The Thinking 


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The “Protestant Reformation,” 500 Years

November 5, 2017

FIVE HUNDRED years ago last week the “Protestant Reformation” began, an event to mourn for its ongoing effects. A revolution by oligarchs against the people, it disbanded many of the great charitable institutions of Europe: hospitals, schools, and alms houses run by those who took vows of poverty. Tenant farmers on monastic lands were displaced and many became the homeless poor. The spoils were distributed as political favors. To cite one small example, the buildings of Netley Abbey in southern England, a monastery renowned for its charity to travelers, were given to Sir William Paulet by Henry VIII in 1536 in reward for his loyal service to the king. He created a fashionable mansion.

Netley Abbey

In A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, the Protestant writer William Cobbett (1763-18-35) wrote of the looting:

182. The whole country was, thus, disfigured; it had the appearance of a land recently invaded by the most brutal barbarians: and this appearance, if we look well into it, it has even to this day. Nothing has ever yet come to supply the place of what was then destroyed. This is the view for us to take of the matter, it is not a mere matter of religion; but a matter of rights, liberties, real wealth, happiness and national greatness. If all these have been strengthened, or augmented, by the “REFORMATION,” even. then we must not approve of the horrible means; but, if they have all been weakened, or lessened, by that “Reformation,” what an outrageous abuse of words is it to call the event by that name! And, if I do not prove, that this latter has been the case; if I do not prove, clear as the daylight, that, before the “Reformation,” England was greater, more wealthy, more moral, and more happy, than she has ever been since; if I do not make this appear as clearly as any fact ever was made to appear, I will be content to pass, for the rest of my life, for a vain pretender. Read More »


The Wardrobe of a Tree

November 5, 2017


Autumn, Fern Isabel Coppedge

TREES are never trendy.

A tree can’t say, “I’m tired of the smoldering golds and russets of fall. I think I’ll wear black instead.” It can’t put on shoulder pads or sweatshirts or ripped jeans. It can’t listen to big-name designers.

Year after year, generation after generation, it wears the same thing. And yet we don’t tire of its fashions. Its style is timeless. It has nothing to hide, no need for modesty, no will to deny its essential nature. The dresses and skirts of trees have a perfection our garments can never match. Beauty isn’t boring. Seas of ugliness cannot destroy the messages of trees. Somewhere the orchards are eternal.


Democracy and Perpetual Childhood

November 3, 2017


Alexis de Tocqueville

FROM Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville:

I think then that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything which ever before existed in the world: our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their memories. I am trying myself to choose an expression which will accurately convey the whole of the idea I have formed of it, but in vain; the old words “despotism” and “tyranny” are inappropriate: the thing itself is new; and since I cannot name it, I must attempt to define it.

I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. Read More »


Flowers for Sale

November 3, 2017


Louis Marie de Shriver

IT’S ABOUT TIME has been posting interesting paintings of flower sellers of the past. They include this French painting by Louis Marie de Shryver (1862-1942), Selling Flowers Elysee. Selling flowers was a humble, but profitable occupation for women on the streets of Europe. Barbara Wells Sarudy writes:

When some think street flower sellers, they picture Eliza Doolittle, the flower seller in Covent Garden who went from rags to riches, thanks to the attentions of Professor Higgins, in George Bernard Shaw’s (1856-1950) Pygmalion. Her rise out of poverty was hardly typical. Flower sellers were common on the streets of London, Paris, & other European urban centers. We can glean some information about British flower sellers from Victorian London census records which reveal that most were married women & widows ranging from older teens to women in their 50s, single women, mostly enumerated as “daughter” are far fewer & make up a small percentage of the total. We can see the occasional “flower girl” who was put out onto the streets to sell flowers in order to help with the family income. Flower sellers didn’t just sell cut flowers, which had to be sourced at dawn, taken home, made up into bunches & then taken out onto the streets to sell from a basket, wheelbarrow, hand cart, or temporary stall in high traffic areas such as informal markets or lining the streets of busy thoroughfares. They also sold pot plants, “roots,” seeds. There was a hierarchy within the occupation as described by Henry Mayhew (1812-1887) in London Labour & the London Poor. [cont.]


