Wednesday, April 29, 2020

April 29, 2020

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Will COVID-19 Bring Full Totalitarianism to America?


It all came together last night. In less than ten minutes all the major points were sculpted and fit, and the massive tomes of explanation and interpretation were summed up in a few chilling words: it was the opening monologue of April 28 offered by Tucker Carlson in his primetime program, the one figure left on Fox News who occasionally gets it right (as most of the others featured on that channel have at least made peace with the Deep State, if not been co-opted by it).

Carlson’s monologue, like his riveting book, Ship of Fools, pulled no punches: this present COVID-19 epidemic is being consciously used by our major tech media—Facebook, Youtube—and government to greatly increase power and control over us and stanch and suppress any dissent, even the most mild and cautious. Hugely increased censorship, executive orders (many of dubious legality) spewing out the wahzoo, newly enforced speech codes, and open calls by so-called respected academics to, in fact, suppress free speech—that is, speech which doesn’t fit the Establishment’s idea of “norms and standards” (which are assuredly not those of traditional Americans): these exist increasingly all around us and threaten to engulf and submerge us.

Finally, then, is it not the full appearance of the sullen face of rank totalitarianism, something that has lurked very near the surface for years, for centuries, but always kept at bay by law, by common sense, by our constitution and its protections…and by our civilization’s faith in God? Now it bids fair to emerge from its fetid cave and ask, as English writer Thomas Carlyle’s “many-headed, fire-breathing monster” in his volume, The French Revolution: “What think ye of me?”

Once again Hilaire Belloc’s quote about the “modern barbarian” from a century ago comes to mind:

“We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us: we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond: and on these faces there is no smile.” [This and That and the Other, 1912, 282]

Those large and awful, unsmiling faces are the faces of Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, of the media personalities at CNN, at The New York Times, in academia, and in our Federal government and in our statehouses across the United States.

You know Carlson has hit a nerve, has hit his target when apparatchik card-carrying Deep Staters like MSNBC’s Chris Hayes come out and slam him and avoid almost totally Carlson’s point about censorship and totalitarian control. For they cannot contest that, so they must dissemble and target something else: instead Hayes attacks Carlson on his views on re-opening the economy, certainly a major point but not at all the overall emphasis of the monologue.

As I wrote recently, truth dies in the darkness…and so do our liberties. Our enemies—for that is what they are—are trying desperately to keep the lid on while they vastly increase their power. This present pestilence for them presents a capital opportunity, and they are utilizing it up to the hilt, in every way.

It is up to us to stop them.
Here is the Youtube of the Tucker Carlson program for Tuesday night, April 28; please watch at least the first nine minutes—before the censors take it down:

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

April 28, 2020

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Nancy Pelosi, the Subversion of Conservatism, and Our Hope


Attached to this short installment of MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey is a brief video excerpt of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a training exercise intended for Democratic operatives (taken off of C-SPAN, 2017). It outlines succinctly how to develop and disseminate falsehoods and "fake" news, using a cooperative and receptive news media, and then, using that same media, confirm in the public's mind those same asserted falsehoods thus furthering the progressivist agenda, while discrediting any legitimate opposition. 

This has been the tried and true praxis of the progressivist Left, most intensively since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. But it goes farther back, for this tactic predates the Trump presidency. It is indeed a consistent approach to perceived enemies, to disqualify and deauthorize them.

We see this tactic employed prominently in the widespread use of charges of "racism" and "white supremacy," or in claims of historic "male oppression" of women. It has been very successful in stanching those voices that might object or raise uncomfortable questions or objections.

And what has been critical to the success of this practice is that far too many so-called conservatives have bought into this template. 

The older conservative movement, beginning in the 1950s with the publication of Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind, the earlier years of William F. Buckley's National Review, and figures like the late Senator Barry Goldwater, were not afraid to stand up and boldly and rationally challenge the Leftists of that time. Those early conservatives with intelligence and passion critiqued the budding mania for a never-ending "civil rights" movement (which now has been extended to include and encompass everything from making race the unique and sole criteria for judgment in America to same sex marriage and normalization of transgenderism, with assuredly more to come). 

But with the pilgrimage of the ex-Leftist "Neoconservatives" into the "Conservative Movement" during the 1970s and 1980s, and with their control of most its journals, foundations, and think tanks, the "Old Right," those who continued to uphold older traditional ideas, were basically exiled. And the same tactics used by the progressivist Left now were used by the Neocon-dominated "Conservative Movement, Inc"' to silence traditional conservatives, to inhibit them from broad public view and thus combating the new narrative. 

For the Neocon conservatives basically accepted the template of what I call "the farther Left" on everything from the expansion of "civil rights," to continued government intervention into our personal lives, to the deterioration and destruction of our tradition of Christian morality, and to a zealous belief in "globalism" and the quest to go round the world and forcibly impose what is euphemistically called "democracy" on cultures which in many cases have no experience with that defecated form of governance and which certainly don't desire us meddling in their internal affairs.

Speaker Pelosi, certainly, is addressing Democratic operatives, she is instructing them essentially in how to discredit their opponents, to virtually silence them. But her words could be applied equally to the conservative/Republican elites who supposedly represent the opposition to the madness which seeks to engulf and overwhelm us who have basically succumbed and surrendered in the face of that tactic.

Let me offer an example or two.

On May 8, 2012 the citizens of North Carolina voted overwhelmingly, 61% to 39% to approve an amendment to the North Carolina constitution declaring that marriage is between one man and one woman. Yet after the US Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) decision overturning all such legislation, what was the reaction of establishment conservatives and the GOP? 

The silence was deafening, just as it had been with the earlier decisions on organized prayers in schools, and even with abortion. For even with the Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and, true, the consistent reaction against it (led by mostly Evangelical and Catholic Christians), the organized opposition never received the kind of strong national political support from Republicans when in power. Such was considered too diversionary and apt to weaken Republican support among suburban women: in other words, politically inexpedient. Thus, action was better left to individuals in the states.

The fear by establishment conservatives and Republicans of transgressing the steadily advancing template of the farther Left and the praxis advocated by Pelosi and her friends in the media—of being savaged by CNN or The Washington Post—plus the social and moral liberalism of most Neocons (many of whom, for example, now eagerly accept same sex marriage and transgenderism), have essentially denatured and neutered what now goes under the name of conservatism in America.

Pelosi’s words, thus, apply broadly to an America which bears little resemblance to the old republic established by the Framers in 1787. Our society chugs along fitfully, living precariously on myths, worshipping totems, and mouthing slogans and words which no longer have much meaning in reality.

