Eastern Europe holds the key to save Europe | Voice of Europe

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Wherever we travel in Europe, we are surrounded by beauty. It might not feel like it, if we are in an industrialised area, but even in the fires of industry, beauty lives.

Source: Eastern Europe holds the key to save Europe

There are some who claim that there is no such thing as a European culture, a definable European-ness that connects all people of European heritage – whether on the homeland, the European Continent, or in the European Diaspora of North America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. This article opens with a joyous refutation of that silly notion, a paean to what it means to be European:

“This beauty permeates everything. It connects us all, from the Cypriots in the South to the Scandinavian Arctic Circle, the furthest coast of Ireland to the Russian borders. It smells of Suquet de Peix. It smells of pierogi. It smells of beef with gravy, cannelloni, haggis and kryddsill. It smells of home. You can feel it when you walk the streets of the nations of Europe. You experience it when you are far from your own nation and are suddenly struck by a curious sense of deja-vu. That intangible feeling of belonging; though we are in a foreign land. In industrial Rhineland, the shores of Las Islas Baleares and on the streets of Budapest, the same strands of history are woven.

“This is the beauty of our shared European Culture. under this broad term lies our heritage, inextricably linked by centuries of shared fate and oceans of spilt blood. It sounds like Gorecki. It sounds like Debussy and Brahms and Elgar. It sounds like Iron Maiden, cutting-edge techno from Berlin, flamenco and Disco-Polo. It sounds like the silent fjords of Norway at midnight. Our connected history, brothers and sisters of Europe, is deep and dark as the earth beneath our feet, beneath our city streets.

“Though we all live in different ways, there is more that connects us than separates. The roots that spread to Christianity and the Roman Empire persist today, blended with the even older pagan faiths that we remember today only in ritual. Our art is a kinship, clearly identifiable as European in origin, as is our schools of philosophy, science and literature. Together, our nations are the current manifestation of the most successful civilisation in history.

“Europeans, bonded together by history and blood, have made this culture. We bear the proud duty and responsibility to care for it, in the name of our ancestors and in trust for our descendants. Of course, we are not perfect. Our mastery of war brought such carnage to our continent again and again- but without these horrors, would we be in such a fraternal position now? More, our bellicose ancestors are glorious examples of what it means to fight for what you believe in, to fight for your homelands.

“Though the self-serving bureaucrats in Bruxelles claim that their red-tape machine is in service of Europe, it is in our hearts that Europe lives.”

Yet now, under the bureaucrats, plutocrats, globalists, and cultural Marxists of Brussels, “The sum of our European experience has been reduced to a blue banner with stars that represents nothing about us. Centuries of competition and conflict, betrayal, alliances and sectarian hatred, age after age of struggle” are seen to be of nothing worth.

Only in the East is there meaningful resistance to the programmed future of the militant socio-political Left: relentlessly multicultural, atheistic (though inexplicably, and with unintended irony, welcoming of Islam – which would gleefully behead, stone, or lob from the tops of tall buildings each and all of their Leftist admirers), iconoclastic and amoral.

But in the East, among the Visegrad nations – and now, perhaps Austria may be coming around, as well – there is still resistance. There is still pride in their European heritage. There is awareness of the lie under which much of the West has been living, since the fall of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact:

“We can see the lie when we walk in European countries that are still proud of themselves, ironically they are invariably countries that have suffered terrible times at the hands of totalitarians. Strange it is for a Westerner like me to look eastwards with envy at the people of the East, so long the derided and unwanted…

“Today the nations of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and too few others, it is these victims of Communism who lead us by example on what it means to be European… these nations see ours, and reject the false dawn of a multicultural society that belongs to no-one. Those of us who live in the former ‘free’ Europe – take note. Our brothers and sisters in the East have seen what is happening to us before.”

Can the nations of Eastern (and, perhaps, central) Europe – by their actions, and by their example – save Europe? They can – if the rest of Europe heeds the call, and the Europeans of the diaspora with them. We need to remember who we are!

“We are the inheritors of a culture that stretches back millennia. This is a great honour and responsibility, to curate our world for the generations to come. We are not merely individuals, with our singular travails and worries. We are Europe. We are a generation in a line of many, whose sons and daughters will, in turn, define what it means to be People of the West…

“Our culture is forged in the crucible of the wars of our ancestors. It has been fragmented and sold by fools and charlatans with no concept of who we are. It is up to us to reclaim it, for ourselves, for the future. For Europe.”

Ave Europa! Europe, awake!

Protest, and possible move toward Restoration, in Iran…?

