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. 

16 April 2017

Patriarchal Address at Easter 2017 - Allocuzione Patriarcale della Santa Pasqua 2017

Sub Tuum.


The Italian version is first, followed by the English version. 


*****************************************************

Ai membri della Corte di S. Maria di Walsingham, grazia e pace, e la mia Benedizione Apostolica in questa Domenica della Santa Pasqua, anno Domini 2017. Christus resurgens est! Oggi, celebriamo la vittoria di Cristo sul sepolcro. Celebriamo la gloriosa resurrezione di nostro Signore Jesu Christo. Il Sanctum Triduum è un tempo di morte ed un tempo della vita. È un tempo delle tenebre ed un tempo della luce. Il magno mistero è che per vivere è necessa-rio morire. Dobbiamo morire al mondo e vivere solo in Cristo. Cristo fu l’agnello perfetto per pagare il grandissimo debito del mondo. Ma, non possiamo credere solamente, senza opera, senza sofferenza. In verità dobbiamo appenderci alla croce come Cristo, poichè Cristo ci ha detto che dobbiamo prendere la nostra croce e seguirlo.
Oggi il mondo cammina nelle tenebre. Nonostante, in Cristo abbi-amo la speranza della vita aeterna per tutti chi credono veramente in Lui. Chi crede veramente in Cristo è ligato altamente alla vera Chiesa di Cristo, l’unica, santa, cattolica, ed apostolica Chiesa di Cris-to. Anche chi crede veramente in Cristo vive in accordo colla veris-sima dottrina cristiana. Il cuore della dottrina viene del Santo Cuore di Cristo.
Come sempre, esiste una forza grandissima contro la Chiesa e contro il popolo cristiano. Quella forza è una forza dell'anticristo. Questa è una grandissima guerra, la guerra aeterna tra bene e male. Amici in Cristo, dobbiamo combattere come soldati della Santa Cro-ce! Ma la nostra arma la più forte non è la pistola, non è la fucile, ma è la Santa Messa. Un sacerdote celebrando la Santa Messa fa più con-tro i nemici della Chiesa e della pace di tutti gli eserciti fortissimi del mondo.

Anche, come vi ho detto l’ultima Pasqua, sempre comportarvi, in abito appropriato, con parole appropriate, come ecclesiastici e come nobili di questa corte patriarcale antica. Sacerdoti, celebrate la Santa Messa per la pace e per la vittoria. Tutti di voi, orate il sacratissimo rosario. Sempre avete corragio di dire la verità dei Santi Vangeli, an-che se significa la vostra morte o un danno a voi. Prego, nonostante, che Dio ci preserva da ogni caduta!

Per proclamare il santo Vangelo non è l’odio. La verità è l’amore. Tutto l’amore nel mondo è trovato nel santo Vangelo di Cristo. Lo proclamiamo precisamente perchè amiamo tutti!
Oggi anche sono molto contento informarvi che abbiamo adesso una missione in Africa, ed i seminaristi stano avanzandi all’ordine dei Sacerdoti. Anche l’apostolato della Guardia di Walsingham, una con-tinuazione moderna del Gran Balivato e delle due Grandi Priorie dell’Ordine Teutonico Inperiale conferite al nostro Patriarcato e liga-ta alle diversi unità del patrimonio del patriarcato, continua di pros-perare e crescere. La Dichiarazione d’Intenti della Guardia è “Ispir-ando le vite di forza, compassione, e pace.” La Guardia è veramente un ministero religioso ed una vocazione religiosa.

Allora, torniamo alla Santa Pasqua, questo tempo gioioso. Ringranziamo per nostro Signore che ha appeso sulla Croce, quello legno benedetto, e che ha vinto il sepolcro e l’inferno stesso. Allora, preparatevi ricevere la benedizione di Dio.

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 Easter Sunday A.D. 2017. Christus resurgens est! Today, we celebrate Christ's victo-ry over the tomb. We celebrate the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Sacred Triduum is a time of death and of life. It is a time of darkness and of light. The great mystery is that in order to live you must die. We must die to the world and live only in Christ. Christ was the perfect lamb to pay the enormous debt of the world. But, we can't merely believe and stop there, without work, without suffering. Truly we must hang on the cross like Christ, because Christ told us that we must take up our cross and follow him.