Truth dies in the darkness, and it has been the common objective of the farther Left and the elites who have controlled the conservative movement and the Republican Party to keep it that way.

Yet small voices “shout from the rooftops”—journalists like Pat Buchanan and Ilana Mercer, journals like Chronicles magazine, Web sites like and The Abbeville Institute and The Intellectual Takeout.

We are told that we fight forlornly, for a lost cause. Yet when I hear this I am put in mind of what T. S. Eliot wrote:

“If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors’ victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that anything will triumph.”

We fight, then, to keep Hope alive, and in the expectation that Victory finally will be God’s.


I hope you can open the short video clip, attached.

"Pelosi and the Wrap-Up Smear"

Saturday, April 25, 2020

April 25, 2020

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Two Remarkable Columns from Pat Buchanan


Patrick Buchanan has been writing a national column for decades, and almost always he is “ahead of the curve,” prescient in his comments, even prophetic in his warnings and admonitions. Too often sidelined by some as a “master of nostalgia,” or lamenting the passing of “the good old days,” or crying wolf, he has continued fearlessly in both his books and columns.

And most of the time he has been proven right.

Over the years, since at least his feisty autobiographical 1988 Right from the Beginning—which was far more than an autobiography, but a recovery roadmap for an America swiftly succumbing to the tentacles of managerial Big Government and globalism—he has outlined in his successive volumes both what he sees as wrong, what afflicts America (and the civilization we inherited), as well a pathway out of the progressivist feculence, the putrid bog that threatens to suffocate us and extinguish our beliefs, our traditions, and our hopes.

In recent days amongst the literally hundreds of published scribbles addressing the COVID-19 epidemic and its far-reaching effects here in America and across the world, Pat has authored several short essays which, again, say much with an economy of words; but which raise critically important issues for us in the midst of this pestilence not only for our personal physical well-being, but for our essential liberties.

I pass on two of his recent essays, both raising significant questions about what faces us. The answers to the queries and concerns he raises must come soon for indeed our future depends on them.

What Will Be the New American Cause?
By Patrick J. Buchanan    Tuesday - April 21, 2020

After the Great Pandemic has passed and we emerge from Great Depression II, what will be America's mission in the world?

What will be America's cause?

We have been at such a turning point before.  After World War II, Americans wanted to come home. But we put aside our nation-building to face the challenge of a malevolent Stalinist empire dominant from the Elbe River to the Barents Sea.

And after persevering for four decades, we prevailed. What, then, did we do with our epochal victory?

We alienated Russia by moving our NATO military alliance into the Baltic and Black Seas. We launched bloody, costly crusades for democracy in the Middle East that, invariably, failed. We exported a huge slice of our manufacturing capacity and economic independence to a coddled China.

Historically, blunders of such magnitude have undone great powers.

Even before COVID-19, Americans had begun to realize the folly of decades of mindless interventionism over matters irrelevant to our vital interests. "Unsustainable" was the word commonly associated with our foreign policy. But if our foreign policy was unsustainable during President Trump's economic boom, with unemployment at record lows and a bull market to rival the Roaring '20s, can an interventionist foreign policy be sustained after the losses of this major depression we have induced to kill the pandemic?

If the Democrats win in November, we know their priorities: national health insurance, carbon taxes, the Green New Deal, open borders, amnesty, reparations and wealth redistribution to reduce social and economic inequality — an agenda costing trillions of dollars.  And Democrats will be looking at the defense budget as a slush fund to finance this new progressive era.

If the Republicans win, given the influence of hawks and Neocons among the party elite, interventionism may get another run in the yard. Having been exposed as naive beyond belief for their indulgence of China from the Bush I days to 2016, some Republicans are looking to make amends by casting China in the Soviet role in Cold War II.

There is talk on Capitol Hill of refusing to pay off U.S. bonds that Beijing holds and of suing China for the damages done by the coronavirus, as China failed to alert the world the pathogen was loose. Americans should think long and hard before defaulting on U.S. government debt and consider the consequences if we open a door to claims against sovereign nations for past sins.

Iraq was invaded in 2003 to force it to give up illicit weapons of mass destruction it did not have. Baghdad could have a case in international court against America for the unprovoked war waged against that country.

While the U.S. appears determined to bring back manufacturing — especially of products critical to the health, safety and defense of our nation — there seems to be no stomach among the public for a war with China.

But again, with the democracy crusades now repudiated, what is America's cause, what is America's mission in the world? Preventing climate change, say our liberal elites. Yet, even before the pandemic, global warming ranked near the bottom of national concerns.

The situation in which America will find herself after the virus passes and depression lifts will be almost unprecedented. We will have the same treaty obligations to go to war on behalf of dozens of nations in Europe and Asia and at the same time, we will be running deficits on the order of $3 trillion a year with a shrunken economic base.

In a second Trump presidency, there would likely be even less concern for how other nations rule themselves. If Trump wins, borders will be tightened. The U.S. withdrawal from the Mideast will continue. U.S. manufacturing will begin to be repatriated. Transnational institutions will be downgraded, ignored and superseded. The watchword will be what it has lately been: "America First."

Does it matter to us if Russia is led by an autocrat not unlike a Romanov czar, that Hindu nationalism wields the whip hand in India or that Hungarians have rejected Earl Warren's ideas about liberal democracy?

In recent decades, the U.N. General Assembly has seemed to resemble the bar scene in "Star Wars." But is how other nations choose to rule themselves any business of ours, if those nations do not threaten us?

In the 19th century, when the Hungarians had risen up against the Hapsburg Empire and sought U.S. intervention, Henry Clay opposed it:

"Far better is it for ourselves ... and for the cause of liberty ... that we should keep our lamp burning brightly on this western shore, as a light to all nations, than to hazard its utter extinction amid the ruins of falling or fallen republics in Europe."

Not only President Trump's preferences but also events seem to be driving us toward such a destiny.

To borrow from the title of historian 
Walter A. McDougall's classic work, America's future is as “a promised land, not a crusader state.”

The One Certain Victor in the Pandemic War
By Patrick J. Buchanan    Friday - April 24, 2020

"War is the health of the state," wrote the progressive Randolph Bourne during the First World War, after which he succumbed to the Spanish flu.

America's war on the coronavirus pandemic promises to be no exception to the axiom. However long this war requires, the gargantuan state will almost surely emerge triumphant. Currently, the major expenditures of the U.S. government, as well as a growing share of total federal spending, are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. None of these programs will be curtailed or reduced this year or next. And if the Democrats win in November, the nation will likely take a great leap forward - toward national health insurance.

