Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Some of this I have touched on before so I will not go through it all again but it seems to me that authentic Christianity is, to put it mildly, not for the faint of heart. The Bible describes eternal, celestial beings of another plain of existence locked in a cosmic struggle for domination, giant monsters, a witch summoning a ghost, dragons, people and animals being possessed by demons, people being raised from the dead and I could go on at length about the angels, as I have somewhat before on these pages. Some of them do or can look like us, sure, but the description of them in their own habitat is terrifying. Some have bestial bodies, three heads, lots of wings, others are constantly engulfed in flames, some are giant wheels covered with eyeballs and so on, real nightmare fuel. They kill children, slaughter armies by the thousands and, you will notice, even when appearing on a happy occasion, always start by telling the person they are appearing before to stop being afraid. They are not chubby, flying babies folks. If you ever see an angel that is not ‘under cover’ you will most likely drop to your knees in mind-melting terror.
Authentic Christianity, as I understand it, has nothing to do with this modern day collection of churches full of “nice” people who are all about sunshine and social justice, who think demons are just metaphors and God is so loving that He would never actually condemn anybody. Yes, God does love everyone but in a way that is far beyond our understanding. As far as being so loving as to never punish anyone, ever, all I can say is to tell that to the population that drowned in the flood or the parents of all the dead Egyptian children wiped out by an angel because their Pharaoh would not release the Israelites from bondage. God is not your BFF in the sky, God is not your “copilot” and God is not your ‘buddy’. God is beyond our comprehension, God is unfathomable to us and His ways are not our ways. God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-seeing) and omnipresent which, to put it in an unusual way but one which I prefer, is to say that God is so huge that He fills the entire universe and is everywhere at once. God is fair, God is just but if you think he’s too nice to punish you, just remember that when Jesus Christ died on the cross the sun was blacked out because God the Father turned His back on His own Son because he had just taken on the sin of every person to ever exist.
This surely must sound like a rant at this point but, I promise, I am not going off-topic today merely to vent my frustrations. I do have a story to tell which, I have found out lately, does not seem to be very well known even among life-long Christians. Yet, to explain how we get there, I did want to put this background in place and also call to mind a previous explanation I have given on these pages. My late grandfather was in the habit of giving people very distinct nicknames and these nicknames, in my immediate family anyway, tended to impose on us a certain “theme” if you like. My oldest sister, for example, had a nickname which caused the cartoon character of Tweety Bird to become her sort of mascot and over the years she accumulated as gifts just about every imaginable collectible featuring the sharp-tongued yellow canary. My nickname, on the other hand, caused me to accumulate over the years a similar assortment of things like skulls and skeletons and this also came to include items of a religious nature.
Those of you who have read the Bible will likely be aware that the hill upon which Christ was crucified was called Golgotha and you might also be aware that this name translates as, ‘the place of the skull’. What you may not know, however, is how that hill got such a name. It was called that because the people of that time believed that beneath that hill was buried the skull of Adam, the originator of the human race, the man crafted by God’s own hand. Is this story true? Certainly, I cannot say for sure but I like to believe it as not only do I find it beautiful but I also think it makes a sort of sense. The beauty is that Christ, the perfect man who redeemed humanity, was sacrificed at or near the spot where Adam, the fallen man who condemned humanity, met his ultimate end. There is a sort of completion and perfection in that which I find impossible to resist. Whether the skull of Adam was actually down there or not, I have no idea but I do think the belief that it was is something not ridiculous to believe. After all, it was obviously called that before Christ was crucified there and so it had to have been the Jews who named the hill “the place of the skull” and the Jews would certainly not have invented such a story which would fit so perfectly with Jesus being the Son of God, something which goes against their entire being as they are. If anything, they would have had every reason to re-name the place and suppress such a story.
Happy Halloween from
The Mad Monarchist 💀
Photo Gallery of Dead Royalty
Profile of The Real Count Dracula
The Blood Countess
A Macabre Monarchist?
Mad Rant: God Ain't Fuzzy!
