What was Catholic monarchy like? Here is a charming example…

From Roman Christendom

Kaiser (Emperor and Caesar) Francis Joseph I of Austria-Hungary,  the central Catholic Empire of Europe and successor of the Holy Roman Empire

Kaiser (Emperor and Caesar) Francis Joseph I of Austria-Hungary,
the central Catholic Empire of Europe and successor of the Holy Roman Empire

The Catholic imperial monarchy of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire…

Who does not recognise the face and picture of the distinguished, charming and saintly old gentleman who was the Kaiser (Emperor and Caesar) Francis Joseph of Austria-Hungary from 1848 to 1916?

He led a saintly, rigorously military and piously disciplined life right up to the day of his pious and holy death.

His successor was his great-nephew, the Blessed Emperor Charles I, beatified in 2004 by Blessed Pope John Paul II, himself named Charles (Karol in Polish) after the Blessed Emperor Charles since the Pope’s father had served in the Austro-Hungarian army.

Blessed Kaiser (Emperor or Caesar) Charles I of Austria-Hungary,  who succeeded to the imperial throne upon the death in 1916 of his great uncle, Kaiser Francis Joseph I

Blessed Kaiser (Emperor or Caesar) Charles I of Austria-Hungary,
who succeeded to the imperial throne upon the death in 1916 of his great uncle, Kaiser Francis Joseph I

Both men, in fact, led difficult and, indeed, crucified lives. Francis Joseph lost his son, his wife and his nephew successor to assassins. Charles, who worked tirelessly for peace and an end to war, but was betrayed, forced off the throne, exiled into poverty with his wife, Empress Zita, and 8 children, to Madeira Island, and died there aged only 34 years old.

But what was life like under the old Catholic empire?

In fact, it was a glorious kaleidoscope of colour, tradition, beauty, piety and plenty that ought to be the envy of a less fortunate age.

Unfortunately, too few know about those times and many have been seduced by secularist and anti-Catholic propagandists into believing that, in those times, life was nasty, brutish and short.

In fact, the reverse is, and was, true.

Blessed Caesar and Emperor Charles I of Austria  greets an old woman, one of his many millions of subjects under the old Catholic Empire

Blessed Caesar and Emperor Charles I of Austria
greets an old person, one of his many millions of subjects under the old Catholic Empire

The 1955 film Sissi starring Romy Schneider as the Kaiserin (Empress and Caesar’s wife) Elizabeth (“Sissi”) and Karl-Heinz Boehm as Kaiser Francis Joseph, although stylised, gives a surprisingly accurate picture of life in those times.

The theme is the early life of the Kaiser and his new wife, Princess Elizabeth in Bavaria, “Sissi”, which was personally happy and only marred by the increasingly revolutionary politics of the day, tragically and persistently threatening the peace of Europe and the lives of Europeans.

The Italian secularist “irredentists”, seeking a secular and separate Italy, snub and repudiate their Emperor but, at least in the film, are won over by the charm of the Empress Elizabeth when she and the Kaiser arrive at St Mark’s, Venice, in the imperial barge, accompanied by the imperial flotilla.

The Italian nobility shut the doors of their Canal-side villas to their true and rightful Kaiser or Caesar and, instead of attending upon the Kaiser, both at St Mark’s and at the Opera, rudely send their most dull-witted servants to embarrass the Kaiser and Kaiserin (and, at the opera, they rudely drown out the imperial anthem by singing the Italian nationalist anthem, Va Pensiero, famously composed by Guiseppe Verdi whose name was used as an anagram of the king proposed by the irredentist nationalists, the unpleasant Victor Emmanuel, King of ItalyVittorio Emmanuele Re d’Italia – VERDI).

Sissi foils the plot by charming even the dull-witted servants sent to embarrass the imperial couple.

The whole story is, at base, historically true to life.

Read the rest of the article where you may watch the three YouTube video films of Empress Sissi, plus other clips on the subject.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

149 Responses to What was Catholic monarchy like? Here is a charming example…

  1. kathleen says:

    There is something deeply moving and sad about this, isn’t there! A large part of Europe: Catholic, traditional, strong and virtuous… gone forever. Just one hundred years later, look what has become of our beautiful continent!
    I believe that in centuries to come people will look back and see the fate of the Austria-Hungary Empire and these two great monarchs, plus the terrible consequences for Europe afterwards, as one of the greatest tragedies and turning points in our history.

    (CP&S also posted an article on Blessed Charles I’s eldest son, Otto, in 2011: https://catholicismpure.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/archduke-otto-von-habsburg-monarch-freedom-fighter-catholic/ )

  2. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    True it was all gone in a short time but remember the Church helped quite a bit to end it so it wasn’t like there was much of a fight.

  3. GC says:

    I would have thought that the empire was nearly always nervous about the danger of breaking up along ethnic lines, or being brought down by the other European empires, which is what happened anyway later on. Still, it would have been very interesting to see what life in a relatively advanced 20th century Catholic state (nevertheless with large free protestant, Orthodox and Jewish minorities) would have been like. Not too bad at all, I’d say. I know many Hungarians are nostalgic for the days of their Apostolic King, especially since it was out with the Habsburgs and in with the Soviets.

    In 1901, nearly 5000 periodicals were published in Austria-Hungary. Of these 2060 were in German, 938 in Magyar, and 103 in Magyar together with some other language, while 582 were published in Czech. The remainder represented, in various proportions, all the other languages spoken in the Dual Monarchy. This linguistic division of the Press reminds us once more of the all-important fact that presents itself in every phase of Austro-Hungarian affairs. Nearly every factor in the national life — politics, religion, language, and literature, as well as racial sentiment — represents a distinctly disruptive element, while almost the only bonds of union are personal loyalty to the present Emperor, and fear of absorption by Russia and Germany.

    The existence of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy is a matter of such extreme importance to the peace of Europe, that the apparent instability of the foundations upon which it rests is by no means reassuring. For the moment the tact and prudent statesmanship of the Emperor Francis Joseph may be relied upon to maintain a certain degree of unity among the mutually hostile
    elements that form his Empire, but the very fact that the nature of the Federal Government necessarily throws so vast a responsibility upon the Crown is in itself a reason for regarding the future with uneasiness. It is impossible to hope that all succeeding Sovereigns will possess his prudence and statesmanlike qualities, and, above all, his power of resisting the reactionary influences that are still so strong in ecclesiastical and certain political circles.

    Austria has weathered many a storm in the past, but will she be able to do so when the hand of the Emperor Francis Joseph no longer guides the helm of State? That time alone can show.

    That was written by an Englishman in 1903, one with an average case of British Anti-Catholicism and/or Foreignitis. Please look here : AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY

  4. Kathleen: Do you really think we will last a couple of centuries? with the state the church is in at the moment , the world will be fortunate to make past 2017…

  5. kathleen says:

    @ Geoff

    I really don’t know for certain of course, but throughout history, and from crisis to crisis, Man has always thought that the end of the world was just around the corner. Yet Our Blessed Lord has told us to always be alert “because you know not the day nor the hour”; and that only God knows when the end will be.

    It is my opinion (nothing more), that human civilisation will go blundering on for still a long time to come. Our duty is to fill our own short journeys as pilgrims on Earth by carrying our ‘crosses’ as faithfully as possible, whilst we try to follow in the ‘footsteps’ of Our Lord within the teachings of His Holy Catholic Church.

  6. JabbaPapa says:

    I don’t need to imagine what a Catholic Monarchy was like — I can see every day with my own eyes what a Catholic Monarchy is like.

    This article — though quite clearly well-meaning in its intentions, as well as being quite accurate in its details of what the Catholic monarchical system is like — is nevertheless greatly mistaken in seeking to relegate this system and this form of common existence to a kind of museum of our Religion ; whereas the Catholic Monarchies, though they have now become few in number in this world, and have mainly been isolated as micro-states, are vitally alive in those places where they thrive ; first and foremost, of course : Vatican City.

    One should not idealise the earthly Catholic Monarchies overmuch, nor should one ever think that instituting such political régimes in this broken world of ours might constitute some sort of magic bullet that would rid us of all political and social ills —- yes, there is a broadness of social-religious cohesion of richer with poorer, cleverer with stupider, men with women, generations with generations, extroverted with introverted that is very frequently not to be found in the typical Western communities ; but the deeper social and moral and ethical and philosophical and theological problems that we are all of us faced with do not magically fail to pass the political frontiers of these places.

    A Catholic Monarchical State is not a Monastery.

    But of course there is only One Catholic Monarch — the Lord our Christ — and His Reign is everywhere and forever.

    The museums are a part of the Kingdom ; and certainly not vice-versa.

  7. kathleen says:

    “But of course there is only One Catholic Monarch — the Lord our Christ — and His Reign is everywhere and forever.”

    Beautiful Jabba; thank you for reminding us of this Eternal Truth.

    But I’m not sure if I agree with everything else you say though. For instance, which of those few remaining European Catholic Monarchies are “vitally alive”? Certainly not Spain, where the new king seems to have completely fallen in with the ruling secular agenda. Not one single mention of Christianity (let alone Catholicism) in his long boring PC Christmas speech!

    P.S. “Vatican City” is not of course a Catholic Monarchy in the same sense as the Austria-Hungary Kaisers were. Their jurisdiction stopped at the frontiers of their Empire; the Vatican’s, with Christ’s Vicar on Earth, is the whole world over.

  8. JabbaPapa says:

    As I said, kathleen, it’s principally in the Micro States — and BTW no, the jurisdiction of Vatican City State is tiny ; unlike that of the Holy See.

    I meant Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, Vatican City, Andorra to some extent, and I’d guess even Malta, partially.

  9. steveesq says:

    It’s a part of the history of Western Civilization so few know about anymore. Recently, I watched a program about WWI which referred to the Austro-Hungarian Empire as creaky, worn out and spent in so many words. Yet, the old film of the Emperor and those around him, nobility and commoners, showed something else. You’ve now given me the push to learn some more about this, and thanks for the video links.

  10. Tom Fisher says:

    Sorry to be a stick in the mud, but no matter how appealing some aspects of the old Austro-Hungarian state were, it is simply morally indefensible for political power to be an inheritable commodity within a family, to be passed on like Grandma’s tea-set. There have of course been wonderful monarchs, but hereditary monarchy is inherently rotten.

  11. Q says:

    You would enjoy the writings of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, a Catholic nobleman and monarchist. His writings are very illuminating. Try Liberty or Equality.

  12. Tom Fisher says:

    I’m always open to a book recommendation, so I will take a look.

    I think 6 down votes is a record for me. Why on earth is hereditary political power so popular on here? Any advocates of hereditary pilot licences around?

    #baffled.

  13. Tom Fisher says:

    To my numerous down-voters:

    I can think of three reasons (so far) that my comment against monarchy was so wildly unpopular. They are (and I accept them as true):

    The Catholic monarchies were bastions of Catholicism in Europe, and stood as a sign of contradiction against the forces of the Reformation, and the disintegration of the Catholic culture which once spanned the continent.

    The Catholic Church itself recognises the legitimacy of the European monarchical principle, from Charlemagne’s time to our own, and has found antecedents for it in the Davidic Kingship of Israel.

    Thomas Aquinas was (with reservations) for it.

    But, I reserve the right to find the idea of inherited political power to be thoroughly unjustifiable and ridiculous. Sorry for offence caused.

  14. Tom Fisher says:

    Well if the person who just down-voted the two comments above (which were explicitly open to being corrected) wants to explain their thoughts, I’m happy to listen.

  15. Tom Fisher says:

    Dear Q, I have found an online repository of articles by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn (who I admit I had not heard of), I will take an open-minded look. Thank you for pointing me in that direction. Meanwhile I’m starting to enjoy the silent jabs of the inarticulate thumb-warriors.

  16. kathleen says:

    They weren’t from me Tom😉 although I would question your view expressed at 9:56 on 25/1, that “hereditary monarchy is inherently rotten”.

    The Austro-Hungarian Empire under its highly-principled Catholic ‘Kaisers’ was a territory (second in size only to Russia) and on the whole, a thriving bastion of lawfulness and stability… though yes, as GC points out, there was always the threat hanging over it from the ethnic groups that sought their own nation. All the same, other Protestant Western and Northern countries looked on with suspicion and envy at this largely Catholic and successful vast Empire… finally succeeding in dismantling it entirely in the forced pacts signed in their defeat after WWI. What followed was anything but ‘stability’ for Europe: 20 years of unrest, unemployment, poverty, the gradual spreading of the evils of atheistic Communism, and finally the far greater and more terrible (in numbers of casualties), Second World War.

    I do see your point that inherited Monarchies could become a power system ill-used by unscrupulous monarchs (as one look throughout history will reveal) but this was not the case with the short-lived Austro-Hungarian Empire.
    Taking a look round at some of today’s democratically elected Presidents, leaders, (‘monarchs’) one could also ask oneself if this system is really any better in bringing truly just, moral, Christian principles to nations. Same-sex ‘marriage’, the killing of the unborn, euthanasia, forced sex ‘education’ for schoolchildren, etc., all now being written into our laws by our new ‘monarchs’, one might seriously doubt it.

  17. Roger says:

    The Malachy mottos which are rather more than personal papal mottos has this covering the period being discussed.
    104. Religio depopulata. Religion destroyed Benedict XV (1914–1922)
    Prior to this Pope Leo XIII vision and prediction of satan’s permission of 100 years to destroy the Church. The Hereditary of bloodlines is well record in the Bible sic Line of David. Our Lord’s Bloodline. Also the tribes of Israel with the especial Levites (priests).
    Bloodlines carry blessings and anathemas. The Sacraments themselves are the replacing of Adams with Christ. We are called to put on Christ. The Triumph Of Immaculate will include of necessity the Temporal Rule of the Earth.

  18. JabbaPapa says:

    There are two idealised views of the monarchical system at odds here — though Tom’s presentation is the more caricatural of the two.

    It is unrealistic to place the monarchical political system on a pedestal, but then it is equally idealist (albeit from some opposite ideals) to throw it onto the dung heap — except that it’s quite the caricature to (no matterequate monarchy with despotism and tyranny, which are two entirely different systems.

    The monarchical system is founded on parliamentary principles — notwithstanding the existence of multiple methods of selecting the membership of such parliaments — and the task of the Monarch, or more properly of the Throne, is to properly assess and then represent and to embody the common will ; of not only the members of the parliament(s), but also the stability of the Realm, the guarantee of continuity of its institutions, economy, and its health, and of the foundational principle of the civilised West, which is that the individual is defined on the basis of his or her relationship not with the State, but with his or her Family — so that the Monarch’s own primary identity as being a member of his or her own family expresses the true source of political Authority in our civilisation — the Family.

    And there is no monarchical system other than its Catholic variety where the Family is valued at its proper height.

    Tyrants and despots, revolutionaries and utopianists, and all other such types who seek their own aggrandizement over that of the common good, generally do so by seeking to destroy the Family as the foundation of society — and the Islamists of Iraq and Syria are no exception, nor are so many professional politicians in the contemporary West.

    Tom’s sneering characterisation of the monarchical system as “Grandma’s tea-set” isn’t just strikingly uncatholic — it is naïve, and it is ignorant.

  19. Tom Fisher says:

    To be clear Jabba, my objection here is specifically to hereditary monarchy.

    I’m not unaware of some of the appealing elements of the system you are describing, but I object to it as a question of fundamental principle. — Political power cannot be legitimately regarded as the property of any individual or family, to be passed down to the children as part of the ‘estate’. To accept such a system is to accept that people may be granted political power over others simply by accident of birth. — And I Jabba, in all seriousness, find that to be not only inherently unjust, but inherently ridiculous.

    The point about “Grandma’s tea set” shouldn’t be dismissed as sneering, it underscores how inherently crazy it is that political power can be treated like family property. And it most certainly is not naïve or ignorant.

    — Hard though it may be for you to understand Jabba, some people object to the hereditary system of government on principle

  20. JabbaPapa says:

    Political power cannot be legitimately regarded as the property of any individual or family, to be passed down to the children as part of the ‘estate’

    So you don’t believe in democracy then ?

    Which is exactly the system where power is regarded the legitimate property of either individuals or heads of families (such as in the ancient Athenian version) ?

    Besides, you have completely missed my point — it is ONLY in a tyranny or a despotism that power is regarded as being the property of one single individual to the exclusion of all others.

    In the monarchical system, power is the property of the Throne — NOT of whichever monarch happens to be its most recent occupant.

    As the example of this that most here are likely most familiar with : each individual Pope is himself subject to the Authority of the Pope.

    The Monarch is subjected to the sovereign decisions of the Monarch — AKA the Law — and cannot simply do as he or she pleases.

    Ultimately, your argument is a straw man : “tyrants and despots are bad ; therefore monarchy is bad” (paraphrased)

  21. Tom Fisher says:

    Jabba,

    My objection is to hereditary power — Now, I am perfectly happy to accept that you are right that a monarchical system does not necessarily involve power being the ‘property’ of the individual monarch. As you say, power may more correctly be seen as belonging to the throne, not it’s occupant.

    But that is not fundamental to what I am saying. — I object to hereditary power, the kind of power which can be exercised based on an accident of birth, and passed on within a family. — That is what I find immoral, quite independently from the qualities of the individual monarch, or the structure of the system.

    You said:

    Ultimately, your argument is a straw man : “tyrants and despots are bad ; therefore monarchy is bad” (paraphrased)

    That was NOT a paraphrase that was an UTTER distortion and falsification of what I said. My objection is to hereditary political power, however benevolently it may be exercised. Please do not misrepresent me in that fashion again. I NEVER made that argument that you have ascribed to me.

  22. Tom Fisher says:

    Mrs Windsor for example is hardly a tyrant or a despot, but I object to the hereditary nature of the system which put her in place.

  23. The Raven says:

    Forgive me for coming late to this argument, but I think that we are painting an overly roseate picture of the final centuries of the Habsburg monarchy.

    I will lay my cards on the table at the outset, the only reasons for perpetuating the monarchy in the United Kingdom that I find persuasive are that:

    (i) I am persuaded of the personal qualities of the current resident of Windsor Castle (I am sadly ignorant of the personal qualities of our lawful monarch, Francis II); and

    (ii) If we became a republic at this time we would either end up with a US style system (which would probably leave us with President Blair) or an Irish style system (which would leave us with some political has-been or never-really been like Baroness Ashton).

    My preference would be to return to a true and Godly elected monarchy as was the case before William the Bastard invaded these lands, or as pertained in Poland or Venice.

    But with specific regard to the Holy Roman Empire, and its successor, the Habsburg Dual Monarchy, the situation was really very complicated.

    It is true that the Blessed Carl was a man of heroic virtue and would have made an excellent Emperor and that he could have saved the Empire and its peoples from great suffering in two world wars had he ascended the throne a decade earlier.

    However, the Empire and Monarchy was rotten from its very heart: in the late Eighteenth century Joseph II had pursued a path of “Enlightenment” reform, closing monasteries, undermining the Church, imposing German on his subjects, nurturing proto-nationalistic ideas.

    After the shock of the first great fascist war (that instigated by the French and Buonaparte), the Habsburg rulers set about creating a “modern” state after the model of Prussia and England: they did not seek to return to the status quo ante of a Catholic state.

    Under Franz-Josef there was initially significant change and modernisation in the state, but his long and autocratic reign eventually degenerated into stasis.

    The frozen aspect of society and the state at this time allowed the newly rekindled flames of nationalism take hold in Czech, Dalmatia and Hungary, as well as the sort of toxic German nationalism in Vienna that was becoming common currency in Berlin (vile anti-semitic views were current at court and particularly the group around Franz-Ferdinand, not to mention a strong (albeit fully reciprocated) hatred of the Magyars).