Today the world walks in darkness. Despite that fact, in Christ we have the hope of everlasting life for all who truly believe in Him. Those who truly believe in Christ's will strongly align themselves with the true Church of Christ, the one, Holy, Catholic, and Apostol-ic Church of Christ. Those who believe in Christ live according to the true and authentic Christian doctrine. The heart of the doctrine is derived from and of the very essence of the Sacred Heart of Christ.
As always, there is a great force aligned against the Church and against the Christian people. That force is a force of the Antichrist. This is a great war, the eternal war between good and evil. Dear friends in Christ, we must fight as soldiers of the Cross! But our strongest weapon is not the pistol and not the rifle, but rather the Holy Mass. A priest celebrating mass does more than all strongest armies in the world put together.

Also, as I told you all last Easter, always conduct yourselves properly, in appropriate dress, with appropriate words, as clerics and nobles of the ancient and Patriarchal Court. Priests, celebrate the mass for peace and for victory. All of you, pray the Holy Rosary. Always be brave and preach the truth of the Holy Gospels, even if it means your death or harm comes to you. I pray, however, the God will preserve us from all harm!

To proclaim the holy Gospel is not hatred. The truth contained therein is love. All the love in the world is found in the Holy Gospel of Christ. We proclaim the Gospel precisely because we love all the people of the world!

Today also I am very pleased that we have now a mission in Af-rica, and seminarians are diligently progressing towards the Order of Priests. Even the apostolate of the Walsingham Guard, a modern continuation of the Grand Bailiwick and the two Grand Priories if the Imperial Teutonic Order vested in our Patriarchate, joined with the various other units that comprise part of the patrimony of the Patriarchate, continues to thrive and grow. The Mission Statement of the Guard is "Inspiring lives of strength, compassion, and peace." The Guard is truly a religious ministry and vocation.

So, returning specifically to Easter, this time of great joy, we give thanks unto the Lord that He hung on the Cross, that blessed wood, and who conquered both the grave and hell itself. Therefore, prepare yourselves to receive God's blessing.

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

14 April 2017

Who is Responsible for the Death of Christ?

Sub Tuum. 

Who is responsible for the murder of Christ? It cannot simply be blamed on the Jews, though it was the Jewish authorities who, out of jealousy, sought the destruction of Jesus and delivered Him to the Romans. Neither can it simply be blamed on the Romans, as they were faced with a riot that they had to put down - their main concern rather than with Christ Himself. Even Pilate washed his hands of the matter. So on whom do we place the blame? All you need to do is look in the mirror. It is something for which each and every one of us is responsible. We cannot merely relegate the Passion to a time in the past, for our Lord knows neither time nor space. Was humanity fallen and in need of salvation then, but not thereafter? Certainly not. Are we all saved now because of an historical event 2000 years ago without any responsibility on our part now? Not at all. Christ came at a specific time to this world, yes - but He came to save all people across all time. Just as we have the same opportunity at salvation, we also bear the same responsibility as those who were alive at the time of Christ.

07 April 2017

American Attacks on Syria

Sub Tuum.

Statement of the Patriarch of St. Stephen:

The U.S. President's military action of today can be called nothing short of reckless, irresponsible, inappropriate, and illegitimate. The sabre-rattling of yesterday was a clear pretext to war. That military action happened so soon thereafter clearly suggests that commentary was nothing but an excuse used to justify something already planned.

One must ask that, other than cleaning up the mess of ISIS that the Americans created, what right does the United States have to conduct an act of war against a foreign power? In addition to the simple fact that military intervention of this nature in Syria is complex at best on its own, the proximity of Russian troops makes this a potential powder-keg. Hopefully this will not be the site where the fools of the twenty-first century destroy lands and people in a proxy war between two superpowers.

It is time for the United States military to cease obeying foolish and likely illegal orders. One cannot be absolved simply because one was following orders.