Thursday, October 26, 2017
|Emperor Constantine the Great|
It is evidence of how far modern Christianity has drifted from its original, traditional, roots that all of this is mostly unknown to modern Christians but the Roman emperor was seen as an extremely significant, even essential, figure for the Christian religion. The early Christians and Medieval Christians certainly understood this which is proven by the long tradition, today almost completely unknown, of prophecies, visions and other miraculous events concerning the Roman emperors. Regular readers will know as I have talked about these before such as the Emperor Augustus being revealed a vision of the birth of Christ, the Emperor Tiberius being moved to forbid any persecution of the Christians or the Emperor Marcus Aurelius putting a halt to such persecutions after witnessing a miracle in battle called down by Christians within his army. There was even a legend in the Middle Ages that Pope St Gregory the Great had momentarily resurrected Emperor Trajan in order to baptize him and spare this model ruler from the torments of Hell.
|Emperor Basil I|
The fact that the Investiture Dispute happened in the first place is evidence of the fact that church and state were not separate and that no one could imagine them fully being so. This occurred during the imperial reign of the Salian Dynasty but was to come up again, in a way, during the subsequent reign of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty. Emperor Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa), feeling himself affronted by Pope Alexander III, earned the eternal wrath of the Catholic Church by taking the side of Anti-Pope Victor IV against him. However, he had initially tried to remain neutral, advised the bishops in his lands to do the same and refused to recognize either papal claimant, calling for a council to be summoned to decide the matter. When Alexander III refused on the grounds that the pope cannot be subject to the decisions of a council (and being rather unpopular likely fearful of the outcome), it was only then that Emperor Frederick gave his support to Victor IV. He did this because of the long history, again, going back to Constantine, of the Emperor being so significant a figure in the Church. In his view, if the Church could not sort out its own problems, the Emperor must step in to decide the issue.
|The coronation of Charlemagne|
Although doctrinal disputes certainly exist, it is also true that a major foundational reason for the very existence of two distinct versions of the Christian religion, one eastern and one western, is due to the fact that the Western Roman Emperor was eliminated and only the Pope remained whereas, in the east, the Emperor carried on being the one expected to maintain discipline in the Church, summon councils and so on as had been the case before. When a new version of the empire was revived in the west, with the coronation of Charlemagne, it was initiated by the pope and later disputes arose because what the pope had given, the pope felt entitled to take away, in addition to the fact that he had gained land, subjects and political power and was thus a political player for the first time. The popes, though they tried, could never have the same sort of disputes with the eastern emperors given that their reign extended back to the original Roman Empire, predated the papacy and was not therefore in the gift of the pope to give or to take away. What neither ever did was to presume you could have one or the other and still have traditional Christianity as it had been handed down to them.
This period, specifically because it was so troubled, inadvertently highlights the importance that the imperial monarchy had for the Church. Whereas the Gothic west had largely fallen under the sway of the Arian heresy, King Theodoric the Great being an Arian, the east remained more solidly of the old faith. Pope John I, though old and frail, was dispatched to Constantinople to persuade the Emperor to stop being so harsh and discriminatory toward the Arians. Imagine that for a moment, the Roman Catholic Pope went to the Byzantine Emperor to plead the case of the Arian heresy! How successful he was seems to be somewhat in dispute, some accounts saying he did get the Emperor to back off the Arians somewhat, others saying Justinian committed to nothing substantial and sent him home. In any event, it did Pope John little good for King Theodoric had him arrested soon after returning, fearing that he had been plotting with the Emperor against him to retake Italy and the frail, old pope died in captivity. Nonetheless, there was some balance, there was recourse if one side got out of line.
|Coronation of Emperor Otto the Great|
I have said before and will go on saying that for the majority of Christian history none of the faithful would have been able to imagine having Christianity without an emperor as an integral part of the picture. I am also firmly convinced that it is no coincidence that Christianity is in such a sad state today when an emperor or even anything of the sort has been absent for so long. The enemies of all I hold dear about western civilization certainly recognized that taking down the imperial power would aid in taking down the spiritual power as well. This is not, however, to say that they are solely responsible. If everything had been working as it should have been, I don’t think they would have stood a chance. In the west, the papacy certainly did a great deal of damage to the traditional hierarchy for the sake of politics only to find that not long after the empire ceased to exist in any way other than a name the papacy itself no longer had much real influence either, having frittered it away by constantly shifting positions. Now the spiritual authority of Christianity is, I think, in real danger of being lost and there is no emperor to come to the rescue as in the days of Otto III.