    With a few notable exceptions, among them the Blessed Carl, Archduchess Sophie (wife to Franz-Ferdinand) and the “Old Gentleman” (Franz-Josef), the monarchy that stumbled into the First World War was already divided, corrupt, modernist and intoxicated with nationalism and racial ideas.

    (The Empress Sisi being an interesting case: compare her story and treatment with that of the late Princess of Wales; history may not repeat itself, but sometimes the scribe copies the same line twice in error).

    By the end of the war, which was ultimately won by the Orthodox Serbs in the east, everything had utterly fractured: the destruction of the Empire led to economic hardship for the majority of the population, as well as instability, corruption and misery, but you would have been hard-pressed to find many people in Czech, Slovakia, Dalmatia or Ukraine who yearned for the return of the monarchy in the inter-war period (and even fewer today).

    It should say a lot to us all that the Götterdämmerung of the Habsburg monarchy came in a war that they chose to wage against fellow Christians, instead of the Turk or the forces of secularism.

    I, for one, yearn for no king but Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and want nothing to do with despots who call themselves “Caesar” in Vienna, Constantinople or Moskow.

  24. JabbaPapa says:

    My objection is to hereditary political power, however benevolently it may be exercised

    I don’t really believe that — besides, it removes no straw whatsoever from your argument, because nobody in here has at any point suggested the hereditary nature of some individual monarchies as being a required feature of monarchy itself.

    … whereas it is in fact an innovation of modern times, and almost wholly alien to the originally catholic and feudal conception of the monarchical system.

    The Monarchy of Vatican City and of the Catholic Church herself isn’t exactly hereditary, is it ? Is there any more Catholic Monarchy than that ?

    What’s hereditary in the old feudal, catholic monarchical system (of which only some small remnants exist nowadays) are the lands, properties, and rights of each individual family.

    The head of each family, upon the death or other incapacitation of the previous one, was chosen among the prominent family members internally, and it is simply human nature that this would tend to be the son of the previous head of family — though exceptions to this rule were not infrequent.

    The Lord of each fief was designated in a much similar manner, among the more prominent heads of family, and very typically among the sons of the previous lord, simply because (in times of peace, anyway) they had inherited their fathers’ lands and wealth. Additionally though, the heir chosen by this feudal council of the heads of family of the fief — by a process that was not technically nor legally hereditary in nature, except by virtue of families being by very definition hereditary entities — needed to be accepted by the local leadership, the Liege Lord and his Barons and Knights ; the Bishop and his priests ; and not infrequently, particularly in the urban fiefs, the so-called “third estate” of whichever locally important “peasantry”, which is to say important local farmers, guilds, and corporations.

    Furthermore, multiple local variations of this system existed, so that the Lord of a fief dominated by the presence of a massively important Abbey would tend to be the Abbot — as even very recently in San Marino for example ; and the Lord of a fief centred on a large and important City might be elected among its citizens, as was for example the case in the Free City of Lucca in Italy.

    The heirs to the Liege Lords — the Counts, Dukes, and Kings — would be designated and approved according to similar rules, though of course at this point the procedures would be far more overtly dominated by the power and prestige of particular families, for as long as they could maintain that power.

    The Monarch being no more than a Liege Lord having other Liege Lords as his Vassals.

    The primary characteristic of the Catholic Monarchy is quite simply NOT its hereditary nature — because the only properly hereditary feature of the feudal system resides in the hereditary nature of the Family, as the core of the whole political system — which was not at all centralised, as in the despotic system that Louis XIV of France came up with and which was a complete distortion of the monarchical system as such.

    The feudal, Catholic Christian monarchy was the political system with the greatest degree of subsidiarity, of local governance of local affairs by locals, that our civilisation has ever produced.

    Individual, Family, Parish, Fief, and Diocese — these are the core of the Catholic Monarchy ; not the Monarch ; and not the strawmen of your presentation.

  25. JabbaPapa says:

    Raven : an overly roseate picture of the final centuries of the Habsburg monarchy

    Well yes indeed — you expand upon my original caveat, that “one should not idealise the earthly Catholic Monarchies overmuch“.

  26. Tom Fisher says:

    I don’t really believe that

    Then it is simply impossible to engage with you, if you choose to deliberately misunderstand me there can be no communication. I have read the rest of your comment, and some of it is perfectly interesting, but your references to ‘straw men’, and your willfully unfair “paraphrasing” that I called you up on earlier incline me not to bother.

    The Monarchy of Vatican City and of the Catholic Church herself isn’t exactly hereditary, is it ? Is there any more Catholic Monarchy than that?

    We might note that nobody here has criticised the Monarchy of the Vatican, nor monarchy in general. — I just reread every comment I made to be certain, I was always explicitly referring to hereditary monarchy.

    The feudal, Catholic Christian monarchy was the political system with the greatest degree of subsidiarity, of local governance of local affairs by locals, that our civilisation has ever produced.

    Actually the early 19th Century United States has a much stronger claim to that title. Though I suspect you’re understanding of the middle ages owes much to Penty, Belloc and G.K.C.

  27. toadspittle says:

    Game, Set, and Match to Raven, I suggest.

    …And high time for us all to trill, Goodnight Vienna.
    We’ve had quite enough pseudo-pious twaddle regarding that gaggle of Blessed, bleary-eyed, bewitched bewhiskered, and bewildered, bumbling buffoons.
    Amusing as it was, as always.

    …an overly roseate picture… …indeed. Wish I’d said that. (You will, Toad, you will.)

    (But one tiny query – a monarchy in Venice? When? Was that not a republic back as far as 1200? Raven will explain.)

  28. JabbaPapa says:

    I was always explicitly referring to hereditary monarchy

    And my central objection to your position, that you have been mostly ignoring as far as I can tell, is that the Catholic monarchical system is NOTan hereditary form of despotic nor tyrannic (nor even benevolently tyrannic) rule in the first place, so that your objections are quite hors sujet.

    Louis XIV was not a Catholic Monarch, nor is Kim Jong Un ; the first was a despot, the second is a tyrant.

    If you continuously argue against some position that nobody has either proposed or has defended, as your basis for any disagreement with what people have been proposing or defending, then the word “straw” might be mentioned.

    Though I suspect you’re understanding of the middle ages owes much to Penty, Belloc and G.K.C.

    Having read none of these authors on any mediaeval subjects, I’m not really sure how you imagine that might have happened … they were certainly not on the reading lists of any of my Mediaeval Studies at Univ.

  29. Tom Fisher says:

    my central objection to your position, that you have been mostly ignoring as far as I can tell, is that the Catholic monarchical system is NOTan hereditary form of despotic nor tyrannic (nor even benevolently tyrannic) rule in the first place, so that your objections are quite hors sujet.

    My initial comment was in reference to the empire of Austria-Hungary. The post provides a glowing description of a regime which, while it had some good features, was, in my view, not a regime I could have warm feelings about — due to my objection to the hereditary system of rule upon which it relied.

    So:

    Glowing post about Austria-Hungary —-> leads to comment pointing out what in my view is a flaw.

    Why on earth would it be relevant to my criticism of Austria-Hungary and the hereditary principle in general that Catholic Monarchies need not be hereditary, and sometimes are not. I never set out to criticise “catholic Monarchy” — YOU JUST ASSUMED THAT I WAs

  30. JabbaPapa says:

    My initial comment was in reference to the empire of Austria-Hungary

    Well if that was your intention, you made it clear as mud :

    In your initial post, your reference to the Austro-Hungarian Empire appears as a simple qualifier of the, BTW extremely broad, central statements in that post, that 1)it is simply morally indefensible for political power to be an inheritable commodity within a family” and 2)hereditary monarchy is inherently rotten

    2) is clearly false — some systems of the hereditary transference of power in some régimes, historical or present-day could be viewed as being “rotten” certainly, but I maintain that it is naïve to move on from this fact into making such aggressively broad condemnations as yours, particularly given that, BTW as the central implicit caveat in my own counter-points, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was hardly the best example of Catholic Monarchy that one could look for.

    As for 1) , it is hardly mistaken on my part to describe precisely the sorts of conditions whereby the legitimacy of political power could exactly be seen as morally defensible, viz. in any systems where the Family as such is set up as the very source of all political power at every level in the society — and I’ve even scratched the surface of pointing out that each individual’s political power, greater or smaller, in our Western civilisation, is in any case derived from inheritance — from family, nationality, education, and any other such discrete goods that may have been provided to that individual from his or her forebears

    Whereas it is quite clear that your own comments can only be made sense of by applying them to whichever forms of hereditary tyranny or despotism, if we’re to start talking about political systems that truly are inherently rotten, except that if you make such comments in a rather clear context of discussion of the Catholic Monarchical system, with the particular system of the Austro-Hungarian Empire provided as an example thereof — and BTW a clearly flawed example — then such broad statements as you have made are unlikely to be viewed in a narrower manner, regardless of what your intent may have been when you wrote them.

  31. JabbaPapa says:

    Mrs Windsor

    See ?

    Sneering.

  32. Tom Fisher says:

    You actually seem to be incapable of understanding that the reason I described the problems with all hereditary regimes as inherent is that it is the principle of hereditary political power itself that I object to — hence I regard hereditary monarchy as inherently illegitimate, regardless of any other particulars.

    You could argue that my claim is wrong, but you seem sincerely unable to grasp what the actual point is. I can’t help you any further.

    As to Elizabeth Windsor, call her what you like, but don’t expect me to follow suit.

  33. JabbaPapa says:

    you seem sincerely unable to grasp what the actual point is

    What — despite my direct denial of your point that hereditary monarchy is “inherently” “rotten” ?

    You think I can refuse to accept a point of yours without grasping what it is ?

    Are you aware of the fact that disagreeing with your personal views does not carry a prerequisite of failure to understand them ?

    As to Elizabeth Windsor, call her what you like, but don’t expect me to follow suit

    If you were to at least honestly and openly admit to hating the monarchical system in its totality, instead of trying to have your cake and eat it, you might end up having better quality exchanges with those who disagree with your apparently fairly radical populist notions.

  34. JabbaPapa says:

    And are you aware of the fact that one is under no obligation whatsoever to hobble one’s responses to your posts into discussion of your notions only, to the exclusion of all other content ?

  35. Tom Fisher says:

    If you were to at least honestly and openly admit to hating the monarchical system in its totality, instead of trying to have your cake and eat it

    But I don’t hate it in its totality, the Vatican is an elective monarchy, and one that I strongly support

  36. kathleen says:

    Some of our scholarly commenters have pointed out some undeniable flaws in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire earlier on in this discussion, both in its structure and within its practice. Of course they are correct, for nowhere where fallible human beings are the subject, will there be an absence of sin and falling short of the ideals expounded by a Nation as its identity.

    However, in my opinion, these commenters also omit pointing out the equally undeniable evidence that this Empire (that based itself upon Christ’s Eternal Word) was overwhelmingly law-abiding, where Mass attendance reached almost the totality of the population, with the Beatitudes held up as ideals to follow, where the family lay at the centre of life and the poor and weak were helped and cared for. Crime was recognised as primarily an offense against God’s Divine Law, not the kaiser’s (who was seen as no more than God’s vassal).

    Truly, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was an Empire where Our Lord Jesus Christ was recognised as the King of Kings to be loved, honoured and obeyed within His Holy Church above all worldly ‘kings’. It was precisely this placing of God as Supreme King that made this vast Empire as good a human example as could be found on Earth of justice, peace and morality. A hundred years later where Secularism, Consumerism, immorality, greed, and much injustice (flaunting itself as lawful) reign supreme, it is no over-imaginative utopia to look back at this period of European history and re-state that this was, as the author of this splendid article describes: “a glorious kaleidoscope of colour, tradition, beauty, piety and plenty that ought to be the envy of a less fortunate age.”

  37. Tribunus says:

    Thank you, Kathleen, for having taken the time to read the article and thank you for your kind comments.

    Tom Fisher fails in almost all respects to understand the system that he claims the right to pontificate about without any real knowledge of that which he smears.

    He describes the state which, of all Catholic states that ever existed, that of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire, had the fullest support of the Roman Catholic Church (of which Church Tom appears to be a member) as “simply morally indefensible”, “like Grandma’s tea-set” and “inherently rotten”.

    Sorry, Tom, but your opinion is utterly worthless if you have no logical, factual or historical basis for it.

    And so far you haven’t.

    Until you do, it is no more than your shallow opinion.

    You express yourself “baffled” that your are so comprehensively voted down; but is it surprising?

    Even more absurdly, you then posit 3 good reasons for the Church’s support of the old monarchy – bastions of Catholicism, recognised by the Church with antecedents in the Davidic kingdom, and supported by Aquinas, but….you then go on to say, with no evidence whatever, that you think them to be “unjustifiable and ridiculous”.

    So you think you know better than the Church and Aquinas?

    Well, it’s a point of view, I guess!

    Even less rationally, you say that you “I don’t hate it in its totality, the Vatican is an elective monarchy, and one that I strongly support”, demonstrating your apparent ignorance of the fact that the Holy Roman Empire was always an elective monarchy, right up to its end in 1806!

    Yet you despise it – but with no logical or evidential reason or justification.

    Well, it’s a point of view!

    But neither the Holy See nor the Holy Empire were the subject of anything other than a very restricted franchise – the cardinals elect the Pope and the prince-electors elect the Emperor.

    So they were neither of them modern democracies of the sort you perhaps prefer – those modern democracies that are currently in a state of moral chaos.

    The revolutions that have beset the world since the conflagration of 1789 in France have been ostensibly about “democracy” and “liberty”. They delivered blood baths in the 19th century, the greatest ever slaughter in the 20th century, and Nazism and Communism – both, by the way, the result of your preferred non-hereditary, elective system.

    The Nazis were actually elected in 1933 and the Bolsheviks claimed to represent a majority in October 1917.

    The European monarchies did not pass on power “like teapots” since they were almost all constitutional monarchies and had been so throughout the Christian era. The power of kings was moderated by itself (through upbringing), the nobility, the bourgeoisie, the parliaments, popular feeling, by the Constitution and the law, and, of course, by the Church.

    Seemingly there are some Americans who appear to think that theirs is the only country ever to have a Constitution!

    Modern “democratic” governments, claiming that power and their electoral mandate gives them the right, are far more arbitrary than any Christian king ever was. They even claim to break the Natural Law with impunity.

    The hereditary principle was a way devised to overcome the endless squabbles and power struggles that are the almost inevitable result of elective political systems, as the Romans discovered after they introduced their republican model.

    They decided that the best form of government was that in which there was one man as head of state (a system that even republics continue to observe this day in the form of a presidency), provided he was circumscribed by the law, the Senate, the nobles, the Comitia and by other checks and balances.

    They also decided that, since this man’s power was heavily circumscribed, he could be chosen, as it were, by nature, so that the endless squabbles of an elective system could thereby be avoided. Hence the hereditary principle.

    Elections still occurred for the Senate and Comitia and public offices but the supreme office was to be hereditary in the person of Caesar Augustus, the Emperor.

    It was this system that the Catholic Church adopted, blessed and canonised, whether you like it or not.

    It did not adopt and bless any US-style elective system. Sorry – it just did not.

    In fact, the hereditary principle is natural to man, as is monarchy. The best run enterprises have one managing director or giver of orders. In the military, it is essential to have one commander and order-giver in order to achieve success.

    The United States, for example, is an elective monarchy – with all the squabbles and corruption that elections always bring (not to mention the vast and wasteful expense – billions of dollars – but a monarchy nonetheless).

    The hereditary principle is so natural to man that it operates in the USA as much as anywhere. Every man wishes his children to inherit his successes and property and that applies as much in the USA as anywhere. Famously, the propensity of families like the Kennedys to take up state offices as an hereditary obligation of noblesse oblige is about as obvious an example of the hereditary principle in action as any.

    The simple historical reality is that the fall of the Austrian Empire left a yawning gap which was filled with the appalling regimes of Nazism and Communism – both republican and both claiming to be popular and anti-monarchical!

    Raven takes even less time to understand what he is criticising.

    The Austrian empire was very far from rotten, let alone to the core, and Raven provides not a whit of evidence for the same.

    Those who trot out this fatuous criticism of Austria never do have any evidence for it. It’s just one of those idle phrases that monarchy-haters mechanically spew forth as if they were self-evident.

    It was Nazism and Communism, in fact, that were “rotten to the core”.

    Joseph II is but one emperor out of many and the only one who endorsed Enlightenment ideas. Raven selectively chooses him and patently ignores all the remainder, the vast majority of whom were notable, even amongst Catholic monarchies, for being devoted sons of the Church.

    It is pure poppycock to say that “the Habsburg rulers…did not seek to return to the status quo ante of a Catholic state”. Austria was, and remained, a Catholic state and under Francis Joseph, flourished.

    To criticise his rule as “stasis” is no criticism at all since change for change’s sake is not only a foolish policy but, indeed, is a self-contradiction by Raven who earlier criticises Austria precisely for changing and not staying the same. Make up your mind, Raven!

    It is also incorrect to claim, as Raven does, that “vile anti-semitic views were current at court and particularly the group around Franz-Ferdinand, not to mention a strong (albeit fully reciprocated) hatred of the Magyars”.

    Not so.

    It was in the popular assemblies so beloved of Tom Fisher that anti-semitism began to arise, spuriously based upon republican and radical notions of a “science” of race. They seem to have got the idea from the Protestant, race-obsessed, republic of America, where blacks and Indians were often treated as sub-human as part of the “Manifest Destiny” creed of the Founding Fathers.

    The Hapsburgs were always notorious for their friendly attitude to the Jews and the Jews of Eastern Europe particularly expressed their warm friendship for the Emperor, not least the last, Blessed Emperor Karl I.

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand had differences (not hatred) with the Magyars precisely because there were too many Magyars who had become nationalist, racist and chauvinistic and thoroughly rebellious and intractable, as had the nationalist Italians.

    It is no accident that both countries were later deceived by their fanatical, nationalist leadership into Fascism and allying with Nazism.

    It is pure tripe to say that the Austrian monarchy “stumbled into the First World War” and “was already divided, corrupt, modernist and intoxicated with nationalism and racial ideas”.

    That would be a far more accurate description of the modern republics and nascent democracies of Europe where any and every crazy theory and idea was allowed free reign to the ruin of the state and its people.

    On the contrary, the monarchy was strong and united but for the increasingly chauvinistic Hungarians, Czechs, Serbs and Italians, supported by Britain and the US.

    In the end, it was the Serbian Black Hand that engineered the Austrians into declaring war on Serbia, not least by assassinating the heir to the Throne.

    In our time, we have come to learn just how neo-Fascist and appalling the worst kind of Serbs can be – Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, to name but 2 of the war criminals tried at the Tribunals in former Yugoslavia.

    We begin to see now what the Austrians had to put up with!

    Fatuously, Raven says that “you would have been hard-pressed to find many people in Czech, Slovakia, Dalmatia or Ukraine who yearned for the return of the monarchy in the inter-war period (and even fewer today)”.

    Really? You think they preferred Nazism and Communism, I suppose?

    Well, it’s a point of view!

    In fact, if you knew your history, you’d know that the Blessed Emperor Karl very nearly succeeded in re-gaining the Hungarian throne, so popular was he, but the supposed “Regent”, Admiral Horthy, enlisted the aid of his Fascist friends to keep Emperor Karl out.

    The biggest mistake of all is to state, as Raven does, that “the Habsburg monarchy… ‘chose’ to wage [war] against fellow Christians, instead of the Turk or the forces of secularism”.

