At last, a real conservative in the cabinet | Alexander Boot

Conservative Party politician Jacob Rees-Mogg has issued a strict style guide to his office staff.

The new Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg has reconfirmed his conservative credentials by issuing a short style manual to his staff.

Source: At last, a real conservative in the cabinet – Alexander Boot

There is finally some good news out of Britain, or at least what many of us on the conservative / traditionalist side of the sociopolitical aisle hope will prove to be good news: Boris Johnson having won the Conservative (Tory) party election, he has subsequently been appointed her 14th Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury and asked to form a government by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

He is generally expected to do what former PM Theresa May was unable or unwilling to do, namely make good on Brexit, and generally help to reverse the Leftward slide of Britain in recent years (decades). While there are limits to what one man can do, whether his name is Johnson or Trump, there does seem to be justification for guarded optimism!

One thing he does seem to be doing already, and that is shaking up – indeed, dramatically reshaping – the Cabinet, and one of those appointments is particularly interesting: he has appointed well-known conservative voice in Britain, and (until his appointment) chairman of the conservative and Eurosceptic European Research Group, Jacob Rees-Mogg as Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the (Privy) Council.

The two posts give Rees-Mogg a fair amount of influence – although most of it behind the scenes, in terms of procedure, organization, and administration, areas in which Rees-Mogg is known to specialize. He himself notes,

“The prime minister kindly offered me a very interesting job to do, one that is something that I’m very interested in because parliamentary procedure and practice is something I’ve spent a lot of time on.”

Rees-Mogg (who has acquired the tongue-in-cheek nickname of the “Honorable member for the 18th century”) is a true conservative, and not just politically: one of his first actions in his new post as Leader of the House of Commons was to issue a memorandum to his staff – indeed, a short “manual of style,” as the linked article points out:

“Mr Rees-Mogg wishes to expunge from office communications hackneyed words and phrases, illiterate punctuation, inappropriate forms of address and sloppy writing in general.

The author, Alexander Boot, goes on to comment, Continue reading “At last, a real conservative in the cabinet | Alexander Boot”

America’s space saga showcases her common Christian culture | The Bridgehead

“It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

— Apollo astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin

Source: America’s space saga showcases her common Christian culture | The Bridgehead

It is more than a curiosity, I think, that the first action committed by human beings on the Moon, aside from operational necessities, was the receiving of the sacrament of Holy Communion by astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin:

And so [his] pastor consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine.  And Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth’s orbit and on to the surface of the moon. He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement: 

“‘This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.’

“He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion.”

Aldrin had originally intended to broadcast the moment to the United States and the world, but NASA – then embroiled in a legal battle with the militant atheist, Madelyn Murray O’Hare, over the Apollo 8 astronauts’ Christmas Eve message from lunar orbit, when they read from the Book of Genesis, and closed with “good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth” – requested that he refrain.

Still, as the article points out, his actions, and those of his colleagues on Apollo 8, serve as proof positive that Americans still had a common, Christian culture, just 50 years ago. It is also, I would add, proof positive that scientific and technological accomplishment is not at odds with Christian faith: that faith and reason are not, or at any rate need not be, in enmity with one another.

To quote the linked article once again:

“It is fascinating to look back and realize that a mere fifty years ago, America still had a common culture. Her preeminent scientific explorers took the first opportunity when orbiting in space and setting foot on the Moon to glorify the Creator, to acknowledge Him, and to commemorate His sacrifice for mankind. They recognized that despite man’s great accomplishments, which they themselves were spearheading, men should stand in humility and awe at the reality of the Creator.

“A half-century on, the intellectual descendants of the angry atheist who sued NASA over the astronauts’ reading of Scripture on Christmas Eve have triumphed in many ways. But while they can trash the present, they cannot rewrite history—and the simple fact is that the first acts of American astronauts in space and on the Moon were the acknowledgement of God’s infinite goodness and the magnificence of his Creation.”

