15 February 2018

Sub Tuum.

Allocuzione Patriarcale del Mercoledì delle Cineri
Patriarchal Address on Ash Wednesday
14 February A.D. 2018

(Scroll down for the English language version.)

Dalla Casa Fiorentina ai Cristifideli del Patriarcato Stefaniano in Italia, Erbipolense, Trevia, Westphalia, e Mainz, ed in tutto il mondo, ed alla Corte di Santa Maria di Walsingham, grazia e pace in questo mercoledi delle cineri, l'inizio di quaresima, anno domini 2018. Questo è l'inizio d'una stagione di riflessione, ma anche della penitenza e della preparatione. Prepariamo per la Resurrezione del nostro Signore Gesù Cristo. La luce alla fine di quaresima e la Santa Pasqua. La quaresima viene ogni anno, ed è necessario prepararci per la stagione di rinnovo, cioè la Santa Pasqua. È impossibile capire i misteri della Pasqua senza un gran lavoro -- un gran viaggio di scoperta. I misteri della santa fede di Cristo sono grandissimi i larghi, come la mare. Nessuno può capirli completamente. Quindi, il Signore e la sua Santa Chiesa ci hanno dato un regalo, ed il regalo è le stagioni del calendario liturgico. La quaresima è un tempo di contemplazione della vita di Cristo, la sua Passione, il suo morte, e, finalmente, la cosa più importante nella storia del mondo, la Resurrezione. Questa stagione è veramente un bel regalo.

Oltretutto, ogni quaresima sempre vorrei parlare della penitenza. Dico sempre la stessa cosa. Non definare la quaresima per ciò che si rinuncia, ma invece per ciò che fa per aiutare gli altri. Veramente, carissimi, è possibile rinunciarsi molto -- carne, dolci, etc. -- ma nonostante essere vuoto nel cuore. Dunque dico ancora, vivete, carissimi, una vita di servizio, in particolare in questa quaresima. Fate atti di carità per gli altri. Quello è la penitenza migliore e la più efficace.

Prego sempre, carissimi, che cresciate continuamente nella santa fede e nella comunione con il Signore, in questa stagione di quaresima ed in tutto l'anno. Adesso, preparatevi ricevere la benedizione di Nostro Signore.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, + Patris, et + Filii, et Spiritus + Sancti descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

_____________________

ENGLISH VERSION:

From the Florentine Household to the faithful in Christ of the Stephenian Patriarchate in Italy, Wurzburg, Trevia, Westphalia, and Mainz, and all over the world, and also to the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham, grace and peace on this Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, in the year of our Lord 2018. This is the beginning of a season of reflection, but also of penance and preparation. We prepare for the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The light at the end of Lent is Easter. Lent comes every year, and it is necessary to prepare for the season of renewal, that is, the Paschal season. It is impossible to understand the mysteries of Easter without a great deal of work -- and it is a great journey of discovery. The Mysteries of the Holy Faith of Christ are great and wide, like the sea. No one can understand them completely. Therefore, the Lord and His Holy Church have given us a gift, and the gift is the seasons of the liturgical calendar. Lent is a time of contemplation of the life of Christ, his Passion, his death, and, finally, the most important thing in the history of the world, the Resurrection. This season of Lent is a special gift indeed.

In addition, each lent I always want to mention penance specifically, and I always say the same thing. Do not define Lent by what you give up, but instead by what you do to help others. Truly, carissimi, you can give up many thing -- meat, sweets, etc. -- but in spite of being empty in the heart. So I say again, live, carissimi, a life of service, especially during this Lenten season. Do acts of charity for others. That is the best and most effective penance.

I pray always, dearest, that you continually grow in the Holy Faith and in communion with the Lord, in this season of Lent and throughout the year. Now, prepare yourselves to receive the blessing of our Lord.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, + Patris, et + Filii, et Spiritus + Sancti descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

02 January 2018

Patriarchal Address on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 2017

Sub Tuum.

8 September A.D. 2017

From the Florentine Household to the world, and to the members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham, grace and peace, and my Apostolic Blessing on this Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a joyous time in the Patriarchate. We live in the light of Christ, with the hope of eternal life. However, today in the world it is a time of suffering in darkness. Several governments of the world seem to want a great war. Indeed the way to peace is not a way of appeasement, blind to the actions of enemies, but also it is true that to preach war will not lead the world to peace. To prepare for war is important and right for peace, but not warmongering dialogue. 