    Not so.

    If the President of the US were assassinated whilst visiting a foreign country, do you think the US government would simply shrug their shoulders and do nothing? No. Neither do I – nor anyone sane.

    Since the Turks were no longer a threat to Europe, it would have been wholly wrong to declare war upon them and as for the forces of secularism, they were the very powers that formented, continued and prolonged the Great War to the stage of utter slaughter on a scale never before seen.

    Men like Clemenceau, Ribot, Sonnino and Lloyd George, were all secularist Freemasons whose aim was to rid Europe of Christian monarchy at any cost – and what a cost!

    These were the very people who claimed to support “democracy” and “liberty” and “popular elections”.

    Lloyd George later supported Hitler calling him “the greatest living German” and visited him, warmly saluting him.

    This is what your lovely “democratic” politicians did for humanity!

    Raven, if you knew your history, you would know that the Caesars of Vienna, Constantinople and even Moscow, have a far better record than do your governments by the tribunes of the people that delivered mankind in the 20th century into the greatest slaughter and blood-bath that mankind has ever seen.

    Who then are the despots?

    In the Lord’s Prayer we pray that it will be “on earth as it is in heaven”, where, as you admit, Christ is King. But, seemingly, you claim to know better than Christ and His Church. According to you, we should not imitate the Kingship of Christ, here on earth. Perhaps you would rather prefer the kind of mass-murdering republic which the 20th century gave us and of which the Prince of Darkness appears to be the principal model?

    It is a matter of fact (as you would know if you had read the Roman Christendom Blog) that the Catholic Church so supported the idea of the Roman imperial monarchy that it instituted, from the beginning, special prayers for the Emperor, in the most sacred parts of the liturgy (e.g. Good Friday intercessions, the Exultet on Holy Saturday). These imperial prayers remained part of the official liturgy of the Church right up until 1955 when the Holy Week services were changed by Mgr Bugnini. the church also recognised the right of Christian monarchs to veto any candidate for the Papacy, just as the Pope claimed the right to refuse to crown the emperor-elect if he were not in good standing with the Church.

    Might I suggest that if you are going to do any “yearning” for Christ the King that you find out what the Church teaches first about the subject?

    It might save you a lot of blind alleys.

    Tribunus

    PS. I disdain to respond to the aptly-named “Toadspittle” until he learns to write like a civilised human being. And if he knew any history, he’d know that the Republic of Venice was, by our standards, a monarchy under a Doge (or Duke) elected by a narrow franchise of Venetian nobility.

  38. kathleen says:

    Thank you very much for this most interesting and erudite explanation Tribunus; it was most kind of you.
    I found many of the above comments offensive and prejudiced, but lacked enough of the all-round background knowledge to state a satisfactory rebuttal. I am delighted that with your excellent understanding of the subject you have done so with such powerful evidence and detail – thank you once again!🙂

  39. toadspittle says:

    Well, I did say I was just asking, about Venice, Tribunus. However,
    “….the Republic of Venice was, by our standards, a monarchy under a Doge (or Duke)”
    …”by our standards” sounds a teeny bit weaselly to me. Still, we’ll let it go, and all give rousing Hurrahs! To King Charles and Queen Camilla! Long may they reign!
    (And let’s not forget King Kong! There’s a monarch for you!)

  40. toadspittle says:

    “Famously, the propensity of families like the Kennedys to take up state offices as an hereditary obligation of noblesse oblige is about as obvious an example of the hereditary principle in action as any.”
    Surely the most idiotic, pompous, ludicrous, and inaccurate bit of blather for some considerable time – even on CP&S.
    The Kennedys, whose father made his money bootlegging – and the Bush family? Nothing but gangster clans who used, and use, political power the way Al Capone used a machine gun. And the Clintons will be next with Hillary.
    “Noblesse Oblige?” “Hereditary Obligation?” – yea, right – try nepotism and vote rigging, in Florida and Ohio (Bush) and Illinois (JFK) and try telling that to Marilyn Monroe, who – very conveniently for some – “overdosed.” These appalling people are in politics, not for any selfless and noble motive, but because that’s where the money and the power is.
    And if Tribunus is putting the likes of them up as paradigms of “monarchical” and moral decency, his argument just went badly pear-shaped.
    “The United States, for example, is an elective monarchy…” Try telling that to George Washington. And if Obama is a “monarch”, why can’t he get anything done?

    And Toad can “…write like a civilised human being.”
    He just doesn’t want to, on CP&S.

  41. Tribunus says:

    Toad, with your latest spittle-rant, you prove my very point. Indeed, you go further and demonstrate, also, that you need a few lessons in logic. My whole point in referencing the Kennedys was precisely to demonstrate that, even amongst allegedly “democratic” politicians, and even the most corrupt, that the hereditary principle survives, albeit in denial by these so-called “democratic” politicians and this precisely underscores the hollowness of their arguments against the principle. The sheer hypocrisy of the Kennedys goes a long way to demonstrate the hollowness of the “democratic” argument against the hereditary principle – even these so-called “democratic” politicians practice the very principle they claim to despise! You argue my case for me by showing that the Kennedys, leaders in the “Democratic” Party, were so corrupt. But, as usual, you miss the point. These are YOUR people, Toad, not mine. They are YOUR “democratic” paradigms, not mine. It is thus your case that has – again – gone pear-shaped, not mine. You further demonstrate your lack of knowledge, this time of US political history, by your own ignorance of the fact that, when the presidential titles fell to be decided, many Senators sought to refer to George Washington, as First President of the USA, as “His Elective Majesty”. Many, led by Vice-President Adams, wanted him called by yet more exalted titles. Don’t believe me? Then look it up and then feel free to come back and admit the truth, when you have done so. The problem with cheap-shot, unthinking, throwaway lines like “try telling that to George Washington” is that they have an unfortunate habit of coming back to bite you in the rear, Toady. Washington WAS “told that” – and by his own Senate and Vice-President. The President, in fact, has MORE power than most monarchs. That is not surprising, in some ways, since his powers were based upon those, not only of King George III, but also of his ministers, the justification being that he, because elected, now had a popular mandate for all that power – precisely the rationalisation used by many tyrants, not least in the 20th century. But you further demonstrate your lamentable ignorance of how monarchy works by thinking that monarchs can achieve whatever they want, when they want. No, Toad, they can’t. You are confusing monarchs with gangland mobsters. Big, but typical, mistake – typical of those who are deeply ignorant of the real nature of monarchy, particularly Christian monarchy. Try reading the Blog before you comment further, Toady. You might learn some elementary facts about monarchy which so far seem to have eluded you. But you do, at least, prove my point that Toad cannot write like a civilised human being. Take some classes in civilised behaviour, Toad. It might save you a lot of embarrassment in future.

    Tribunus

  42. Tribunus says:

    On a recent trip to the USA, I saw an amusing bumper sticker. It featured a portrait of King George III and next to it the words “Miss me yet?”.

  43. toadspittle says:

    “But you further demonstrate your lamentable ignorance of how monarchy works by thinking that monarchs can achieve whatever they want, when they want. “
    Don’t be daft.
    Anyone knows the current crop of mindless European monarchs are all figureheads.
    And don’t forget that you brought up all the “noblesse oblige” tripe about the Kennedys – whom you now strangely agree to be a bunch of crooks.

    “… typical of those who are deeply ignorant of the real nature of monarchy, “
    No doubt the monarchs of Saudi Arabia fit your bill of “real monarchy,” involving “noblesse oblige,” and “hereditary obligation” regarding beheading, torturing, maiming – and similar regal carrying-on.
    “These are YOUR people, Toad, not mine. They are YOUR “democratic” paradigms, not mine. “
    You haven’t got a clue who “my” people are.
    However, I appreciate you overcoming your “disdain,” holding your nose, and getting down in the mud for a bit of knockabout comedy.

    …And, at my age, there isn’t a great deal of future to be embarrassed about.

  44. JabbaPapa says:

    Anyone knows the current crop of mindless European monarchs are all figureheads

    Utter nonsense.

    For starters, your “mindless” slur is quite beneath you (and was I’m sure elicited principally as an emotional reaction to some negative comments aimed in your direction), as well as appearing to be devoid of foundation in reality.

    For finishers, no, only some of the current European Monarchs are figureheads.

  45. JabbaPapa says:

    No doubt the monarchs of Saudi Arabia fit your bill of “real monarchy,” involving “noblesse oblige,” and “hereditary obligation” regarding beheading, torturing, maiming – and similar regal carrying-on.

    Obviously not, Toad — have you not noticed that the rulers of Saudi Arabia are Muslims, and not Catholic Christian Monarchs ?

  46. JabbaPapa says:

    BTW Toad — on a more personal topic — I’m not sure when, exactly, but I will be doing at least one more Camino ; as soon as will be feasible.

    I suppose that in more than one way, it’ll be the continuation and completion of the pilgrimage of last year — as I plan to take a short walk into Santiago, and then the long walk back from there to SJPP.

    I certainly look forward to seeing Bekkah and yourself again, as well as all of those of the more canine persuasion 🙂

  47. toadspittle says:

    Well, obviously I’m aware the Saudi “monarchs” are Muslims, Jabba. I read it somewhere in a newspaper, so it must be true..
    But we are talking monarchy in general here. Not sects.
    As to “mindless,” well, it’s a matter of opinion, isn’t it? And who am I to talk? However, I’m not over-impressed by, for example, Princes Harry and Andrew – or Princess Camilla, nor the raffish gang who live large by siphoning off the profits of folly in Monaco. Nor was Harry’s Mum the brightest diamond in the diadem, nor his great Grannie. Still, they aren’t there for their intellectual prowess are they?
    No, they, much like the Habsburgs in their day, are there to take our minds off our troubles.

    Stop by whenever you are able.

  48. johnhenrycn says:

    IMO, hereditary monarchies having legislative powers, or at least veto powers, is an attractive concept. There are, admittedly, risks inherent in the monarchical principle, but are they any worse than those borne by we denizens of so-called ‘democracies’, where the one per cent holding vast wealth call the shots? I see that the Koch brothers, David and Charles, are committed to spending the thick end of a billion bucks ($889 million precisely) to making sure this lesbian doesn’t win in 2016. Not being a homosexual myself, or an otherwise paid up member of the QWERTY alliance, I wish Messrs Koch Godspeed. But it’s plain wrong for the outcome of elections to be predictable – more or less – on the amount of money spent, especially keeping in mind that the left wing liberal oligarchy has far more filthy lucre than we do. Who would you rather be ruled by: this royal heterosexual dimwit, or by this pant suit wearing sapphist?
    ___
    Happy Groundhog Day.
    http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2015/02/02/22214131.html

  49. johnhenrycn says:

    Re the hyperlinks… Thank you, Moderator. Yes, I wondered if I had too many links, and so, at 19:28, I reposted my comment with one or two less. If CP&S would delete my missives at 18:52, 19:32, 20:16 and 20;23, this thread can return to normal programming.

    Moderator writes: Happy to oblige JH🙂

  50. The Raven says:

    “Tribunius”,

    Let me be blunt, many of the comments that you direct to me are simply untrue:

    (1) The anti-semitism and anti-magyar sentiments of the circle around Franz Ferdinand are well attested in Fran Ferdinand’s own letters and diaries and the contemporary accounts of people who met him. The following is a brief and sympathetic account of the man:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-one/10930835/What-sort-of-a-man-was-Archduke-Franz-Ferdinand.html

    (2) Anti-semitism was a top-down program in Austria-Hungary and had been since the seventeenth century with the expulsion of Jews from Vienna by Leopold I (long before any popular assemblies could stew in any cod-scientific “racial theories”); the moderate relaxation of restrictions on Jews that occurred in the nineteenth century was vigorously opposed by a faction at court that included Franz Ferdinand. That Bl Carl stands out as being a better man than his contemporaries should not come as a surprise to you.

    (3) Hungary certainly wanted to restore Bl Carl to the throne of Hungary, but there was no appetite in post war Hungary to tie themselves to Austria or to restore anything other than the Kingdom of Hungary.

    (4) You manage to elide the entire inter-war period by jumping straight from the end of Habsburg rule to communism and fascism (and totally ignore the resistance to communism and fascism put up by former subjects of the Empire in Poland and Czechoslovakia).

    (5) Yes, I focussed on Joseph II, but the rest of the Habsburg dynasty have little to recommend them, do you want me to list the extravagances of the magic obsessed Rudolph II? or the Freemasonry of Francis I? or the long history of the consolidation of the Habsburg grasp on the monarchy at the expense of the historic constitution of the empire and the interests of the peoples of the empire? or how about Francis II’s collaboration with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and proclamation of the new Austrian Empire? or Franz Josef’s proposals for the union of Austria and Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm II?

    And that’s just scratching the surface.

    And my point about the state of stasis under Franz Josef was that he had erected a “modern” nineteenth century monarchy in Austria-Hungary (it was already far from being the idealised vision of a Catholic state that you nurture) and then everything was frozen – everything from railway building to telegraph construction was slowed and hampered, with the result that Austria-Hungary was even worse prepared than Russia to fight the sort of industrialised warfare that they committed themselves to in the First World War and in a worse position to deliver a good life in peacetime to its citizens,

    (6) You are also guilty of conflating the Holy Roman Empire with the Austrian Empire – the Habsburgs colluded in the destruction of the first to guarantee their ownership of the second.

    (7) While you are right to say that the Serb “Black Hand” may have fired the shot that started the first world war, the Austrian general staff had been planning an invasion of Serbia for years beforehand, it should have come as no surprise to anyone that the Austrians seized on the murder of Franz Ferdinand and his wife and driver as the causus belli: it saved them significant trouble in manufacturing some other provocation. As anyone with a passing familiarity with the outbreak of the first world war would know, there were ample opportunities for all sides to prevent the war from happening, but the real-politic of the Austrian court had been itching to start a war against Serbia. And I would hardly describe the invasion of a second country as being justified when the murder was committed on the territory of the Empire by a citizen of the Empire (it would be akin to the United Kingdom invading the Republic of Ireland in response to the assassination of Lord Mountbatten).

    (8) You seem to ignore the fact that Austria-Hungary allied itself with the Turk in the first world war, against its fellow Christians. And the Turk was still an active threat throughout the Balkans – the Balkan wars of the period 1890-1910 should have alerted you to that – or are the Balkans not part of Europe now?

    (9) I made the point that people were worse off after the dissolution of the Empire (people usually are materially poorer after the dissolution of a single market and the re-organisation of polities rarely goes well after the chaotic withdrawal of central authority), but the point remains, very few people in post-war Czech, Slovakia, Dalmatia, Poland, Ukraine, Ruthenia or Dalmatia wanted a return to the Imperial system (my original list specifically excluded Hungary, but you chose to ignore that).

    (10) And as for the rottenness or otherwise of Austria-Hungary, one only has to look to the military and economic collapse that followed quickly on the declaration of war as evidence for the corruption of the body politic (a good example being the supply chain chaos created because the general staff had plans to mobilise against Russia or against Serbia, but those plans conflicted and they had not foreseen that they would end up fighting against both simultaneously, and that’s before we get into the completely futile waste of human life involved in the war against Italy).

    (11) As I’d inferred in my original comment: some of the individual members of the ruling family were good sorts; some of them were devout Catholics; a significant number of them were utter rotters. Their actions in Czech provoked the creation of a schismatic church, which described itself as “Hussite”, in Vienna they had cultivated a milieu that embraced atheism and modernism (there is a good reason that this period of Viennese history is called “decadent”), they had advanced their family interest at the expense of the institution of the Holy Roman Empire and created a “modern” centralised state in Nineteenth century Austria.

    (12) The points that you address to me about Lloyd George, Clemenceau et al are ill-taken; I made no attempt to hold up Western liberal democracy as an ideal. You would be better to address the points that I actually did make, instead of the points that you would have liked me to make.

    I am sure that you will remain obdurately convinced in your viewpoints, but, to be blunt, you undermine your argument by selectively ignoring the facts that contradict the case that you want to present.

    I acknowledge that, even in its death-throws, there was much to admire in the Austro-Hungarian empire, but I’m not going to pretend that it was anything like a paragon of a well governed Catholic state.

  51. Tribunus says:

    Game, set and match against you, Toad. I guess it’s “Goodnight Toady” – or perhaps just “Poop! Poop!” a la Mr Toad of Toad Hall? Sorry – of Toadspittle.

    Yes, Toad, we’ve had quite enough pseudo-intellectual twaddle regarding the basket of blasted, bleary-eyed, befuddled, bedewed, bedevilled, benighted, bumbling buffoons of the sloppy, sub-rational, anti-monarchist kind who think they can disguise their deep ignorance of the subjects upon which they claim to pontificate by lathering them with dreary and unfunny snipes from the side-lines. (And if you wished you’d said that – sorry, you’re too late!).

    Poor Toad. Your classes in logic and civilised behaviour – if you did attend any – don’t seem to have done you much good. Perhaps you are a hopeless case?

    Well, I’ll take your silence on (1) Venice and (2) George Washington, as your admission that you boobed. Sadly, that’s not all upon which you have boobed.

    Don’t be daft, Toad. It is not just today’s monarchs who cannot achieve whatever they want, when they want. Most monarchs in history could not – unless they decided to behave like gangland mobsters which, like most mobsters, usually did not last long.

    Don’t be yet further daft. You have no evidence that “anyone knows” the current crop of European monarchs are all “mindless figureheads” for the simple reason that they are neither mindless nor just figureheads. Have you ever met any of them? No. I thought not. Toad, do try to engage brain before putting pen to paper – if you can.

    Actually, “mindless” is not just a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of psychiatric science. But then, as you say, who are you to talk? But perhaps you are a psychiatrist with a practice that embraces the British and Monegasque royals? Perhaps you are uniquely placed to assess their mental faculties? Or perhaps not. Or perhaps you just read it somewhere in a newspaper…

    Most European monarchs still have certain rights and duties of a constitutional nature and some still have the most important power that a monarch can have, namely to resolve a constitutional crisis e.g. to prevent a dictatorship or the abolition of the democratic and representative parts of the Constitution, something many republics do not have.

    But you are still not getting it about the Kennedys, are you? Mental block, Toad? Or have you been raiding the gin bottle again and the old grey matter is working a trifle sluggishly?

    Let me repeat it for you s-l-o-w-l-y:

    “…these so-called “democratic” politicians practice the very principle they claim to despise! You argue my case for me by showing that the Kennedys, leaders in the ‘Democratic’ Party, were so corrupt. But, as usual, you miss the point.”

    Let’s face it Toady, you’re still missing the point, aren’t you?

    Those, like the Kennedys, who expect to be eligible for state offices for quasi-hereditary reasons, whilst disparaging the principle, are contradicting themselves.

    Geddit, now, Toad? No? Oh, never mind. It’ll dawn on you eventually…

    But, yes, Toad. These are, indeed, YOUR people and YOUR paradigms. In the context of this exchange that means your republican people whom you so much prefer, remember, to any monarchy.

    Or are you an anarchist, now, Toad. Is that it?

    Then you really shoot yourself, not so much in the foot, as in the head.

    Beheading, torturing, maiming? Hahahahaha! Who are you kidding, Toady? Republics have the worst possible record on that score, not monarchies, as any “any fule know” (sorry, that’s a British reference to the infamous Molesworth’s 1953 book “Down with Skool”).

    But somehow you monarchy-haters always seem to be shy of the truth about your oh-so-anti-monarchist republics.

    How quickly – and conveniently – you forget Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Kemel Ataturk, the Kims of Korea and all the rest of your republican, supposedly populist, thugs and assassins – and that’s even before we get on to the Islamic republics.