Republicans are calling for a suspension until 2021 of payroll taxes used to finance Social Security and Medicare. While that would provide an economic stimulus, it would also blow a huge hole in federal revenue and further enlarge the deficit and national debt.

Even before the virus struck with full force in March, that deficit was projected at or near $1 trillion — not only for fiscal year 2020 but for every year of the new decade.

The next major item of the budget is defense, considered untouchable to the Republican Party. Hence a confident prediction: This generation will never again see a budget deficit smaller than $1 trillion. Indeed, the $2 trillion lately voted on to save businesses and keep paychecks going to workers will lift the deficit for 2020 above $3 trillion.

As of March 1, 2020, the nation was at full employment, with the lowest jobless rates among women and minorities in our history. Less than two months later, 26 million Americans are out of work.  These workers will soon begin picking up unemployment checks, a new burden on the federal budget, to which will be added the cost of expanding food stamps, rent supplements and welfare payments.

Consider education.

Though Harvard, with its $41 billion endowment, was shamed into returning the $8.7 million in bailout money coming its way, does anyone believe the stream of U.S. revenue going into higher education will ever fall back to what it was before the pandemic?  As for that $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, is it more likely that vast sum will be paid back by those who incurred the debt, or that it will be piled atop the federal debt?

Congress has already voted to bail out our stressed hospitals.

Now, standing patiently in line for their bailouts, are the states — and America's cities and counties. These governmental units are virtually all certain to face falling tax revenue and expanded social demands, leading to exploding deficits. Their case: You bailed out the businesses and the hospitals. What about us? When does our turn come?

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, anticipating the mammoth bill for bailing out states and cities, has suggested that governments be allowed to use bankruptcy laws to write down and write off their debts.

Probably not going to happen.   Recall what happened when President Gerald Ford told New York City that Uncle Sam was not going to bail out the Big Apple. "Ford to City: Drop Dead!" was the famous headline splashed across the front page of the New York Daily News. Ford recanted but did not recover. His perceived callousness in the face of New York City's crisis — though that fiscal crisis was entirely of the city's own making — factored into his defeat by Jimmy Carter.

Donald Trump is not going to give Red State governors facing gaping budget deficits because of the coronavirus crisis the wet mitten across the face. For his political future will be decided by those states. Still, the cost of bailing them out promises to be enormous and to create a precedent for bailouts without end.

Then there is the clamor, already begun, from, and on behalf of, the Third World. The IMF, World Bank and the West, it is said, have a moral obligation to replace revenue shortfalls these nations are facing from lost remittances from their workers in the developed world. There is talk of hundreds of billions of dollars in monetary transfers from the world's North to the world's South.

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist once famously declared: "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

What is more likely to be drowned in that bathtub is the philosophy: "That government governs best which governs least." What is more likely to be drowned in that bathtub is the philosophy that champions small government, the primacy of the private sector, a belief in "pay as you go," and that "balanced budgets" are the ideal.

Call it Robert Taft conservatism. Today, it appears irrelevant.

Indeed, the one certain victor in the coronavirus pandemic war will likely be Big Government. 
As John Donne wrote, "No winter shall abate this spring's increase."

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

April 22, 2020

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Latest Published Article at the Abbeville Institute: “Every Southerner Needs This Magazine


Back on March 26 in the MY CORNER series I offered an essay, an appreciation of Chronicles magazine, which I consider the finest journal of its kind in the United States. Founded forty-four years ago, it has been since then the exemplary voice for American and Western Christian tradition, never bending to the passing whims and fancies of the day, refusing all political correctness, and consistently offering some of the finest and most intelligent and trenchant writing anywhere in the Anglosphere.

Always favorable to the South and its hallowed traditions, recently under editor Paul Gottfried it has become even more cognizant of and unafraid to enter the fray—the cultural battles—which deeply affect the heritage of the South (as well as the United States), with major articles and commentary not found in print anywhere else.

That March 26 installment of MY CORNER I slightly refashioned and it now appears at The Abbeville Institute today, April 22. I offer it to you....

