Why I haven’t been posting, lately

It’s simple, really: I can’t. The “new” WordPress apparently refuses to let me use AddThis to share content here, giving me the following error message:

I did not discover this until I had put my heart and soul and at least an hour-and-a-half (or more)’s worth of time into a post, and when I tried to open it for editing prior to posting it… that’s what I got. The post itself was gone. Completely. Irrecoverably.

It was a good post, too: a Chinese-American mother who had escaped Communism over there was warning us about how Critical Race Theory was turning the United States into what she was escaping. You can read the original article here: https://www.foxnews.com/us/virginia-xi-van-fleet-critical-race-theory-china-cultural-revolution-loudoun. But I just don’t have the heart, or the energy, to try to reconstruct my entire comments on it.

And since the lion’s share of my content is sparked by things I’ve seen elsewhere, that I want to share here – usually with comments, sometimes with extensive reflections – This. Is. A. Problem. Let’s not even talk about this new “Block Editing”… stuff… a typical technobabble “solution” to a nonexistent “problem” that makes life unnecessarily complex for ordinary users like me.

Of course, that’s probably why the share function isn’t working; AddThis is probably not compatible with block editing, or some such foolishness. Whatever the case, it’s not worth my time trying to figure it out – although if anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to enlighten me in the comments, and I’ll thank you! And if anyone has any recommendations on blogging sites that are closer to what this one used to be, I’d be interested in that, too.

It’s been a good run, I guess: 1,326 posts in slightly over six years. I can’t complain. And I’ll leave this up, as there are posts I like to refer back to, and forward to other sites, from time to time. And of course, the bottom line is, “you get what you pay for.” But it’s disappointing, nonetheless…

Elegant Simpicity, with Variations: A Review of Lance Davis’ “The Anglican Office Book.”

https://whithornpress.standrewsalmanor.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/OfficeBookBanner-1600x550.gif

Note:  This is long. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

The classical Anglican tradition of Common Prayer has been lauded, for more than four centuries, for its elegant simplicity – and rightfully so. That is indeed, and for centuries has been, one of its chief appeals, along with the euphonious quality of its language, and its fidelity to the core of the Christian faith. John Wesley, the Anglican priest who (not entirely by intention) ended up founding the Methodist Church, famously commented,

“I believe there is no liturgy in the World, either in ancient or modern language, which breathes more of a solid, scriptural, rational Piety, than the Common Prayer of the Church of England.”

All of which is abundantly true! And one of the elements which led me to the Anglican tradition in the first place. But there is, if truth be told, a fine and easily-crossed line between simplicity and monotony; and this is particularly relevant with respect to the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer, which by its nature is intended to be said daily – 365 days a year, ideally – and is addressed, since its 16th century origins, to both the clergy and laity.

If that line be crossed, and the Office become a source of tedium instead of inspiration, many may choose simply to omit it entirely, or except on rare occasions, or to mumble through it in a pro-forma way, without deep engagement: thus robbing themselves of its spiritual, theological, and devotional riches, and the Church of members well-formed in our Common Prayer tradition and nourished by the Rule of Life it embodies.

One way to help ensure that this does not become a threat is to maintain what is known as the Ordinary of the Office – those invariable elements which are key to its very nature – while moderately increasing the optional Propers, sometimes known as “elaborations”: those variable elements which help to key the Office to days and times, and to the liturgical Kalendar. These include both the great themes of the Christian year – the Nativity and Passion cycles of our Lord, and the Trinitytide season of instruction in the Christian life – and the commemorations of those Christian worthies we know as saints.

This Lance Davis has done, in his newly-released volume, The Anglican Office Book, which he describes as “a complete resource for the recitation of the Daily Offices of the traditional 1928 Book of Common Prayer, supplemented with anthems, hymns, responses, and collects from the Sarum Breviary. This work is a revision and updating of Fr. Paul Hartzell’s Prayer Book Office of 1944, together with elements from The English Office Book of 1955. In addition to the Prayer Book orders of Mattins [Morning Prayer] and Evensong [Evening Prayer]” – the core of the volume – “it contains a complete cursus of the Little Hours, derived from the Sarum and Benedictine uses,” along with additional resources. Continue reading “Elegant Simpicity, with Variations: A Review of Lance Davis’ “The Anglican Office Book.””

The Glories of the West: Chapel of St. Hubert, Château d’Amboise, France

St. Hubert's Chapel, Amboise, France

Source: Viaggiando nella Bellezza5 May 2019 Amboise, France (photo by Discovering France) — at Saint Hubert Chapel

The Chapel of Saint Hubert, in the Château d’Amboise, the grand 15th-century residence of King Charles VIII (Amboise is a town in central France’s Loire Valley).

The Chapel is best known as the burial place of Leonardo da Vinci; but despite my respect for that amazing Renaissance man, I am more interested in its patronage, since St. Hubert (Hubertus of Liège) is a great favorite of mine and somewhat of a personal patron, given his connection with both hunting and conservation – two of my major interests, for many years!