    How many hundreds of millions of victims does it take before you anti-monarchists begin to lose your dewy-eyed view of republicanism? Clearly, not enough yet…

    The Saudi record is small beer by comparison.

    Actually, of all the governments in the Islamic world, it is the monarchies who tend to be the most moderate and Western-friendly: Jordan, Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Brunei and so on.

    Could it be – golly! – that noblesse oblige and hereditary obligation have moderated them? Surely not????? It must just be the climate or the food…errr… or something, eh Toady? Or perhaps you just read it somewhere in a newspaper…

    Well, Toad, it looks as though, even at your age, there seems to be quite a lot of time and space for you to be embarrassed.

    Or are you just being “mindless”, Toad? Perhaps so, since Princes Harry and Andrew, or the Duchess of Cornwall (no, not Princess Camilla), or the raffish gang who live not at all very large in Monaco, nor even Prince Harry’s Mum or Grannie, seem to be able to do a bit better.

    But perhaps you just read it all somewhere in a newspaper…

    Oh, and for the record, our royals are a lot cheaper than a US President. The British royals take £20 million out of a pot of money which their ancestors gave to the State to fund them (called “the Civil List”) whereas the US President raids the pockets of US citizens to the tune of 1$ billion every year and twice that in an election year.

    But then the US electors get Bill Clinton for their money. Great value for money, no? Well, great compared with, say, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany or North Korea but, um, that’s not saying much, is it, Toad?

    Still, you clearly aren’t here for your intellectual prowess are you?

    Knockabout comedy or not, and thanks for the invitation, but I shan’t be stopping by for the present, if you don’t mind.

    I find I seem to have a rather more pressing engagement elsewhere: sitting at home to watch paint dry.

    TTFN

    Tribunus

  52. toadspittle says:

    Very nice, Tiberius, but we are off Habsburgs and onto Stephen Fry now. Giving him masses of free publicity, for which he should be grateful – but probably won’t be, the wretch.

  53. kathleen says:

    @ Tribunus

    It is hopeless to say anything of importance to Toad; any information or advice just goes in one ear and out the other… or he will purposely misinterpret you. I’ve given up a long time ago of taking anything that he says to me seriously.
    He is the very embodiment of three things – a sceptic, a relativist and an agnostic. Yes, of all three at the same time!🙂

  54. kathleen says:

    Raven @ 8:50

    I really wouldn’t know how to give a detailed refutation of all the criticisms you make against the Habsburgs in your comment this morning. All I can say is that everything I have read about the history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire gives me a totally different picture to the one you are representing here. It may not have been perfect – when is any human endeavour a ‘garden of Eden’ since the Fall? – but it was a strong, law-abiding and joyful Empire where Christendom (the One True Faith) ruled supreme.

    In your point number 11 you state that the ruling parties’ “actions in Czech provoked the creation of a schismatic church, which described itself as “Hussite”.”
    No, that’s wrong. The Hussites were formed in the 15th century and were one of the driving forces behind the Protestant Reformation.

  55. johnhenrycn says:

    Kathleen, I’m not certain which of the two leading protagonists on this thread, The Raven or Tribunus, puts forth the more persuasive argument. I know which way I’m leaning (slightly), but suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the back-and-forth of those two articulate scribes.
    ___
    Tribunus, regarding your comment about the the American bumper sticker bearing a likeness of King George III with the quip “Miss me yet?”…I daresay not one in ten thousand Americans would have a clue what that was all about. Our local Yank, Tom Fisher, is number 10,001 of course.

  56. GC says:

    I thought Tom Fisher was, or rather is a pakeha, JH?

  57. The Raven says:

    Dear Kathleen

    As I said in my comment, there was much to admire in the old Empire, but it was a very long way from perfection; if I can point you to a fictionalised, but very sympathetic portrait of the empire in its embers, I would suggest John Biggins’ book, “A Sailor of Austria”, which is much admired for its detailed research and use of primary sources (I’m quite familiar with the period and have not been able to catch Biggins out).

    And to be honest, Kathleen, the True Faith did not rule supreme in the Empire; what did reign supreme was conformity to a political ideal of Habsburg rule, supported by a state security apparatus that was only tolerable because of its incompetence.

    I’m afraid that you are mistaken on the matter of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church – this schismatic group is a modern confection, notwithstanding its appropriation of the “Hussite” brand. More detail can be found here:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovak_Hussite_Church

    Their main church in Prague (on the old square) presents the visitor with a wholly puzzling spectacle, as it supports a sect named for a heresiarch who was a fore-runner of the madness that gripped Luther and his cohorts, while being lavishly decorated with sculptures representing sainted Popes.

    Certainly in Czech today, Holy Mother Church struggles to get a hearing and a large part of that arises because the Church is deeply tarnished by its association with the Habsburgs and the era of Austrian domination in Czech (I have this first-hand from Czech friends who practice the Faith).

  58. johnhenrycn says:

    Pakeha? Thank goodness for Google, because not one in ten thousand Canucks, including your faithful servant, would have a clue what that means otherwise. My guess is that good ole Tom lives somewhere west of the Mississippi River, but east of the Pacific Ocean.

  59. Tribunus says:

    Dear Raven,
    It’s Tribunus, by the way.

    Moderator: This response has been modified by the author and can now be read at 17:38 on 5th February 2015.

  60. Tribunus says:

    Dear Kathleen,
    Worse! He seems to like Stephen Fry. Even Stephen Fry doesn’t like Stephen Fry.
    Poor Toad.
    He needs to get out more.

    Trib
    (or should I say, Tibe!).

  61. Tribunus says:

    Thanks, John Henry!
    I hope you like my latest riposte to Raven.
    You’ll see that he is all over the place factually and historically.
    Although, I’m sure he means well!

    Trib

  62. Tom Fisher says:

    Johnhenry!

    Born in England to Irish parents, largely raised in NZ, lived in the US for some years (North East), currently in NZ. I don’t self-identify as ‘pakeha’, but I don’t object to the term. — It’s normally used of Europeans who’ve been in NZ for several generations.
    🙂

  63. Tribunus says:

    Raven,
    You can stop pretending, now.
    You’ve been rumbled.
    As I’ve shown you are not at all “quite familiar with the period”.
    You are amazingly ignorant of it!
    You need to get over your pathological inability to recognise that the Austiran Empire was, to the end, a Catholic state.
    So – spare us your “to be honest”, when you aren’t.
    The Hussites were proto-Portestants and every bit as violent as the Protesting sects of those days so often were (whilst pretending to be pacific and “pure”!).
    If the Czechs don’t like the Church because it blessed the Habsburg Empire, so much the worse for the Czechs.
    In fact, I know plenty of them who do not share the hatred.
    Foot in mouth, again, Raven?

    Trib.

  64. johnhenrycn says:

    “PS. Oh, and by the way, its “death throes” not “death throws”. Spelling, Raven?”

    Tributary, I used to be the resident pedant here until Jabba mounted a successful coup; but really, that’s a low blow. Reminds me of the time I laughed at Damian Thompson for calling some candidate for office a “shoe-in”. Sh** happens, as the Toad likes to think.
    ___
    “I hope you like my latest riposte to Raven. You’ll see that he is all over the place factually and historically.”

    Tribulation, I’m sure I will like your riposte when I have time to read it, but I don’t see how The Raven can be “all over the place” when you’ve already filled it.

    BTW, his moniker is The Raven😉

  65. johnhenrycn says:

    Hi, Tom. Thanks for the correction. I suspected there was an American connection. I enjoy imagining where my penpals live. One of my favourites from years past was a chap latterly known as MMMCVIIX (or something similar – Raven and Moratinos (Toad) and Jabba might remember him) and I finally figured out he was in Preston, England, which tickled me, because I live in a town formerly known as Preston.

  66. johnhenrycn says:

    …actually, all the CP&S team probably remember MMMCVIIIX. Wish he, good Catholic that he is, would comment here. So many old compadres are MIAs.

  67. Tribunus: A thumbs down for no other reason that my brain started to hurt.

  68. Tom Fisher says:

    5184 words. Not that I have a problem with that, but yes, a long comment indeed.

  69. johnhenrycn says:

    Tribunus says:“It was notorious amongst European monarchs that the Habsburgs were the most tolerant of the Jews.

    Dr Anthony Daniels (aka Theodore Dalrymple) also seems to believe that. He wrote an excellent piece a few months ago about the Austrian Jew (and btw, Tribunus, at 23:21 – lines 6/7- you refer to the “Austiran Empire”, but let’s not go there), Stefan Zweig, and Zweig’s halcyon existence during the days of the late Hapsburgs; but I seem to recall (can’t locate the periodical that I read it in at present) that Vienna back then was basically dissolute, and so the tolerance of Jews in Vienna back then may have been all of a piece. I don’t mean to suggest that Jews are morally lax, but that Austrian tolerance of them back then may have been due to moral laxity – as in whatever floats your boat, we really don’t care.

  70. johnhenrycn says:

    “5184 words”? Did you really spend the time to add them up, Tom, or is there an “app for that”? I do intend to read Tirbunus’s missive later on – after I finish Proust – because he’s fairly witty, but for him to call The Raven a “clot” (23:10: “Clots like you…”) seems a bridge too far. Almost as bad as that Italian guy here who talks about “Francis the Mad”

  71. johnhenrycn says:

    Thank you (in advance), moderator, for (I hope) fixing my close italics error at 00:59😉

  72. Tom Fisher says:

    Johnhenry,

    I suspected there was an American connection.

    How intriguing, and you’ve previously assumed me to be American. — I did love the United States that I experienced (there are so many different Americas), which was largely the metropolitan east coast. I found Americans (I’m generalising!) to be more forthright in their opinions, and also more willing to debate them than New Zealanders (and Australians). There is a strong streak of dour Scots presbyterianism in New Zealand culture. My (woefully ignorant apparently) contempt for the British crown is a family heirloom which I prize greatly, though to be fair… Cromwell. Where in your vast homeland is Preston?

  73. toadspittle says:

    “I’ve given up a long time ago of taking anything that (Toad) says to me seriously.”
    Fie, Kathleen! When did I ever say something seriously to you? I’m The Fool.
    Yes, from time to time, I do misunderstand things – but never by accident. (Like just now.)

    “It was notorious amongst European monarchs that the Habsburgs were the most tolerant of the Jews.
    I suspect Tribonus meant “least intolerant.”Why should Jews need to be “tolerated” anyway?

    JH: Re Zweig and Co., try “Weimar Culture,” by Peter Gay. (Post Habsburgs, really) Coincidentally, you are correct in your misgivings regarding dissolute Vienna.
    Gays like Fry capering about all over the place, until Adolf sorted them all out.
    A tremendous flowering of cultural activity, until then.

  74. toadspittle says:

    Re 4th Feb @23.10

    “PS. Oh, and by the way, its “death throes” not “death throws”. Spelling, Raven?”
    Oh, and by the way, it’s “it’s,” not “its,” Spelling, Tripunus?

    (I have to admit it’s the only line I bothered reading. Not being a nut.)

  75. JabbaPapa says:

    Tribunus old chap — your slurs and insults against the Raven really do appear to be wrong-headed, entirely unnecessary, and rather obnoxious — and they weaken your own argument rather than having any adverse affect on the Raven’s.

    They are clumsy and worthless, and completely beneath you — and you shouldn’t repeat them, and should instead present your apologies.

    Particularly given that the Raven completely lacks the more negative unpleasantries that you allege.

    I cannot comment, myself, on the meat of your disagreement with the Raven (though I quite dislike the sauce that you’re serving it with), given that this is neither one of my fields nor one of my periods.

    But I really feel I must at least say, in more general methodological terms, that not only are multiple and divergent interpretations of any corpus of source materials inevitable ; they can also be wildly divergent, even amongst (and, sometimes, especially amongst) those who enjoy a comparably privileged degree of access to those sources.

    This is not, obviously, because there were no such thing as right and wrong, nor am I suggesting any sort of post-modernist claptrap whereby each and every possible interpretation of historical sources should be considered as valuable — I’m saying not only that disagreements among experts are inevitable, but also that for such a vast subject matter as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, including not only the huge number of its Monarchs and other members of the ruling families, and all the nobility and their families, all the ministers and Ambassadors and politicians and Bishops and theologians and philosophers and writers and others of influence and their families, and the masses of the various different populations living under its rule — there is bound to be a very complex reality that should inform our historical view of the Empire, and this reality itself will necessarily include multiple internal self-contradictions simply given the fact of ordinary internal conflict, political, philosophical, and religious oppositions manifest among all of these people of the Empire, and the underlying general fact that any interpretative disagreements as exist between yourself and the Raven are most likely to be caused by divergent opinion and divergent political and religious will as they existed in the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time ; rather than because either you or the Raven is perfectly right and the other is utterly wrong.

    Such internal divergences are BTW completely normal in any country, and even in any of the tiny Catholic Monarchies that still exist today — including because sometimes the unavoidable needs of the Realpolitik can cause a Monarch and/or his or her Government to proclaim Laws that can be contrary even to their very principles of State — because, of course, the Catholic Monarchical system is not a form of totalitarian despotism where the Catholic teachings would be forcibly imposed upon every single individual willy-nilly.

    And remember too — the Catholic Church has been in a state of internal doctrinal crisis since the end of the 15th Century, the worst periods being the 16th century into the beginning of the 17th, and the period that we have been living in ourselves since around the 1940s. This fact alone should call into question any singular view of what “Catholic Monarchy” actually was or is in any particular régimes, including that of Vatican City State BTW and its predecessor the Papal States, simply because the nature of what the Catholicity should provide to the political governance of Nations has been radically called into question in almost the whole of Europe during the past 500 years or so.

    It is quite unreasonable to expect that the Austro-Hungarian Empire should be an example of the contrary.

  76. JabbaPapa says:

    Me :the worst periods being the 16th century into the beginning of the 17th, and the period that we have been living in ourselves since around the 1940s

    … NOT that I’m forgetting the French Revolution, but that was a period of violent persecution of the Church rather than one of internal doctrinal chaos.

  77. Tom Fisher says:

    NOT that I’m forgetting the French Revolution

    Oh have no fear, we are well aware that you are cognizant of the French Revolution. It was, of course, an entirely regrettable lapse in the beneficent rule enjoyed by the French people for so long by King and Church. Lord knows what they got so worked up about.

  78. toadspittle says:

    “Tribunus old chap — your slurs and insults against the Raven… …are clumsy and worthless, and completely beneath you — “

    How do you know they’re beneath him, Jabba? I suspect they’re above him.

  79. Tom Fisher says:

    How do you know they’re beneath him, Jabba? I suspect they’re above him.

    I always appreciate a good insult Toad, but I think that was possibly unwarranted. I find his rhetoric ludicrously aggressive, and while I know very little about the Habsburgs Raven does make a great deal more sense to this poor bear of little brain. — But I’m sure those insults were as Jabba said, below not above him

  80. JabbaPapa says:

    an entirely regrettable lapse in the beneficent rule enjoyed by the French people for so long by King and Church

    I see that you have already forgotten that I characterised the régime created by Louis XIV of France as a “despotism” and “tyranny”, incompatible with the nature of the Catholic Monarchical System as such.

  81. Tom Fisher says:

    Jabba, I apologise unreservedly. I was being flippant. You have every right to be irritated by my comment. I actually enjoyed reading your remarks, and I’m embarrassed that I chose to be so trite. Sorry, poor attempt at being light-hearted.

  82. toadspittle says:

    “But I’m sure those insults were as Jabba said, below (Tribunus) not above him..”

    I wouldn’t fret too much Tom, you’re far too soft and nice.
    Tribunus will know exactly whereabouts, and at which level, to stick his insults.

  83. Tribunus says:

    Dear Jabba,
    If you want a really good example of clumsy, I suggest you re-read your own post – not least your 18 line, one sentence paragraph!
    The problem is you seem to consider your own opinion of the historical facts to be as good as the historical facts themselves.
    It’s a common mistake – but a mistake nonetheless.
    The truth is that Raven presents himself as knowing the facts when, in reality, he doesn’t, as I have comprehensively shown. The Raven decided to be blunt, He cannot complain if he receives a reply in kind.
    Regrettably, you don’t seem interested in the facts but only in mouthing off. Which is a pity. But there it is.
    Trib.

  84. kathleen says:

    Tribunus @ 23:10 yesterday

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your long detailed riposte to the Raven this morning; it was an amazing clarification of some earlier misconceptions put forth by him. The whole piece has greatly added to my earlier faaaaar more limited knowledge of a period of European history that has always fascinated me. Thank you for taking so much trouble to put the record straight for those of us who are of like mind, or for those who may just be wanting to know more of the reliable facts of the history surrounding the old Empire.
    If Tom’s calculations are right (and I have no reason to doubt that they are not😉 ) 5184 words for one comment must be a record for CP&S !

    At the same time, if you don’t mind me saying so, I feel that your constant insults and attempts to belittle our team-mate and old friend, the Raven, (who is in reality a highly accomplished and learned academic) are quite un-called for. To have conflicting views, and even access to contradictory information, can lead to interesting debate, but ad hominem attacks do (as Jabba, has already pointed out) rather spoil the scenario.

  85. JabbaPapa says:

    If you want a really good example of clumsy, I suggest you re-read your own post – not least your 18 line, one sentence paragraph!

    Marcel Proust — a far FAR better writer than anyone who has ever contributed in here — wrote some very beautiful sentences, and many that were several pages long …

    Still — I’m sure you find your own magnum opus of a posting sttle to be intrinsically superior.

    The problem is you seem to consider your own opinion of the historical facts to be as good as the historical facts themselves.

    … and then you want me to re-read my post …

    Which part of “I cannot comment, myself, on the meat of your disagreement with the Raven (…), given that this is neither one of my fields nor one of my periods” did you fail to understand ?

  86. Tribunus says:

    I see that you have already forgotten that I characterised the régime created by Louis XIV of France as a “despotism” and “tyranny”, incompatible with the nature of the Catholic Monarchical System as such.
    You are right, Jabba, that Louis XIV was not a good Catholic king – indeed barely Catholic at all – but let’s try to keep some perspective on this, shall we? He was hardly in the same category as Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, Kemel Attaturk, the Kims of Korea or the other atheist republicans of the 20th century.
    And, if we are comparing monarchy with non-monarchical forms of government, then we cannot exclude the worst of the republican models.
    Tom must be forgiven for his prejudices. Like many of the Hibernian diaspora he says that his “(woefully ignorant apparently) contempt for the British crown is a family heirloom which I prize greatly”.
    It’s fed to them in their mother’s milk that the British monarchy is the devil incarnate and republicanism is next to godliness and no amount of factual or historical proof to the contrary can ever make any headway whatever.
    although, Tom, is better than most since he does at least have the good sense and balance to add “though to be fair… Cromwell”.
    Well, indeed! Cromwell is the great exemplar of republicanism and massacred the people of Drogheda but it is odd how many fanatical republicans choose to over-look this.
    Actually, if you go to the Roman Christendom Blog you will find a post on the subject, showing, beyond a peradventure, that the Fenian/IRA/Sinn Fein movement is, and always was, anti-Catholic, proto-Marxist, murderous and evil and was formally condemned and its members excommunicated in January 1870 by Blessed Pope Pius IX.
    Whilst far too many in the Hibernian Diaspora, particularly in America, still want to fight the battles of yesteryear, happily in Ireland, the mood has completely changed (not all for the best, though, since religion is now on the wane).
    The Queen of England, after her recent royal visit to the Emerald Isle, is now remarkably popular there – just as her forebears, Kings George V and Edward VII, and Queen Victoria, were, after their highly successful royal visits to Ireland.
    In reality, the Irish are a naturally monarchist people. It’s just that, not unreasonably, they don’t like to foreign monarchs who seek to thrust Protestantism on them at the point of a sword.
    Personally, I hope they restore the Catholic Gaelic monarchy and the High Kings. But I recognise that it is not exactly an imminent prospect.