Carissimi, we hope in Christ, and therefore we are calm. But, we cannot only rest in that hope without action, leaving the world to die. We, the faithful in Christ must always use our power – all our power – to improve the condition of the people. And the responsibility of the government is also to improve the condition of the people and work for the kingdom of Christ here on earth. Therefore, the Holy Church must certainly preach to the governments the truth of Christ. The Church has that sacred responsibility, but also that sacred right. Pray, brethren, for the world, that all may know the light and love of Christ and come to eternal life. 

Also, we are very happy to announce again that 2018 shall be the tenth anniversary of the succession to the temporal patrimony of the Patriarchate of St. Stephen – specifically the patrimony of Etruria, Trevia, Wurzburg, Reichenbger, Frankfurt, Mainz, and our holy city, Florence. It is a particular pleasure to serve our Lord in the modern world through this ancient heritage. 

And now prepare yourselves to receive the blessing of our Lord.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super + vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

25 July 2017

Unitas Ecclesiae - On the Unity of the Church

Sub Tuum.

Unitas Ecclesiae
24 July A.D. 2017
On the Vigil of St. James the Apostle


Unity of the Church is often discussed, becoming a point of philosophy, but so rarely a matter of action. This is a matter of particular concern in the present period. The Christian Church is today very much like it was in certain earlier times: the early Church, when she was not yet in favour with the Roman Empire and so many of her children suffered and were cruelly martyred; in the Protestant Reformation, when Christians tore each other apart and left wounds and pointless conflict that persists to this day like a feud in which the two sides have largely forgotten the origins of the conflict, but are determined to perpetuate it nevertheless; and the Enlightenment, in which science, the very offspring of the Church, was turned against the faith, and intellect was used as an excuse to try to destroy the Holy Church of Christ. Today, Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. Even in nations in which Christians are not necessarily in danger of their lives for the faith, there are other forms of persecution. Those other forms of persecution may appear more civilised, but they are just as troubling. The enemies of the Church will indeed attempt to tell those experiencing non-violent discrimination that they are not really being persecuted, pointing to those who suffer death and violence for the faith around the world and claiming that they instead are the only ones facing true persecution. Yet, that is a falsehood and an attempt to weaken the faithful and discourage them from fighting for justice. Stripes come in many, many forms. There is no shortage of means that the enemies of the Church will use to try to destroy her. Indeed, we are again in a period in which it seems virtually every corner of society is conspiring to bring about the end of the Church in one way or another. And while the devil stands at the very doors of the Church, Christians bicker and fight each other instead of standing up and defending their brethren. Yes, our Lord said that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, but we Christians are not meant to be passive, doing nothing as the structures Christ gave us burn down around us. Ours is a faith of action. We must protect each other. Unity amongst Christians in not, therefore, merely a matter of spiritual fruit, ut unum sint, but a practical one. We cannot focus purely on the Church Triumphant, the Church in Heaven, while forgetting and forsaking the Church Militant, the Church here on earth. 
Discussions on unity are rarely deep. Sometimes they proceed to the point that there is cause for hope, and then suddenly all collapses. Or, sometimes discussions drag on ad infinitum without any apparent end in sight. There are reasons for this. These reasons spring largely from the heresies of the past reiterating themselves in the present. So many differences persist, and we humans seem fully determined to hang for dear life by our fingernails onto our differences unto our dying breath rather than embracing our similarities. Can we not work together, despite disagreements? All that must happen is for one Christian to extend his hand in brotherly love and for another to take it. Yet we would rather hurl insults or use certain aspects of doctrine and law as a rationale for turning our backs on our brethren. Doctrine and canon law are there as tools to strengthen the vineyard of our Lord, not strangle the workers therein. Can we not collaborate without compromise where there are points on which we cannot yet agree, or must we continue this senseless warfare with our Christian brethren while our enemies unify against us?

