papal Conclave, Cardinal Siri received the requisite 2/3 majority of votes and accepted the election, choosing the regnal name Gregory XVII. That he was somehow forced to change his mind and refuse the papacy, after an ultimatum from Communists, B'nai B'rith, Freemasons, or some combination, warning that widespread persecution of Catholics would result if the election stood (Fr. Malachi Martin claims to have been the one to deliver this message). And that the same thing happened again in 1963.

The sources of most of the information and conjecture on these two conclaves come from sources whose reliability and objectivity I would term questionable or unproven, such as the Dimond Brothers and a gentleman I've never heard of.

As far as I can tell, there are a few facts that involve no speculation, hearsay, or declassified F.B.I. documents, regarding the 1958 Papal Conclave:
  1. After the third ballot, smoke apparently white in colour emerged from the Sistine chapel and Vatican Radio declared: "The smoke is white. . . . There is absolutely no doubt. A pope has been elected."(The London Tablet, November 1, 1958 - according to many sources including Wikipedia)
  2. In response to confusion over the non-appearance of a pope after the white smoke, Monsignor Santaro, secretary of the College of Cardinals, informed the press that the smoke, indeed, had been white and that a new pope had been elected. (Houston Post, October 27, 1958, p. 1)
  3. After this same third ballot, the Swiss Guard assembled to give the ceremonial salute to the new pontiff, only to have to withdraw again in confusion.
  4. John XXIII asked the cardinals to remain in the conclave another night instead of leaving immediately as was customary to caution them again against revealing the secrets of his election to outsiders.

Cue the X-Files theme song ... the above items can be confirmed by searching newspapers from 1958, but of themselves prove nothing. They are highly suggestive that something strange went on (although it could have been mere accident and coincidence) and lend themselves to sense of eeriness, that something is not quite right with the picture("trust no one").

Aside from the "confirmable" facts, there is, then, the declassified F.B.I. file I alluded to which supposedly states that Cardinal Siri was prevented from feely assuming the office by a group of French cardinals and by threats. The source of the F.B.I. angle claims that they looked into the election because they suspected John XIII of communist sympathies -- this seems a bit of a stretch, plus one wonders where they got their information unless they had bugged the Sistine Chapel. Then there are the claims made by Fr. Malachi Martin in his book The Keys of This Blood that “communication” occurred between a member of the conclave and an “internationally based organization” regarding Cardinal Siri's election. This apparently dealt with a “grave matter of [Vatican] state security.” and as a result, after "some brutality" Cardinal Siri refused the papacy. I don't know much about Fr. Martin, I'll admit, so I leave it to those that do know him to assess his credibility (he claims to have been a "middle man" of sorts in these "communications").

What did Cardinal Siri himself, who remained the Archbishop of Genova until his retirement in 1987, say about all of this?

... when we asked him whether he had been elected pope ... [h]e started by remaining silent for a long time, then raised his eyes to heaven with a rictus of suffering and pain, joined his hands and said, weighing each word with gravity: “I am bound by the secret.” Then, after a long silence, heavy for us all, he said again: “I am bound by the secret. This secret is horrible. I would have books to write about the different conclaves. Very serious things have taken place. But I can say nothing.”
From The Pope: Could He Be Cardinal Siri? By Louis Hubert Remy, translated into English by Heidi Hagen for “The Sangre de Cristo Newsnotes” - No. 55 - December 1987

For me, these words of Cardinal Siri were more chilling than anything else I read on the subject. One wonders what possibly could be this "horrible" secret? If anything, these cryptic comments raise more questions than answers. Although, given what has happened to the Church since 1958, it is not just a leap to believe something happened, be it a Gregory XVII election or something else.

If Cardinal Siri really was elected, how could he have given into the pressure? What possible threat could have been made? If he had gone ahead, there would have been many martyrs, and the Church may have been smaller and persecuted - but for those who know the Gospel is this not a glorious fate? A good man could be cowed by the possibility of so much death and suffering, I suppose, and perhaps he thought another good man, more of a "stealth trad" could be elected if he stepped aside. But I can't imagine anything that would be worse than the current apostacy, that he could have been threatened with. But, of course, all of this may never have happened.