    Trib

  87. Tribunus says:

    You’re right, John Henry, I shouldn’t have used the word “clot“. I withdraw it. Do, however, feel at liberty to read the other 5183 words.

  88. Tribunus: You have more than made your point in this matter. Its obvious that you have considerable knowledge on the subject, erroneous or otherwise But in the scheme of things what does it now matter? Apart from simply being a debate to demonstrate ones superior knowledge over another, it matters not, to a lot of people.
    I stand to be corrected on this but what relevance does it have?.

  89. Tribunus says:

    Thank you, Kathleen. Raven began with the blunt comments so he cannot complain of receiving a blunt reply (indeed, to be fair to him, he hasn’t). As the man said, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. And it was you who asked me to contribute to this discussion, remember. However, in deference to you (and only you), I’ll remove anything that you object to, if you wish me to. There is no “edit” facility so I can’t do it otherwise.
    I do find it a bit pathetic that so few are interested in the facts but only in complaining about the invective (sorry, only SOME invective – Toad must be allowed a free hand to hurl whatever insults he likes. He’s in a special exempt category).
    Actually, I am sceptical that anyone other than you, Kathleen, has actually read what I wrote (except of course the invective). I thought you Americans liked a bit of invective? Perhaps not. Or perhaps none of you are actually Americans? It’s hard to tell from this end. At any rate, I’ll remove whatever you object to, if you wish. We mustn’t offend the likes of Toad, after all. He might shrivel up, poor chap. That would never do. We would be deprived of some otherwise amusing entertainment…

  90. Tribunus says:

    You have more than made your point in this matter. Its obvious that you have considerable knowledge on the subject, erroneous or otherwise. But in the scheme of things what does it now matter? Apart from simply being a debate to demonstrate ones superior knowledge over another, it matters not, to a lot of people.
    Yes, Geoff. You’re right. It really matters not a whit whether the republic of Korea is a better or worse place than the European monarchies, or, for that matter, that the Islamic monarchies are, by and large, far more benevolent than the Islamic republics.
    That King Abdullah of Jordan has decided to take part – personally – in air raids on ISIL (a republican movement) is really of no immediate topical relevance. Republican presidents do it all the time. It’s just not news.
    “Erroneous or otherwise” (and I defer to your greater knowledge on the subject) defining and recognising the nature of good government, and how to achieve prosperity, peace, justice for all and a stable community based upon Christian values and charity is really pretty irrelevant in today’s world.
    I apologise for being so dumb as not to realise it.
    I can see why your brain hurts. Perhaps a bigger brain is what is needed?

  91. Tribunus says:

    Marcel Proust — a far FAR better writer than anyone who has ever contributed in here — wrote some very beautiful sentences, and many that were several pages long …

    Forgive me for saying so, Jabba, but you may just have to face the fact that you are not Marcel Proust.

    Still — I’m sure you find your own magnum opus of a posting sttle to be intrinsically superior.

    “Sttle”? You’ve got me there – fair and square. I have to admit that it might have been a little too “sttle” for some.
    Still, it did contain historical facts. Yours contained your own, unsupported opinions. See the difference?
    But we’re both in the same hole, really. If you respond with all the facts, then it’s too long. If you don’t, then you’ll be accused of not answering the point. And if you just give your own, unsupported opinion, well then…etc

    As to which part did I not understand, clearly not any of it, since when you wrote:

    And remember too — the Catholic Church has been in a state of internal doctrinal crisis since the end of the 15th Century, the worst periods being the 16th century into the beginning of the 17th, and the period that we have been living in ourselves since around the 1940s. This fact alone should call into question any singular view of what “Catholic Monarchy” actually was or is in any particular régimes, including that of Vatican City State BTW and its predecessor the Papal States, simply because the nature of what the Catholicity should provide to the political governance of Nations has been radically called into question in almost the whole of Europe during the past 500 years or so. It is quite unreasonable to expect that the Austro-Hungarian Empire should be an example of the contrary.

    you must have meant something that was very far from what the words actually mean.

    Sorry for not reading your mind more carefully. My skills in that department are a bit rusty. My fault, entirely.

    Trib

  92. Tribunus says:

    Having been in these discussions many times before, the reality, I think, is this: if you argue the monarchist case, you are wrong when you are wrong and you are wrong when you are right, and however you say it, you are either too nicey, nicey, and so to be ignored, or you are too offensive, and so to be ignored. There is no middle ground allowed.
    The rules of engagement are simple: the anti-monarchists may be as opinionated, arrogant, insufferable, ignorant and offensive as they like. They are still always right and the monarchist wrong – even if he (or she) is right. Facts, shmacts. As Geoff so disarmingly and honestly puts it, who cares?
    This, these days, is what passes for debate on the subject.
    The only exception here is Kathleen, bless her.

  93. toadspittle says:

    “If Tom’s calculations are right (and I have no reason to doubt that they are not😉 ) 5184 words for one comment must be a record for CP&S !”

    Yes, Kathleen, and let’s fervently hope it remains a record – for eternity, if not later.
    Because once tedious, monomaniacal, windbags of “Trib’s” only too plentiful stripe, start vomiting up great gouts of this kind of irrelevant, pompously self-applauding, antiquated gibberish – any blogging website is doomed to perish, swamped in tsumamis of unreadable verbosity.
    ….Or so it seems to me.
    But I might be wrong.
    I’m only a toad. And a jester.
    (And who gives a monkey’s, anyway, as Trib generously says?)

  94. GC says:

    any blogging website is doomed to perish, swamped in tsumamis of unreadable verbosity.

    Actually, dear Toad, this thread is our top runner today – is that the correct media expression? – already 183 views and it’s only just after lunch, while yesterday it was runner up at 116 views. Of all the articles published in the last 30 days it is the article with the highest number of views. It has also attracted so far the tenth highest number of comments of all published articles on CP&S since it started (not bad for an article only 2 weeks old), which is a situation to which you yourself have contributed in no mean way, Toad.

    If that is “perishing” then I would be very interested to see what “flourishing” looks like.

  95. toadspittle says:

    Very well, GC, as usual, I bow to you. You know best.
    …Inscrutable wisdom of the East, and all that.
    So, by all means, let’s have even more interminable, insane, and irrelevant, “War and Peace” length, Habsburg-glorying, twaddle on CP&S – if that is what the unwashed canaille clearly demand.
    Not my cup of tea. No matter.
    I’m more interested in Original Sin, altar rails, “Gay Marriage,” and Paedophile priests, but, as I’m constantly parroting, like a dreary old cracked record – it takes all sorts, dunnit?

    …And those obsessive, bee-in-the-bonnet, crackpot, commentators – that insist on exceeding 1000 words, might derive some small comfort from the fact that I will not be reading them anyway near through to the end – for fear of being so bored that my eye teeth could be extracted without anesthetic.
    …Not that these fellows give a damn, anyway. (Hat tip to Rhett Butler.) Why should they, indeed?

  96. Toad: We both know that a bigger brain means a bigger headache. My other fear is that you may try to break that record. By the way can I have your autograph now that you have finally been recognised?

  97. Sorry toad, your not the one that said a bigger brain might help. It’s just the sort of thing you would say, hence my error.

  98. JabbaPapa says:

    Raven began with the blunt comments so he cannot complain of receiving a blunt reply

    I cannot see that the Raven has insulted your person, so your “blunt” excuse is, to be blunt, just a fig leaf for your unwarranted animosity against the other.

  99. JabbaPapa says:

    As to which part did I not understand, clearly not any of it

    Unsurprising, given that when asked “what did you not understand about ABC ?“, you answer with a comment about XYZ.

    Clearly, you’re not even trying.

    And I cannot seem to find anything even vaguely resembling an apology for your extremely obnoxious behaviour towards the Raven — instead, I can see that you have simply added to the pile of the various personal insults that you’ve posted onto this page.

    Attack people’s ideas as much as you like — but when you go about spreading personal insults as if they constituted a form of “argument”, then do not act all surprised when the reaction to your ad hominems is extremely negative, particularly given the lack of any connection whatsoever between your vile insults of the Raven in particular and the contents of Reality.

    Tribunus, old chum, you have now crafted insults against at least three long-standing members of this website that have been based on exactly nothing other than your own prejudiced fantasies about these people.

    This does not speak well of your ability to conduct an objective analytic.

  100. JabbaPapa says:

    the reality, I think, is this: if you argue the monarchist case, you are wrong when you are wrong and you are wrong when you are right, and however you say it, you are either too nicey, nicey, and so to be ignored, or you are too offensive, and so to be ignored. There is no middle ground allowed.

    Prejudiced cod’s wallop.

  101. toadspittle says:

    “Toad: We both know that a bigger brain means a bigger headache..”

    Tish! Doesn’t matter who said what on here, Geoff. Nobody’s keeping score!
    We all know that size is less important than the manner in which we employ what little we are born with. And this even applies to brains as well.
    You, as a noted theologian, and critic of the manner in which the Notorious Poof Fry employs his brain, already know that – possibly by divine revelation. I don’t, myself.
    But then I’ve scarcely got a brain at all.
    …Because I’m only a toad – and a poor, foolish, jester.

  102. toadspittle says:

    God only knows if this is, as GC implies, the best “thread’ ever on CP&S – or the worst.
    Regardless, it was certainly the silliest – by several million miles, which is a considerable achievement. So, let us award ourselves a well-earned pat on the back!

    (For myself, I preferred Stephen Fry stupefying the gobshite on Irish telly. But then, I would. )

  103. Tribunus says:

    Hmm… looks like I was right first time in my assessment of the Toad’s character.
    However, hat tip to GC for worsting the Toad well and truly.
    The Toad clearly forgot to join the queue when they were handing out brains.
    Instead, he joined the queue where he had his own rear end handed to him. On a plate.
    Get a life, Toad.
    Or, perhaps better (in frog-speak): croak!

  104. Tribunus says:

    Prejudiced cod’s wallop

    Codswallop? Well, it’s a point of view – but prejudiced? Pre-judging in what way exactly?
    Oh, Jabba. Do buck up a bit. You’re in danger of becoming a bit sour. And that doesn’t leave a nice taste in the mouth.
    As between us, you began the ad hominems. Up until then I was on your side, by and large.
    You then randomly attacked me when I had not even mentioned or addressed you.
    Practice what you preach, old thing.
    Yours wallowing in cod,

    Trib

  105. JabbaPapa says:

    The Toad clearly forgot to join the queue when they were handing out brains.
    Instead, he joined the queue where he had his own rear end handed to him. On a plate.

    This is without a doubt the most horridly obnoxious comment that I’ve seen on this website in a very, very long time.

    You have no manners ; no civility ; and no tolerance.

    Your behaviour is, in fact, exactly contrary to the standards that are expected of the citizens of a Catholic Monarchy — despite all your self-serving commentary about this form of governance.

    If you were to engage in this sort of behaviour in the Catholic Monarchy down here, you’d end up being either thrown out of town or thrown into a cell for the night.

    Either start behaving like a citizen of a Catholic Monarchy, or stop trying to portray yourself as being the only person in here to understand this sort of political régime.

  106. Tribunus says:

    But, Jabba, since you have now decided to attack me randomly, ad hominem, without cause, I will, if I may, make a comment on your earlier posts.

    “This article — though quite clearly well-meaning in its intentions, as well as being quite accurate in its details of what the Catholic monarchical system is like”

    Gee, thanks, Jabba! That’s high praise indeed coming from someone who claims not to know much about it, “given that this is neither one of [your] fields nor one of [your] periods”.

    “— is nevertheless greatly mistaken in seeking to relegate this system and this form of common existence to a kind of museum of our Religion ; whereas the Catholic Monarchies, though they have now become few in number in this world, and have mainly been isolated as micro-states, are vitally alive in those places where they thrive ; first and foremost, of course : Vatican City.”

    Museum? Did I? Golly, I must have missed that. Actually, no. The word “museum” doesn’t appear in the Blog post, at all, Jabba. Or anything like it. Perhaps you meant something that someone else said?

    “One should not idealise the earthly Catholic Monarchies overmuch, nor should one ever think that instituting such political régimes in this broken world of ours might constitute some sort of magic bullet that would rid us of all political and social ills”

    “Idealise”? “Magic bullet”?
    Jabba, diare you talking about the same Blog post as the one under discussion? Perhaps you are referring to another one that I might have missed?

    “—- yes, there is a broadness of social-religious cohesion of richer with poorer, cleverer with stupider, men with women, generations with generations, extroverted with introverted that is very frequently not to be found in the typical Western communities ; but the deeper social and moral and ethical and philosophical and theological problems that we are all of us faced with do not magically fail to pass the political frontiers of these places. A Catholic Monarchical State is not a Monastery.”

    Sorry, Jabba. Your point here is just too cute and elusive for a codswalloper like me.
    But you are right that a Catholic monarchy is not a Monastery. Well spotted!

    “But of course there is only One Catholic Monarch — the Lord our Christ — and His Reign is everywhere and forever.”

    “Only one Catholic monarch”? “Of course”?
    Gee, I guess those European monarchs you were talking about must be Calvinists or Baptists or perhaps Muslims, then, right? Um, hang on a minute…

    “The museums are a part of the Kingdom ; and certainly not vice-versa.”

    Kingdoms as part of museums? I don’t remember anyone arguing that but then perhaps I missed that, too.

    Yours walloping the cod,

    Trib

  107. Tribunus says:

    Kathleen,
    Here is the bowdlerised version.
    You can delete the earlier, and replace it with this, to mollify your friendly Raven.
    It has no invective so I fear the “invective spotters” (step up, Toad!) will not read it – nor, I suspect, anyone.
    These days, people are so often only interested in invective and not substance.
    It is, as I said, the modern approach to debate.
    If you don’t fling invective at them, they don’t listen or read – no punch, no razzmatazz, no juicy scandal.
    I think TV is to blame – and deeply inferior education systems. And perhaps a lack of the Classics in the curriculum. And tabloid journalism, of course!
    Best,
    Trib.

    ———-

    Dear Raven,
    I respond to your points.
    (1) Your source for saying that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was “anti-Semitic and anti-Magyar” is a throwaway line in a newspaper article by Adrian Bridge saying no more than parenthetically that the Archduke was “vehemently anti-Hungarian and anti-Semitic”. I think you will have to admit that is hardly evidence of any degree of cogency!
    But you claim that it is well attested in his own letters and diaries. Can you quote some?
    (2) It was notorious amongst European monarchs that the Habsburgs supported and encouraged the Jews better than any other monarchs, after the popes. If anything was “top-down” it was philosemitism, not anti-Semitism.
    Kaiser Leopold I (1640–1705), Holy Roman Emperor (1658–1705), King of Bohemia (1656–1705), and King of Hungary (1655–1705), on his election as Holy Roman Emperor in 1658 confirmed all charters which had been granted in Austria and in the Holy Roman Empire by his father Kaiser Ferdinand III and he expressly ordered that Jewish life and property be protected (1660, 1665, 1669).
    In 1670, however, he responded to the city’s request that the 150 Jewish families be re-settled elsewhere in the Empire, away from Vienna, in spite of papal intervention, and he was prevailed upon to do so because numerous Jews were acting as spies for the threatening Turks (Jews were tolerated under the Ottomans provided they paid their Jewish taxes). Some Jews had spied successfully in Spain and for the invading Protestants in the 30 years’ war, to the grave detriment of Catholic Christendom.
    That the Turkish threats were far from chimerical is evidenced by the massive Turkish overland invasion and battle of Vienna in 1683 which the Empire would not have been able to withstand but for the arrival of their Polish allies under King Jan Sobieski.
    Anti-Catholic propaganda regularly fails to take into account the facts or the circumstances e.g. war and invasion and is often biased, unequal and lop-sided in its treatment of the subject. One should be wary of taking it at face value. Being Jewish by race, myself (and proud of it), I am well aware of the existence of anti-Semitism in all parts of the world but the Habsburgs were generally notably free of the taint of that particular prejudice.
    Furthermore, Leopold re-admitted to Court, Jews such as Samuel Oppenheimer in 1676 and Samson Wertheimer in 1684, and in 1695 he permitted the printing of the Talmud in Germany. At Oppenheimer’s request, he prohibited (1700) the circulation of Johann Andreas Eisenmenger’s Entdecktes Judenthum (“Judaism Unmasked”, a book attacking Judaism by quotes from the Talmud).
    Around 1150, when the dukes of Babenberg made Vienna their residence, they brought Jews into the city, who settled in the area of today’s Judenplatz (Jew square), worked as money lenders and tradespeople, and enjoyed the sovereigns’ special protection.
    The issue of expulsion only became live at the time of the Turkish Wars in the seventh century, when, as had occurred in Spain in earlier times, some Jews acted as spies to assist the Turkish invaders.
    In 1623 the 130 Jewish families in Vienna were resettled between the forks of the Danube, an area they had themselves chosen. They were later removed from Vienna and sent to other parts of the Empire. 50 went to Prussian to be re-settled.
    However, once the Turks had been defeated, they came back to live in the old Judenplatz which had been re-named Leopoldstadt.
    The law of 1867 brought them equal rights, completely and without qualification (is this the Habsburg “modernisation” you object to?).
    An immediate consequence was a wave of Jewish immigrants into the capital and imperial residence.
    Before the emancipation, in 1860, 6,200 Jews lived in Vienna, which represented a 2.2 percent share of the population; in 1870, there were 40,200 Jews, which was 6.6 percent; in 1880 the numbers were 72,600 and 10.1 percent, respectively. In 1890 Vienna had 118,500 Jews.
    This percentage remained a constant in the rapidly growing city. In 1900, 147,000, and in 1910, 175,300 Jews lived in Vienna. These figures exclude lapsed or secularised Jews.
    It was only in the latter stages of the 19th century that anti-Semitism, meaning hostility on the basis of race, gained ground. Following the criterion of ethnic anti-Semitism, which had become fashionable by then – that is to say, including assimilated and baptized Jews – the numbers of Jews were estimated as much larger.
    Among the Dual Monarchy’s cities, Vienna had by no means the largest share of Jews. In Cracow they represented 50 percent, in Lemberg (Lvov/Lviv) and Budapest, 25 percent, and in Prague, 10 percent. Compared to other large cities in Europe, however, Vienna’s share was very high. The Jewish share in Berlin was between 4 and 5 percent, and in Hamburg 2 to 3 percent.
    The euphoria triggered by the freedom the immigrants had finally achieved, motivated many of them to great achievements. All doors seemed to be open to those who worked hard. Emancipation fanned their desire to become respected members of society by way of achievement and education.
    The writer Jakob Wassermann, noted :

    “The court, the petit bourgeoisie, and the Jews gave the city its character. That the Jews as the most mobile group kept all the other groups constantly on the move, is no longer astonishing.”