Amen. Alleluia! Thanks be to God, the Maker of Heaven and earth.

 

Jethro Tull – Heavy Horses

Believe it or not, though I have liked Jethro Tull for many years (and passionately loved their album Songs from the Wood, which has been one of my favorites since late high school / early college days), I just listened seriously to this one, and read the lyrics, for the first time the night before last. Wow! I did not know what I was missing:

Let me find you a filly for your proud stallion seed
to keep the old line going.
And we’ll stand you abreast at the back of the wood
behind the young trees growing
To hide you from eyes that mock at your girth,
and your eighteen hands at the shoulder
And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
and the nights are seen to draw colder
They’ll beg for your strength, your gentle power
your noble grace and your bearing
And you’ll strain once again to the sound of the gulls
in the wake of the deep plough, sharing.

Standing like tanks on the brow of the hill
Up into the cold wind facing
In stiff battle harness, chained to the world
Against the low sun racing
Bring me a wheel of oaken wood
A rein of polished leather
A Heavy Horse and a tumbling sky
Brewing heavy weather.

Again, wow. Lifts the hair on the back of my neck! For someone who loves the great draft horses as I do, this is a deeply moving song. Magnificent!

horse
A much younger Anglophilic Anglican, ground-driving a Percheron mare, at a draft horse driving workshop at the Carroll County Farm Museum, c. 2000-2001.

 

Brother Cadfael: An Appreciation | CrimeReads

Image result for ellis peters brother cadfael
Sample covers of three of the books in the series of medieval mysteries, The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, by Ellis Peters.

Any writer who can make a living by her pen can be proud of her work, but it wasn’t until 1977, when A Morbid Taste for Bones introduced Cadfael, that Pargeter made her bid for literary immortality.

Source: Brother Cadfael: An Appreciation | CrimeReads

The Anglophilic Anglican has alluded to this excellent series of historical mysteries – “The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael,” by Ellis Peters (nom de plume of medieval scholar, author, and Shrewsbury, England, resident Edith Pargeter) – but I have not addressed them directly. Let me make up for that omission, now!

For those who may not be aware, the Cadfael Chronicles are a long-running series of medieval mysteries comprising 21 volumes – 20 novels and a short-story collection – written between 1977 and 1994, and set in 12th-century England: specifically, in the years 1137–1145, in and around the town (city) of Shrewsbury, near the Welsh border, and its Benedictine monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul.

The protagonist, the eponymous Brother Cadfael of the aforementioned monastery, is both monk and herbalist, as well as a sort of medieval private investigator; a veteran Crusader and one-time sailor who – having seen much of the known world, in his first half-century or so – has chosen this quiet (?) harbor to live out the remainder of his earthy life.

Let’s let Levi Stahl tell it: Continue reading “Brother Cadfael: An Appreciation | CrimeReads”

Sky Views: Tanker crisis requires decisive action on Iran or UK will be seen as soft target | World News | Sky News

Image result for royal navy frigate hms montrose
Pictured is the HMS Montrose, a Type 23 (Duke class) frigate of the Royal Navy which successfully fended off an Iranian attempt to board a tanker a week ago, but was too far away to intervene in time, this time (the tanker ignored radio instructions from the Montrose, which did not help). Montrose is the only warship Britain currently has in the Gulf, to cover the 90-mile Strait of Homuz.

Source: Sky Views: Tanker crisis requires decisive action on Iran or UK will be seen as soft target | World News | Sky News

An increasingly belligerent Iran has now seized a British tanker, and the UK and its Royal Navy seems, to all appearances, to be almost helpless to respond, or at least to respond promptly, sufficiently, and effectively.

“Another factor looming large over all response options must be the reality that the Royal Navy no longer has sufficient warships to dedicate to escorting maritime traffic through the Gulf and at the same time maintain its other commitments around the world.

