Morgana King died in March. Born in the province of Catania (Sicily), she moved to New York with her family at an early age and, with a clear if wispy voice, she enjoyed a fine career as a singer of popular music with a strong jazz orientation. Her recording of the Kern/Wodehouse standard “Bill” is a classic performance. Those who do not have an ear for popular music may recall her as Mamma Corleone. Since “de mortuis nihil nisi bonum,” should be the rule for normal human beings (which excludes politicians, journalists, and academics), I’ll say nothing about the late...
These days, when they tire of texting and tweeting, mental incompetents take to the streets and pretend to be political activists.
Since the Persian Wars—like the Punic Wars, the Crusades, and the West’s ongoing struggle with Islam—serve to define who we are, perhaps it would be useful to take a brief look at the parts of Herodotus that are directly relevant to the cultural struggle between the West and its enemies.
I have heard liberal Catholic priests and Protestant ministers say that there is something “unchristian” about the death penalty. I have even heard those who say that the Church has always been opposed to executions, but I challenge them to cite one passage of Scripture or one creed, one conciliar document, one encyclical that unequivocally condemns the execution of murderers.
It is death that makes life so precious. Even Adam and Eve, without knowing it, lived under the shadow of the death that might come to them if they rebelled against their creator, and some protoplasmic earth-blob that were to go on growing throughout eternity would endure an existence without moral significance.
Anyone who tries to lead a Christian life or, indeed, has even known a few serious Christians, becomes aware of the tension between the exacting standards of Sermon on the Mount and the gravitational pull of everyday human necessities. He remains faithful to his wife but cannot ignore the charms of “the cute little waitress at the corner cafe”; he contributes to his Church and to a host of charities, but the cupidity that he acknowledges as the root of all evil draws him every morning to study what the markets are doing in the pages of the Devil’s own...
Philippe would not be the last King of France to violate his marriage vows—so hard it was and is for the Church to enforce Christian marriage on the rich and powerful. Nonetheless, the papacy had scored a major victory, and future kings would not be able to repudiate their wives and marry their mistresses ad libitum—or ad libidinem. Between Philippe’s marital woes and the first divorce of Henry VIII, the Christian ideal of marriage, while it might be circumvented by kings and emperors, could not be entirely disregarded.
In the Revolutionary regimes that emerged in the 19th century, in both Europe and North America, marriage and family have been enslaved and corrupted by government confiscation of their authority. By contrast, the breakdown of Roman order forced our barbarian ancestors to rely on family and kinship. However, the barbarians did their best to resist Christian morality.