Every Southerner Needs This Magazine

By Boyd Cathey on Apr 22, 2020
On various occasions I’ve made references to Chronicles Magazine and cited articles printed in it. Remarkably, Chronicles is the only print magazine of stature (it is also online) in America which has represented and aired traditionalist conservative viewpoints, in depth and intelligently, now for forty-four years.
Edited by Dr. Paul Gottfried (Raffensperger Professor of Humanities, Emeritus, Elizabethtown College), the magazine includes some of the finest writers of the Old or Traditionalist conservative persuasion in the Anglosphere. And recently, Chronicles, which has been consistently favorable to the heritage and traditions of the South, has published even more quality essays by and on Southerners. Early this year the magazine inaugurated a series –“Remembering….”—which undertakes to recover the thinking and wisdom of various writers, many of them from the South, who contributed mightily to American history and culture, but who, largely due to the dominance nationally of the anti-Southern Neoconservatives, have been neglected or exiled from the public square.
In the December 2019 issue, for example, Chronicles featured fascinating appreciations of Mel Bradford (by Clyde Wilson), Robert Lewis Dabney (by Zachary Garris), and an introductory essay by Gottfried titled, “Remembering the Right.” Subsequent issues have featured an appreciation of the late historian Eugene Genovese (by Robert Paquette, a Genovese amanuensis, in the January 2020 issue) and Tar Heel writer Richard Weaver (by Jay Langdale, in the February 2020 issue).
Chronicles has never been afraid to address controversial issues from a traditionalist point of view, and thus go against the grain of our consumerist and authoritarian gate keepers who now control the establishment Conservative Movement and who accept far too many precepts and agenda points of the looney Left. An excellent example of this intelligent and thoughtful non-conformity—this “emperor-has-no-clothes” approach to the intellectual bankruptcy of “Conservatism Inc.”—is the February 2020 issue, which not only has the Weaver appreciation but several other significant contributions that every thinking Southerner would do well to search out.
A major contribution is Dr. Brion McClanahan’s superb critique of the latest initiative of the fanatically “woke” Leftwing historical establishment, “The 1619 Project,” which attempts to frame all of American history in the terms of race as the pivotal benchmark in the development of this continent since the first African slave stepped off the boat. McClanahan’s essay is a masterful response that demolishes the very basis of “the project.” Another essay by him in the same issue, “The Reinvention of Reconstruction,” demonstrates how Reconstruction and it policies were renewed as an ideological platform for both historians and politicians in the 1960s, and how this ideology has come to dominate all discussion about the War Between the States, about civil rights (expanding beyond simple laws on accommodation or voting, to such extremes as same sex marriage and a race-consciousness in nearly aspect of American life), and the virtual excommunication of anyone who would question that narrative.
Another fascinating February contribution, “The Great Debate: Lincoln’s Legacy,” by H. A. Scott Trask is a thorough examination of the famous and long-running discussions between Drs. Harry Jaffa and Mel Bradford over the (nefarious) role of Abraham Lincoln, not just during the 1861-1865 War, but even more significantly since then on the decay and destruction of American institutions and the Constitution. Trask goes into some detail regarding the profound and significant debate between Jaffa, who seized upon the Declaration of Independence—in particular, its propagandistic exclamation that “all men are created equal”—to assert that equality was the fundamental basis of the American nation, and Bradford, who firmly rejected that proposition: America was based on communities and families who came to these shores for land and liberty; NOT to establish some egalitarian “world state,” as Jaffa implied (see for example, Bradford’s deeply-reasoned, “The Heresy of Equality,” Modern Age, Winter 1976). Editor Gottfried adds additional and critical commentary.
As both Trask and Gottfried show it was Southerner Bradford’s rather complete take-down and devastating assault of the “Lincoln Myth” that got him into serious trouble with the Neoconservatives. Supported in 1981 by Senators Jesse Helms and John East of North Carolina, and Howell Heflin of Alabama, to be President Reagan’s head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Bradford was immediately attacked by columnist George Will and other establishment (Neocon) conservatives for his writings on Lincoln and the Confederacy. Such views, once welcomed by the older Conservative movement in the 1950s and 1960s, were now verboten and most likely “racist.” And after a barrage of negative attacks, the appointment went to Democrat, Neocon-favorite William Bennett.
For full disclosure I admit that I have had a few items published by the magazine over the past couple of years, and a review of my book, The Land We Love: The South and Its Heritage (Scuppernong Press, 2018), by Dr. Donald Livingston of The Abbeville Institute, was published in the May 2019 issue. Let me add that I have been a subscriber for nearly thirty of the magazine’s forty-four years, and I look forward to its arrival in my mailbox each month.
The annual subscription price for the print edition is $48.00 a year, twelve monthly issues—well worth the cost (which would be about the same for a husband and wife at middling steak house).
Chronicles subscriptions and a view of some of the recent articles are available at its Web site: There is also an “800” number for those who prefer the old-fashioned method of using the telephone. And while you are there on the Web site, take a look at the Archive of articles and essays, a veritable cornucopia of excellent traditionalist writing.
Every Southerner who really cares about our heritage and traditions, who is concerned about the present parlous state of the American nation, and who is worried about what kind of country we have become and what we will leave to our children and grandchildren, should receive Chronicles.
In a sense, it is one of the best “weapons,” certainly intellectually and historically, we can have in our meager arsenal. In these dark days, as our monuments come down and, to quote poet William Butler Yeats,    “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity,” Chronicles is a ray of light and a hope for our future.
Reprinted from MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

About Boyd Cathey

Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations. His book, The Land We Love: The South and Its Heritage, was published in November 2018 (Scuppernong Press).

Saturday, April 18, 2020

April 18, 2020

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

In Memory of a Special Friend and Mentor


It came in the form of a letter; I could read from the return address who it was from. But the handwriting, so distinctive, was not his, and immediately I thought, was this news sad news, maybe of his death? After all I knew he was well into his 80s.

And when I opened the long envelope, there was the program for the memorial service and a short personal note from his wife, Barbara: my dear friend, former history professor, and actual first “mentor,” Eugene Earnhardt had passed away on February 4 of this year after battles with several insuperable illnesses, a few days shy of his 86th birthday.

Shocked—although I suppose I shouldn’t have been—I immediately telephoned Barbara who lives in a retirement cluster near Asheville. And we had a moving, emotional conversation that lasted for about an hour.

You see Gene Earnhardt was my first history professor in my freshman year for undergraduate studies at Pfeiffer University, and he was pivotal in how I would lead the rest of my life and the choices I would make. Not just that but he was an incredibly talented writer and writing stylist, for whom the written word was special: he could not abide what he called “purple prose,” pomposity, or literary laziness…or silly political correctness.

I recall the first paper I wrote for him—I still have it somewhere stored away. It was a discussion of the old conservative movement of the 1950s, including writers and thinkers like Russell Kirk, Clinton Rossiter, and a few others. When I got my paper back, I got an A-, but the whole thing was marked up, bloodied in red, with comments like: “too many words to say what you mean,” “poorly phrased,” and “this paragraph should come later.” In conferences with Gene, he painstakingly gave me pointers on how better to express myself in writing, how better to make things flow and make better sense.

All that was really fundamental for a young 18 year old college freshman, and I like to think that it was his dedication to his art, to teaching and instruction, that was responsible. But I know now, after fifty years of friendship after those undergrad days, that it was also because he saw something in me worth cultivating and alimenting and assisting…and because of a natural bond of friendship and respect that began back then and continued on for five more decades.

But Gene was pivotal in another way, even more important and critical for me.

For back in my senior year of high school I had become acquainted with the works of conservative scholar, Dr. Russell Kirk, and for Christmas 1965 I asked my parents for a selection of books by him, including his seminal, The Conservative Mind. I was enthralled and much taken by “the Sage of Mecosta” Michigan (as he was known), by his elaborate detailing and defense of a usable Anglo-American past, of our Anglo-American heritage and constitutional traditions, which he termed “conservative.” Not only that, he seemed to comprehend and express eloquently the thinking of that tradition and its major figures, beginning with Edmund Burke and continuing on through men such as John Randolph, John C. Calhoun, Benjamin Disraeli, Robert H.Taft, and T. S. Eliot, among others.

So when I got to Pfeiffer and in one of my first meetings with Gene Earnhardt, I mentioned Kirk. And, amazingly, he replied: “A few years ago I sailed across the Atlantic to England, and he was on board, and we became friends.” Then, he suggested to abet my enthusiasm that I should write Kirk directly, which is exactly what I did that Fall in a long and rambling letter.

I then more or less forgot that…that is, until I received a response, postmarked Mecosta, Michigan, and from Dr. Kirk. I recall a phrase from that letter to this day. He wrote that Richard Nixon had requested to see him, and that “he has never listened much to what I have to day, and I doubt he will this time, either.”

You can imagine my sensation. That letter began a conversation—a correspondence—that lasted almost until Russell Kirk’s death in April 1994. But not just by mail: my senior year at Pfeiffer I was in charge of the visiting speakers program (can anyone imagine that now!?), and I was able to bring him down to the college for several days, including a speech and a round-table. Later, he invited me to be his personal assistant during the year 1971-1972, opening up undreamed of opportunities and introducing me to individuals who would exercise additional and significant influence in my formation and life.

