It is hardly ever killing time

On domestic flights one of two things will fill my time.

I either fall more or less instantly to sleep – rather in the manner of Capt. Aubrey – or I read.

Todayen route I was able to devour the latest number of The Weekly Standard (blessings on the reader who arranged it’s mail box advent each week). This is rich fare for the brain and joy for those who like snappy prose sprinkled with good quotes and quotables.

Here is a bit from Edward Short’s review of a biography of Elizabeth, the late Queen Mum.

Regular readers will know why I share this:

Elizabeth never granted interviews to newspapers. She agreed with Walter Bagehot that "above things our royalty is to be reverenced, and if you begin to poke about it you cannot reverence it… Its mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic."

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in On the road, SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to It is hardly ever killing time

  1. GirlCanChant says:

    Hmm, doesn’t sound like she’s talking about royalty to me.

  2. Jack Hughes says:

    I like to pray the Rosary whilst flying or travelling by train.

  3. Roland de Chanson says:

    By all means, let us rccall the mystery and magic of English protestant royalty and what it meant for Irish Catholics. Let us remember that what was life to the royals and their lackeys was death to the Irish.

    By all means, let the daylight in. Let it illumine the perverted adulterous “prince” of Wales and his fervent Buddhistic hopes to be reincarnated as the hygienic serviette of his mistress (a fitting fate for a faithless fool). Let it illumine the “princess” of Wales and her dalliances with stableboys and Mohammedan merchants. Let it illumine their befouled progeny who feign allegiance to genocidal nazis. All in good fun, lads, eh?

    Anglia, fias respublica. Sicut Roma, reges tyranni perfidi ad inferos! (England, may you become a republic. As with Rome, down with perfidious and tyrannical royalty!)

    Let us only hope that England’s next experiment with kinglessness is less murderous than the first. Remember Drogheda!

  4. PghCath says:

    I recently saw the truth of Bagehot’s statement in “George, Nicholas and Wilhelm,” a great book about Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and King George V of Great Britain in the years before World War I. The utter ineptitude of these men – cousins, incidentally – is fascinating as it is repulsive. A very interesting read for anyone looking for a bit of secular history.

  5. That is English reticence at its best. (Sorry, Roland…I have constant conflict between the Anglo and the Irish wit’in me!)
    And I agree with the Queen Mum…”Its mystery is its life.”
    I think A. von Hildebrand would agree, as well. There is something very European, very Catholic about this…methinks!

  6. rakesvines says:

    Whew! For a moment there I thought you were referring to a time to kill. I wondered what Pelosi did this time?

  7. Hidden One says:

    The elements of the quote given by Fr. Z are most interesting and useful when applied to things other than European royalty.

  8. momravet says:

    There is nothing special about royalty – it’s only a phantasm of our true King.

  9. robtbrown says:

    By all means, let us recall the mystery and magic of English protestant royalty and what it meant for Irish Catholics. Let us remember that what was life to the royals and their lackeys was death to the Irish.
    Comment by Roland de Chanson

    No king was as tyrannical to the Irish as Oliver Cromwell, who, you might remember, was anything but a monarchist.

  10. robtbrown: Yes.
    Even if the English royalty are “separated” from Rome, can’t there still be the foundational grace and blessing?; after all, Catholic monarchs were “consecrated” and entrusted with the “kingly” munera of Christ to be faithful guardians of their subjects and were a definite part of the Catholic “order”…maybe not as bishops, priests, deacons, religious; nevertheless…
    I’m no monarchist (I’m an agnostic in these political matters…the social teachings of the Church, absolutely; governments? Have no idea).
    But even the Queen Mum could have a “grace” by the very fact of being an English monarch.
    Was this broken when Elizabeth I was “excommunicated” or whatever happened at this time?
    God is ever-greater. Just musings from a very stupid monastic priest.