Remarkable developments in Iran! The greatly under-reported protests against government corruption and other social and economic ills have turned sharply political, as Iranians have become increasingly fed-up with life under the mullahs.

In particular, many of the protesters are calling for the return of Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, son of the deposed Shah, and a presumed Restoration of the Monarchy. Things may be reaching a critical point!

An Iranian friend and contact, well-placed to know what’s going on there and its implications, posted the above video on Facebook and commented,

“Who would have thought – I kept insisting that the most favorable conditions for restoration in any country today is Iran. Here is only one of the many protests calling for the return of Monarchy. This is yesterday – Dec 29, 2017. Chanting “King of Iran – return to Iran”. “Iran without a King = Iran in a mess”. “Reza Shah (Pahlavi) – Bless your soul.”

He further commented,

“The chants and slogans are being increasingly creative by the hour in support of the Monarchy. Empress Farah Pahlavi just issued a statement an hour ago in response to the calls of the people. People are now calling on Prince Reza Pahlavi, the Heir to the Persian throne to return asap.”

Here is the Empress Farah Pahlavi’s statement (in Persian):

FP-Iran-protest
I do not have a full translation, but it includes this: «I am confident that the Iranian nation, which will be [renewed…?] every time, like the Phoenix, will overcome difficulties and that light will overcome the darkness.»

Personally, I would love to see a Restoration. Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi seems to be a good man, dedicated to the well-being of his people, from what I have been able to determine. He also seems to be cautious and circumspect, which may help him to avoid some of the pitfalls of his father, who tried to bring Iran too far forward too fast, and thus incited backlash from Islamic extremists.

Still, Iran under the late Shah was progressive, forward-looking, protected the rights of women and religious minorities, and was friendly toward the West. And its people certainly deserve better than the rule of the mullahs.

Praying for the future of the Iranian people!

Created Male and Female: An Open Letter from Religious Leaders, December 15, 2017 | Anglican Church in North America

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We come together to join our voices on a more fundamental precept of our shared existence, namely, that human beings are male or female and that the socio-cultural reality of gender cannot be separated from one’s sex as male or female.

Source: Created Male and Female: An Open Letter from Religious Leaders, December 15, 2017 | Anglican Church in North America

With all empathy, respect, and compassion toward those who may be struggling with one or another aspect of their gender or sexual identity, I must affirm my agreement with this statement; inter alia:

“We come together to join our voices on a more fundamental precept of our shared existence, namely, that human beings are male or female and that the socio-cultural reality of gender cannot be separated from one’s sex as male or female.

“We acknowledge and affirm that all human beings are created by God and thereby have an inherent dignity. We also believe that God created each person male or female; therefore, sexual difference is not an accident or a flaw—it is a gift from God that helps draw us closer to each other and to God. What God has created is good…

“A person’s discomfort with his or her sex, or the desire to be identified as the other sex, is a complicated reality that needs to be addressed with sensitivity and truth [however]…

“The movement today to enforce the false idea—that a man can be or become a woman or vice versa—is deeply troubling. It compels people to either go against reason—that is, to agree with something that is not true—or face ridicule, marginalization, and other forms of retaliation.”

While aware that there is a very small percentage – less that one-half of one percent, as I understand it – of person who are born to some degree (usually not in a way that is detectable by observation, apart from specialized tests) intersexed, the reality is that we are, as humans, biologically, genetically, either male or female.

If our self-awareness does not match that bio-genetic reality, that is indicative of an issue (gender dysphoria) that needs to be addressed – and not by hormone treatments or surgical alterations which can lead to other issues, and do not address the underlying condition. It is, as this letter points out, especially harmful when children are subjected to attempts to “reassign” their gender, at a time when confusion, uncertainty, and perhaps even a degree of exploration are natural and human, and deserve sensitive and compassionate attention – not attempted alteration.

The idea that one can “reassign” one’s sex, which is in fact encoded in one’s genetic makeup and cannot be altered, or that one can be “gender-fluid” and switch back and forth at will, is both factually incorrect and psychologically and spiritually disordered. It is, as some have termed it, “LARPing” (Live-Action Role-Playing), an attempt to deal with a deep-seated psycho-emotional issue which is neither healthy nor helpful over the long term.

The given-ness of our sexual identity – male or female – is one of those things with which, like gravity or the boiling point of water, we have to deal, whether we want to or not, whether we like it or not. If we do not, when we need to deal with that disjuncture, not mask it or pretend to alter it.