After Pfeiffer I was off to the University of Virginia, awarded a Thomas Jefferson Fellowship to study under the late Jefferson biographer, Merrill Peterson. And, again, it was Gene Earnhardt who assisted me critically in preparing for that step. I took his American intellectual history course and a course in historiography, both of which were important as I went from a small college to a large university. Without his guidance, his advice, and his friendship, I doubt I would have done that or made those career changes.

And after grad school our friendship continued. Occasionally, I would stop by the little town of New London where Gene and Barbara lived and spend a night and rekindle our discussions and profound friendship. Sometimes when Gene and Barbara would come to the Raleigh area to visit Gene’s brother, we would have lunch together. In every meeting, it was like old and good friends joining together once again. But I was always the student, and he always the teacher.

Finally, about four or five months ago I telephoned Gene to see how he was doing. By then he and Barbara had settled into a retirement community. He had, I knew, some health issues. But I simply wanted to express to him, again, my continuous and unceasing appreciation and thanks for all he had done for me, the direction he had imparted, the patient and sage advice, and, perhaps now most of all, the deep and abiding friendship, the kind of bond and love that comes from God Himself and in which we also learn the best parts of our humanity.

I tried to express this, these thoughts, to Barbara when we talked; I am not sure that I was able…words are not always easily found in these situations. But somehow I think she knows. And my dear friend and first “mentor,” Eugene Earnhardt, now at rest and at peace in the fellowship of Our Lord, knows.

Old friend, teacher, exemplar, guide—thank you! Rest in peace.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

April 15, 2020

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Time to Re-Examine the Coronavirus


A waggish friend of mine suggested recently that if we had been wise and prescient, we should have invested in toilet tissue stocks—not the paper kind, but the Wall Street kind (although the paper kind is certainly good to have in these times!). I went him one better, declaring that practically speaking I was well-stocked with the real thing; my experience with the devastation wrought by Hurricane Fran back in 1996 having taught me a lesson: to keep a supply of “essentials” at hand for just such crises and emergency situations. I added that if I were to run out, well, since I had an estimated supply that could possibly last the rest of 2020, then—to quote the late George H. W. Bush—we “would really be in deep do-do!”

I don’t think it will come to that. In fact, increasingly I am coming to the conclusion that despite the actions by the president and various states, some things about this crisis—this national emergency—are just not right, don’t pass the proverbial “smell test.”

Let me offer some cautionary examples. First, there is the almost total reliance on human-created “models”—models that depend entirely on the data entered into the computer by fallible human beings. You recall that when Dr. Fauci and Dr. Berx first appeared at those regular late afternoon briefings with the president, they cited models (as did the president) indicating that because of this outbreak the United States might have as many of 240,000 deaths. Now that figure—the newest model—is down to less than 60,000 and continues to drop. In other words, about the same number of deaths annually as deaths due to the complications of the influenza virus.

It has been those various models over time that have dictated our approach, nationally and regionally by state, to this pestilence. Indeed, mitigation was factored into those guestimates originally….

Of course, that is all we had, we are told. But given what has transpired we are indeed justified in asking: “what went wrong?” or rather, “what went right?”  Certainly, severe mitigation measures—business closings and shutdowns, suspensions of travel and immigration, “stay-at-home” orders, personal safety measures (e.g. face masks, distancing, frequent hand washing, etc.)—have all had an effect. But is that all? Have we followed the right path in this? Have we taken the correct steps? Indeed, the percentage of deaths for those infected is actually around 1 to 2%, approximately the same as for the flu annually….

Certainly, we are told that COVID-19 is more contagious than regular flu, that it spreads more quickly, and, yes, there is no vaccine yet available to counter it (although there are some very promising drugs readily available, including hydrochloroquine, despite the shrill complaints of Democrats ). All true. We also know that the vast majority of cases and resultant deaths have occurred with the elderly who already have other health issues or compromised immune systems and who live clustered in assisted living centers, retirement homes, and in nursing homes; or with folks in dense population areas where people congregate and come into professional contact very closely on a daily basis.

What has been the solution to this outbreak? Based on dubious and ever-changing models our governors and local officialdom have effectively shut down wide sectors of our economy dead in its tracks. Indeed, our economy has been effectively crippled. And some of those actions, while certainly understandable, raise more questions than they would seem to answer.

Let me offer an example, a glaring one.

I shop for clothes many times at a local Kohls; I like their merchandise. They also have other items, bedding, appliances, whatever. The local Walmart, not more than a mile from Kohls, offers the same kinds of items—clothes, bedding, appliances, whatever. But the Walmart is open (with new capacity regulations), while the Kohls is completely shut down, its employees laid off (including a desperate neighbor of mine, now reduced to unemployment payments to survive).

What’s the difference? Walmart has a pharmacy (I go there as it is open on Sundays) and a grocery department, and both are considered by the state of North Carolina as “essential,” but Kohls has neither of those. Thus, the local Kohls is shuttered and sixty people are laid off. And that situation is multiplied thousands of time across both North Carolina and the United States.

For a month anyone—without a safety mask—could enter Walmart, browse its aisles, and purchase anything, no problem at all. Now, of course, there are certain limitations, but you can still ramble down the long aisles. Not so at Kohls, its lights are dark.

My query, then, is this: at the beginning of this shut down, why didn’t we allow the same policies for Kohls?  If there was to be a limit on the number of customers in the store, well and good. If there had to be 6-foot distancing, well and good. All employees wearing safety masks, well and good. But that’s not what happened, and to me it seems grossly unfair. And we can think of dozens of other stores and businesses—deemed by North Carolina’s governor to be “non-essential”—where this would equally apply. It has been economically devastating. 

Think of the differences economically, and with—I would suggest—no appreciable difference in risk.

Restaurants and the food service industry present another problem, as by their very nature restaurants, especially those that are sit-down affairs with no take out service, have been hit extremely hard by the virus and the resultant closure directives. And many of that industry’s employees are hourly wage earners, only a paycheck away from “going on the dole.” Yet, could there not have been a reasonable course of action, say, temporarily limiting the number of occupants, intense cleaning of surfaces, staff with face masks, perhaps even spacing tables a bit further apart—while keeping the businesses open and employees working? Could that not have been tried?