    I challenge your wholly unsupported claim that the new laws were “vigorously opposed by a faction at court that included Franz Ferdinand”. Where is the evidence?
    That Blessed Karl stands out as being a better man than many of his contemporaries does not mean that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was an anti-Semite. As a matter of fact, he and Karl were very close to each other and shared numerous ideas, not least for the federalising of the Empire and recognition of its national groups.
    It was the Hungarians who opposed this and wanted to dominate half of the Empire (they succeeded in so doing in 1867 at the Märische Ausgleich). Their nationalism was chauvinistic, racist and threatened the Empire which is why both Franz Ferdinand and Karl opposed it.
    In the end, the racist Magyar leaders helped destroy the Empire with the consequence that they fell first under the Nazi-allied Regent Horthy and then under Communism. That is hardly good progress.
    (3) Hungarians not only wanted to restore Blessed Emperor Karl as King Karoly to the throne of Hungary, but wanted him because he was a Habsburg, the traditional royal-imperial family.
    However, their leaders’ attachment to fanatical and racist nationalism, not least at the expense of the minority nations like Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Ruthenia and Slovakia, was highly destructive. This led their small clique of leaders to ally with Hitler before World War II (who sent Adolf Eichmann to expel and exterminate the Hungarian Jews) and, after the war, they fell into the Communist Zone, the worst fate that could befall any people.
    There was indeed such an appetite in post-war Hungary to throw off the shackles of Communism and to return to the freedom of the past, not least that they enjoyed under Austria, that the Hungarians rose up in 1956 and fought even against the invading Soviet tanks to try to regain their freedom.
    The West stood by and allowed them to be utterly crushed by the Soviet tyranny.
    (4) You seem to overlook the simple historical fact that the inter-war period in central Europe was but a 21 year period, and a time of chaos, flux, corruption, inflation and depression, in which stability was elusive and was achieved – and that most unsatisfactorily – only by letting in Fascist and fanatically totalitarian parties to rule.
    At first, the Allies simply allowed the former monarchies to fall into the hands of Communists of various shades who seized power, in the chaos, in each of the major cities. The Communist rulers were so fanatical and brutal that they were quickly opposed and overthrown. Then came the Right Wing parties.
    Hungary was ruled by the Arrow Cross Party, Rumania by the Iron Guard, Germany by the Nazis, and so on, and Poland and Czechoslovakia were no exception.
    Despite the extraordinary victory against Communism in 1921 (“the miracle on the Vistula”), Poland was ruled by Josef Pilsudski, a secularist Freemason, and the Sanacja, an authoritarian movement which later broke up into factions and an explicitly Rightist Party under Edward Smigly-Ridz took over.
    Czechoslovakia, a hybrid creation of Woodrow Wilson and the post-war treaties, was ruled by the Leftist Freemasons, Edvard Benes and Jan Masaryk, both anti-Catholic. This alienated the almost completely Catholic Slovakia.
    The Czech rulers managed to keep the nations together by opposing Hungarian nationalist pretensions (and formed the “Little Entente” with Rumania and Yugoslavia).
    By the Munich Agreement, Slovakia was placed under Hungarian control which virtually threw the nation into the arms of the Axis powers and, under Fr Jozef Tiso, a Clerico-Fascist puppet state was set up virtually controlled by the Nazis.
    After World War II, Czechoslovakia was reconstituted and Jozef Tiso was hanged in 1947 for collaboration with the Nazis.
    More than 80,000 Hungarians and 32,000 Germans were forced to leave Slovakia, in a series of “population transfers” initiated by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference. Note how this was called a “population transfer”, not an expulsion, still less a “pogrom”, and no-one in the West even questions it. In truth, it was an expulsion. This expulsion is still a source of tension between Slovakia and Hungary. Out of about 130,000 Carpathian Germans in Slovakia in 1938, by 1947 only some 20,000 remained.
    One’s man’s “population transfer” is another man’s “expulsion” and how one interprets such actions can be heavily influenced by ideology.
    The reality is, as I said, chaos ensued from the fall of the Christian monarchies – particularly Austria-Hungary. First Communism, then Fascism and then Communism again, with very little of anything else in between.
    (5) Yes, you focused on Joseph II, but he was not at all typical and was unlike most of the rest of the Habsburg dynasty.
    Joseph II stands out precisely because he was so very unlike most other Habsburg rulers.
    Your supposed “list” of alleged crimes of the Habsburgs is well wide of the mark.
    The Habsburg dynasty, of all European dynasties, had the closest relationship with the Papacy and the strongest support from both Papacy and Church, with rare exceptions and only then because of the very occasional ruler who bucked the trend, like Joseph II.
    Time and again the Papacy supported the Habsburg dynasty enthusiastically and warmly, in word, spoken and written, and in deed.
    Taking your “list” in turn, Kaiser Rudolf II has been recently re-evaluated by historians who see his patronage of the arts and occult sciences, this leading to scientific discoveries of a genuinely important nature, as a triumph and key part of the Renaissance, while his political failures are seen as a legitimate attempt to create a unified Christian empire, which was undermined by the realities of religious, political and intellectual disintegrations of the time, not least the prelude to the 30 years’ war.
    Although raised in his uncle’s Catholic court in Spain, Rudolf was tolerant of Protestantism and other religions including Judaism. He largely backed those whom he thought were the most neutral in the debate, not taking a side or trying to effect restraint.
    He was also patron to some of the best contemporary artists, particularly the Mannerists so much that a style of “Rudolfine Mannerism” is often used in art history to describe his patronage of the arts.
    He commissioned decorative and other objects of all kinds and in particular mechanical moving devices, clocks, water works, astrolabes, compasses, telescopes and other scientific instruments, all produced by some of the best craftsmen in Europe.
    He patronised scientists like Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler and Charles de l’Ecluse.
    Elizabeth Jane Weston, a neo-Latin poetess, was also patronised by him.
    To deprecate Kaiser Franz I for Freemasonry is to fail to grasp that Freemasonry was originally permitted to Catholics and, indeed, grew partly out of the secret Jacobite groups trying to restore the Catholic Stuarts to the British thrones.
    It was only very late in his reign that Freemasonry was condemned as a secret sect and society. Franz left government to his wife, Maria Theresia, who had, in fact, succeeded as Empress before him, save that he controlled the finances and was highly successful thereat.
    Your claim to a “long history of the consolidation of the Habsburg grasp on the monarchy at the expense of the historic constitution of the empire and the interests of the peoples of the empire” is also wide of the mark as a criticism of the Habsburgs.
    Consolidation, insofar as it occurred at all, was often forced upon the Empire as a consequence of events after the 30 years’ war.
    But even so, by 1798 the Empire was still highly decentralised into a whole myriad of small and large duchies, principalities, counties, baronies and lordships and to speak of this being a “consolidation” is to ignore this reality. Indeed, the Empire was mocked by other rulers who had centralised (e.g. in France and England) precisely for NOT being “consolidated”.
    To take Kaiser Franz II to task for “collaboration with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and proclamation of the new Austrian Empire” is untenable.
    The reality, as history amply reveals, is that he dissolved the Holy Roman Empire on 6 August 1806 after the disastrous defeat of the Third Coalition by Bonaparte at the Battle of Austerlitz because Bonaparte threatened to make himself Holy Roman Emperor and so turn the Empire into a secular empire. Franz thereby saved the Holy Empire from a fate worse than its death.
    Finally, your suggestion that Kaiser Franz Josef proposed a union of Austria and Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm II is a statement devoid of factual evidence. Upon what basis do you make this statement?
    Notoriously, Germany and Austria, under Franz Josef, were at loggerheads throughout the 19th century, each claiming to dominate the German Confederation, but only Austria properly having that right.
    The Secularist-Protestant Bismarck put paid to the dispute by declaring war on Austria in 1866, defeating Austria and simply seizing power over the rest of the Confederation and calling it the North German Confederation, thereafter excluding Austria at every turn.
    He then created the German Empire which was a liberal Protestant ape of the Austrian Empire and the old Holy Roman Empire but a million miles away from either in spirit and temper, Prussia being a bullying, militarised, secular-Protestant state, whose empire was acquired entirely by wars of aggression.
    It is said that the Devil is the “ape” of God and never more so was this true than in Prussia’s aping of Austria and usurping its rightful position.
    At no point have I said that Austria-Hungary was an “idealised vision of a Catholic state”. I said it was a charming example.
    Austria-Hungary was very far from “frozen” under Kaiser Franz Josef. Everything from railway building to telegraph construction was far from “slowed and hampered” and Austria-Hungary was certainly not ill-prepared to fight the war, still less to be “in a worse position to deliver a good life in peacetime to its citizens”,
    On the contrary, Vienna was a highly successful, thriving city and the Empire was delivering higher and higher standards of living to its peoples which it showed every sign of continuing to do.
    As to warfare, it is simple historical fact that the Austrians continually had the better of the Italians and simply wiped the Italian army off the map at Caporetto in 1917.
    The gap had to be filled by British and French divisions, drawn from other fronts.
    (6) That the Austrian Empire was the successor of the Holy Roman Empire is an historical fact. It was also recognised as such by the Church.
    As I told you earlier, the Church continued the imperial prayers right up until 1955 when they were removed by Msgr Bugnini.
    In 1806, the Church simply transferred its prayers and recognition of the Holy Roman Empire to Austria.
    The fact is that the Church itself recognised Austria as the successor of the Holy Roman Empire.
    There was no “collusion in destruction”. The Empire had been defeated by Bonaparte at Austerlitz and he threatened to become a secular Caesar.
    Austria’s fighting to the bitter end at Austerlitz cannot, by any stretch, be characterised as “collusion”.
    (7) Of course the Austrian general staff had been planning, among many other scenarios, an invasion of Serbia for years beforehand since that is precisely what general staffs the world over do – it is their job.
    There are probably plans in the Pentagon for the US to invade Canada and Mexico. So what? Contingency plans are what military staff work on all the time.
    It was, indeed, no surprise that the Austrians considered the murder of the heir to the throne as a casus belli. Who wouldn’t? As I said in my earlier post, it would be no different if a neighbouring nation assassinated the US President or Vice-President. Can you imagine the outcry?
    The Austrians certainly did not “seize” upon the murder as a pretext, or at all. This is another falsehood.
    On the contrary, Kaiser Franz Josef repeatedly resisted calls for war from the war-hawks and instead authorised letters stipulating conditions which, although characterised by the far away and, as then, unaffected Anglo-Americans as “unmeetable” were, in fact, eminently meetable, not least the requiring of serious attempts to apprehend the murderers.
    This was reasonable given that the whole murder had clearly been planned from Serbia and executed with the connivance, if not actual assistance, of Serbian officials.
    If there was any pre-determined plot it was firmly on the Serbian side. The Serbian Black Hand was determined to foment war, trying to bring in the Russians and then re-gain so much of Bosnia-Herzogovina, and other parts of the Empire, as, then and now, they regard as part of their mythical Greater Serbia.
    The Austrian so-called “ultimatum” was far less draconian than the preposterously excessive ultimatum delivered, during the Rambouillet Accords, to the Serbian leadership in 1999, which threatened a US take-over of the whole country if Milsosevic and the Serbs did not simply capitulate to the demands of US Secretary of State there and then and, in effect, allow NATO troops to occupy Yugoslavia, freely, anyway.
    Of it, Henry Kissinger himself said:

    “The Rambouillet text, which called on Serbia to admit NATO troops throughout Yugoslavia, was a provocation, an excuse to start bombing. Rambouillet is not a document that even an angelic Serb could have accepted. It was a terrible diplomatic document that should never have been presented in that form.”

    And this was without any US head of state being assassinated, nor the US itself being in any way threatened, unlike Austria in 1914.
    If any Americans, then, criticise Austria’s letter of July 1914, but not Madeleine Albright’s 1999 demands, that looks like pure hypocrisy. We should not do so either.
    To liken it to Britain invading the Republic of Ireland for Mountbatten’s murder is also unsustainable.
    The government of the Republic of Ireland utterly condemned and repudiated the murder of Mountbatten and one cannot suggest, if you are, that it had any involvement in it, or connived at it, as Serbian officials openly had with the murder of the Archduke.
    As a matter of fact, the Russian government, being unready for war (on this I agree with you), pressed the Serbs to accept the Austrian terms and, indeed, the Serbian government did, but the acceptance letter was deliberately stopped at the border by the Black Hand (again) and never reached Austria. The Black Hand wanted war. Not the Habsburg Emperor.
    If you have any familiarity with the more extreme Serb nationalist fanatics you will quickly realise that they are beyond reason. For them the world revolves around Serbia and they care not a whit what happens to the rest of the world provided Great Serbia is preserved. It is a matter of record that such Serbs have been indicted and convicted by the War Crimes Tribunal for the most atrocious murders and atrocities and were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
    They were no better back in 1914.
    (8) The Balkan Wars were in 1912 and 1913. Far from representing a threat from the Ottoman Empire, the reverse is true. These were wars by constituent parts of the Ottoman Empire attempting to break away from an empire that, as anyone with a passing knowledge of history knows, was referred to by most people at the time as “the sick man of Europe”.
    You may, if you wish, consider that the “sick man of Europe” was, in fact, a threat to the peace of Europe, but you will find yourself in a minority of one, I suspect, in that view.
    Far from “ignoring” that Austria was allied with Turkey, I specifically mentioned it in my post.
    Moreover, I do not think anyone can rightly characterise secularised France as a “fellow Christian” country when its government had been anti-Catholic (often savagely), secular and republican for over 100 years.
    (9) For the reasons already adumbrated, I dispute that “very few people in post-war Czech, Slovakia, Dalmatia, Poland, Ukraine, Ruthenia or Dalmatia wanted a return to the Imperial system”. Whilst some undoubtedly did not want it, plenty did and, indeed, thought they were getting some kind of “Empire” or “Reich” when they threw their lot in with the Hitlerite Antichrist. The problem was that the real Empire was no longer on offer. The only choices were extremists of the Left and Right or weak-minded democrats who were ready to capitulate to either extreme.
    (10) Your assessment of the military strength and plans of Austria is, as we have already seen, again wide of the mark. There was no “collapse” after the declaration of war, as you assert (without evidence). On the contrary, the Austrian army fought very successfully and decisively and, as I have already said, completely wiped out the Italian army at Caporetto in late 1917.
    A passing acquaintance with military planning quickly reveals that all general staffs make numerous and conflicting plans for the defence of the nation so that there are as many options available as possible to cover the contingencies of uncertain political situations. This is nothing unusual.
    Your primary assertion that “the Empire and Monarchy was rotten from its very heart” is simply unsustainable, I suggest, on any view.
    As for the “futile waste of life” in the war in Italy, that could be said of the entire First World War, on any front.
    The truth is that the secular Freemasonic Italian government had been itching to foment a world war against Austria so that it could seize its long-coveted, and entirely unjustified, “fino al Brennero” which Italian irredentist nationalists (condemned by the Pope) had been aiming at for decades, in treasonous defiance, not only of their due loyalty to the their sovereign, but in scandalous defiance of all morality, honesty, natural law and Christian justice and charity.
    Baron Sydney Sonnino (his mother was English and he, himself, a secular Freemason) even persuaded the British and the French (without much difficulty) to enter into the secret Treaty of London in 1916 to give the Italian Freemasons their coveted “fino al Brennero” despite the fact that northern Italy had been ruled by Austria and its imperial forebears for over 1,000 years.
    This was a blatantly aggressive claim without the slightest justification and bound to prolong the war even in the face of the most generous offers from the Austrian Emperor.
    (11) If you are going to call members of the Imperial family “utter rotters” you’d better have some pretty good evidence to support your view. Do you? Catholic scholars have a particular responsibility to analyse and test the often highly biased and jaundiced view of historic Catholic regimes that proliferate today or else we risk merely doing the work of the enemies of the Church for them.
    To suggest that the Hussite heresy was somehow the fault of the Habsburg monarchs is perhaps your most surprising claim.
    Hus was burned after arrest at the Council of Constance. King Wenceslaus, a Catholic but on account of his wife soft to the Hussites, died in 1419 and the Hussites staged a revolution burning churches and monasteries (contrary to their pacific and purist ideology) forcing the Emperor Sigismund to use force to restore peace in the kingdom which was now his, following the death of his half-brother.
    It was Pope Martin V who called a Crusade against the Hussites, and Joan of Arc threatened to lead a Crusade there on 23 March 1430.
    In the 19th century, Austria had no choice but to modernise since it faced enemies on all sides who were threatening its very existence if it did not do so.
    Nonetheless, it still remained a fully Catholic state. It was certainly vastly more Catholic than any state calling itself Catholic today, save perhaps the Vatican itself.
    Of all the monarchies of Europe, it was the Habsburgs that were most loyal to the Church and who put their family interests after those of the Faith and the Empire. That, perhaps, is partly why it lasted so long.
    Indeed, it was said of the Austrian Empire “alii bella gerent, tu felix Austria, nubes” – others make war, but thou, O happy Austria, make love (i.e. marry and extend the bonds of the Empire by marriage, not war).
    (12) I am interested in the truth. I have addressed the points you made more than fully and if I challenge you to state your position and you fail to do so, then it is not unreasonable for me to make further challenges.
    You criticise Catholic monarchy, particularly the Habsburg monarchy which enjoyed the support of the Church and the Holy See more than any other, and, as successor of the Roman Empire, has a special place in the Christian dispensation, and undoubtedly in the plan of God. But you provide no alternative model nor example to meet your criteria of a state which Christians should be willing to support and uphold.
    Christ was born in the Roman Empire, thus sanctifying it to a degree, and St Peter, the first Pope, in his first encyclical letter, tells the Faithful to “Honour the Emperor” [1 Pet 2:17], meaning the Roman Emperor. The great Catholic poet, and Thomist, Dante Alighieri, wrote a whole work explaining the importance of the Empire entitled De Monarchia, the Doctors of the Church warmly defended the rights of the Empire (see e.g. Bellarmine and Aquinas) and the Church, generation after generation, showered blessings and privileges upon the Empire and the Emperor.
    This is, without doubt, the most fulsome endorsement of any political system that the Church has ever made, at any time, anywhere. It is remarkable for its consistency and persistence and is unique.
    You say you do not defend Western liberal democracy but you do so without pointing to any known regime that meets your rather unrealistic expectations.
    In short, you criticise Catholic states that actually existed and enjoyed the blessing and protection of the Church but offer nothing, yourself, by way of your own example of a “well-governed Catholic state”.
    This seems to be doing little more than baying at the moon and preaching “pie in the sky” which seems to compromise the proper role of the laity whose task it is to help establish the kingdom of Christ in the temporal sphere.
    It is not the laity’s task to sit on the sidelines, sniping at every attempt to build a Christian community, arguing that none will be good enough.
    It is the role of the laity to build a Christian society, if it can. But one cannot do that if one has no idea what a Christian society looks like, in practice (rather than in some impractical metaphysical mental landscape or dream).
    To ignore the political entity that, above all others, enjoyed the most fulsome support and blessing of the Church, seems a particularly foolhardy approach for any Catholic to endorse.
    This is a rational and reasonable approach to take and to characterise it as “obdurate” is, I suggest, not reasonable.

    Tribunus

    PS. Errors and omissions excepted.
    PPS. It’s “death throes” not “death throws”.
    PPPS. Only a mere 4,717 words, I’m afraid!

  108. kathleen says:

    Tribunus @ 11:30

    I’m pretty sure that those visitors who are interested in the subject will take the time out to read it (your explanation now at 17:38 I mean), but only a small percentage of those visitors will leave comments afterwards. Anyway, as GC has shown by the statistics quoted, it certainly does appear to have been a topic that has awoken the interest of very many people.

    Yes, it is true that I asked you on your blog to please bring a counter-argument to those who were criticising the Empire, and I thank you very much for doing so, and with such great precision and weighty evidence. (I didn’t feel I could give a worthy defense myself… in spite of the few rather weak protests I’d already made.) It was only the continual bashing-of-the-Raven that I didn’t like and thought was unnecessary too. He is a friend, so I’m sure you can understand that.