|Emperor Valentinian II|
More along these lines:
The Tiburtine Sybil & Imperial Prophecy
Christ and the Emperor Tiberius
Monday, October 23, 2017
|Coronation of Otto the Great of Germany|
This issue of titles can be very confusing but it is rather important in understanding why certain historical events were so important when, on the surface, it may seem as though there should have been no difficulty about them. Even the title at the very top, “Emperor of the Romans” was rather complicated. Technically, a Roman was and is simply a native of the city of Rome, however the title could be seen, and was, to refer to “Romans” in the broader sense of basically all Europeans or at least all Christian Europeans which, eventually, they all were. Maps might show the actual city of Rome as being part of the Holy Roman Empire but the emperors did not usually rule Rome but rather the popes ruled the city of Rome and part of the reason why there was so much ‘storm and stress’ between the popes and the emperors was because, originally, the popes were supposed to be superior to the emperor in their spiritual capacity but subjects of the emperors in the temporal sphere. It did not usually work out this way in practice though as neither wished to be overruled by the other on any issue.
|Emperor Romulus surrenders his crown|
In the first place, relatively soon after Odoacer became King of Italy, the Eastern Roman Empire invaded and recaptured the southern half of the peninsula and later other conquerors did as well so that different political entities were established there and the King of Italy only actually held even nominal rule over the northern half of the peninsula. Yet, even then, the German emperor who was King of Italy did not usually rule even northern Italy himself because of the nature of the empire. Northern Italy was ruled by people like the Doge of Venice, the Duke of Milan, the Duke of Savoy and so on who may or may not have been loyal to the German emperor and their nominal king depending on the situation. Quite often, to prevent the emperors from ruling Italy, the pope would form a coalition of the rulers of the northern Italian states to band together in opposition to the emperors. Sometimes they succeeded, such as under Pope Alexander III, and sometimes they did not, such as under Pope Clement VII. His defeat, by the way, is what resulted in the victorious Charles V being the last Emperor to be crowned by the Pope himself.
|Crown of Prussia|
At the very end of the life of the Holy Roman Empire, this ban on more than one king was thrown completely out the window as the victorious Napoleon Bonaparte began to redraw the map of central Europe as he negotiated a new continental order centered around France. This is when, in addition to the King of Prussia, you suddenly had a King of Saxony, a King of Bavaria and a King of Wurttemberg within the historic lands of Germany and different imperial electors than there had been before. Ultimately, however, none of that really mattered as by then the Empire had become so nominal as to be practically nonexistent anyway. Even before the time of Napoleon, when one spoke of the “Emperor” they actually meant the ruler of Austria as he clearly did not rule the whole of the German nation. In 1804 the Emperor Francis II, wishing to end the charade as well as preventing Napoleon himself from being elected, abolished the Holy Roman Empire of the Germans and declared himself Emperor Francis I of Austria, which later became the “Dual-Monarchy” of Austria-Hungary under Francis Joseph.
|Emp. Ferdinand wearing the Crown of Italy|
The subject can be much more complicated if one chooses to go into all of the details and all of the changes over time but, I hope this little summary will at least give those unfamiliar a better grasp of the titles associated with the Holy Roman Empire and perhaps make certain past (and future) articles easier to understand.
Friday, October 20, 2017
While his brother was trained for the army, Prince Manuel was set to enter the Portuguese Naval Academy for his own military career. However, all of those plans came to ruin on the tragic day of February 1, 1908 when a republican terrorist gang assassinated the King, the heir to the throne and wounded Prince Manuel in the arm. He likely would have been killed as well had it not been for the heroic actions of his mother Queen Amelie, instead, he became King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarves under the most traumatic of circumstances. Although he confessed to being unprepared for such a position and forced to rely on his loyal ministers for advice, the new, young monarch did take some immediate and decisive action, dismissing the prime minister and his government which had presided over such a disaster and replacing it with a new government led by the distinguished Admiral Francisco Joaquin Ferreira do Amaral. It was hoped that this new government would encourage national unity and, in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, it seemed to work. However, the republican conspiracy was found to be more widespread than any had originally realized.