“I know such an operation would be done as part of an alliance but it is troubling that a maritime nation like the UK, which is also a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is no longer able to offer even the semblance of a sovereign capability to protect its interests at sea.”

Indeed! The author of this piece continues, Continue reading “Sky Views: Tanker crisis requires decisive action on Iran or UK will be seen as soft target | World News | Sky News”

Three books added to my reading list

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is only occasionally that The Anglophilic Anglican writes book reviews, and to post on books I have not yet read is unprecedented. But these are three that not only pique my interest, but which I feel may turn out to be important reads. If I am right, I shall review them after I’ve read them! But for now, I’m simply sharing my interest, with the thought that they may prove of interest to my readers, too. As usual, the italicized, indented sections of text are quotes, in this case from the relevant Amazon listings:

Andrew Willard Jones: Before Church and State: A Study of Social Order in the Sacramental Kingdom of St. Louis IX (2017).

Before Church and State: A Study of Social Order in the Sacramental Kingdom of St. Louis IX by Andrew Willard Jones explores in great detail the “problem of Church and State” in thirteenth-century France. It argues that while the spiritual and temporal powers existed, they were not parallel structures attempting to govern the same social space in a contest over sovereignty. Rather, the spiritual and the temporal powers were wrapped up together in a differentiated and sacramental world, and both included the other as aspects of their very identity. The realm was governed not by proto-absolutist institutions, but rather by networks of friends that cut across lay/clerical lines. Ultimately, the king’s “fullness of power” and the papacy’s “fullness of power” came together to govern a single social order.

Before Church and State reconstructs this social order through a detailed examination of the documentary evidence, arguing that the order was fundamentally sacramental and that it was ultimately congruent with contemporary incarnational and trinitarian theologies and the notions of proper order that they supported. Because of this, modern categories of secular politics cannot be made to capture its essence but rather paint always a distorted portrait in modernity’s image.

In both my B.A. studies – in which I pursued a self-designed major in medieval studies, including history, literature, and philosophy – and my Masters work in early and medieval Christianity, one thing that was a given was the perennial tension, sometimes struggle, and sometimes conflict, between Church and State. It wasn’t something that was defended; it didn’t need to be. It was simply a foundational, underlying assumption.

But even then, I caught glimpses hinting that there might be more to the story; Continue reading “Three books added to my reading list”

BBC News – The Mary Rose: A Tudor ship’s secrets revealed

More than 30 years after it was raised from the seabed – and almost 500 years since it sank – the secrets of Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, are being revealed to the public – along with the faces of its crew.

Source: BBC News – The Mary Rose: A Tudor ship’s secrets revealed

The Anglophilic Anglican has not been posting much that is either Anglophilic or Anglican, of late! I shall try to correct that imbalance: one should not stick one’s head in the ground, especially at a time of crisis for the Western world; but on the other hand, man cannot live by politics alone, either – at least not without going stark raving crazy!

At any rate, I would love to visit the Mary Rose Museum – dedicated to King Henry VIII’s flagship, sunk in 1545 and raised in 1982 – in Portsmouth, England, one day:

“Every artefact on show here is an original piece found with the wreck. Some of the cannons were still sticking out of the gunports when it was discovered in 1971.

“The Mary Rose was raised from the seabed of the Solent in 1982, and has been on display before, but it is only now that insights into life on board are being shown to the public.

“Forensic scientists, more used to working with murder victims, have recreated the faces of seven of the about 500 men who died when the ship sank in 1545.

“The new Mary Rose Museum has been dedicated to them, and it is through them the story of the ship is now being told.”

As I say, I would love to visit, some day! I do hope I get back to England, before I die…

Pendant of H.M.S. Tiger
Tudor naval streamer or pendant – “The Tudor naval streamer was a long, tapering flag, flown from the top of the forecastle, between 20 yards or longer in lenght, and up to 8 yards wide.” (https://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb~tudor.html#dragon)

Continue reading “BBC News – The Mary Rose: A Tudor ship’s secrets revealed”