Ceremony marks 100 years since Battle of Passchendaele

The offensive, which began on 31 July 1917, claimed the lives of more than half a million British, French and German troops.

Source: Ceremony marks 100 years since Battle of Passchendaele

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, in the First World War: a particularly horrific battle in a particularly horrific war. Honoured memory of those who fought – tinged with sadness that they fell in a war which, even more than many others, was unnecessary, and the effects of which we continue to experience to this day. “What is past is prologue…”

Advertisements

We Choose to go to the Moon – YouTube

JFK’s eternal speech at Rice University on September 12th, 1962 setting the goal of the space race during the 1960’s.

Source: We choose to go to the Moon | YouTube

President John F. Kennedy gave this speech almost 55 years ago. It was a stirring example of American resolve, and of the American exploratory spirit. Now, more than a half-century later, we are dependent upon the Russians to get an American astronaut to the International Space Station.

Somehow, I think President Kennedy would be appalled.

Briefly Noted: Sanctions vs Space

Soyuz lanch - ISS-bound

From Darryl B. Petitt, on Facebook:

“Republicans in Congress have no interest in [making America great again, or putting America first].

“The ISS space-station the U.S. astronaut along with a European and Russian astronaut are going to is a Russian space-station. The Soyuz MS-05 is the Russian rocket taking them there

“Our Republican Congress can’t pass a healthcare bill…but they can work with Democrats to sanction the country who shuttles our astronauts at $85 million a pop to and from the Russian space station. There’s no explanation for this.”

I need say no more.

Flora Vale Farmstead: Turning the Wheel, or, Let’s put the Rooster in the Stew…

Source: Flora Vale Farmstead: Turning the Wheel, or, Let’s put the Rooster in the Stew…

An excellent blog entry about one of the more challenging aspects of keeping chickens. I still want to do it, and hope to do it, one day…

End of the EU? Wave of populism takes over bloc despite Merkel’s Brexit relief | World | News | Express.co.uk

European Union bosses breathed a sigh of relief when Marine Le Pen was defeated by Emmanuel Macron in France – but new studies have revealed the spread of populism is FAR from over.

Source: End of the EU? Wave of opulism takes over bloc despite Merkel’s Brexit relief | World | News | Express.co.uk

Angela Merkel revealed just last month she was rocked by Brexit, and feared for the future of the EU, but the result of the French presidential election gave her new hope.

However, that hope may be dashed after the findings of Epicenter (the European Policy Information Centre).

Populism is being described as the ‘third force’ in Europe – with right-wing parties gaining renewed support across the bloc.

The Epicenter report revealed the total number of European voters who bucked the Brussels rhetoric and chose an anti-system force at the last political elections was 21.4 percent.

This means 55.8 million people preferred an alternative to traditional political forces – or those preferred by the EU.

Read on for more. More and more people in Europe appear to be waking up to the existential threat posed to European countries’ history, heritage, culture, and way of life by the “soft” invasion unleashed by Merkel and her fellow-travelers (helped along, sadly, by American stupidity in taking down governments – such as Libya, and we’re working on Syria, too – that helped to hold back the tide). But will it be enough, and will it be soon enough, to prevent irreparable harm? That is the question…

Is There a Proper Role for “Contemporary” Music at Church? – The Imaginative Conservative

The history of modern music is a history of deliberate rebellion and revolt against the great tradition of Western music. – Peter Kwasniewski

Source: Is There a Proper Role for “Contemporary” Music at Church? – The Imaginative Conservative

In which it is pointed out that “the music we employ in church always embodies and communicates an ecclesiology, a Christology, and an anthropology—it is that significant! There is no escaping it: Every bit of music we perform in church is expressing a vision of the whole and inculcating it in those who listen.”

Therefore the music which becomes part of the liturgy – the “worship experience,” if you will, though I dislike that terminology for its focus on the worshiper and not on the God who is worshiped – is not something extrinsic or incidental to that liturgy. It is, if used at all, intrinsic to the liturgy, for better or for worse: often, what is sung is often remembered better than that which is merely spoken. Therefore the music that we use matters, and matters deeply.

The author contrasts the Church’s tradition of adopting and “baptizing” elements of Pagan culture, including its musical traditions, with the situation in today’s world:

“Today’s Westerners, in contrast, are post-Christian aliens, estranged from their own history and the great cultural synthesis that could and should be theirs. The history of modern music, whether atonal or jazz or rock or pop, is a history of deliberate rebellion and revolt against the great tradition of Western music, against its high art forms, its slowly-developed musical language, its explicitly or implicitly Christian message. In its origins and its inner meaning, much of modern Western music is a rejection of the Catholic (and European) tradition.

“As a result, it is not morally, intellectually, or culturally ‘neutral’; it is already laden with an anti-institutional, anti-sacral, anti-traditional significance. This music is not naïve raw material waiting to be Christianized, but highly articulate anti-Christian propaganda. It rejects the ideals of lofty beauty and grandeur, spiritual seriousness, evocation of the divine, openness to the transcendent, and artistic discipline, in favor of vapidity, frivolity, profanity, sensuality, and banality.”

There are exceptions to this characterization, of course, but they are exceptions which, to my mind, prove the rule. There is more, of course – much more, and all of it worth reading. The modern world is obsessed with many things, but one of them is “relevance”: if a thing, be it music, liturgy, morality, etc., is not “relevant,” it is suspicious at best, easily-dismissed, at worst. Unfortunately, as this article points out, the result is that

“Today’s popular culture… to the extent that it has grown up in revolt against the unifying principles, certainties, and demands of Christianity, is a veritable melting pot of conflicting fashionable ideologies, a volatile mishmash of tribalism, globalism, and techno-barbarism. Its underlying anthropology is suited not for saints and heroes, but for narcissists and manipulators.”

 

This Day in History: “In God We Trust” becomes the national motto | Tara Ross

On this day in 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law making “In God We Trust” the national motto. His action came just two years after he signed a law adding “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

Source: This Day in History: “In God We Trust” becomes the national motto | Tara Ross

“As he signed the 1954 law, [President Eisenhower] explained the importance of such actions: ‘[W]e are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.’

“Eisenhower made an even stronger statement a year later. In 1955, he observed: ‘Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism. Thus the Founding Fathers saw it, and thus, with God’s help, it will continue to be.'”

I am reminded of John Adams’ quote: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” O, how the mighty have fallen! As Tara so accurately puts it in the essay linked above,

“In this country, of course, no one is forced into any particular religion. We are free to be religious — or we are free *not* to be religious. However, an honest assessment of our history shows that much of our founding was steeped in religious roots. And our national motto reflects that fact.”