Hard to implement, difficult to achieve? Yes, admittedly so. But let me suggest—let me offer the view—that good and reasonable alternative precautions might well achieved similar results compared to what we increasingly see now.  Such approaches would have necessarily varied from county to county, city to city, and from state to state. Obviously, New York State would have enacted far more stringent limitations.  But the result, overall, is not or should not have been, to strangle our economy, but to reasonably and rationally curb the infection, with the least pain to the most people. And being without a job, unemployed, without income is arguably a greater pain than risking infection when reasonable—underline “reasonable”—precautions can be taken.

It is beyond doubt now—given the frenetic response by the media and certain politicians—that there is a decidedly political aspect in all this. We see this every day: only take a peak, if you can stomach it without retching, at the coverage by CNN or even by some of the ideologically obscene local television stations manufacturing hysteria…who trumpet COVID-19 as “the end of the world as we have known it,” and, of course, the ultimate fault of Donald Trump, who either acted too quickly (the media template back in January and early February) or too slowly (their narrative currently). And, of course, we are reminded, there is a deeply and darkly “racist” bugaboo in this whole business—it kills more black and helpless minorities. Again, the fault no doubt of President Trump. “Never let a crisis go to waste,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago once presciently said. He was profoundly correct, as every foul Never Trumper, “woke” social justice warrior type, and Democrat Party apparatchik knows fully well. Rather to destroy the economy and send us into Depression than see that hated “man with the yellow hair” get credit for any success….

And no doubt, the political aspects of this virus, for it does present an inescapable political face, have influenced actions to counter it.

Austria, which saw the Coronavirus rise in that country about the same time as here, has now begun to “re-open” for business, progressively and prudently, in stages. It is time now for the United States to begin a similar process, reasonably, prudently, and progressively…the sooner the better for all concerned.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

April 12, 2020

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey



Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

In this time of pestilence when we are forced to stay homebound, isolated from our friends and neighbors, when attending physically the liturgy of Easter—of the Resurrection—is not possible, we still may celebrate this incredibly unique day and its supreme and critical significance for us.

For all of history leads us inevitably to this point. It is indeed the very focal point of history itself, the story and source of our Hope and our Redemption, the end of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New. For this Our Blessed Lord came, to thus satisfy for the Original Sin of mankind’s disobedience and to offer us, each and every one of us, Life Everlasting in Him…and a Hope that never dies.

In the ancient Liturgy for this day, a portion of Psalm 117 [22-24] is recited in the Graduale prayer: “The stone which the builders rejected; the same is become the head of the corner.  This is the Lord's doing: and it is wonderful in our eyes.  This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.”

And in the ancient liturgy later comes the exultation, the great Medieval sequence [11th century], the hymn, “Victimae paschali laudes”:

Christians, to the Paschal Victim
Offer your thankful praises!
A Lamb the sheep redeemeth:
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconcileth sinners to the Father;
Death and life have contended
In that combat stupendous:
The Prince of Life, who died,
reigns immortal.
Speak Mary, declaring
What thou sawest wayfaring:
“The Tomb of Christ, who is living.
The glory of Jesu’s Resurrection;
Bright angels attesting,
The shroud and napkin resting.
Yea, Christ my hope is arisen:
To Galilee he goes before you.”
Happy they who hear the witness,
Mary’s word believing
Above the tales of Jewry deceiving.
Christ indeed from death is risen,
our new life obtaining.
Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!

How indescribable, then, is our joy! We marvel and wonder—we have been redeemed out of the Love of Our Lord. He has paid the price for Sin, He has freely offered us His bountiful grace that will carry us, will support us through every crisis—every trial and test—if we avail ourselves of it.

The French spiritual writer Blaise Pascal (d. 1662) supposedly said that he would cherish, be overwhelmed, if just one tiny drop of Our Lord’s blood had been shed for him, would be shed for his salvation. But no, as the late Dom Ludovic Barrielle, spiritual director at the St. Pius X Seminary in Econe, Switzerland, once commented: “That tiny, infinitesimal drop of His blood was totally sufficient to redeem the whole world!”

Once again I return to Dom Prosper Gueranger and his commentaries on Easter Sunday, and I offer a portion of his narrative and recounting of the Easter story here to you (please read also my short comments at the end):

DOM GUERANGER on Resurrection Morning

The night between Saturday and Sunday has well nigh run its course, and the day-dawn is appearing. The Mother of Sorrows is waiting, in courageous hope and patience, for the blissful moment of her Jesus’ return. Magdalene and the other holy women have spent the night in watching, and are preparing to start for the sepulcher.
As divine justice could not allow the Body that was united to the Word to see corruption, and there wait, like ours must, for the Archangel’s word to “rise and come to judgment,” so neither could it permit the dominion of death to be long over such a Victim. Jesus had said to the Jews: “A wicked generation seeketh a sign; and a sign shall not be given it, but that of Jonas the prophet.” Three days in the tomb—the afternoon and night of Friday, the whole of Saturday, and a few hours of the Sunday—yes, these are enough: enough to satisfy divine justice; enough to certify the death of the Crucified, and make His triumph glorious; enough to complete the martyrdom of that most loving of mothers, the Queen of Sorrows.

“No man taketh away My life from Me: I lay it down of Myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.” Thus spoke our Redeemer to the Jews before His Passion: now is the hour for the fulfillment of His words, and death shall feel their whole force. The day of light, Sunday, has begun, and its early dawn is struggling with the gloom. The Soul of Jesus immediately darts from the prison of limbo, followed by the whole multitude of the holy souls that are around Him. In the twinkling of an eye, it reaches and enters the sepulcher, and reunites itself with that Body which, three days before, it had quitted amidst an agony of suffering. The sacred Body returns to life, raises itself up, and throws aside the winding-sheet, the spices, and the bands. The bruises have disappeared, the Blood has been brought back to the veins; and from these limbs that had been torn by the scourging, from this Head that had been mangled by the thorns, from these hands and feet that had been pierced with nails, there darts forth a dazzling light that fills the cave. The holy Angels had clustered round the stable and adored the Babe of Bethlehem; they are now around the sepulcher, adoring the Conqueror of death. They take the shrouds, and reverently folding them up, place them on the slab, whereon the Body had been laid by Joseph and Nicodemus.

But Jesus is not to tarry in the gloomy sepulcher. Quicker than a ray of light through a crystal, He passes through the stone that closes the entrance of the cave. Pilate had ordered his seal to be put upon this stone, and a guard of soldiers is there to see that no one touches it. Untouched it is, and unmoved; and yet Jesus is free! Thus, as the holy Fathers unanimously teach us, was it at His birth: He appeared to the gaze of Mary, without having offered the slightest violence to her maternal womb. The birth and the resurrection, the commencement and the end of Jesus’ mission, these two mysteries bear on them the seal of resemblance: in the first, it is a Virgin Mother; in the last, it is a sealed tomb giving forth its captive God.