Feminism Was Not a Grass Roots Movement

November 3, 2017


AARON RUSSOthe late Hollywood producer, discussed his conversations with Rockefeller family insider Nicholas Rockefeller in this 2009 interview with Alex Jones. Russo’s thoughts on the true nature of feminism, which was promoted by the government, foundations and corporations for profit motives and to bring about world government, are of special interest. Many people have awakened to this idea and millions have watched versions of this video. [I should add, I am not a regular viewer of the media personality Alex Jones.]

While there is truth to what Russo says, it obviously is not the whole story.


Crisis Actor of the Week

November 2, 2017


HURRAY to “John Williams” for a flawless performance.

Love the hairspray.


All Souls Day

November 2, 2017


Dante and Virgil Entering Purgatory, Luca Signorelli; 1499-1502

“In that abode of sorrow the departed souls hunger after the possession of God, and with so famishing a desire that nothing on earth can be compared with it. They thirst after the fountain of eternal life with that thirst which knows no comparison in this world. They suffer; poor and destitute of all worldly goods. Yea! they are even deprived of all those consolations which at times lessen our desires, and afford us moments of repose. Here upon earth, though we long and sigh ever so much after a thing, still we can sleep; and the pains produced by our heart’s desires in our waking moments leave us, we feel them no longer. We can engage ourselves in other occupations; other cares may distract our minds. We may, at times, enjoy various pleasures, and partake of the good things of this life. Now all these things remove, or, at least, soothe the pain and care of our desires. Not so, however, is the condition of these distressed souls. They have no refreshing slumber; they are incessantly awake; they have no occupation; they can not indulge in other cares, in other distractions. They are wholly and continually absorbed with the burning desire of being liberated from their intense misery.” (Father Francis Xavier Weninger)

See prayers for the faithful departed here and here.


What Is a Saint?

November 1, 2017

Bernadette Soubirous

A SAINT, one might say, is a man or woman who was willing in life to suffer intensely for the love of God and who retained his faith, confidence, hope, cheerfulness and spirit of charity through all his sufferings.

Today, the Feast of All Saints, is a good day to honor saintly heroism. To that end, here is a brief list of some of the trials of one saint, St. Bernadette of Lourdes (1844-1879), who in her short lifetime endured the following:

1. Humiliating and sometimes vicious personal attacks at the age of 14 from her parents, teachers, neighbors, the local clergy and police (who threatened her with arrest) when she claimed she had seen visions of a beautiful lady.

2. The burden of celebrity when later many believed her visions were real. This attention lasted for the rest of her life. It was tedious and unwanted by her but she handled it with humility and patience.

3. Persecution from a superior at a convent who falsely believed she was full of herself and seeking attention.

4. The death of her parents.

5. Severe physical suffering before her death at 35 from tuberculosis.

Suffering, for a saint, is a grace.

God sends great hardship to those he loves most.


Above the Law

November 1, 2017

WHAT power do the people have against rogue judges like Colleen Kollar-Kotelly?

She’s above the written law — the Constitution gives the president command of the military — and she certainly considers herself to be above the moral law, which means that even if the people overwhelmingly supported her, she is against reality itself. The moral law is like the law of gravity. It doesn’t go away just because you don’t believe in it.

I can safely predict that the prohibition against gravely unbalanced individuals in the military (known as the transgender ban) that Judge Kollar-Kotelly stayed on Monday will never be enforced. Modern democracy, by its very nature, leads to progressive decadence. There will be “transgenders” in the Army. What of the many stunning departures from morality enshrined by our government in the last 50 years has been reversed?

Rejoice that the truth is clearer by the day.


All Saints Day

November 1, 2017


Rheims Cathedral

THE Feast of All Saints is “the annual commemoration of all those who are honored in the Church as holy men and women whose lives are worthy of imitation and whose intercession we may profitably seek in prayer.” (The Rev. William J. Lallou)

From The Feast of All Saints: Part 1 by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876:

If on today’s festival we think of the communion of the Saints in heaven, we will undoubtedly exclaim within our soul: “Oh, what a joy, what an ecstasy of delight will there be in heaven on this glorious feast!”