We live in an era in which the very concept of objective truth, indeed of objective reality, is under assault – an assault which is one part, one portion, one prong of the larger attack on Western civilization: cause people to question everything, sow doubt in every realm, spread confusion and distrust, even of biological reality.

It is interesting – to say the least – that some of the same people who insist that we should “accept the science” on global warming also insist that we ignore the much more self-evident and “settled” biological reality of human sexual identify! We cannot conclusively “prove” that human activity is causing global warming; but we can count chromosomes. Yet we are told to commit to the first, but ignore the second. Other than a socio-political agenda, this dichotomy makes no sense.

But whether part of a coordinated movement or simply a synchronicity of societal forces, the effect is the same: softening us up for an attempted complete remake of societal and cultural order. It is an attempt which, denying reality, cannot be ultimately successful; but it is one which can do significant damage – to both individuals and cultures – and so it must be resisted. With sensitivity and compassion when it comes to individuals, some of whom are clearly hurting! But resisted, nonetheless.

As this essay points out,

“Gender ideology harms individuals and societies by sowing confusion and self-doubt. The state itself has a compelling interest, therefore, in maintaining policies that uphold the scientific fact of human biology and supporting the social institutions and norms that surround it…

“We desire the health and happiness of all men, women, and children. Therefore, we call for policies that uphold the truth of a person’s sexual identity as male or female, and the privacy and safety of all. We hope for renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity.”

Amen, to all of the above!


Note: The picture above was not from the linked article, it is one I selected to illustrate this post.

Diminishing solar activity may bring new Ice Age by 2030 – Astronomy Now

In this 1677 painting by Abraham Hondius, "The Frozen Thames, looking Eastwards towards Old London Bridge," people are shown enjoying themselves on the ice. In 17th century there was a prolonged reduction in solar activity called the Maunder minimum, which lasted roughly from 1645 to 1700. During this period, there were only about 50 sunspots instead of the usual 40-50 thousand recorded. Image credit: Museum of London.
In this 1677 painting by Abraham Hondius, “The Frozen Thames, looking Eastwards towards Old London Bridge,” people are shown enjoying themselves on the ice. In the 17th century there was a prolonged reduction in solar activity called the Maunder minimum, which lasted roughly from 1645 to 1700. During this period, there were only about 50 sunspots recorded instead of the usual 40-50 thousand. Image credit: Museum of London.

The arrival of intense cold similar to the one that raged during the “Little Ice Age”, which froze the world during the 17th century and in the beginning of the 18th century, is expected in the years 2030—2040.

Source: Diminishing solar activity may bring new Ice Age by 2030 – Astronomy Now

Note: that’s the arrival! It may last a good bit longer. Here’s a fuller excerpt:

“The arrival of intense cold similar to the one that raged during the ‘Little Ice Age,’ which froze the world during the 17th century and in the beginning of the 18th century, is expected in the years 2030—2040. These conclusions were presented by Professor V. Zharkova (Northumbria University) during the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno in Wales by the international group of scientists, which also includes Dr Helen Popova of the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics and of the Faculty of Physics of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Professor Simon Shepherd of Bradford University and Dr Sergei Zharkov of Hull University.”

That the climate is changing is obvious. That it is also warming, at least for now – despite cold snaps such as the one we’re currently going through! – and at least in some areas, is also obvious to those who consider, for example, the recession of glaciers that revealed “Otzi, the Iceman” in the Alps, or the dramatic shrinking of glaciers in Glacier National Park, Montana, just in the 35 or so years since I was there with my parents in the early 1980s. And of course, we have – I believe – both an ethical and a religious obligation to care for this good Earth which God has given us, to the best of our ability.

That said, there is a clearly political agenda driving a lot of the climate change / global warming hysteria these days, which causes me to look with a somewhat jaundiced eye in that direction. And it is not, regardless of what its proponents say, “settled science”: for one thing, there is no such thing! It may be (currently) the majority opinion, but so was the Ptolemaic cosmology, for a couple of thousand years – to cite but one example, among many. Science, if it is doing its job correctly, is always open to new information, and new interpretations.

Secondly, there are competent scientists who hold a contrary view, even if they are fewer in number than the global warming proponents, at the present time. One of those is the aforementioned Dr. Helen Popova, who writes,

“There is no strong evidence, that global warming is caused by human activity. The study of deuterium in the Antarctic showed that there were five global warmings and four Ice Ages for the past 400 thousand years. People [e.g., anatomically modern humans] first appeared on the Earth about 60 thousand years ago. However, even if human activities influence the climate, we can say, that the Sun with the new minimum gives humanity more time or a second chance to reduce their industrial emissions and to prepare, when the Sun will return to normal activity.”