In the end, whether Cardinal Siri was elected or not has little bearing on my own determination concerning the Vatican II popes. Even if it is true that he was elected, Cardinal Siri turned down the papacy and unambiguously supported and submitted to John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II, and worked in obedience to them as ordinary of Genova. Certainly it could be argued that an abdication under duress is no true abdication but his submission to the Vatican II popes is scandalous whether Cardinal Siri was elected pope or not.

I am left in a reasonable doubt about what happened one way or another by the information I've read on this topic. One thing seems certain, and that is that Cardinal Siri gave the enemies of the Church ample reason to despise him and fear his ascendancy to the Papacy: he was described as "rabidly anti-Communist, an intransigent traditionalist in matters of Church doctrine". That these enemies would do all in their power to avert the disaster of such a man being elected Pope is beyond question; one need not accept the thesis at all to believe that much.

I expect we will never know what really happened, Papal Conclaves being secret and the 1958 one nearly 50 years old now. And yet ...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Restoration Radio 10/20 : The Second Vatican Council

In just under two weeks, I'll be co-hosting with Stephen Heiner and Dr. Piers Hugill a special, 3 hour episode of Restoration Radio with Bp. Donald Sanborn as our guest. Over the past couple months I've been reading and studying in preparation for this show which, as far as I know, will be a first radio broadcast of its kind: a detailed look at the Second Vatican Council.

Restoration Radio XIII: The Second Vatican Council 10/20 by Restoration Radio | Blog Talk Radio

We will be focussing more on the content of the documents coming out of Vatican II rather than the politics and events surrounding it. We intend to cover six documents from the Council, problems with those documents, and the implications for Catholics today.  Those documents include: Nostra Aetate, Dignitatis Humanae, Unitatis Redintegratio, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Gaudium et Spes, and Lumen Gentium. Hence the unusual length of the programme, but I think listeners will find it well worth it to listen to the full show.

We'll be starting at 2pm Central/3pm Eastern. Note that the same link can be used to access the live feed, or to download an MP3 recording later if you are not able to join us at the appointed time. We will not be taking calls during this show but we will be taking questions via twitter (@truerestoration).

Monday, September 24, 2012

Canada Reaping What it Has Sown

By N.D.C. Wansbutter, Esq.

I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me:  

Exodus XX, v

Last week, Census Canada released its statistics concerning Canadian families from the 2011 census. The data therein confirmed many things which I have observed anecdotally, and offer proof that you do, indeed "reap what you sow" and Canada is starting to harvest a rotten crop planted by the Liberal Party and its social engineering of the 1960s.

I've mentioned it before, but I think it worth repeating, that up until the late 1960s/early 70s Canada was a much more conservative place than the United States. I think many people (Canadian included) see the current situation where the U.S. isn't quite as insane as Canada (at least in terms of some things like gay simulated "marriage") has always been the case. But Canada was not always "progressive". Its conservative roots had the axe laid to them over decades starting, I would argue, with the repudiation of the British Union Jack and the Red Ensign in favour of "banal, on-the-spot product" in 1964. Here's a summary of the stats from Toronto Metro:

The nuclear family is no longer the norm in Canada.
The mom-pop-and-three-kids-under-one-roof model that typified Canadian households 50 years ago has morphed into a complex and diverse web of family ties involving living alone, remarriage, stepchildren, empty nesters and several generations sharing a home.

So, today, the reason my children are always the only ones on the playground and there are no friends to be had in our neighbourhood, is because only 26.5% of all Canadian households have children, versus 43.6% a mere ten years ago. The most typical "family" is now a couple with no children. It's hard to see how we're NOT headed for total economic and social disaster due to such demographics. But consider also the drastic rise in single-parent families.  The lack of future workers is but a piece of the puzzle -- with such total demolition of the family and any semblance of stability for the majority of Canadian children, how total anarchy is not on the horizon is hard to see.

Canadian, especially young ones, are also poorer and as a result many more live at home than just 30 years ago. This also mirrors what I have observed anecdotally, that inflation has continued unabated while wages have remained frozen in the 1980s. I am left to wonder what sort of future my children may have to hope for economically as well as spiritually.

This of course comes from an abandoment of God and His Church -- and more than just an abandonment, but a hatred of it. We have a very harsh road ahead, since the Lord God is just and will visit his vengeance upon us unto the fourth generation.