The traditional commemoration of St. Hubert is November 3rd, but I’m likely to lose or forget about this link, by then…

St. Hubertus and the Hirsch

Above image: Wilhelm Carl Räuber (German painter) 1849-1926 Die Vision des hl. Hubertus (Vision of St. Hubert)

Glories of the West: Oxford in 1815 and 2015 – an admirable example of architectural survival

Oxford – 1810 and 2015

Source: “Steampunk Tendencies” | Facebook

A repost, I think – but worthy of it, in my opinion – especially given the piece of new (to me) information contained in the second paragraph, below!

My understanding is that some parts of Oxford have not fared so well! But it is encouraging that some, at least, of the old University city remains basically intact, despite modern brutalist / utilitarian trends in architecture (if you can even call them “architecture”…).

N.B. One comment points out that “The University of Oxford has no known foundation date. Teaching at Oxford existed in some form as early as 1096, but it is unclear when a university came into being. Oxford University is 200 years older than the Aztecs, 300 years older than Machu Picchu, and 150 years older than the Easter Island heads.”

But Europeans, of course, have no culture or history… at least according to the “woke” Left. I leave it to my gentle readers to determine the veracity of this assertion!

The Glories of the West: The Pontifical Swiss Guard

The motto of the Swiss Guard is “Fiercely and Faithfully.” They have been living up to that motto, and to their oath, as they have protected the Pontiff for more than 500 years.

6 MAY 1527: THE FAITHFUL SWISS GUARD AND THE SACK OF ROME

Thousands of mutinous Imperial troops stormed into Rome on this date, intent on plundering the city. When they reached St. Peter’s Basilica, Commander Kaspar Röist of Zurich, with 147 of the Swiss Guard, held them off while another 40 helped Pope Clement VII escape to Castel Sant’Angelo by a secret passage. Soon after, Röist and his men were overwhelmed by the mutineers and slain. So it is that when recruits for the Swiss Guard swear loyalty, they do so on 6 May.

(Many thanks to my good friend John F. Dausch for the account above!)

For the grace, for the might of our Lord,

For the home of the holy:

For the Faith, for the way of the sword,

Gave their lives so boldly!

For the grace, for the might of our Lord:

In the name of His glory!

For the faith, for the way of the sword –

Come and tell their story again!

Sabaton

I vividly recall seeing (on news clips, not live, alas) the Swiss Guard responding to the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II on 13 May 1981: although they are all trained soldiers, and can be equipped with modern weapons if need be, there was no time – and so they charged toward the gunfire, halberds at high port!

I am convinced they would have done the exact same thing if it had been a team of terrorists with AK-47s and RPGs. They are sworn to protect the Pontiff, at the cost of their own lives if need be – following the example of “the 189” – and that is exactly what they will do.

I am The Anglophilic Anglican, not a Roman Catholic; the Roman Church and the Anglican Church have been at odds, ourselves, on more than one occasion and over more than one issue, over the centuries since the 1534 Act of Supremacy declared King Henry VIII and his successors as the Supreme Head of the Church, replacing the Pope.

But the Bishop of Rome is nonetheless the Patriarch of the West – the last, in fact of the Five Patriarchates (the Pentarchy: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome) to have never fallen to Islam, and only one in the West.

I may, with my fellow Anglicans, dispute Papal claims of infallibility and of “universal ordinary jurisdiction”; I may agree “the Pope of Rome enjoys no jurisdiction in this Realm of England,” or the Churches which desire from the English Church.

But the Chair of Peter nonetheless deserves, it seems to me, a primacy of honour: primus inter pares, first among equals of the Bishops of Christ’s one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. And for the See of Rome to have fallen to a drunken and mutinous mob of irreligious cutthroats would have been a grievous fate indeed!

Furthermore, I respect courage. And the Swiss Guard showed that, in spades! Outnumbered more than 100 to 1, they fought literally to the last man – their Commandant, Captain Kaspar Röist, was the last to fall. By one account, the Imperial mutineers

“suffered an estimated 15,000 casualties – three quarters of their fighting force. The last stand of the Swiss Guard allowed Pope Clement VII time to escape the Vatican, and it weakened and demoralized the mutineers to such an extent that they could not hold the city. With their backs to Saint Peter, the Swiss had saved the seat of Christendom.”

And because of their sacrifice, to this day, new guards are sworn in on May 6, as a potent reminder of the Guards’ vow to defend the life of the Pontiff at any cost – including their own.

SABATON – “The Last Stand” (of the Swiss Guard in 1527) | YouTube

Source: SABATON – The Last Stand | Right Concept Historical Music Video

A musical tribute by the historical heavy-metal band Sabaton, with images added by the creator of the video – the story of the 189 heroic members of the Swiss Guard, who fought during Sack of Rome on May 6, 1527, to protect Pope Clement VII, and died, nearly to the man, fighting against overwhelming odds. Only those who escorted the Pontiff along the secret passage to Castel Sant’Angelo survived… the rest stood and fell, covering the evacuation. For this reason, new recruits to the Swiss Guard – which still guard the Vatican and the person of the Pontiff – are sworn in on this day, the 6th of May.

