Sunday 19 February 2012

Quinquagesima Sunday - "And the greatest of these is love"

Quinquagesima is the name for the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. It was also called Esto mihi after the opening words of the Introit, taken from Psalm 31:3.

The Gospel tells us the wonderful story of the man who was blind and our Lord, hearing his cry for aid, miraculously cures him.

The name stems from the Latin quinquagesimus (fiftieth) which refers to the fifty days before Easter Day, counting so as to include Sundays.

Since the forty days of the Lenten fast do not include Sundays, the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, succeeds Quinquagesima Sunday three days later.

The earliest Quinquagesima can occur is 1 February and the latest is 7 March. This year, 2012, it falls upon 19 February.

Needless to say, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini with his egalitarian-republican-Liberal-Modernist preference for the grey, the dull and the tedious did away with this day in his Novus Ordo Missae Calendar, together with the two preceding Sundays, Sexagesima and Septuagesima.

It is, of course, retained in the traditional mass and the lesson is taken from St Paul's Letter to the Corinthians [1 Cor. 13. 1] with that most beautiful of passages so evocative of the Christian Catholic faith.

Let us conclude with it.

THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three:



Love never faileth...


Thursday 2 February 2012

Loyalty - the lost virtue. What can the past tell us?

Paul Scott's Raj Quarter portrays human nature brilliantly in the context of the British Raj in India in its latter days.

His portrayal is subtle and realistic.

It is a tale of British-ruled India, the "jewel in the crown" of the British Empire.

He shows the good and the bad sides of human nature but with sufficient nuance for his portrayal to be persuasive, intelligent and sensitive.

He does not simply attack the British Raj in the unsubtle, unintelligent manner that so many supposed "scholars" and commentators do today.

Few people living today have had any real experience of the British Raj or, indeed, Empire and most are commenting from a position of zero personal familiarity of it.

Many modern fictional portrayals of the Raj are jejune, blinkered, prejudiced, incomplete and partial.

The Left Wing bias in the media is often to blame for some of the very slanted portrayals of the Raj.

The racism is exaggerated, the opposition is exaggerated, the relationship between the British and the Indians is deliberately misportrayed and the benefits of the Raj are glossed over.

In short, the general picture is a negative one.

In truth there were a huge number of benefits for India from the Raj. Here are a few:

- Infrastructure (railways, hospitals, schools &c)
- Stable government
- Huge contribution to the India economy
- Introduction of Western and Christian ideas of human rights and responsibilities
- Successful management of the differing races and religions, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Christian, to live in harmony
- Defence of the sub-continent from external attack
- Freedom of press, religion, speech, assembly and the other freedoms that we now all take so much for granted
- Preservation of the ancient Indian principalities, culture and history
- Abolition of grotesque practices like Suttee, or widow-burning, and Thuggee, from which we get the word "thug", being the practice of devotees of the goddess Kali preying upon and murdering the weak and defenceless

and much more besides.

But one of the most forgotten, yet most attractive and most resplendent aspects of the Raj was the astonishingly loyal, familiar, almost parental, relationship that existed between English officer sahibs and their sepoy officers and soldiers, the Indian Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Gurkha soldiers.

Indian Officers of the Corps of Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force), one of the elite Regiments serving on the North West frontier against the savage Muslim tribes of the Afghan Pathans

This was a truly impressive relationship, replete with Christian overtones of the clearest kind, whereby master and servant are locked in a bond of complete loyalty and love, each respecting the uniqueness of the other, and recognising their mutual interdependence.

The result was to forge such a degree of loyalty as long outlived the Raj itself with Indian sepoys and British officers continuing to share a mutual respect when the Raj was but a distant memory.

If the British had been merely oppressors, as the Leftists try to pretend they were, the loyalty of Indians to the British name and Raj - sometimes lasting even decades after it had ended - would never have been seen.

And yet it lasted and, even now, still does.

This episode of the TV series of the Raj Quartet gives something of a flavour, albeit mocked by the character of Captain Ronald Merrick, who never experienced the intensely close relationship between British officer and Indian sepoy and becomes a disliked figure among both British and Indian alike.

Merrick is the "new" man, dismissive and cynical about the Christian values of the past, looking askance at the native Indians as an "inferior" race, a zealous policeman who shuns the old loyalties as "myth".