  11. kallman says:

    your seat looks cramped and your drink tired. Which airline is that? I hope you had an aisle seat, it looks like coach

  12. Roland de Chanson says:

    robtbrown,

    You must have missed my last sentence.

    Actually, while not a monarchist myself (unless I should discover I am of the blood royal, or as daffy Dan Brown calls it “sang real”!) I think the murder of Charles I was heinous, even if Cromwell had been a Washington. The same for the slaughter of King Louis XVI and Tsar Nicholas II and his family. Each of those regicidal revolutions was impermanent.

    Only the American endures. At least until the affirmative action abortion messiah in the White House stages a palace coup and crowns himself caliph.

  13. Rouxfus says:

    Glad to see you’ve got an iPad, father. It is a wonderful resource for the faith – the amount of free out-of-copyright classics of the faith available in the iBookstore is astounding, and then there is the amazing iPieta app… best $2.99 you will ever spend on an app.

    The mobile formatting that WDTPRS serves up seems to be better suited for iPhones and other mobile browsers than it is for the iPad. I find the font really small, and you can’t pinch-zoom it bigger. It also produces really wide line lengths, in both orientations which is tiring to read. I realize there is a choice at the bottom to view the full site but that choice is not sticky.

    Would it be possible to teach the device-sniffing code on your excellent site to just serve up the regular site content to iPad users instead of the mobile-optimized site?

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    Some Anglo-Catholics have gone even further than condemning King Charles’s murder as heinous . . .

    Society of King Charles the Martyr

    Apparently he is the only saint ever declared/canonized by the Anglicans post-separation . . . .

  15. Mariana says:

    Well exactly. And “never explain, never complain.”

  16. robtbrown says:

    You must have missed my last sentence.
    Comment by Roland de Chanson

    I didn’t miss it, but was just pointing out that the worst treatment of the Irish didn’t come from the monarchy. Tyranny is not limited to royal govt.

    The American Revolution had little in common with the French, Russian, or British. Americans were not interested in overthrowing the king, just in gaining independence from GB. Given the expanse of the ocean between GB and the colonies, there was an air of inevitability to such independence.

  17. irishgirl says:

    PghCath-was the book you read by any chance called, ‘King, Kaiser, Tsar’? I found this book in the local B&N and spent several hours this past weekend reading it.

    Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany was inept (not to mention a little ‘nuts’)-and maybe Nicholas II too (he was totally unprepared to be Tsar). The only one of the royal cousins to ‘survive’ was George V-and he had to adapt to a changing post-war world.

    The history of royalty is always fascinating. I was fortunate to have traveled to England many times, and one of my favorite places was Windsor Castle, where George V is buried.

  18. AnAmericanMother says:

    robtbrown,

    The Mass Bay Colonists (they were loons even then; must be something in the water) were anti-monarchical. They hid a couple of the Regicides for awhile.

    Read all about it here:

    The Hunt for the Regicides

    The author is a bit too rah-rah over executing kings for my taste, but American Heritage magazine is a great resource. They have scanned all their back issues – the inevitable typos of course but still worth having if you don’t happen to have all the issues back to 1947 (which I do – my house is infested with books and magazines). The only downside is that you don’t get all the marvelous pictures.

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    irishgirl,

    George V had a gritty realism that his cousins lacked. He also had much less practical power. British monarchs were painted into a corner as far as actual power was concerned by the antics of George IV (it’s sheer happenstance that the country didn’t turn republic out of disgust).

  20. irishgirl says:

    AnAmericanMother-what you said is true!

  21. robtbrown says:

    The Mass Bay Colonists (they were loons even then; must be something in the water) were anti-monarchical. They hid a couple of the Regicides for awhile.
    Comment by AnAmericanMother

    I don’t doubt that’s true, but the American Revolution was not aimed at overthrowing the king.

  22. AnAmericanMother says:

    robt,

    The radical wing of the American revolutionists would have been happy to kill Geo. III if they could have gotten hold of him.