The plan of the young monarch was to try to tame the socialist party, which, odd as it seems now had never fared well in Portugal, in order to make them a more palatable alternative to the republican party. Of course, being socialists, they were naturally republicans as well but the hope was that they could be made to work within the existing system of constitutional monarchy and that leftist agitators would abandon the cause of the republicans who had no other goal than the ruination of the kingdom. This would be no small trick as it would require two political miracles; making the republicans go over to the socialists and yet not have the socialists simply replace them as the primary threat to the monarchy. King Manuel II hoped that he could weaken the republicans and, perhaps naively, that the socialists could be a force for good in the country. Unfortunately, though perhaps not surprisingly, this never really worked but nor was it given much of a chance to. The situation was deteriorating faster than anyone would have expected. The efforts to modernize and any moderation on the part of the Crown was the scent of blood in the water for the republicans.
The King and royal officials knew something was up and on October 3, 1910 put the soldiers of the Lisbon garrison on the alert and took care to stay at a different location than his uncle and heir-to-the throne, Prince Royal Afonso, in case the worse should happen. Rumors of a coup attempt were thick but republican conspirators nonetheless succeeded, with some of their fellow members serving in the army, in sparking a mutiny first in the Sixteenth Infantry and later First Artillery Regiments. Men from other units joined as well along with a few hundred civilians and, after clashing with police and some municipal guard troops along the way, set themselves up behind barricades in Rotunda Square. By the next morning some naval crews had mutinied as well, one group of rebels even seizing the cruiser Dom Carlos I, the situation in the capital was momentarily deadlocked. The rebels had achieved all of their aims and yet there was no mass uprising of the people as they had expected. They controlled a major city square and Alcantara parish, but little more and they could not remain there indefinitely. With no movement on the part of the public, many rebel leaders gave up and went home. Unfortunately, the firebrand Machado Santos stayed and determined to carry on.
The palace did come under fire from ships in the harbor but the King kept his cool and contacted the minister president about what forces needed to be sent to reinforce the position. As the attack on Rotunda had already failed, he was advised again that it would be easier to get him out than to get sufficient loyal troops in. The King agreed to evacuate to a military school at Mafra, dispatching many of the soldiers sent to escort him to fight the rebels. However, when he arrived, he found only a small fraction of the soldiers expected and by that time had not many with him either. It was decided to bring the Queen Mother and Dowager Queen Maria Pia of Savoy to Mafra and then they would all go to Porto to make a proper defense and organize a monarchist counter-offensive to take back control of Lisbon. Fighting was still going on there but it came to end in an odd way, all due to a misunderstanding.
King Manuel II was extremely civil about the whole ordeal. After landing at Gibraltar he even ordered the yacht to return to Portugal on the grounds that it was government property and not his own. He would live out the rest of his life in exile in Great Britain. For a kingdom that dated back to 1139, with roots stretching back even further, it seemed an anticlimactic end, more like the result of a bizarre accident than a successful conspiracy. King Manuel II still regarded himself as King of Portugal, as did the other crowned heads of Europe and, indeed, there was plenty of reason to hope for a restoration as the First Portuguese Republic proved to be an incoherent, anticlerical, monument to political incompetence from start to finish. In 1911 and 1912 there were efforts at a royal restoration, showing considerable public support for the monarchy but each were unsuccessful. In 1913 the King married Princess Augusta Victoria von Hohenzollern but the two never had any children.
There were also, unfortunately but not surprisingly, problems which the monarchists created for themselves. Ever since the Liberal Wars of 1828-1834 between the constitutional and absolute monarchists (basically the Portuguese version of the Spanish Carlist Wars) there had been a faction of the Portuguese Royal Family providing a rival claim to the throne in opposition to the victorious constitutional monarchists. At the time of the overthrow of King Manuel II, the absolutist claimant was Miguel, Duke of Braganza and this division doubtless hurt the overall cause of monarchy. It was also all the more pressing given that Manuel II had no heir to continue the constitutionalist line after the death of his uncle in 1920 with no heirs either.