We in the Patriarchate of St. Stephen are blessed with the fullness of the historic and traditional Catholic Faith of the Roman Church. Our Anglican patrimony gives us a strong tie that spans from our spiritual and temporal home in the Italian peninsula to Our Lady’s Dowry, the British Isles. Our temporal patrimony blesses us with a legacy that points to our future if we have the courage to embrace it. Our forebears defended the Church wherever she was threatened, always with the goal of strengthening the faith and showing forth the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We steadfastly defend our legacy and our rights, given to us by the grace of God and the historic Apostolic See. To deny who we are is to slap Christ in the face. To yield our rights is to lay down that which Christ has entrusted to us, abandoning the sheep like the faithless shepherd that cares for no one. Such would be to place a nail into our Lord’s feet or the piece His Holy side. We must guard our flock. Yet we close our doors to no one who sincerely comes to us. We join hands with all who extend their hand to us sincerely. We can do nothing else and still call ourselves Christian. 

Also, we must remember that it is the faith that is important, not buildings. We worship the Cross, not a building. So often buildings or other worldly concerns are used as cause for disunity and disharmony. Do we not remember that we are to give shelter to those in need? Still, so many, flush with pride in the grandeur of their buildings, forgetting that they are an house of prayer and peace, turn away those who do not agree with them. But the Saints shall be with those who keep the faith, not those who merely keep only the buildings. 

The faith is also not a matter of numerical majority. Numbers ebb and flow, just as buildings come and go, and all shall turn again to dust. Numerical superiority does not mean legitimacy or correctness any more than being a determined minority makes one right. In this present period, so like other trying times in the history of the Church, the true faithful shall be reduced to a minority. They will be called false by the majority, which shall be under the guise of truth. Under those circumstances, it is difficult to maintain one’s faith. Many will fall. Christ, the Good Shepherd, shall come as always to give aid to His flock in need. The true Bishops of the world and the true priests, the pastors of the flock of Christ here on earth, must likewise be ready to give aid, going in search of the lost sheep when needed. 

We call upon all, not only those who are under the care of the Patriarchal See, but all Christian people around the world, Bishops, priests, clergy, and laity, to come together in true brotherhood, to find reasons for collaboration and cooperation, and above all to cease the warfare against other Christians. As we fight each other, the enemies of the Holy Cross delight, for we are weakened, and they grow in strength. Let us keep an eye gazing towards heaven, but our feet firmly planted in this world, that we, as humble workers in the vineyard of our Lord, may do His will here on earth for His glory and the benefit of His people.

15 June 2017

Patriarchal Address on the Feast of Corpus Christi AD 2017

Sub Tuum

The original text in Italian precedes. The English transcript follows.

PATRIARCHAL ADDRESS
ON THE FEAST OF THE
MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD
OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

2017

RVTHERFORDVS I CARD. COMES S. ANIMIAE
ARCHPRINCEPS FLORENTIAE
PATRIARCHA S. STEFANI


AI membri della Corte di S. Maria di Walsingham, grazia e pace, e la mia Benedizione Apostolica in questo Festo del Corpus Christi, anno Domini 2017. Oggi celebriamo il sanctissimo Corpo ed il sacratissimo Sangue di Nostro Signore Jesu Christo. È un gioioso festo dopo della Stagione Pasquale. Durante la Stagione Pasquale, ricordiamo le Resurrezione, l’Ascensione, e la Pentecoste – tutti molto importanti, il nucleo della Santa Fede. Subito dopo della Stagione Pasquale è il Festo della Santissima Trinità, l’unico Dio, tre Personi, ma indivisibili. In verità, è del nucleo della Fede che Jesu Christo è veramente Dio, non solo un uomo. Vero Dio chi ha venuto alla terra come un uomo, e morì per noi. Ma, il morte di Cristo non fu un evento solo! Il sacrificio viva ancora oggi, fratelli! Dunque, è giusto, dopo del Festo della Trinità, che celebriamo il Corpo ed il Sangue di Cristo. Proclamiamo che Cristus Rex vivat in saecula saeculorum. Veramente il Sacrificio sull’altare di Cristo è il stesso Sacrificio di Cristo sulla Croce. Oggi facciamo un grandissimo inchino al sanctissimo Corpo ed al sacratissimo Sangue di Nostro Signore.