    The old Puritan strongholds were hotbeds of anti-monarchists, Ranters, and Fifth Monarchy men.

    Fortunately cooler heads prevailed, and the radicals (including Sam Adams and his bully boys) were suppressed.

    The cooler heads, as you correctly note, had no interest in overthrowing the king. In fact, at first they had no interest in independence and could have been talked out of it. But Lord North put paid to that possibility.

    But given slightly different circumstances, it could have gotten a whole lot uglier than it did. “What if?” is always interesting to consider.

  23. Re: monarchy, I don’t want one over me. However, it is fair to point out that “King” is one of the categories of saint, just like “Martyr”, “Virgin”, or “Bishop”. There is no category of saint called “Legislator”, “Elected Leader”, “General”, or even “Judge”.

    So being a king, when done right, is more than just a phantasm of the True High King.

  24. robtbrown says:

    But given slightly different circumstances, it could have gotten a whole lot uglier than it did. “What if?” is always interesting to consider.
    Comment by AnAmericanMother

    IMHO, the circumstances were simply geographic.

  25. Desertfalcon says:

    If America is ever blessed with a Catholic king of a Christian government I would happily be his subject, but until then I’ll stick with the Republic.

  26. AnAmericanMother says:

    Certainly geography played a role.

    So, of course, did the larger world war that kept the British fighting the French and Spanish instead of squashing the Americans.

    But locally it could have turned into something on a par with the French Revolution, with colonial governors, officials, and sympathizers being executed on a mass scale. That it did not is attributable to the wisdom and moderation of the men in charge.

  27. asophist says:

    Fie on the “wisdom and moderation” of the men in charge! If they had a modicum of either, why were my loyalist ancestors’ homes burnt, their property confiscated, and conditions such that they had to flee for their lives to Canada? Most Americans are not aware of the ugly, inhumane side of their revolution because it’s simply not mentioned in school (or pretty much anywhere else).

  28. Roland de Chanson says:

    It is probably not malapropos to point out that absent that “wisdom and moderation”, asophist would not have been here to post.

  29. robtbrown says:

    So, of course, did the larger world war that kept the British fighting the French and Spanish instead of squashing the Americans.

    The Brits weren’t fighting the French and Spanish in France and Spain. The logistics of fighting 3000 miles away (reachable only by sailing ships) against well equipped locals for control of the area made victory almost impossible (cf. Rommel–the Quartermaster determines the outcome of the battle even before the battle begins).

    But locally it could have turned into something on a par with the French Revolution, with colonial governors, officials, and sympathizers being executed on a mass scale. That it did not is attributable to the wisdom and moderation of the men in charge.
    Comment by AnAmericanMother

    Executing British reps in America is not the same as overthrowing the British govt and killing the monarch.

    On the other hand, I agree about the moderates. The Continental Congress actually tried to preserve relations with GB. It affirmed loyalty to the crown, wanting a more just relationship between the colonies (self governed) and GB. GB spat in the faces of the colonies, and independence followed.

  30. robtbrown says:

    Fie on the “wisdom and moderation” of the men in charge! If they had a modicum of either, why were my loyalist ancestors’ homes burnt, their property confiscated, and conditions such that they had to flee for their lives to Canada?

    I take it they didn’t go to Quebec.

    Most Americans are not aware of the ugly, inhumane side of their revolution because it’s simply not mentioned in school (or pretty much anywhere else).
    Comment by asophist

    Ever hear of Benedict Arnold?

  31. Desertfalcon says:

    The tragedy was not the inhumane side of our revolution, the real tragedy was in the inhumane and demonic one it was unintentionally the catalyst for in allied France.

  32. AnAmericanMother says:

    asophist,

    Since I read military history in college, I’m well aware of the dispossession and exile of many Loyalists. By the way, it was much worse in the Carolinas than in New England. Some were killed, although you can largely blame Banastre Tarleton and his “no quarter” orders for that.