And what is it that incites the hearts of our brethren in heaven to such holy rejoicings? Ah, it is the remembrance of their victory–the victory which, while on earth, they gained over Satan, the world, and their own evil inclinations! They lived for heaven, fought for heaven, and gained heaven. Their joy, then, is a victor’s joy, the greatest and sincerest of all the delights which can be tasted by the heart of man.

To show that in truth, on this day, an unbounded joy reigns in heaven, we need but remind you of the description which the seer St. John, in the island of Patmos, gives us of the city of God. “And I heard them,” he says, “singing the canticle of Moses, the servant of God.” It was the re-echo of that canticle which the children of Israel entoned on the shores of the Red Sea after God had destroyed Pharaoh, with all his warriors.

By saying that the Blessed sang the canticle of Moses, St. John wants to represent to us the indescribable sweetness and grandeur of the canticle of Victory which the Blessed in heaven chant before the throne of the Almighty.

I want to explain today to you the meaning of this Canticle of Moses sung in Heaven.

O Mary, Queen of Saints, lead us to victory in our battle on earth, that we may entone once the joyful songs of Saints and Angels with thee in Heaven! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater glory of God! [cont.]

Do Catholics worship saints? A rebuttal here.

Hail to the saints above:

1. I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations standing before his throne.

2. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and they fell down before the throne, and adored God.

3. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord God, in Thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made of us a kingdom unto our God.

4. Bless the Lord all ye His elect, keep a day of gladness and give thanks unto Him. 

5. A hymn for all his saints, for the children of Israel, for the people that is nigh unto Him; this glory have all his saints. [From First Vespers, All Saints Day]


The Four Temperaments

October 30, 2017


ANNA MARIE writes:

I am recently engaged and planning a wedding for next August! Please pray for me. I was wondering if you had any advice/book suggestions for me to read as I prepare for marriage. Read More »


Roses for My Mother

October 27, 2017


I prayed five Glorious Mysteries for your mother yesterday. I have no real Catholics in my family so I always offer masses and prayers for people I don’t know because I know they will pray for me and my family.

God bless!


Democracy’s Dupes

October 27, 2017

IF THERE is one idea that Americans of all political persuasions hold in common it is that democracy is the greatest of all political systems. More than an idea, it’s an emotional state. Love of country is love of “We the People.” It doesn’t matter how many liars are elevated to power, it doesn’t matter that the democratic state routinely imposes restraints that surpass those of tyrannical kings and make the woes of the American colonists seem utterly petty, it doesn’t matter that the government bureaucracies relentlessly expand, confiscating wealth and brazenly defying the people on issues such as immigration, democracy, we continue to believe, is the foundation of freedom. It will not let us down in the end.

But it has let us down and, according to the Belgian writer and historian Christophe Buffin de Chosal, this is the end. It will never deserve our trust again. Buffin de Chosal has produced a powerful and provocative critique on the nature of democracy. The End of Democracy, originally published in 2014 and recently translated into English by Ryan P. Plummer in a new edition by Tumblar House, is unsparing in its rejection of the modern democratic system.

Democracy has failed us, he argues, not because we are decadent. We are decadent because of democracy. Democracy by its nature promotes “spectacular advances in immorality.” It is not government for the people and by the people. It is government for the powerful by the powerful. Democracy never was a movement of the people. We are democracy’s dupes. Its revolutions were always imposed from above. Offering the masses the illusion of participation, it prevents popular resistance to its absolutist dictates. Both the English parliamentary revolution and the French Revolution were the successful efforts of powerful minorities subjugating the monarchy to its demands. The people were a ruse.  “Liberal democracy did not want liberty for all, but only the liberty of the wealthy,” Buffin de Chosal writes.

The reality is that democracy was invented for the purpose of bringing an oligarchy into power and keeping it there.

In his introduction to Buffin de Chosal’s work, historian Charles A. Coulombe embraces this thesis too:

Democracy has been a system in perpetual degradation. it has participated in the decline of the Western world, being both its cause and its fellow traveler. It is a factor of “decivilization,” and it leaves in its wake disappointed and politically immature peoples. Behind the screen of its rituals, it consolidates oligarchic totalitarian regimes which shall one day surprise — indeed this day has come — people who believed themselves free.