Adesso devo dire ancora ed ancora che Cristo è l’unica luce del mondo, e senza di Lui, non abbiamo nessun speranza. Oggi la società scende rapidamente alle tenebre. La società dimentica la tradizione e la fede di Cristo, e senza Cristo e le sue sancte tradizioni, la società sarà caduta alle mani dei nemici della Chiesa, i nemici della bontà, i nemici della civilisazione, i nemici di Dio! Noi, fratelli, i cristifideli, noi dobbiamo combattere contra le tenebre. Non possiamo essere ratti, corriendo, scappiendo, e nascando! Certo dobbiamo avere corragio e metterci in resistanza come un esercito della Santa Croce.

Il combattimento di solito per noi, i cristifideli, è certo spirituale. Ma, siamo discenduti dei Crociati e quindi capisciamo bene che, quando siamo attaccati d’un forzo violento malevolissimo, è necessario difenderci. Non vi dimenticate mai questa cosa.

E, carissimi, come il mondo ha arrivato qui? Relativismo. Il relativismo è un forzo insidioso che poco a poco erode la fede del popolo. Senza conoscenza, dopo un tempo, il popolo si sveglia una mattina e non ha la fede di Cristo ancora. Il relativismo è la via all’infidelismo ed alla religione di statismo. Il repubblicanessimo è la manifestazione di teorie vecchie di relativismo. Gli attivisti politichi di solito non hanno nuove idee, ma solo vecchie idee inferiori. L’unica via politica è la via di Cristo. Noi, carissimi, dovremmo essere una forza non di falsa variazione, ma d’un gioioso ritorno alla tradizione. Solo in Cristo la gente può essere libero.

Ed in merito della violenza ricente negli USA, è un segno del risulto di relativismo. Un assassino ha sparato a diversi membri del Partito Republicano. Cinque sono stati feriti, comprese un membro della Camera di Rappresentivi. Questo vile e codardo atto è anarchismo, un figlio di relativismo. In un paese, i cittadini dovrebbero essere come fratelli. Disaccordo arrive, certo, ma non dovremmo sparare a coloro con chi non siamo daccordo. Coloro chi conoscono Cristo capiscono bene che dovrebbero parlare con i nostri oppositori. Questo tipo di violenza non è un diritto del popolo, e gesti come questo vile e codardo atto sono controproducente e contro di Cristo. Non possiamo dire che rispettiamo il Corpo di Cristo ed il Sangue di Cristo se fossiamo ammazzare coloro con chi non siamo daccordo!

Allora, preparatevi ricevere la benedizione di nostro Signore.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris +, et Filii+, et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:

TO the members of the Court of Saint Maria of Walsingham, grace and peace, and my Apostolic blessing on this Feast of Corpus Christi, in the Year of Our Lord 2017. Today we celebrate the most holy Body and the most sacred Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a joyful celebration following Paschaltide. During the Easter season, we remember the Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost – all very important, and indeed the nucleus of the holy Faith. Immediately after Paschaltide comes the Feast of the Holy Trinity, the only God, three parts, but indivisible. Truly it is very much a part of the nucleus of the faith that Jesus Christ Himself is truly God, not just a man. True God who has come to Earth as a man, and died for us. But, the death of Christ was not a single, solitary event in history! Brethren, the Sacrifice of then still lives today! Therefore, it is meet and proper that, after the feast of the Trinity, we celebrate the Body and Blood of Christ. We proclaim Cristus Rex Vivat in Saecula saeculorum – Christ the King lives forever. Truly the Sacrifice on the altar of Christ is the same Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Today we make a great bow to the most holy Body and to the most sacred Blood of our Lord.

Now I must say again and again that Christ is the only light of the world, and without him, we have no hope. Today society descends rapidly into darkness. Society forgets the tradition and faith of Christ, and without Christ and his holy traditions, society will fall to the hands of the enemies of the Church, the enemies of goodness, the enemies of civilisation, the enemies of God! We, brethren, the faithful in Christ, we must fight against the darkness. We cannot be rats, running, escaping, and hiding! Of course, we must have courage and be a force of resistance as an army of the Holy Cross.

This warfare is, for us, the faithful in Christ, certainly spiritual. But, we are descendants of the Crusaders and therefore we understand that, when we are attacked by a vile and wicked force of violence, it is necessary to defend ourselves. Never forget this.

