Monday 18 May 2020

The Christian Prince

Happy Victoria Day! In Canada this weekend is sometimes called the "May Two-Four Weekend" both because Victoria Day falls near May 24, the late, great Queen Victoria's actual birthday, and because it is traditional to travel one's holiday cottage (if one is lucky enough to have one) with a "two-four" of beer.

In celebration of Victoria Day, I have the day off from work and an excuse to eat delicious croissants from our nearest independent bakery. Lo, I was up early this morning to take my exercise there, and I was first in the queue outside the bakery door.

Also in celebration of Victoria Day, I will mention The Elements of Organic Gardening at Highgrove, Clarence House & Birkhall by her direct descendent, HRH The Prince of Wales (with Stephanie Donaldson). The Prince of Wales has had a deep and abiding concern for Creation for 30 years now, and it is very interesting to see how one can run three royal estates on organic lines.

I try not to factor in how much all this must cost HRH, a multimillionaire in his own right, and whether or not the gardens pay for themselves. I think he has some very good ideas. I would not go so far as to refer to Nature as "She" or "Her," however, as he does in this book. But I think he and Pope Francis could have some good conversations about the stewardship of the earth, if HRH's Spanish is up to the task.

Does Britain have a Christian Prince?

Whether HRH is himself a Christian prince in name only is beyond the purview of this blogpost. Certainly HM the Queen is a Christian queen albeit one who has sworn an oath to uphold the Protestant religion:

[Anglican] Archbishop of Canterbury [in 1953]: Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?

Queen: All this I promise to do. 

Thus, HM the Queen is not the sort of Christian ruler envisioned by Fr. Crean and Dr. Fimister.

HM the Queen very properly visited Pontiffs until the Revolution of Tenderness wearing a black mantilla, for the privilege wearing of  white to visit the Pontiff belongs solely to Catholic queens. The hue and cry when former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's very unpopular wife Cherie wore white to visit Benedict XVI went up from the UK Catholics like a flock of startled birds. Cherie, to the disgust of the orthodox, wrote that her youngest child was conceived because she was too embarrassed to bring her birth control method on an overnight trip to Windsor Castle, lest the servants unpack it again.

Why bring up poor Cherie and her contraceptive device ? Well, I have read Chapter 6 of Integralism, which is entitled "Temporal Authority (II): Its Scope," and it occurs to me that in the Catholic realm the authors envision, Cherie's device would be illegal and her husband would have had to become a Catholic before becoming PM, not after he had safely retired.

Incidentally, the snarls over Cherie's regal white turned into groans when Tony converted to Catholicism. Both events happened before I got here, so I was startled by the deep antipathy of my new British Catholic chums for the former PM and his wife. Interestingly, the dislike pertains to their traditional spheres of influence. Cherie is disliked for her birth control advocacy, and Tony is disliked for getting 185 people killed in that dodgy campaign in Iraq.

But now I really must get down to Integralism's Chapter 6, which is surprisingly short, given the list of 20 theses at the end. And it is really a lovely chapter, for after it instructs godless authorities in their responsibility to direct their subjects to God, it describes the duties of the Catholic ruler or (as I prefer to think of him/her) the Christian Prince.

But first here is Integralism's warning about what is going to happen to us if we carry on in our Broken Britain way:

Comprehensively secular societies are ... inevitably of short duration, and prepare the way for their own replacement by new cultural and social forms imbued with a greater vigour and religiosity (whether of an authentic or a distorted character).

My own pet fear is that when self-worshipping China takes over, B.A. and I will be put on a Highland reservation to do  folk dances for tourists. Someone replied that this sounded fun, and I said it would not be fun, it would be against our human dignity. We will instead flee to the most Catholic state we can find. I am informed that the country most closely approaching this in its constitution is the Dominican Republic.

Temporal Rule Outside Christendom

Fimister and Crean state that the temporal ruler (however heretical) must "remind his people of their duty to worship the one God." As a matter of fact, George VI did do that 76 years ago this coming Saturday, for he requested that the following Sunday be observed as a Day of Prayer. That Sunday coincided with the rescue of the British Army from Dunkirk, a miracle comparable to that of the Vistula in 1920.