    In the 1990’s I spent some time in the Austrian campus (at Gaming) of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Most of the students were from the USA, but in the typical generous way of the Americans, the directors of the University had opened up the possibility for Eastern European Catholics (mostly of the Byzantine rite), who had recently been relieved from the shackles and evils of Communism, to come with scholarships to benefit from some proper Catholic education too. These descendants of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, although still bearing some deep ‘scars’ from all they and their families had suffered after 70 years of atheistic regimes in their various countries, were nonetheless enthusiastic and eager to learn all they could of their Faith. I attended some fantastic lectures that were offered at the time by some eminent professors on the history, and subsequent tragic fall of Austria-Hungary, that I have never forgotten.

    My own father, plus some other devout Catholics I have had the fortune of getting to know through life’s journey – who were all supporters of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, owing to the strong bulwark of Catholicism it stood for as its most distinguishing feature – are what opened my eyes to the truth. And that truth? That most of those (definitely not all of course) who rage against the old Empire happen to be left-wing, anti-monarchial secularists. Those among them who identify as Catholics, tend to be of the more liberal, anti-traditional stripe. (I’m only generalising of course, but the ‘proof is in the pudding’ as they say, and this reality speaks for itself.) Most conservative and traditional Catholics who have looked properly into the subject will be able to see through the lies that have been so rampant these last 100 years.

    The Bride of Christ has always been the envy and object of Satan’s most vicious attacks, and a vast Empire who identifies itself so closely with Christ and His Church, is bound to be hated and vilified by all the means the Devil can find available… which often means using those within the Church itself to do his dirty work for him! This is what has happened since the 15th century onwards (as has been stated) and brought to its full evil fruition post WWI… and very much so in the last 50 years. We should not be surprised.

    Just one more thing before I go: the nationality of the above commenters is mixed, but as far as I can see, none of them are Americans. (Not sure of a couple of the very first ones.) JH is Canadian, Geoff is Australian, Tom (as he has already told us) is a New Zealander, GC is from Malaysia. Jabba and the Raven are British… as I am, though my father’s family was originally from Ireland. Neither Jabba, Toad (another Brit of Irish descent) nor I live in the UK though.

    P.S. Done as you ask (^) Tribunus – thank you. That’s much better.🙂

  109. JabbaPapa says:

    you began the ad hominems

    completely untrue

    Your very first post on this website characterised Toad as not a civilised human being. Lovely.

    You then elaborate and expand on this on February 2, 2015 at 10:50 by adding a personal slur against his logical aptitude, as if this insult constituted an argument against his positions.

    The less said of your hate-fest of February 4, 2015 at 17:30 the better, nevertheless such ghastly ad hominems as you have posted there simply cannot be un-seen

    Your February 4, 2015 post at 23:10 though is just inexcusably vile, because at least with the Toad one does have somewhat of an extenuating circumstance because he gives as good as he gets.

    Clots like you simply swallow the anti-Catholic propaganda whole without even bothering to take into account the facts or the circumstances” (which BTW and FYI is completely and utterly false) (and BTW “Yes, you focussed on Joseph II, and then you ignorantly, with not a shred of evidence to support your fatuous claim, pretend that the rest of the Habsburg dynasty were just like him — completely untrue, the Raven far more simply used the example of Joseph II as a counterpoint to your hagiographic elevation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire up to some lofty and unrealistic heights of political perfection) ; then, “your near-complete failure to understand“, “further fatuity in your next piece of nonsense“, .
    you blithering ninny, “you silly fellow!“, “you need your bumps read“, “your brazen maw“, “Give yourself the Jimmy Swaggart medal for historical ignorance“, “near-pathological denial“, “ridiculous anarchist“.

    And then you DARE to claim that *I* am the one who started posting ad hominems in here ? You DARE to claim that Toad is the one who needs to learn how to write like a civilised human being ?

  110. JabbaPapa says:

    That’s high praise indeed coming from someone who claims not to know much about it, “given that this is neither one of [your] fields nor one of [your] periods”.

    FFS — the period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire does not belong to my period ; History is not my field.

    Unlike yourself however, most of my life has been spent living within the confines of an actual Catholic Monarchy. I do not have to imagine what they “were” like ; I can see with my own eyes, every day, what they are like — and that is very far from your overly idealised presentation.

    I share a Confessor with a ruling Catholic Monarch.

    Do not presume to inform me of what I do and do not know about Catholic Monarchy as a system of governance.

  111. Tribunus says:

    Jabba the Pharisee spews venom and vomits abuse whilst attacking others for ad hominems. Nice one, Jabba.

    But at least you’ll have made many brownie points with your very civilised mate, Toad (whom you disdain to criticise). I’m sure he’d make an excellent citizen of your mythical Catholic state that seems to exist nowhere except in your own rather muddled head.

    As for “self-serving commentary”, Jabba, you seem to have a PhD in it, and it is clearly you, now, Jabba, who thinks himself “the only person in here to understand this sort of political régime” – which is laughable, since you so clearly don’t.

    Do at least try not to be a pompous ninny, Jabba.

  112. JabbaPapa says:

    it is clearly you, now, Jabba, who thinks himself “the only person in here to understand this sort of political régime”

    What — despite my original statement that your original blog post exhibits a good understanding of this form of political régime ???

    Whatever …

  113. JabbaPapa says:

    Toad (whom you disdain to criticise)

    Risible.

  114. Tribunus says:

    completely untrue

    Not so, Jabba.
    You need to quote less selectively. Here’s what I said:
    As between us, you began the ad hominems.
    You left out (deliberately?) “as between us” (i.e. between you, Jabba, and me).
    So, Jabba – completely true.
    And, yes, Jabba, I do “DARE” (sic) to claim that you are the one who started posting ad hominens against me, gratuitously and unilaterally.
    I “DARE” because it’s completely true.
    I now also “DARE” to tell you to stop ranting like an an uncivilised loony.

    FFS

    More hypocrisy, Jabba?

    History is not my field.

    Clearly not!

    Unlike yourself however, most of my life has been spent living within the confines of an actual Catholic Monarchy.

    Now you claim to know where I have spent my life, do you?

    I do not have to imagine what they “were” like ; I can see with my own eyes, every day, what they are like —

    And what makes you think that I can’t see them everyday, too?

    and that is very far from your overly idealised presentation.
    hagiographic elevation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire up to some lofty and unrealistic heights of political perfection)

    What “idealised presentation”? What “hagiographic elevation…to some lofty unrealistic heights of political perfection”?
    Not mine – I haven’t given any. And, of course, you cannot provide any evidence thereof, can you?
    Do try to stay with the programme, Jabba.
    Nay, indeed, it seems to be you who have the “idealised” and roseate view of Catholic monarchy since you seem to think that only people who meet your criteria of suitability are allowed in them.

    I share a Confessor with a ruling Catholic Monarch.

    Really? Glad to hear it. Since I know half the royal families of Europe personally perhaps you might tell us who that monarch is. He might be one of my friends, Jabba.

    Do not presume to inform me of what I do and do not know about Catholic Monarchy as a system of governance.

    Yes, Jabba. You are clearly the “only person in here to understand this sort of political régime” – and how dare anyone suggest otherwise.

    At any rate, I do hope you feel a little better, Jabba, after so letting yourself go.

  115. Tribunus says:

    Thanks Kathleen. I’m glad that fits the bill. And glad that, as GC has shown by the statistics quoted, it certainly does appear to have been a topic that has awoken the interest of very many people.

    I guess I should have spotted that Jabba, the Toad and the Raven are British – what a sorry lot we are!

    But you more than make up for us, Kathleen, so thanks again!

  116. johnhenrycn says:

    …………uhmm, does anyone care for a cup of tea?
    ___
    Tom Fisher at 04:00 today: what was formerly (and still is in some respects) the bucolic small town of Preston is in southern Ontario.

    I might someday point out to you exactly where on this map I reside, if you’re prepared to swear an affidavit that you are not and never have been a Jehovah’s Witless or a Moron.

  117. JabbaPapa says:

    You left out (deliberately?) “as between us” (i.e. between you, Jabba, and me)

    A non-standard use of the adverbial “between us”.

    And, yes, Jabba, I do “DARE” (sic) to claim that you are the one who started posting ad hominens against me, gratuitously and unilaterally.

    I have certainly posted some negative comments about what you have been posting in here, but if you look back at the posting history (pun intended), you will see that your response to my initially polite requests that you should engage more respectfully with your interlocutors was to throw about some extra doses of your vitriol and/or arrogance — and I can see that you still have not understood how to conduct yourself in here.

    FYI the ad hominem is a figure of speech whereby attacks upon a person in personam are presented as if they constituted arguments against the statements of that person — but the object of my negative commentary is your statements ; NOT your person. Unlike yourself, I have not personally insulted any member of this forum, not in this thread anyway (I do make the occasional exception against certain of the more deeply vicious anti-Catholic trolls), I have not claimed that anyone is incapable of logical thought, I have not baselessly accused anyone of being an anti-monarchist or a “blithering idiot”, nor any such thing — and as far as asking you to start posting like a civilised person, this request is a response to your obnoxious presentations towards Toad rather than being an ad hominem as such ; to wit, it is a negative ad hoc/tit-for-tat response to an ad hominem of your own device.

    To be clear, my expression of disgust at the manner of scorn that you decided to inflict upon us is not an attack against your person, but it is a response versus your deeply obnoxious rhetoric.

    I cannot pretend that I am surprised by your negative appraisal of my negative commentary, but just because you feel unhappy about what I have posted versus your comments does not mean that these posts of mine were therefore ad hominems.

    an uncivilised loony

    See ? THIS is an ad hominem

    Now you claim to know where I have spent my life, do you?

    Fair enough, I’ll retract that one.

    More hypocrisy, Jabba?

    ????!!!??!?

    I have no idea what this is even supposed to mean. Do you understand the semantic and grammatical value of an interjection ?

    And, of course, you cannot provide any evidence thereof, can you?

    FYI the evidence is all that you have posted on this subject. Do you understand the difference between evidence and proof ?

    I have described your descriptions as “idealised” for reasons that seem self-evident (“it was a glorious kaleidoscope of colour, tradition, beauty, piety and plenty that ought to be the envy of a less fortunate age” just as one example) : “hagiographic” because, well, it’s perfectly obvious from the quasi-saintly iconography that illustrates the article.

    (though I’m starting to despair of your clear tendency to take any criticism of your ideas personally)

    it seems to be you who have the “idealised” and roseate view of Catholic monarchy since you seem to think that only people who meet your criteria of suitability are allowed in them.

    Complete rubbish — I was just pointing out what the ordinary consequences are of behaving down here as you have behaved in here.

    Though of course if you are friends with the Family here, then I’d be wrong concerning you personally in this respect.

    Do not presume to inform me of what I do and do not know about Catholic Monarchy as a system of governance.

    Yes, Jabba. You are clearly the “only person in here to understand this sort of political régime” – and how dare anyone suggest otherwise.

    Your serial misinterpretations are rather tiresome.

    1) I have specifically stated that you have a good understanding of the Catholic Monarchical political system — this is now the third time that I have made this statement

    2) This fact is incompatible with your statement to the contrary

    3) OTOH you actually have accused me of not understanding it

    4) And, do not presume to inform me of what I do and do not know about Catholic Monarchy as a system of governance.

    I am happy to see that you have edited your response to the Raven so that the response no longer contains the insults in question.

  118. Tom Fisher says:

    Oh good Lord, it appears that while I enjoyed a blissful antipodean slumber some sort of avalanche of opinion and invective has occurred. it’s going to take hours just to catch up.🙂

  119. Tribunus says:

    Hang about, Kathleen. Your friend Jabba seems to be replying to posts of mine that you have not posted on the Blog. How’s that?

  120. Tribunus says:

    Well, Jabba, I hope you feel better after that further little rant?

    But now you claim to be an expert at English grammar (golly, Jabba, is there no end to your manifold talents?)

    In which case, you will have noticed the next sentence in my post (5 Feb 17.07) which said:

    “You then randomly attacked me when I had not even mentioned or addressed you.
    Practice what you preach, old thing.”

    Or did you blink and miss that?

    So – again – yes, Jabba, I do “DARE” (sic) to claim that you are the one who started posting ad hominens against me, gratuitously and unilaterally.

    I have certainly posted some negative comments

    I don’t mind that. It’s your claim that you never do so that is hypocritical. Clearly, to quote one of your ad hominems, “you still have not understood how to conduct yourself in here”, Jabba

    the object of my negative commentary is your statements…I have not personally insulted any member of this forum

    Hahahahaha! Oh come on, Jabba, old thing. Even you aren’t so blind as to think that.

    it is a negative ad hoc/tit-for-tat response to an ad hominem of your own device

    Yes, THAT’S closer to the truth. Face it, Jabba. You’ve been hurling ad hominens whilst hypocritically claiming to abhor them. Pots and kettles spring to mind.

    And, after venting your spleen, now you’re now having to retract (to be fair to you, at least you are beginning to do so).

    I suspect you haven’t even read my lengthy post (and you clearly haven’t understood it). Nor, I suspect, have you read the original post, or viewed the videos. I recommend them to you. I do not think that even you could failed to be charmed by them. I don’t know how your German is but, if not good, try the first one as it has sub-titles and gives you a good flavour of the film itself.

    But you can’t really be serious about your claim that mere pictures of the Emperor Francis Joseph and Charlemagne are “iconography” and “hagiographic”.

    Or that mere “colour, tradition, beauty, piety and plenty” represent “hagiography”. Come now.

    I’m starting to despair of your clear tendency to take any criticism of your ideas personally.. Another ad hominem, Jabba?

    And in whatever kingdom you live (and confess with unnamed kings) you seem to think that invective is an imprisonable offence. There is no kingdom in Europe where such is the case. I Could you be speaking of Peter Pan and Never-Never Land, perhaps?

    Though of course if you are friends with the Family here, then I’d be wrong concerning you personally in this respect.

    You’re darn right you would, Jabba. But don’t let it trouble you.

    Do not presume to inform me of what I do and do not know about Catholic Monarchy as a system of governance.

    Calm down, Jabba. I shall presume to challenge whatever you write as and when I consider it right. Your understanding of Catholic monarchy does lack in a number of significant respects. But don’t fret over it. No-one’s perfect. As you keep telling me.

    Trib

  121. JabbaPapa says:

    “You then randomly attacked me when I had not even mentioned or addressed you.

    This is not true — I suggested to you that you were in the wrong in your personal attacks against other members of this forum, and your response was to start attacking me in turn.

    golly, Jabba, is there no end to your manifold talents?

    How tedious.

    I have certainly posted some negative comments

    I don’t mind that. It’s your claim that you never do so that is hypocritical.

    !!!! ?????????!!!!!!???????!!!!!????????!!!!??? ???? ??? ???

    So — your response to my statement that I have posted negative commentary is to accuse me of never stating this fact ?

    And you accuse others of logical failure ?

    The mind boggles …

    Or did you blink and miss that?

    Nope, but it’s quite irrelevant to my intense dislike of your general behaviour.

    to quote one of your ad hominems, “you still have not understood how to conduct yourself in here”

    That is not an ad hominem.

    You’ve been hurling ad hominens whilst hypocritically claiming to abhor them

    No I haven’t, and please can you show me where I have claimed to “abhor” them ?

    (I even posted a definition of the ad hominem figure of speech for you)

    Again — I have not attacked your person, whereas you have repeatedly attacked the persons of several members of this website.

    now you’re now having to retract

    Apart from one minor detail, no I’m not.

    I suspect you haven’t even read my lengthy post (and you clearly haven’t understood it)

    /face-palm/

    But you can’t really be serious about your claim that mere pictures of the Emperor Francis Joseph and Charlemagne are “iconography”

    It’s hardly my fault if you do not understand the meaning of the word “iconography”.

    Or that mere “colour, tradition, beauty, piety and plenty” represent “hagiography”

    That’s not what I said.

    And “mere” ?? Where’s that from ??

    Could you be speaking of Peter Pan and Never-Never Land, perhaps?

    Your utter lack of all and any respect is blatant — and I have seen multiple people arrested for behaving as you are.

    Your understanding of Catholic monarchy does lack in a number of significant respects

    Oh learn how to read.

  122. Tribunus says:

    Facepalm, eh? Nice. No ad hominem, there! But you probably think that in your mythical Catholic state people get arrested for less. Golly! And I thought Toad was uncivilised. I hadn’t reckoned with you, eh Jabba? Come back, Toad – all is forgiven!
    Jabba, as the Marx Brothers so eloquently put it: “Go and never darken my towels, again!”.

  123. Tribunus says:

    Well, thanks, again, Kathleen. But I think I’ll leave you with Jabba’s jabbering. It was fun while it lasted but I must return to the hum drum of every day life. Fare thee well, sweet maid…

  124. JabbaPapa says:

    Contra pacem arrogans dixit odium suum in facie hominorum.

  125. Tribunus says:

    Adversus veritatem profert stultus palmas in faciem

  126. johnhenrycn says:

    “Re vera, cara mea, mea nil refert.”
    Rhett Butler

  127. Tom Fisher says:

    Has anyone else here considered the possibility that Jabba and Tribunus are in fact the same (deranged) person using two WordPress accounts?

  128. toadspittle says:

    No so, Tom.
    Tribunus is nothing but a dreary, repetitive, old windbag.
    Now he’s promising to go back to his day job of boring other people into catalepsy.
    Let’s hope it’s true. I doubt it.
    Jabba is just, like several of us on here,* a little crazy.

    * Toad included? Certainly.

  129. Tom Fisher says:

    catalepsy

    I had to ‘google’ that

    a condition characterized by a loss of sensation and consciousness accompanied by rigidity of the body.

    Sounds like my misspent twenties.

    Christ was born in the Roman Empire, thus sanctifying it to a degree

    I think that to believe Jesus being born in the Roman empire lends it’s political structure legitimacy is about as misguided as thinking that the crucifixion was endorsement of the death penalty. Maybe I have misread the gospels. To my tiny brain it seemed that Jesus was born into not just a sinful world, but a society that was diametrically opposed to the Kingdom of God. The radical reversal and revaluation which is a theme of the gospels (‘the first shall be last, the labourers in the vineyard, Matt 20:27, etc.) has always seemed to me to be entirely antithetical to empire in general, and the Roman empire in particular.

  130. Tom Fisher says:

    Now he’s promising to go back to his day job of boring other people into catalepsy.

    I suspect that dear Toad was once a very intimidating figure to the poor young reporters at the Toledo Blade

  131. JabbaPapa says:

    Tom : I think that to believe Jesus being born in the Roman empire lends it’s political structure legitimacy is about as misguided as thinking that the crucifixion was endorsement of the death penalty

    QFT

  132. Tribunus says:

    Toad – you’ve said that already. You’re becoming a dreary, repetitive, old windbag. But, I must admit – not as repetitive as Jabba.

  133. Tom Fisher says:

    Toad – you’ve said that already. You’re becoming a dreary, repetitive, old windbag.

    I had the good fortune to be born a windbag, become dreary and repetitive by the age of 5, and old at 9. Toad on the other hand is never dreary, though always a windbag.

  134. Tribunus says:

    I think that to believe Jesus being born in the Roman empire lends it’s political structure legitimacy is about as misguided as thinking that the crucifixion was endorsement of the death penalty. Maybe I have misread the gospels.