As it was, Manuel II, the last King of Portugal to date, died of suffocation from a throat problem on July 2, 1932 which made the Miguelist heir Duarte Nuno the ‘last man standing’ and basically the only option for carrying the monarchist cause forward. By this time the First Portuguese Republic had fallen apart and a corporatist “New State” was in place led by Prime Minister Antonio Oliveira de Salazar who had begun to stabilize things and slowly bring the country back toward prosperity. A devout Catholic and inclined to monarchist sympathies, he allowed the remains of King Manuel II to come to Portugal for burial with full state honors. The sad occasion gathered huge crowds, showing again how much popular support the monarchy still had in Portugal. Salazar talked of restoring the monarchy and seriously considered it in 1951 but, perhaps because of the legal disputes and lingering rivalries within the monarchist community, ultimately never did so. When his regime was brought down by a military coup in 1974 the revived Portuguese republic has had basically only liberal or leftist governments ever since which, of course, have little time for any talk of monarchy.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Word arrives that Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, is coming to Doorn to visit the Kaiser. Princess Hermine hopes that such a high profile visit could mean that Hitler is about to offer the Kaiser his throne back. Needless to say, this visit never happened and would have been quite absurd. The Kaiser was visited, before the war, by Air Marshal Hermann Goering and this is mentioned in the film, the Kaiser being less than impressed with the outlandish Nazi. For Himmler to visit the Kaiser, on the other hand, would have been extremely bizarre to say the least. He was a party official after all and, especially after being visited by Goering, to have someone like Himmler come would have been seen as a slight rather than an honor. Himmler was basically a policeman, had been too young for action in World War I and I can only imagine this was put into the story because of the reputation Himmler has today as possibly the most sinister Nazi of all. People today tend to forget that, at the time, Himmler hard made the list of highest-ranking Nazis whereas Hermann Goering was Hitler’s right-hand man, the second most powerful man in the Reich and Hitler’s chosen successor
Captain Brandt, however, knows that the Kaiser is being tricked. Himmler, in another scene which would never have happened in real life, informs him prior to his meeting with Wilhelm II that he will inform the Kaiser that Hitler will restore his throne but that this is a ruse intended only to flush remaining German royalists out into the open so that they can be dealt with. Brandt does not keep this secret, being already in the midst of a conflict of loyalties concerning his affair with Mieke. Once Himmler has left, Mieke confronts the Kaiser out in the woods while he is chopping wood (which actually was the Kaiser’s primary pastime during his exile) and reveals herself as the British spy. However, she was not ordered to kill him but rather to pass word to him that the British would offer him a safe haven in England and the restoration of his throne after the Allies win the war. The Kaiser can only marvel at the absurdity of the situation; after twenty years of waiting receiving two offers for restoration in a single night, neither of which he can accept.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Did Emperor Frederick I have problems with the Church in his time? Most would say, "yes" but I would add that his problems were more with the papacy than with the Church as a whole. Problems there certainly were though and ultimately this stemmed from the fact that the First German Reich, referred to officially as the "Holy Roman Empire" had a very different beginning than the original Roman Empire which preceded it. It all came down to the fact that this new entity had begun with the Pope, St Leo III, crowning Charlemagne "Emperor of the Romans" and, as such, the papal view was that the imperial crown was theirs to give and theirs to take away. Emperor Frederick I, as with many of his fellow kaisers, needless to say, did not tend to share this view. There was also a territorial dispute which originated from, basically, the Pope giving land to the King of Sicily which Frederick regarded as being part of the empire without checking with the emperor first and after the Emperor had signed an agreement with a previous pope that promised there would be no such agreement between the Emperor and the King of Sicily without papal approval, so it seemed like a double-cross to the Germans.
Especially in these dishonest and disjointed times we live in, I think it is important to keep a few things in mind before being too hard on Emperor Frederick. He was one of the few German emperors to actually be crowned by the Pope (in 1155) with his troops killing off the Roman republicans who had been antagonizing the pontiff while he was there. Emperor Frederick, though he was excommunicated along with anti-Pope Victor IV, only had a problem with that because from his first day to his last he considered himself a staunch Roman Catholic and never considered being anything else. Indeed, he was widely considered a very devout and pious man who wanted the papal and imperial powers to work together but did insist that the pope recognize the imperial power which he wielded in secular matters. He was not some raving, unorthodox, heretic who was, for example, trying to argue that mothers could kill their children or that two men can get married. Finally, it is also worth remembering that even after all of his trials and difficulties, Emperor Frederick I died while going on Crusade to retake the Holy Land from Islam. In short, while not denying or covering up the very real differences Frederick Barbarossa had with the papacy, I think Catholics should not be too hard on him. The first view of him that comes to mind should not be that of a villain.