And, dearest friends, how did the world come to this situation? Relativism. Relativism is an insidious thing that little by little erodes the faith of the people. Without knowledge, after a time, the people wake up one morning to find that they do not have the faith of Christ anymore. Relativism is the way to the loss of faith, replaced with the religion of the state. Republicanism is the manifestation of old theories of relativism. Political activists usually do not have new ideas, but only old inferior ideas that do not work. The only political way is the way of Christ. We, dearest friends, should be a force not of false change, but of a joyful return to tradition. Only in Christ can people be free.

And now with regard to the recent violence in the USA, it is a sign of the very result of relativism. A murderer shot several members of the Republican Party. Five were injured, including a member of the US House of Representatives. This vile and cowardly act is nothing more than anarchism, a child of relativism. In a country, citizens should be like brothers. Disagreement certainly will happen, of course, but we should not shoot those with whom we do not agree. Those who know Christ understand very well that we should talk with our opponents. This type of violence is not a right of the people, and gestures like this vile and cowardly act are counterproductive and against Christ. We cannot say that we respect the Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ if we kill those with whom we do not agree!

And now prepare yourselves to receive the blessing of our Lord.

Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus + Sancti, descendat super + + vos et maneat semper. R. Amen.

04 June 2017

Statement on the Recent London Terrorist Attack

Sub Tuum.

It should go without saying that we are deeply saddened by the recent cowardly terror attack in London. That there was yet one more attack in continuation of the string of attacks in recent times in Britain and Europe is, however, no surprise. It is a direct result of a refusal to acknowledge the problem and a direct result of irresponsible actions taken by governments. Praying for the victims is something that should certainly be done, but we know that our faith must be put into action. The Christian religion is not passive, for faith without action is no faith at all, just as work without faith is empty and meaningless. May God guide each of us, from world leaders to ordinary citizens, to resolve that the cowardly violence of these terrorists must be stopped here and now. 

Sometimes people get the drop on you and there is nothing you can do. However, in many terrorist and active shooter situations, there are things that can be done. The victims consider themselves victims rather than a superior force. Terrorists count on specific tactics that permit a much smaller group to gain control, even temporarily, over a larger force. Once these are understood, they can be countered -- by anyone. Society over the last decades in Europe, Britain, and the US has abandoned its roots, its culture, and raised generations of pantie-waisted pansies taught not to fight, but to give in. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. I don't mean to insult the police at all. I merely mean that they cannot always get there fast enough, and also there is much that can be done during transit time. It is time for the people of Europe, Britain, and the US to reclaim their pride, their dignity, and their strength. Technology ultimately doesn't win wars. Determination, discipline, and a refusal to yield is what wins. People can turn just about anything around them into a weapon to fight back against attackers in a rational way. That is how we save lives and begin to turn the tide of militant Islam.

20 May 2017

Across the Centuries

Sub Tuum.

Some of us know the feeling depicted in this impressive and well-portrayed scene in The Gathering Storm, a movie about Churchill. We feel our ancestors looking at us from across the centuries, saying, "This is what we have done. What will you do? We stood firm, immovable, never yielding in tame submission. Will you? We never die, for you are our voice in the realm of the living."

For context of this video clip, Churchill reflects on his ancestor, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, commander of the British forces in the War of Spanish Succession, at the Battle of Blenheim, 1704, a decisive victory of the Grand Alliance over the French under Louis XIV.



13 May 2017

The More Society Changes, the More It Stays the Same

Sub Tuum.

One of the traits of modern society, and indeed no doubt of many generations in the past, is one of hubris -- that we are so much more advanced and vastly superior than the "unenlightened" people of prior generations. The cries of "this is 2017" echo the self-same complaints I heard decades ago and those I heard when I was young. "We are born into a brave new age," we're told, "free of the chains of the past, brimming with freedom and opportunities that those poor people of the past never enjoyed." Like a broken record, it is the mantra of every new generation. 

To back up their belief comes in that old crutch, confirmation bias. If we're so superior and the past was so bad, then we must tell all that which supports that notion and suppress all that which might challenge our viewpoint. Indeed, our post-modern viewpoint cannot be challenged, because that would mean that we are not in fact special compared to the humans who went before. And, if real information to support our claims of modern superiority cannot be found, things can be made up. If a total myth is repeated enough, especially if by celebrities and teachers, then it becomes an accepted myth. Experience has shown that people cling to accepted myths like a drowning man to a life-preserver, even when the rescue line of simple truth is proffered. 