    Well, Tom, that is what the Doctors of the Church and, indeed, the Church itself taught and believed. But I expect you think you know better than them.
    Here is a part of the prayer for the Emperor in the Great Intercessions for every Good Friday from Apostolic times until 1955:

    “Let us pray also for our most Christian Emperor that the Lord God may reduce to his obedience all barbarous nations for our perpetual peace. O almighty and eternal God, in whose hands are all the power and right of kingdoms, graciously look down on the Roman Empire that those nations who confide in their own haughtiness and strength, may be reduced by the power of Thy right hand. Through the same Lord…”

    And this from the Mass pro Imperatore for the Roman Emperor, also part of the Roman rite of the Catholic Church until 1955:

    “O God, who prepared the Roman Empire for the preaching of the Gospel of the eternal King, extend to Thy servant, our Emperor, the armoury of heaven, so that the peace of the churches may remain undisturbed by the storms of war. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    St Thomas, for example, taught that the time and place of Christ’s birth were fitting and significantly in the Roman Empire (Summa Theologica III, Q.35, A.8) thus:

    On the contrary, It is written (Galatians 4:4): “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”
    I answer that, There is this difference between Christ and other men, that, whereas they are born subject to the restrictions of time, Christ, as Lord and Maker of all time, chose a time in which to be born, just as He chose a mother and a birthplace. And since ‘what is of God is well ordered’ and becomingly arranged, it follows that Christ was born at a most fitting time.
    Reply to Objection 1. Christ came in order to bring us back from a state of bondage to a state of liberty. And therefore, as He took our mortal nature in order to restore us to life, so, as Bede says (Super Luc. ii, 4,5), ‘He deigned to take flesh at such a time that, shortly after His birth, He would be enrolled in Caesar’s census, and thus submit Himself to bondage for the sake of our liberty’.
    Moreover, at that time, when the whole world lived under one ruler, peace abounded on the earth. Therefore it was a fitting time for the birth of Christ, for ‘He is our peace, who hath made both one’, as it is written (Ephesians 2:14). Wherefore Jerome says on Isaiah 2:4: ‘If we search the page of ancient history, we shall find that throughout the whole world there was discord until the twenty-eighth year of Augustus Caesar: but when our Lord was born, all war ceased’; according to Isaiah 2:4: ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation’.
    Again, it was fitting that Christ should be born while the world was governed by one ruler, because ‘He came to gather His own together in one’ (John 11:52), that there might be ‘one fold and one shepherd’ (John 10:16).”

    St Robert Bellarmine, St Alphonsus Liguori and most of the Doctors of the Church taught the same and more, about the significance of the Roman Empire. Dante wrote an entire work, De Monarchia dedicated to explaining the spiritual significance to Christianity of the Roman Empire.

    But, heck, what do they know when compared with Tom of the tiny brain? Fall back into the sleep of catalepsy, Tom, and don’t worry about it. Who cares anyway, eh?

  135. Tom Fisher says:

    Fall back into the sleep of catalepsy, Tom, and don’t worry about it. Who cares anyway, eh?

    Tribunus, I often disagree with Jabba, and sometimes he irritates me, but at least he is sincere. I’ve read every leaden word you’ve written on this thread, and as someone who once earned his crust by teaching I can assure you that I can recognise a pompous blowhard when I encounter one.

    Dante did indeed write De Monarchia, but we forgive him because he also wrote the Commedia and Vita Nuova. Many thanks for your wooden regurgitation of commonly assigned texts. Having seen how your ‘conversation’ with Jabba, I have no intention of plunging down the rabbit hole. I eagerly await your next smug remark

  136. JabbaPapa says:

    the prayer for the Emperor in the Great Intercessions for every Good Friday from Apostolic times until 1955

    http://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-long-forgotten-prayer-to-emperor-in.html

    So no, NOT “from Apostolic times” and NOT until 1955 — until 1806.

    The Mass here includes, of course, a weekly prayer for our own Catholic Sovereign.

    Wikipedia should of course be handled with care, but as for the origin of the Exultet itself, it is written : The regularity of the metrical cursus of the Exsultet would lead us to place the date of its composition perhaps as early as the fifth century, and not later than the seventh. The earliest manuscript in which it appears are those of the three Gallican Sacramentaries: — the Bobbio Missal (seventh century), the Missale Gothicum and the Missale Gallicanum Vetus (both of the eighth century). — so hardly “from Apostolic times” either, eh ?

    Furthermore, Tom expressed his doubts about the circumstances of Christ’s Birth lending legitimacy to the political structure of the Roman Empire — which, as I’m sure you’re aware was radically unlike that of a Catholic Monarchy — whereas the Prayer to the Emperor was strictly reserved for the Monarch of the Holy Roman Empire which was an entirely different political entity.

    Indeed, your bizarre notion that the pagan Emperors of Rome who ordered the mass persecutions of Christ’s Church were prayed for every Easter in Apostolic times is mind-bogglingly weird.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/LITURGY/EXSULTET.TXT

    (At the time of the Holy Roman Empire, a special petition for emperor and empire was added, asking for peace and heavenly victory for ruler and people.)

    So that when you wrote “It is a matter of fact (as you would know if you had read the Roman Christendom Blog) that the Catholic Church so supported the idea of the Roman imperial monarchy that it instituted, from the beginning, special prayers for the Emperor, in the most sacred parts of the liturgy (e.g. Good Friday intercessions, the Exultet on Holy Saturday)” — you were in fact presenting direct falsehoods as if they were “a matter of fact”.

  137. Tribunus says:

    I take it then, Tom, that you have nothing to support your “misguided” thesis?
    Call me cataleptic, but I can’t think of a more smug position to adopt – particularly for a Catholic – than to consider that you know better than the Church and the Doctors of the Church and to call their view misguided.
    But then I seriously doubt that you read more than a fraction of what I wrote. You, Toad and Jabba make a great trio. Ever thought of a circus act together? Could be fun…if one can avoid catalepsy.

  138. Tom Fisher says:

    Enough now, the hard working team who produce this blog are still writing great posts, and the comments thread exists to allow people to comment on their work

    —————————————————————————————————————————

  139. Tribunus says:

    Oh, I should have added: it was big of you (royal plural) to forgive Dante for his writing. I can’t fault your generosity. Magnanimous I call it.

  140. kathleen says:

    Tribunus (@ 22:39)
    “Hang about, Kathleen. Your friend Jabba seems to be replying to posts of mine that you have not posted on the Blog. How’s that?”

    I have restored that comment of yours (and one of Jabba’s) that for some reason seem to have been sent into the spam folder by mistake. One of the peculiarities of WordPress I suppose.😉

    Thank you for all your kind and very charming remarks to me… (and that I fear are truly undeserved!) You are the one who has done all the hard work in the writing of the post, and adding to all the background of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire here on the comment thread; I am no more than an appreciative onlooker.
    Yes, I truly appreciate enormously all the well-founded, detailed information you have given us of this magnificent (and unfortunately, greatly misunderstood) era of European history. I have found it all absolutely fascinating, enlightening, and it has greatly embellished everything I already knew about it beforehand.

    I am saddened by the ongoing argument between you and Jabba though. The fact is, both you and Jabba, faithful Catholics, are clearly men of amazing talent and knowledge… and I am absolutely convinced that under other circumstances you would both have found joy and stimulation in open debate through discussing matters of Our Glorious Faith.

    I shall continue to visit your great blog ‘ROMAN CHRISTENDOM’; there’s a lot of wonderful stuff to enjoy there.🙂

  141. Tribunus says:

    Oh, Tom, you, Toad and Jabba were just “commenting on the work” of the Blog. Is that what you were doing? Well, well. Silly me for not noticing. I wonder how I missed it. I guess the endless and fatuous diatribe directed against me for daring to quote historical fact, the teachings of the Church and original and authoritative sources was just “comment onf the work” of the Blog.
    I’m guessing that you were a teacher of English Expression, Theology and History, right?

  142. Tom Fisher says:

    Calm yourself Tribunus, this thread is done. Thank Kathleen for her kind words to you.

  143. Tribunus says:

    Thank you, again, Kathleen. You are clearly a saint to put up with some of the fatuous stuff flung into the comment box by the terrible trio.
    I too am saddened by the ongoing argument with Jabba. I had nothing against him until, gratuitously, he launched into me when I had said nothing about him or to him.
    Now I am wondering if he has a pyschological issue. If so, then he has my full sympathy.
    I grant you that he has talents, though. It would be nice if he used them in the service of the faith rather than just ranting.
    I’d be happy to have an “open debate through discussing matters of Our Glorious Faith” with him but I fear it’s not possible at present. He is too over-excited at the moment.
    But thanks again, Kathleen, for your kind comments.

  144. Tribunus says:

    As for Tom…well the less said the better. I’m not sure there is room for both his ego and the rest of us little people on the Blog.

  145. kathleen says:

    @ Tribunus

    I can assure you that I am no saint, far from it,… though is not sanctity something all Catholics (in fact all Christians) have been asked by Our Blessed Lord to strive towards?

    Jabba, Tom, Geoff, Johnhenry etc., are all good, faithful cyber friends of mine and all my other five Team-mates’ running this blog. In fact I owe these commenters a lot, not only for their many interesting contributions on various articles on Catholic matters we have published over the years, but more than once some of them have loyally defended me, or others – and most especially Catholic Truth – when attacked by real enemies, a.k.a. ‘trolls’.
    These I mention are good people Tribunus; they are friends, not enemies, and our ‘neighbours’ in the true sense of the word.
    Like with all friends, we don’t always see eye to eye on every aspect or angle of Catholic practice, but I can assure you, that of the most fundamental Catholic beliefs, we are all of like mind…. as you Tribunus would surely be too.
    I don’t want to sound like a school marm – and I certainly have no right to act like one – but quite honestly I believe it is not only possible, but also far more pleasant, gainful and effective to debate, discuss, even agreeing to disagree if everything else fails, rather than end up with an offensive slanging match.🙂

    P.S. Even ‘The-Most-Exasperating-Toad’ is an old teaser friend of ours…. though he certainly tries our patience to the limits sometimes. He can be very funny though, so we always end up forgiving him… till the next time!

  146. JabbaPapa says:

    Enough now, the hard working team who produce this blog are still writing great posts, and the comments thread exists to allow people to comment on their work

    Well said !!

  147. JabbaPapa says:

    Now I am wondering if he has a pyschological issue

    Ad Hominem.

  148. The Raven says:

    Dear Tribunus,
    Continuing our numbering:
    (1) The newspaper article was intended as an example, not a source; and I would have thought that an interview with Franz Ferdinand’s own grand-daughter would have merited more than a bland dismissal.

    As you seem to believe that you have access to information that disproves the widely held view of the man, perhaps you would be good enough to share it?

    (2) I acknowledge that my characterisation of Leopold I was unduly harsh and makes the mistake of applying the mores of our own age to the seventeenth century.

    However, the civic rights granted in the mid-nineteenth century were hardly at the cutting edge of emancipation – they compare favourably with Russia and parts of the German Confederation, but that is not setting a particularly high standard.

    As set out at (1) above, I am unable to argue your rejection of my point on Franz Ferdinand as it seems to rest on information that you alone have access to.

    (3) I think that, with regard to Hungary, your comments are an over-simplification and that the freedoms aspired to when they laboured under the Soviet tyranny were rather greater than to suffer a lesser vassalage (your account of the Horthy regime is entirely inaccurate).

    (4) It is not a historical fact that stability was only achieved in the interwar period by letting in fascist rule: after initial communist uprisings in Austria and Hungary, stable parliamentary rule was the norm throughout the bulk of the former empire; there was a growth in authoritarian rule in Poland, Hungary and Jugoslavia, but this was mainly in response to external pressure – often originating in Germany.

    Other than Austria, which seems to have whole-heartedly embraced Nazism, Hungary was the only state to “voluntarily” side with Germany and, even there, it wasn’t until the German occupation in 1944 that the state could be called a fascist state.

    The point that you are missing is that I do not think that the constituent parts of the empire were any better off after the fall of the Empire; in fact, I doubt that the fall of the Empire advanced human happiness or the material wealth of the populace by an iota. However, the same points could be made about the situation in many of the successor states of the USSR; the fact that the USSR provided stability and a measure of prosperity to its populace does not ameliorate its many other vices.

    5) Joseph II was wholly typical of the rest of the Habsburg dynasty insofar as he believed that his own opinions should trump those of the populace as a whole and he had the perpetuation of Habsburg rule as his sovereign aim.

    I am intrigued to see that your defence of Rudolph II is based entirely on his virtues as a secular patron of the arts and sciences and rather surprised by your defence of Freemasonry, which was barred to Catholics as early as 1738.

    Your comment also conflates the consolidation of the dynasty’s grasp on power with centralisation of authority: the former was the project of the seventeenth century emperors, the latter was the project of Joseph II and his successors.

    Your point on the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire is just silly: Buonaparte had already crowned himself “Emperor”, his project was focussed on building his own new empire and destroying the structures of the past; and your assertions miss the point that Buonaparte would have called himself Holy Roman Emperor if he wished to, irrespective of the de jure actions of Francis II.

    You are right to say that I went too far in suggesting that Franz Joseph supported the Anschluß movement.

    Are you able to quote statistics to demonstrate your claim that railway building, telegraph and telephone construction were as well advanced in comparable powers?

    And Austria-Hungary’s war-readiness was put to the proof in 1914 and emphatically found wanting – on most fronts it was only the support of “Reich Germans” that prevented total collapse. Even at Caporetto, the army was a combined German and Austrian army and the Italians more than had their revenge at the battles of the Piave and Vittorio Veneto.

    (6) I am not characterising *Austria’s* fight to the end at Austerlitz as collusion, I am characterising the actions of Francis II as being more about keeping a crown (any crown) on his own head than any high moral principle.

    (7) There is a fair amount of evidence that Austrian court officials had been tipped off about Princip and his chums, but chose to do nothing about it and, ironically, the main obstacle to renewed hostilities against Serbia had been Franz Ferdinand, who really wanted a war with Russia instead of a distraction in the south.

    I think that you are right to say that the assassination was largely planned in Serbia and Serb officials were complicit, albeit that they were acting on their own initiative (much in the way that many of the attacks on the UK mounted by the IRA were planned in the Republic and had the tacit backing of members of the political establishment and the Gardai), but the ultimatum was clearly couched in terms that would be impossible for the Serbs to meet (not least because it involved producing persons who were already in Austrian custody).

    The following is taken from Max Hastings’ book “Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914”:

    The Archduke’s funeral service, in the stifling heat of the Hofburgpfarrkirch, lasted just fifteen minutes, following which Franz Joseph resumed his cure at Ischl. The old Emperor made little pretence of sorrow about his nephew’s death, though he was full of rage about its manner. Most of his subjects shared his sentiments, or lack of them. On 29 June in Vienna, Professor Josef Redlich noted in his diary: ‘there is no sense of grief in the town. Music has been playing everywhere.’ The London Times reported the funeral on 1 July in terms measured to the point of somnolence. Its Vienna correspondent asserted that ‘so far as the press is concerned, there is a remarkable absence of any inclination that revenge should be taken upon the Serbs of the Monarchy as a whole for the misdeeds of what is believed to be a small minority … With regard to Serbia also the utterances of the press are on the whole remarkably restrained.’

    Foreign observers expressed surprise that Viennese mourning for the heir to the imperial throne was perfunctory and patently insincere. It was thus ironic that the Hapsburg government scarcely hesitated before taking a decision to exploit the assassinations as a justification for invading Serbia, even at the cost of provoking an armed collision with Russia. And Princip had killed the one man in the Empire committed to avert this.

    From the same source

    Just before the 6 p.m. expiry of Austria’s deadline on the 25th, Serbia’s response was delivered by the prime minister personally to Austria’s Baron Giesl. Pašić, conscious of the solemnity of the moment, wore an expression of mournful gravity. He said to Giesl in imperfect German: ‘Part of your demands we have accepted, for the rest we place our hopes on your loyalty and chivalry as an Austrian general. With you we have always been very satisfied.’ The Serbs accepted all Vienna’s harsh terms save its requirement for Austrians to be granted authority on their soil. When this response became known in western Europe, there were some brief delusions that war was averted. ‘People are relieved and at the same time disappointed to hear that Serbia is giving in,’ wrote André Gide. But Vienna made no pretence of desiring a peaceful outcome: whatever the Serbian response, Baron Giesl had been instructed to remove himself to the border at Zemun by the 6.30 train.

    Your reflections on the most recent Balkan wars are not relevant to this conversation.

    (8) Yes, we name the two wars in 1912-13 “the Balkan Wars”, but they were only the most recent scuffles in a series of conflicts that ignited in the late 1870s (I suppose that one could date the conflict to the wars that secured Greek independence).

    The Turk was guilty of the widespread murder, rape and desecration of Christians and Christian lives during this period, their troops, especially the irregular Bashi-Bezooks, had committed terrible crimes against Slavs, Greeks and Bulgars no more than a couple of years before Austria-Hungary joined Germany in forcing them to take their side in the war (it wasn’t a conflict that the Ottomans were an entirely willing participant in).

    And let’s not forget that “the sick man of Europe” was still able to inflict a comprehensive defeat on us at Gallipoli.

    While I would be the last one to describe Clemenceau as a “Christian”, many of those in arms for the French were Christians and Catholics.

    (9) Your point is a nonsense – no-one in Czech, Slovakia, Poland or Ruthenia voluntarily threw their lot in with the Germans in WWII. The only ones who can be said to have joined in the project of the so-called “Third Reich” were the Austrians and Sudenten Germans. The Hungarians dreamt of ruling Trans-Leithia again (hence their half-hearted collaboration with Germany) and the vile Croat Ustasha dreamt of standing alongside the Germans as equals, but neither of them envisaged that they would be subject to German rule.

    (10) It is the job of a general staff to make plans and contingencies, we are in agreement on that point, but if you envisage a war fought against Russia in the East and Serbia in the South (and the Imperial diplomatic corps clearly understood that an attack on Serbia would lead to war with Russia), it’s generally a good idea to ensure that your mobilisation plans allow your transport and freight to service both fronts adequately at once: the Imperial plans were designed to service one front or the other and ended supplying neither in the first crucial weeks of the war.

    Shorter supply lines in the South meant that they the Austro-Hungarian forces had a good deal of initial success against the Serbs, but in the East the war degenerated into a rolling retreat against the Russians; only reinforcement and supply by Germany allowed them to stop the Russian advance and start to turn the tide against Russia.

    (11) We will have to agree to disagree on the quality of my evidence.

    As for the Hussite affair, you are making the same mistake as Kathleen – I’m referring to the late nineteenth century movement, not to Jan Huss and his followers.

    (12) I entirely accept that you seek to present the truth as you see it, but I have pointed out that you have made a number of errors of fact and I disagree with a number of the interpretations that you put on other facts on which we agree.

    I doubt very much that the Habsburg empire was “in the plan of God”, His message had very little to do with Earthly realms and monarchies. It was certainly, at times, a “godly tool” to defend Christians from the Turk and to resist heretics, but at many times, it was simply a vehicle for one family to rule in the same way as any other potentate.

    And you err in saying that I suggest no alternative model – I have already pointed you to the Kingdom of Poland, England before the Conquest and the Republic of Venice (although I would expand the franchise in all three).

    Catholics do the devil’s work when they ignore the shabbier truths that afflict our institutions. Nothing in this world will be perfect because we are fallen creatures, we should not close our eyes to our faults, but confess them and pray for grace to do better. This applies to institutions as much as it does to individuals.

  149. JabbaPapa says:

    kathleen : These I mention are good people Tribunus; they are friends, not enemies, and our ‘neighbours’ in the true sense of the word.

    Very well said dearest kathleen, and I strongly hope that Tribunus could put his antagonism elsewhere, where it belongs (and I mean that quite literally — the enemies of the Faith are elsewhere)

Comments are closed.