And while this Jesus, this Man-God, thus breaks the scepter of death, the stillness of the night is undisturbed. His and our victory has cost Him no effort. O death! where is now thy kingdom? Sin had made us slaves; thy victory was complete; and now, lo! thou thyself art defeated! Jesus, Whom thou didst exultingly hold under thy law, has set Himself free; and we, after thou hast domineered over us for a time, we too shall be free from thy grasp. The tomb thou makest for us will become to us the source of a new life, for He that now conquers thee is “the First-born among the dead;” and today is the Pasch, the Passover, the deliverance, for Jesus and for us, His brethren. He has led the way; we shall follow; and the day will come when thou, the enemy that destroyest all things, shalt thyself be destroyed by immortality. Thy defeat dates from this moment of Jesus’ resurrection, and, with the great Apostle, we say to thee: “O death! where is thy victory! O death! where is thy sting?”

But the sepulcher is not to remain shut: it must be thrown open, and testify to men, that He whose lifeless Body lay there is indeed risen from the dead. As when our Jesus expired upon the Cross, so now, immediately after His resurrection, an earthquake shook the foundations of the world; but this time, it was for joy. “The Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror,” and fell on the ground “as dead men.” God has mercy on them; they return to themselves, and quitting the dread sepulcher, they hasten to the city and relate what they have seen.

Meanwhile, our risen Jesus, seen by no other mortal eye, has sped to His most holy Mother. He is the Son of God; He is the vanquisher of death; but He is, likewise, the Son of Mary. She stood near Him to the last, uniting the sacrifice of her mother’s Heart with that He made upon the Cross; it is just, therefore, that she should be the first to partake of the joy of His resurrection. The Gospel does not relate the apparition thus made by Jesus to His Mother, whereas all the others are fully described. It is not difficult to assign the reason. The other apparitions were intended as proofs of the resurrection; this to Mary was dictated by the tender love borne to her by her Son. Both nature and grace required that His first visit should be to such a Mother, and Christian hearts dwell with delight on the meditation of the mystery. There was no need of its being mentioned in the Gospel; the tradition of the Holy Fathers, beginning with St. Ambrose, bears sufficient testimony to it; and even had they been silent, our hearts would have told it to us. And why was it that our Savior rose from the tomb so early on the day He had fixed for His resurrection? It was because His filial love was impatient to satisfy the vehement longings of His dearest and most afflicted Mother. Such is the teaching of many pious and learned writers; and who that knows aught of Jesus and Mary could refuse to accept it?

But who is there would attempt to describe the joy of such a meeting? Those eyes that had grown dim from wakefulness and tears, now flash with delight at beholding the brightness which tells her Jesus is come. He calls her by her name; not with the tone of voice which pierced her soul when He addressed her from the Cross, but with an accent of joy and love, such as a son would take when telling a mother that he had triumphed. The Body which, three days ago, she had seen covered with Blood and dead, is now radiant with life, beaming with the reflections of divinity. He speaks to her words of tenderest affection, He embraces her, He kisses her. Who, we ask, would dare to describe this scene, which the devout Abbot Rupert says so inundated the soul of Mary with joy that it made her forget all the sorrows she had endured.

Nor must we suppose that the visit was a short one. In one of the revelations granted to the seraphic St. Teresa, our Lord told her that when He appeared to His blessed Mother immediately after His resurrection, He found her so overwhelmed with grief that she would soon have died; that it was not until several moments had passed, that she was able to realize the immense joy of His presence; and that He remained a long time with her, in order to console her.

Let us, who love this blessed Mother and have seen her offer up her Son on Calvary for our sake, let us affectionately rejoice in the happiness wherewith Jesus now repays her, and let us learn to compassionate her in her doleurs. This is the first manifestation of our risen Jesus: it is a just reward for the unwavering Faith which has dwelt in Mary’s soul during these three days, when all but she had lost it. But it is time for Him to show Himself to others, that so the glory of His resurrection may be made known to the world. His first visit was to her who is the dearest to Him of all creatures, and who well deserved the favor; now, in His goodness, He is about to console those devoted women, whose grief is, perhaps, too human, but their love is firm, and neither death nor the tomb have shaken it.

Yesterday, when the sunset proclaimed to the Jews the end of the great Sabbath and the commencement of the Sunday, Magdalene and her companions went into the city and bought perfumes, wherewith, this morning at break of day, they purpose embalming the Body of their dear Master. They have spent a sleepless night. Before the dawn of day, Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James), and Salome, are on the road that leads to Calvary, for the sepulcher is there. So intent are they on the one object, that it never occurs to them, until it is too late, to provide for the removing of the heavy stones, which closes the sepulcher. There is the seal, too, of the Governor, which must be broken before they can enter; there are the soldiers who are keeping guard: these difficulties are quite overlooked. It is early daybreak when they reach the tomb. The first thing that attracts their attention is that the stone has been removed, so that one can see into the sepulcher. The Angel of the Lord, who had received the mission to roll back the stone is seated on it as upon a throne; he thus addresses the three holy women, who are speechless from astonishment and fear: “Be not affrighted! Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified: He is risen, He is not here.” Then encouraging them to enter the sepulcher, he adds: “Behold the place where they laid Him!”

These words should fill them with joy: but no; their faith is weak, and as the Evangelist says, “a trembling and fear seize them.” The dear Remains they are in search of are gone: the Angel tells them so: his saying that Jesus is risen fails to awaken their faith in the resurrection: they had hoped to find the Body! While in the sepulcher, two other Angels appear to them, and the place is filled with light. St. Luke tells us that Magdalene and her companions “bowed down their heads,” for they were overpowered with fear and disappointment. Then the Angels said to them: “Why seek ye the Living with the dead? Remember how He spake unto you, when He was yet in Galilee, saying: “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again!” These words make some impression upon the holy women, and they begin to remember something of what our Lord had said of His resurrection. “Go!” said one of the Angels, “tell His disciples and Peter, that He is going before you into Galilee.”

The three women leave the sepulcher and return with haste to the city; they are full of fear, and yet there is an irresistible feeling of joy mingled with their fear. They relate what they have seen: they have seen Angels, and the sepulcher open, and Jesus’ Body was not there. All three agree in their account; but the Apostles, as the Evangelist tells us, set it down to womanish excitement: “Their words seem idle tales and they believe them not.” The Resurrection, of which their divine Master had so clearly and so often spoken, never once crosses their mind. It is particularly to Peter and John that Magdalene relates the wonderful things she has seen and heard; but her own faith is still weak! She went with the intention of embalming the Body of Jesus, and she found it not! She can speak of nothing but her disappointment: “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid Him!”