One common mantra is that medieval society was oppressive, particularly to women. There is freedom today, people say, because we live in modern, democratic societies in which we get to choose our leaders. Do we, though? Would it shatter the dream too much if it is pointed out that, to use the U.S.A. system as an example, people don't really choose their leaders so much as they vote for the people placed in front of them? The theoretical promise that anyone can be President does not in fact match reality.  And how is a system in which two political parties determine the pool from which the President shall be chosen really that much different than an hereditary monarchy? (And monarchs can and did change -- even from different families. Some were even elected.)  I could point out that the concept of democracy in its modern incarnation was born out of the Enlightenment and a direct challenge to the authority not so much of Kings, but of the Church (the Bible is replete with monarchies, but there is not one single democracy). But, that might challenge the idea (primarily promoted by Protestants) that Christianity and democracy actually go together. 

Returning to medieval society, there were probably more female rulers (and warriors) than there have been under democracy. That is not a scientific statement based on numerical analysis (which would be an interesting study itself), but simply based on my study of the middle ages. There were plenty of great female rulers and military leaders. Countess Caterina Sforza, the Lioness of Forli comes to mind. Quite deserving of her style of lioness, she held Pope Alexander VI and his son the mercenary and Cardinal Cesare Borgia at bay for quite some time.  Matilda, Margravine of Tuscany is another example. She ruled a vast swath of central Italy and personally led troops in defense of the Papacy. She was never conquered. In recognition of her service to the Church, there is a statue of her at Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican in which she is holding a marshal's baton in one hand and cradling the Papal tiara and keys in the other arm. Isabella, Queen of Spain. Sybilla, Queen of Jerusalem. Matilda, Holy Roman Empress and Queen of England. Constance of Antioch. Sichelgaita, Princess of Salerno and Duchess of Calabria. Melisdende de Rethel, Queen of Jerusalem. Isabella I, Queen of Jerusalem. Anne Stafford, Countess of Huntingdon. Margaret I, Countess of Flanders.

It is difficult to imagine a woman in such roles in modern society, yet it is the medieval period that we call backwards and oppressive. 

Now, those were powerful female rulers. What of other women in society? The following is an excerpt that discusses activity and equality in the medieval period: 

"The role of women in Medieval life and literature is a complicated one. Historical documents reflect little activity on the part of women unless they were somehow involved in religion, but literature is full of well-rounded female characters. Cook and Herzman argue, 'the frequency with which women appear in such legal documents [charters and wills] suggests that women’s activities in feudal society were more complex and public than often imagined.' In the stories of King Arthur, Lancelot and other notable romances of the time there is a shift in the roles of women; some of them are moving out of the shadows and becoming important parts of the story. In the early part of the Medieval period women’s roles were that of a supporting cast, as the Middle Ages reached its high point women began expressing their opinions and a more active and equal role in society. Some literature presented the women who were becoming more active in a less than positive light seeing them as troublesome and not knowing their place; but over all there is a positive reaction in the romance of the period." 

Anita Kay O’Pry-Reynolds. "Men and Women as Represented in Medieval Literature and Society." Saber and Scroll. Vol. 2. Iss. 2. Art. 6. Spring 2013.

Simple historical fact and open-minded, scientific analysis often forces people to step out of their comfort zone and challenge things that they have long held to be true. Understandably, confronting the historical and social myths held as fundamental truth with actual truth is almost always met with great resistance. Actual, verifiable historical fact is attacked as bogus. Logic is replaced with emotion. And it is all done in the name of defending against the cognitive dissonance that results when fiction-held-as-fact is confronted with fact.

People were oppressed during the middle ages -- but people are oppressed now in our so-called post-modern enlightened society. People have not changed as much as they think. Weapons have changed, but the heart of man is as dark as it ever was. Those who want to make an authentic positive difference on modern society would do well to abandon the idea that our modern society is inherently better than all that went before it. That is liberating and opens the mind to great possibilities to which it was previously closed through insular, small-minded hubris.