Democracy by its very nature leads to the all-encompassing intervention of the state. It controls education, the media (through the political interests supporting it), the issuance of money, the medicine we take and the food we eat. Our government drifts ever leftward because given the choice between freedom and security most voters will choose the security of government handouts. Though Buffin de Chosal is more focused on democracy in Europe, most of what he says applies to the United States too. He writes: Read More »


The Debts We Owe Mothers

October 23, 2017


ALAN writes from St. Louis:

I know how terrible it is to lose a mother to whom one owes a tremendous moral debt.

Your remark about aging parents, “We have to put them to bed, as they once did us,” reminded me of the above sheet music from 1927.

This song was included in my father’s small collection of sheet music. I have never heard the song, but I know the sentiment well, and I’m sure you do also.



Aquinas on Immigration

October 23, 2017

BOOKMARK this piece by John Horvat II so that the next time you read of Catholic organizations advocating open borders, you can revisit one of the greatest saint’s and theologian’s reasoning to the contrary. Nations are not morally required to accept all strangers.


The Best of Mothers, cont.

October 20, 2017


My mother with the first of her seven children

MY MOTHER, Katharine Ann Curtin Quinn, who was born on August 8, 1930, died yesterday at 2:50 p.m. at Paoli Hospital in Paoli, Pennsylvania. She is survived by her loving husband of 64 years, William Paul; seven children, thirteen grandchildren, two sisters and two brothers. She died of heart failure after two weeks in the hospital, during which time her children, grandchildren and husband, who is 91, spent much time with her. We took turns staying by her bedside each night.

There is much to say about my beautiful mother, who was one of the first female computer programmers, a woman who left career early on to devote herself to family, but my heart is too filled with sadness, gratitude for my mother’s existence and prayers for her to elaborate now.

I would just like to say that if God had given women the capacity to be good mothers and the capacity to be achievers in the world equal on the whole to that of men, it would have been patently unfair to men. No one is more powerful than a mother. I could not possibly believe anything else, given the pervasive influence of my own mother during my childhood. No one is more powerful than a mother because of the simple fact that the human soul is immortal while things of this world — works of art, scientific advances, buildings and politics — are not lasting, and no one more intimately influences the soul’s development than a mother.

My mother, who went by the name of Nancy, left each one of us with words of tender affection during her last weeks when she was often calm, lucid, and accepting of death despite the pain (from four broken ribs and a broken pelvis) and difficulty breathing that were so upsetting to all of us. The love of a good parent is a reflection of the love of God. There is enough for everyone. There is no such thing as too many children. The heart expands to include each one as if it were the only one.

Please pray for the eternal repose of my dear mother’s soul.

Just before my mother went into the hospital, on her last two nights at home, I helped both of my parents to bed and stayed with them through the night. She had an undiagnosed broken pelvis. After I tucked in their blanket, she said to me, “You shouldn’t have to put your parents to bed.”

But we do. We have to put them to bed, as they once did us.

“May the angels lead thee into Paradise; may the martyrs receive thee at thy coming, and bring thee into the holy city, Jerusalem. May the choir of angels receive thee, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, mayest thou have eternal rest.”


Read More »


Is it Elitist to Wear a Tie?

October 19, 2017

KAEDE LIRA answers objections to the necktie, including the complaint that it is inconsiderate of the poor to wear nice clothes. Yes, Lira says, the tie can be elitist but that’s okay:

One class should not sacrifice its own dignity in dress under the pretext that ceremonious clothing degrades the poor. The lower classes are always raised and elevated when they look to the elites and imitate them in their dignity of dress and manners. To say the opposite is to pay tribute to the fallacies of Communism and Miserablism. Read More »


A Manhunt in Las Vegas?

October 19, 2017

OLE DAMMEGARD argues that there were multiple shooters in Las Vegas and speculates that extremely wealthy, bored people are playing a form of modern gladiator games by hunting human beings down for sport. Listen halfway through for the speculations.

However, a trauma surgeon says the reports of bullet wounds were not plausible and a military surgeon found videos of victims unconvincing.

Anastasia Smith analyses the fake heroics outside Mandalay Bay.

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