Peter and John determine to go themselves to the sepulcher. They enter. They see the “linen cloths lying” upon the slab whereon the Body of Jesus had been placed; but the Angels who are now keeping guard in the holy cave appear not to them. Saint John tells us that this was the moment he received the faith in the resurrection: he believes.
So far, Jesus has appeared to no one save His blessed Mother; the holy women have only seen the Angels, who spoke to them. These heavenly spirits bade them go and announce the resurrection of their Master to the disciples and Peter. They are not told to bear the message to Mary; the reason is obvious: Jesus has already appeared to His Mother, and is with her while all these events are happening. The sun is now shedding his beams upon the earth, and the hours of the grand morning are speeding onwards: the Man-God is about to proclaim the triumph He has won for us over death. Let us reverently follow Him in each of these manifestations, and attentively study the lessons they teach us.

As soon as Peter and John have returned, Magdalene hastens once more to the tomb of her dear Master. A soul like hers, ever earnest, and now tormented with anxiety, cannot endure to rest. Where is the Body of Jesus? Perhaps being insulted by His enemies? Having reached the door of the sepulcher, she bursts into tears. Looking in, she sees two Angels, seated at either end of the slab on which her Jesus had been laid. They speak to her, for she knows not what to say: “Woman! why weepest thou?”—“Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” Without waiting for the Angels to reply, she turns as thou she would leave the sepulcher; when lo! she sees a man standing before her, and this Man is Jesus. She does not recognize Him: she is in search of the dead Body of our Lord; she is absorbed in the resolution of giving it a second burial! Her love distracts her, for it is a love that is not guided by faith; her desire to find Him, as she thinks Him to be, blinds her from seeing Him as He really is—living, and near her.

Jesus, with His wonted condescension, speaks to her: “Woman! why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?” Magdalene recognizes not this voice; her heart is dulled by an excessive and blind sentiment of grief; her spirit does not as yet know Jesus. Her eyes are fixed upon Him; but her imagination persuades her that this man is the gardener, who has care of the ground about the sepulcher. She thinks within herself, “This perhaps is he that has taken my Jesus!” and thereupon she thus speaks to Him: “Sir, if Thou hast taken Him hence, tell me where Thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.” How is our loving Redeemer to withstand this? If He praised her for the love she showed Him in the Pharisee’s house, we may be sure He will now reward this affectionate simplicity. A single word, spoken to her with the tone of voice she so well understood, is enough:—“Mary!”—“Master!” exclaims the delighted and humble Magdalene. All is now clear: she believes.

She rushes forward: she would kiss those sacred feet, as on the happy day when she received her pardon; but Jesus stays her; this is not the time for such a demonstration of her affection. Magdalene, witness of the resurrection, is to be raised, in reward of her love, to the high honor of publishing the great mystery. It is not fitting that the blessed Mother should reveal the secret favor she has received from her Son: Magdalene is to proclaim what she has seen and heard at the sepulcher, and become as the holy Fathers express it, the Apostle of the very Apostles. Jesus says to her: “Go to My brethren, and say to them: I ascend to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.”


Magdalene loses no time in doing her Master’s bidding. She hastens back to the city, and having come to the disciples, says to them: “I have seen the Lord, and these things He said to me.” But as yet, they have not faith; John alone has received that gift, although he has seen nothing more than the empty sepulcher. Let us remember that after having fled like the rest of the disciples, he followed Jesus to Calvary, was present at His death, and was made the adopted son of Mary.

Meanwhile, Magdalene’s two companions, Salome, and Mary the mother of James, are following her, though slowly and at some distance, to Jerusalem. Jesus meets them, and greets them, saying: “All hail.” Overcome with joy they fall down and adore Him, and kiss His sacred feet. It is the third apparition; and they that are favored with it are permitted to do what was denied to the more favored and fervent Magdalene. Before the day is over, Jesus will show Himself to them whom He has chosen as the heralds of His glory; but He first wishes to honor these generous women, who, braving every danger, and triumphing over the weakness of their sex, were more faithful to Him in His Passion, than the men He had so highly honored as to make them His Apostles. When He was born in the stable at Bethlehem, the first He called to worship Him in His crib were some poor shepherds; He sent his Angels to invite them to go to Him before He sent the star to call the magi. So now, when He has reached the summit of His glory, put the finish to all His works by His resurrection, and confirmed our faith in His divinity by the most indisputable miracle—He does not begin by instructing and enlightening His Apostles, but by instructing, consoling, and most affectionately honoring these humble but courageous women. How admirable are the dispensations of our God! How sweet, and yet how strong! Well does He say to us by His prophet: “My thoughts are not your thoughts!”

Let us suppose, for a moment, that we had been permitted to arrange the order of these two mysteries. We should have summoned the whole world, kings and people, to go and pay homage at the crib. We should have trumpeted to all nations the miracle of miracles, the resurrection of the Crucified, the victory over death, the restoration of mankind to immortality! But He Who is “the Power and Wisdom of God,” Christ Jesus our Lord, has followed a very different plan. When born in Bethlehem He would have for His first worshipers a few simple-minded shepherds, whose power to herald the great event was confined to their own village: and yet the birthday of this little Child is now the era of every civilized nation. For the first witnesses of His resurrection, He chose three weak women; and yet, the whole earth is now, at this very moment, celebrating anniversary of this resurrection. There is in it a mysterious feeling of joy unlike that of any other day throughout the year: no one can resist it, not even the coldest heart. The infidel who scoffs at the believer, knows at least that this is Easter Sunday. Yea, in the very countries where paganism and idolatry are still rife, there are Christians whose voices unite with ours in singing the glorious Alleluia to our risen Jesus. Let us, then, cry out as Moses did when the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea, and were keeping their first Pasch: “Who, O Lord, is like unto Thee, among the strong?”


On this day of infinite and miraculous love and mercy—on this day when the promise of the Incarnation reaches its completion—on this day we discover as hundreds of generations before us have discovered, our meaning and purpose, our everlasting Hope and promise of life. It is a life not free of hardship or tribulation or severe testing, no, but one indeed that enables us to overcome these trials with a fortitude and joy that can never be taken from us and the assurance that we are in the Fellowship of Our Lord and that eternal life in Him is ours.

My wishes and prayers for a Joyous, Blessed and Happy Easter to you all!

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