The film, like the book, does not shrink from portraying bad people as, in some cases, thoroughly bad, whether they be British or Indian, but that makes the portrayal of the good more convincing.

Indian army officer, Captain Teddy Bingham, is of the old Raj school. Like his CO, he knows the names and family history of every one of his sepoys and regards them as almost his own children.

Although later mocked by Merrick, who, to be fair, tries to save him, Teddy is appalled that one of his own sepoys might have gone over to the Japanese-backed Indian National Army, founded by Indian Nazi and Hitler ally, Subash Chandra Bhose.

Finding that one sepoy had, indeed, deserted to the Japs and the INA, he speaks to him and calls him back to his true loyalty in the most pressing terms, like a father to a wayward son. The sepoy is moved to bitter remorse and reveals that two other sepoys deserted with him, giving Captain Bingham their names.

When Merrick has gone to see the CO, Teddy takes a jeep and goes in search of the beloved lost sheep of his Regiment, as Christ Himself tells us the Good Shepherd must do.

Standing atop the jeep and calling his lost sepoys by name, Teddy is attacked by Japanese and INA troops hurling grenades and is killed. Even the cynical Merrick tries to rescue him but cannot save his life.

So the shepherd dies for his lost sheep in a manner Biblical in its force and tenor.

To any who knew the old Raj or Empire and its fierce loyalties, it is a most poignant moment in the film, expressing a very real spirit that cannot be adequately captured in words or film.

However, the film tries admirably well (the relevant part starts at about 21:00):

The Jewel In The Crown: Ordeal By Fire
- Part 6

This aspect of the loyalty that existed within the old Raj and Empire is seldom well told in film or story today. The Raj Quartet succeeds where others fail to capture the true spirit.

That old poem of Rudyard Kipling, The White Man's Burden, is today mocked for its racist overtones but it is the rest of the poem which captures the true spirit of service and sacrifice which was so fundamental a part of the lives of all those British officers, DOs, civil servants and others who went out to India at a very young age to serve the people of India, rich and poor, Brahmin and untouchable, alike.

In fact the poem was written to America to advise them of where their future duty would lie if they annexed the Philippines during the Spanish American wars. But, in truth, it is more a reflection of the spirit of the British Raj at its best (leaving aside the racial aspect).

"Go bind your sons to exile,
To serve your captives' needs...
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain..."

If one substitutes the words "White man" with the word "Christian" then the poem would more accurately capture what motivated our grandfathers' generation to go out to the heat and harm of India, at risk of their lives, to serve the native peoples of that great sub-continent.

And when the Captains and the Kings departed, and India was left to rule herself, what happened?

Sadly, the most terrible disaster and blood-bath. Indian slew Pakistani and vice-versa so that over one million were slaughtered and some 12 million, forced to move after partition, were made homeless.

Mohandas Gandhi, barrister (attorney) turned guru, preached non-violent protest but his legacy was, in fact, a massive orgy of violence and slaughter by Indian against Indian, with over a million dead and 12 million homeless

It is ironic, but true, that the man who hastened India toward this disaster, Mohandas Gandhi, claimed to be a man of non-violence. His satyagraha, or non-violent non-co-operation, led to the exact opposite: a massive orgy of violence and killing to the lasting shame of India and Pakistan, and a continuing legacy of hatred between the two nations that continues, unabated, down to this day.

That is something that would never have been allowed when the British sahibs were still in charge and we would do well, occasionally, to remember that. Certainly many Indians still do.

The White Man's Burden (1899)

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden--
Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

Rudyard Kipling, poet, novelist, British imperialist


Fr Newman responds - on MY blog - but censors out others on HIS blog. Fair?

Fr Jay Scott Newman responds.

But on MY blog - not HIS.

He continues to censor out those he cannot answer on his own blog.

I, on the other hand, have posted his comments to my blog.

They do him no credit, however.

He simply descends into bad grace.

For those who missed it:

"I have nothing for which to apologize, and that's why there has been no apology. Before the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum (SP), I expressed my thoughts on the matter of a wider use of what is now the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, and all in the Church were free to do do. Since the promulgation of SP, I have neither written nor spoken on the subject, precisely because I am obedient to the Roman Pontiff. Would that we could say the same for the bishops and priests of the SSPX. And by the way, I always publish under my real name so that I am accountable for everything I write. I suggest you try the same."