    But there were no wholesale roundups and executions a la The Terror. If Sam Adams and the Liberty Boys had had their way, it could easily have happened. And government-sanctioned mass slaughter would have left an indelible stain on this nation. Thank heavens for John Adams, Franklin, Washington, and all the others who decided to steer a middle course.

  33. AnAmericanMother says:

    Desertfalcon,

    The essential cause of the French Revolution running off the rails was the decision to abolish religion.

    The American revolutionists were (with a few exceptions who were largely suppressed) godly, sober, bourgeois men with strong Christian principles. They also had the benefit of the tradition of English common law.

    The Montagnards and Jacobins who eventually hijacked affairs from the Girondists were to a man atheists and saw themselves as Men of Destiny, unfettered by moral considerations. And what happened is pretty much what you get with that type of thinking. The Revolution devours its own children.

  34. AnAmericanMother says:

    robt brown,

    I think we agree – although I think that even local Revolutionary executions of Crown officials would have had hideous repercussions.

    My point was simply that the element that would have killed the king if they could have gotten to him was present in America, and could have made a great deal of mischief even locally, but were suppressed.

  35. Desertfalcon says:

    @ AnAmericanMother

    “Godly, sober, bourgeois men with strong Christian principles”? I can’t imagine which of them you are referring to in that statement. Our founders were not atheist, but the bulk of the most important of them could hardly be described as men who were “godly” and with “strong Christian principles” unless you are simply referring to their moral character. Most were at best, the most liberal of Protestant and at worst, theists who were deeply suspicious of or openly denied the divinity of Christ. Their belief in a “god” was more of a vague ‘divine providence’ that any good Mason or uniterian could adhere to that had no need for a Redeemer. Similar clap-trap could be witnessed at Mr. Beck’s recent rally. A public moral virtue was certainly important to them, hence the need for a civic religion, but Christ and His redemptive sacrifice was not.

  36. Exactly how religious which American founders were is a hot historical topic right now. It seems that “they were all liberal deists” is not true; but it’s equally untrue to paint every single one as pious and austere. Nevertheless, compared to most of today’s liberal Protestants, probably even Tom Paine was pious, godly, austere, temperate, thrifty, and conservative!

  37. Desertfalcon says:

    @ Suburbanbanshee

    Well, I for one never said they “all” were, nevertheless the religious views of men such as Sam and John Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Franklin, etc., even dare I say, Washington, were very much of the vein of modern liberal Protestantism if not more so. Most did not accept Christ as their Redeemer as much as they thought ‘a’ religion was necessary in instilling public virtue.

  38. AnAmericanMother says:

    Desertfalcon,

    I read military history for my undergraduate degree, including several courses that you might put under the category of “Prologue to Revolution”, and my profs were big on ‘original source documents’. I have read an awful lot of the founders’ correspondence, both personal and public.

    “Modern liberal Protestantism” was never even contemplated by these men. They were by and large believing church members. Mostly they were Anglicans, although the New Englanders were Congregationalists and Charles Carroll of Carrollton was, of course, Catholic. Your outliers are Jefferson and Franklin, but they were really Deist/Enlightenment intellectual doubters, not ‘modern liberal Protestants’. Sam Adams actually debated Tom Paine on ‘infidelity’ (he was against it), though mostly from a pragmatic standpoint – whether he was taking the battle to the enemy or really had only a pragmatic view, I don’t think we can tell from that correspondence. I don’t much care for Sam anyhow, he was a rather unpleasant character.

    Washington was respectful enough of the Sacrament (even if, as an Anglican, mistaken as to its validity) that he oftentimes did not receive.

    As Suburbanbanshee says, even Tom Paine was more religious than your average modern liberal Protestant. He had no part in the establishment of the government or the Constitution anyhow – he got bored and went off to meddle in the French Revolution (and almost got himself executed by Robespierre).