This does not mean we should be careless, complacent, or inconsiderate to our fellow-creatures or the planetary home we share! Even if we are only contributing, to some extent, to what is primarily a process that’s much bigger than us, we should be cautious and considerate in our actions, and many of the proposed remedies for global warming can be defended on other grounds. But it does suggest that we should be a bit more reticent about claiming either credit or blame for the whole thing! Despite human hubris, this may be another example of a truth of which it is salutary to remind ourselves, from time to time: it’s not all about us.

Note: the “Little Ice Age” actually began around 1450, and lasted until around 1850, peaking (naturally) at c. 1650. But we have been warming from it for only a bit over 150 years. It’s not surprising, therefore, that temperatures have been climbing during that period! Also the first thermometers were invented between 1593 (a rudimentary water thermometer, by Galileo Galilei) and 1714 (the mercury thermometer, by Gabriel Fahrenheit) – again, right around the peak of the “Little Ice Age,” or Maunder Minimum. So it has literally been warming pretty much ever since the thermometer has existed! The psychological effects of this should not be underestimated.

A quick “mea culpa”!

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I want to take this moment to apologize – I know The Anglophilic Anglican went through a bit of a drought, there for a while, before Christmas. Between preparations for the  Christmas holiday and the exigencies of ordinary life, I was not online much, and was posting even less. I will endeavor to return to more regular posting, now that the Feast of the Nativity is through. But if I occasionally drop off for a bit, please don’t give up on me! I’m still around, and I’ll return to more regular posting when I can. Remember, this is something I do in my spare time, and frankly, there’s not a lot of that…

Many thanks for your understanding!

The Real 12 Days of Christmas | Christian History

Two Turtledoves

Celebrating Christ’s birth with saints of the faith during the actual Christmas season.

Source: The Real 12 Days of Christmas | Christian History

A wonderful essay on exactly what it says: the importance of celebrating the real Twelve Days of Christmas!

Sometime in November, as things now stand, the “Christmas season” begins. The streets are hung with lights, the stores are decorated with red and green, and you can’t turn on the radio without hearing songs about the spirit of the season and the glories of Santa Claus. The excitement builds to a climax on the morning of December 25, and then it stops, abruptly. Christmas is over, the New Year begins, and people go back to their normal lives.

The traditional Christian celebration of Christmas is exactly the opposite. The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and for nearly a month Christians await the coming of Christ in a spirit of expectation, singing hymns of longing. Then, on December 25, Christmas Day itself ushers in 12 days of celebration, ending only on January 6 with the feast of the Epiphany.

The “real” 12 days of Christmas are important not just as a way of thumbing our noses at secular ideas of the “Christmas season.” They are important because they give us a way of reflecting on what the Incarnation means in our lives. Christmas commemorates the most momentous event in human history—the entry of God into the world he made, in the form of a baby.

The Logos through whom the worlds were made took up his dwelling among us in a tabernacle of flesh. One of the prayers for Christmas Day in the Catholic liturgy encapsulates what Christmas means for all believers: “O God, who marvelously created and yet more marvelously restored the dignity of human nature, grant that we may share the divinity of him who humbled himself to share our humanity.” In Christ, our human nature was united to God, and when Christ enters our hearts, he brings us into that union.

… and much more wonderfulness. Read, mark, learn , and inwardly digest!

When and Why the West Began to ‘Demonize’ Muhammad – Raymond Ibrahim

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Source: When and Why the West Began to ‘Demonize’ Muhammad – Raymond Ibrahim

My two favorite comments on this (quite good) essay: When? “Right around the time Islam took out [Christian] North Africa and Spain in a bloody campaign, I’m guessing.” And, “Yeah, being on the receiving end of a jihad can sour one’s attitude.” Ya think…? Here are a few excerpts; please read the essay for more:

“To understand any phenomenon, its roots must first be understood. Unfortunately, not only do all discussions on the conflict between Islam and the West tend to be limited to the modern era, but when the past, the origins, are alluded to, the antithesis of reality is proffered: we hear that the West—itself an anachronism for Europe, or better yet, Christendom—began the conflict by intentionally demonizing otherwise peaceful and tolerant Muslims and their prophet in order to justify their “colonial” aspirations in the East, which supposedly began with the Crusades…

“That nothing could be further from the truth is an understatement.  From the very first Christian references to Muslims in the seventh century, to Pope Urban’s call to the First Crusade more than four centuries later, the ‘Saracens’ and their prophet were consistently abhorred.”