So - although he has traduced, mocked, jeered and jibed at lovers of the traditional mass and made ridiculous prognostications about the motu proprio ("invisible", "kinda sorta" etc - see earlier posts) which fell flat on their face once, very shortly after his fatuous diatribes, the Pope issued Summorum Pontificum, he thinks he need not apologise.

Perhaps, being a priest, he thinks he has no call to apologise to anyone.

So "obedient" is he to the Roman Pontiffs that he mocked Veterum Sapientiae of Blessed Pope John XXIII calling it "dead on arrival".

Obedient, eh?

And he thinks that, with Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI, "threw a spanner in the works".

Yes. He thinks it is "loyal and obedient", to accuse the Pope of trying to destroy the "works" of the Church.

Well, it's a point of view. Just not a very rational one.

Note, too, how he attacks the SSPX for "disobedience" but says nothing whatever about the far greater disobedience of the liturgical, moral and doctrinal anarchists who now occupy so many key posts in the Church and are busily white-anting it from within.

Never mind the massive apostasy caused thereby for the last 40 years.

And appreciate, too, the note of self-righteousness: he is loyal and obedient but they are not. "I thank God that I am not as other men..." said the unjustifed Pharisee. Moreover, Fr Newman, as we have seen, is not loyal and obedient, but rather chooses to be loyal only to those parts of Catholic tradition of which he approves.

The words of our Lord spring to mind:

"But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in; and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter.

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves.

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you tithe mint, and anise, and cummin, and have left the weightier things of the law; judgment, and mercy, and faith. These things you ought to have done, and not to leave those undone.

Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all filthiness.
Matt 23:13-27

But seemingly, Fr Newman is not concerned about the great apostasy or the Pharisees who have brought it about. Those who do not condemn evil, thereby tolerate and accept it.

What's next:

" 'Tribunus', if you visit my blog, you'll see under the Comments Policy that Rule 2 stipulates no anonymous comments will be published. That is why none of your comments appear on my blog. Give you real name, and that will change. Until then, may the LORD be gracious to you."

Oh, right.

So there you have it, folks. He does not need to apologise because that would be to respond to anonymous comments. And he is too grand to do that. Never mind that Tribunus is openly connected to this blog. He is to be treated as if he were just some anonymous blogger who happened to check in from nowhere.

Well, folks. It's a point of view. Just not a very rational one.

And next:

"You attack my character, hide behind the shield of anonymity, and then refuse to post my reply to your charge. If you do not post my first comment from earlier today, I shall be forced to conclude that you are either a coward or a man of no honor. Please post my first reply, or take down your attack on me.

Attack his character? No. I pointed out what he had said. It was already self-rebutting. If he didn't like it, then he must blame himself.

Then, having complained about attacks on character, what does the Parish Priest of St Mary's, Greenville, South Carolina do next?

Yep, he launches a character-attack!

But he goes further:

"You are a coward, sir, and I pity you.

I do not publish anonymous comments -- as my blog notice makes clear -- and you offer only anonymous comments. Hence, I shall not publish your remarks on my blog.

Then you assault my character, and I offer a rational defense. And your response? Pretend that you did not see my reply and double down on your anonymous attack.

Tell me. Do you live in your mother's basement?"

Yes, really, folks!

He thinks this is appropriate language for a Catholic priest.

A rational defence? Er, no, Father. The whole point is that you offered NO defence of your seamy, sordid attacks on those whose only offence is to love the traditions of our fathers.

His only excuse is to hide behind his "policy" of not answering the "anonymous".

And then he who so deprecates "attacks on my character" hypocritically launches further character-attacks, not forgetting to add some fatuously childish snipes.

Well, father, I need add no more. Your own words defy you.

Pity, if it need be mentioned, is all I can commend others to have for your rather sad and silly posts.

I am at least glad that you no longer foolishly criticise the "kinda sorta" motu proprio. That, I suppose, is something. But, oh no, you won't be withdrawing your previous attacks on it.

Perhaps, and may God grant it, you might even come to learn what folly it is for you to criticise the traditions of our Holy Mother the Church, traditions stretching back not, as you absurdly suppose, to Pope St Pius V, but, as Pope Benedict XVI has taught us, to Pope St Gregory the Great and earlier.

Lord, open the eyes of the blind, that they may see....