To quote Beowulf, þæt wæs gód cyning.

Interestingly, Fimister and Crean side with error having rights in the temporal realm, stating that "no monotheistic cult may be forbidden, unless it involves elements contrary to natural law." However, this has nothing to do with tolerance but entirely so that inherents of those religions can make a free choice of Christ, as F&C make clearer when they talk about the Catholic state.

Even outside Christendom, leaders are called to prevent errors contrary to truth about God, "human nature, virtue and the goal of human life, as far as these things are knowable by reason..." All "external actions contrary to natural law are of themselves apt to be prohibited." I wonder what F&C mean by "apt".

Meanwhile, temporal authority binds subjects "not only under pain of a penalty, but in conscience and under pain of sin."

I wonder what this means in relation to the lockdown. If the primary end of man on earth is to worship God, and if this is most properly done through personal presence at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and if the personal presence at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been declared an offence by temporal authority, is it a sin for me to present myself at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

Complicating this intolerable paradox is that Catholic bishops have instructed priests not to permit the presence of the Faithful at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass ...  Dear heaven, I will have to start reviewing the steps of the Highland Fling.

But "[t]emporal authority confers the right to oblige act in view of the common good" say Fimister and Crean, which leads me to conclude that there is nothing to stop temporal authority from banning the manufacture of single-use plastic and other horrible things contrary to the good of nature and stewardship of the earth.

Meanwhile, temporal authority can take children from parents if the parents are abusive or neglectful. F&C recommend placing the removed children with families as "orphanages and similar artificial institutions"are in no way equivalent, let alone superior, to families.

Also the EU had no right telling British farmers how to farm or British fisherman how to fish or British craftsmen how to craft. It's all there on pages 112-113. The "principle of subsidiarity" got a heart symbol from me.

Temporal Rule Inside Christendom

Christendom is a great place to live if you're Catholic, I gleaned from this part of the chapter. You can live there if you belong to the Orthodox or Evangelical traditions, but you can't take public office or attempt to convert anyone to your sect. Jews can live there, too, under the same conditions, and the chapter is very clear that Jew-baiting is not allowed:

"Since the law of Christ forbids both hatred and suasion toward baptism by temporal threats, the unbaptised must be placed by law at no disadvantage save that which is necessary to preserve the Catholic harmony of the realm, and outrages against them must be severely punished."

Fimister and Crean approach St. Thomas Aquinas' attitude towards "other non-Christian cults" with some caution.  In short, they argue that monotheists who are neither Christians nor Jews may be admitted to live and worship in the Catholic realm unless their cult is "practised by bodies which have a history of violent opposition to Christianity or of aggressive proselytism."

Who could that be?

However, it looks like milder, more peaceable sects of Islam could live and worship in the Catholic realm, enjoying, like the Jews, freedom from abuse and coercive attempts to convert them.

"The reality or even the appearance of coercive proselytism must be assiduously avoided,  nor must a power to police the interior acts of its subjects be inadvertently attributed to the temporal power which impedes the right of all men to discover and embrace the true religion," the authors state.

The non-Catholics are, of course, allowed to educate their children and bring them up in their own faith, but they are not allowed to encourage them in such blasphemous outrageous as stealing consecrated hosts.

This post is almost longer than the chapter. I shall now take a cod liver oil capsule and plant out my princely courgette.

Update: One answer that I'm afraid of is the response to the question, "In the Integralist state, who holds the franchise?" I suspect the answer is "Heads of families" as the basic unit of the Integralist state is the family. This would mean that some women (e.g. widowed mothers of children) have the franchise whereas some men (e.g. unmarried men, or men without issue) might not. It's an interesting idea.

B.A. and I argued about Integralism for half an hour, and it seems to us that unless a large number of Integralists all astonish  a lukewarm Catholic populace by immigrating to their state and persuading them to vote in an Integralist leader, it seems very unlikely that there ever will be an Integralist state again.