“In short, the widespread narrative that European views of Muhammad as a ‘sinister figure,’ a ‘cruel warlord,’ and a ‘lecher and sexual pervert’ began as a pretext to justify the late eleventh century Crusade—which itself is the source of all woes between Islam and the West—is an unmitigated lie. The sooner more people in the West understand this—understand the roots of the animosity—the sooner the true nature of the current (or rather ongoing) conflict will become clear.”

 

When Christmas Looks Better in Aleppo… | Defend Europa

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Throughout the last few hundred years, Europe has been a place where one could observe the most magical of Christmas scenes… to illustrate just how far we’ve fallen, it’s worth pointing out that one would find a more archetypal Christmas celebration in the Syrian city of Aleppo, rather than Frankfurt or Stockholm.

Source: When Christmas Looks Better in Aleppo… – Defend Europa

I have said for some time that while Bashar al-Assad is not exactly a saint or a schoolboy, he enjoys the support of an overwhelming majority of his countrymen, probably in part – maybe in large measure – because he is a secular, rather than militant Islamic extremist, ruler, who may not tolerate much in the way of dissent, but in exchange protects all of his people, including women, and minority religions like Christianity. And at the moment, it looks like he’s doing a better job of it than most European countries…

Throughout the last few hundred years, Europe has been a place where one could observe the most magical of Christmas scenes. From Germany’s bustling markets, to the snow of Scandinavia and the rich religious celebrations of the Catholic and Orthodox countries, it was never difficult to find a scene worthy of valuable postcard. Today, of course, things are much different. And to illustrate just how far we’ve fallen, it’s worth pointing out that one would find a more archetypal Christmas celebration in the Syrian city of Aleppo, rather than Frankfurt or Stockholm.

That’s right; Syria’s once war-ravaged city is today the scene of an archetypal Christmas. They erect a huge, wonderfully lit tree in the city’s central square, as various groups in Santa costumes and elf imitations are busily engaged in entertaining the children. Even the churches are full, with vicars and priests holding open, welcoming public services including midnight mass and family services on Christmas Eve. There are no barriers to prevent truck attacks, very few visible security officers and certainly none armed to the hilt, as we could easily expect to see in Birmingham or Berlin.

Of course, there was once a time when many wondered if Aleppo would ever celebrate Christmas again. From 2012 to late 2016, the city was occupied by “rebel” forces – such as the US-backed Free Syrian Army, and the internationally acclaimed White Helmets – who, despite their western supporters’ claims to the contrary, were effectively Sunni extremists in the mould of Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Christmas was strictly forbidden, and Burkas rigorously enforced. Under the guise of “pro-democracy” demonstrations, the so-called rebel groups had established an Islamist regime in which Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities were treated no better than slaves.

Yet on 22nd December 2016, the Syrian Arab Army finally recaptured the city in its entirety. After permitting the rebels a route out of the city – when most commanders would have been more inclined toward total annihilation – Assad’s forces finally flushed the remaining Islamist pigs from the city, with the assistance of the Russian Air Force. And what was the first act of the authorities once liberation had been secured? Renovating the Mosques? No; celebrating Christmas. Reopening the churches, decorating the square, erecting the tree – all courtesy of Assad’s regime…

And the trend continues, this year, as the above Tweet indicates. As a different Twitter commenter posted,

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Sadly, no, I do not.

What is “Boxing Day”?

Keep Calm - Today is Boxing Day

Red Ruairidh Kilts posted this a year ago today, on their Facebook account – possibly the most complete explanation I have yet heard for “Boxing Day”:

Various competing theories for the origins of the term boxing day circulate in popular culture, none of which is definitive. However, the Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestations of the term as being from England in the 1830s, defining it as

“The first week-day after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box.”

The term Christmas-box, meanwhile, dates back to the seventeenth century, and amongst other things meant

“A present or gratuity given at Christmas: in Great Britain, usually confined to gratuities given to those who are supposed to have a vague claim upon the donor for services rendered to him as one of the general public by whom they are employed and paid, or as a customer of their legal employer; the undefined theory being that as they have done offices for this person, for which he has not directly paid them, some direct acknowledgement is becoming at Christmas.”

The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It is believed to be in reference to the Alms Box placed in places of worship to collect donations to the poor. Also, it may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen, which in the Western Church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.

In Britain, it was a custom for tradespeople to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary entry for 19 December 1663. This custom is linked to an older English tradition: since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.

And there you have, as the late Paul Harvey would have said, “the rest…. of the story!”