Lyrics, as provided in the video description, and very lightly edited for punctuation (I have and claim no rights over these lyrics, which are available on the internet in many locations):

In the heart of Holy See,
In the home of Christianity,
The seat of power is in danger.

There’s a foe of a thousand swords,
They’ve been abandoned by their lords
Their fall from grace will pave their path to damnation!

They’re the one hundred eighty-nine,
In the service of Heaven;
They’re protecting the holy line,
It was 1527.
Gave their lives on the steps to Heaven –
Thy will be done!

For the grace, for the might of our Lord!
For the home of the Holy!
For the faith, for the way of the sword,
Gave their lives so boldly!
For the grace, for the might of our Lord!
In the name of His glory!
For the faith, for the way of the sword,
Come and tell their story again!

Under guard of forty-two,
Along a secret avenue,
Castel Sant’Angelo is waiting

They’re the guard of the Holy See,
They’re the guards of Christianity
Their path to history is paved with salvation!

They’re the one hundred eighty-nine,
In the service of Heaven;
They’re protecting the holy line,
It was 1527.
Gave their lives on the steps to Heaven,
Thy will be done!

For the grace, for the might of our Lord!
For the home of the Holy!
For the faith, for the way of the sword,
Gave their lives so boldly!
For the grace, for the might of our Lord!
In the name of His glory!
For the faith, for the way of the sword,
Come and tell their story again!

Dying for salvation, with dedication!
No capitulation, annihilation!
Papal commendation, reincarnation,
Heaven is your destination!
Dying for salvation, with dedication!
No capitulation, annihilation!
Papal commendation, reincarnation,
Heaven is your destination!

In the name of God!

For the grace, for the might of our Lord!
For the home of the Holy!
For the faith, for the way of the sword,
Gave their lives so boldly!
For the grace, for the might of our Lord!
In the name of His glory!
For the faith, for the way of the sword,
Come and tell their story!
Gave their lives so boldly!
Come and tell the Swiss Guard’s story again!


[P.S. Don’t take “reincarnation” too seriously. This is a heavy metal song, not a theological treatise! It’s not talking about literal reincarnation. They needed a word in English that rhymed, and fit rhythmically… and also alludes to eternal life in heaven, in God’s nearer presence. Great song, in any case, as are many of Sabaton’s historical offerings!]

The Wars of the Roses Stamp Set | Royal Mail

The Wars of the Roses Stamp Set

Source: The Wars of the Roses Stamp Set | Royal Mail

The Royal Mail releases a splendid set of eight mint stamps featuring stunning illustrations re-imagining key battles from across 30 years of the Wars of the Roses. Pictured: The Battle of Bosworth Field, 1485.

William and Kate release new pictures ahead of 10th wedding anniversary | ITV News

Source: William and Kate release new pictures ahead of 10th wedding anniversary | ITV News

Tomorrow – April 29th – is the 10th Anniversary for this happy couple!  TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, a.k.a. Prince William and Catherine (commonly still popularly known by her former identity as Kate Middleton).  Wishing them many more years of happiness together! God bless them, their children, and all the Royal Family – and God Save The Queen!

A photographic memory of their wedding: Prince William and Kate Middleton wave to the crowds in London following their Apr. 29, 2011 wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

[Photo credit: Shutterstock.]

Also, Happy William Shakespeare’s (presumed) Birthday!

On this day in 1616, William Shakespeare, the greatest figure in English literature and (with the King James Bible and The Book of Common Prayer) one of the greatest influences on the English language, passed beyond the confines of this mortal life, at the age of 52.

On or about this day, in 1564, he was also born! (He was baptized on 26 April.) Since his actual birth-date is unknown, it is usually celebrated on this day, as well. Long may he live in honoured memory here on earth, and by God’s grace, to all eternity “beyond the Jordan”!

Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon” (or simply “the Bard”).

“Even if you’ve never seen a Shakespeare play, you’ll have used one of his words or phrases…In fact, during his 52 years on earth, he enriched the English language in ways so profound it’s almost impossible to fully gauge his impact… He gave us uniquely vivid ways in which to express hope and despair, sorrow and rage, love and lust. Even if you’ve never read one of his sonnets or seen a play – even if you’ve never so much as watched a movie adaptation – you’re likely to have quoted him unwittingly. It’s almost impossible to avoid.”

BBC Culture: “How Shakespeare influences the way we speak now.”

And if you like it not, your wit’s as thick as a Tewkesbury mustard. Fie upon such a pigeon-livered and rump-fed runion!

Happy St. George’s Day from Boris Johnson!

A splendid “Happy St. George’s Day” from Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of Great Britain!