All posts by Brendan King

“I Saw Santa Punching Arius”

This video based on the legend that at the first Ecumenical Council, at Nicaea in 325 AD, St Nicholas was so angry at Arius’ heresy about Jesus not being fully divine and human at the same time, that he punched him right in the face.
For this he is thrown into chains in a cell, and the Fathers threaten to depose him as a bishop.
Later, Our Lady and Our Lord both appear to him in his cell, and restore to him the Gospel Book and his episcopal pallium, thus restoring him as  Bishop of Myra.
This Council gave us the main part of the Nicene Creed, which is included in the film.

From “Reminiscences of a Hebridean Schoolmaster”

From “A School in South Uist: Reminiscences of a Hebridean Schoolmaster, 1890-1913”, pages 14-15.
Sunday arrived and after a cup of tea and some oat cake, we watched the people coming to church. As Father Allan had to say the eleven o’clock Mass, of course he was fasting. From before ten o’clock I could see figures, single or in groups, approaching in a leisurely manner from all directions, as far as the eye could reach. Some were seen on the road, some crossing boggy ground, but all walking, although I had previously seen many on shaggy ponies riding bareback. As they arrived in the vicinity of the church the men stopped, resting in groups against walls, or on rocks, evidently engaged on conversation. The women, mostly wrapped in plaid shawls, with a smaller one over their heads and tied tightly at the back of the neck, entered at the paddock gate, steadily advanced up the road and entered the church without pause.
Eleven o’clock arrived and passed, Father Allan went occasionally to the window, and then returned to his chair, saying that he could see more coming in the distance. It was nearer twelve o’clock than eleven when he gave the order for the bell — one salvaged from a wrecked ship — to be rung.  Explaining the delay, he said, “Some of them have to come a long way, and not many have clocks, so I do not ring the bell till all have gathered.” Afterwards I learnt that some came from an island called Eriskay by boat to the other side of the hills, and walked six or eight miles to hear Mass.
The interior of the church looked very bare — small pictures of the Stations of the Cross being the only ornaments — but it was full, men on one side and women on the other. The people worshiped with great decorum and devotion. The language of the Mass, being in Latin, was the same as in the city I had left. I realized the value of this to one away from his native land. The concluding prayers were said in Gaelic, which sounded very strange to me.
Looking through the window just before sitting down to our late breakfast, I could see the congregation dispersing in all directions as they had come. I believe some of them could not reach home before well into the night. This manifestation of faith impressed me strongly.
“The Blue and the Gray”

“The Blue and the Gray”

In the recent controversy over whether or not to permit the display of the Confederate Flag, we forget, in my opinion, what the issue is really about. As a reminder to both sides in the debate, I am sharing an 1866 poem by Francis Miles Finch. A New Yorker and staunch Abolitionist, Finch was deeply moved by news that a women’s association in Mississippi was choosing to lay flowers, without distinction, on the graves of both Union and Confederate war dead. In response, he wrote the poem, “The Blue and the Grey” in honor of the dead and of the women who tended their graves. His poem, which expresses a sense of forgiveness spurned by both parties in the current debate, has much to teach us. Only when we cease to argue can the fallen of both sides truly by laid to rest…

The Blue And The Gray
By the flow of the inland river,
    Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
    Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
        Under the sod and the dew,
            Waiting the judgment-day;
        Under the one, the Blue,
            Under the other, the Gray
These in the robings of glory,
    Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
    In the dusk of eternity meet:
        Under the sod and the dew,
            Waiting the judgement-day
        Under the laurel, the Blue,
            Under the willow, the Gray.
From the silence of sorrowful hours
    The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
    Alike for the friend and the foe;
        Under the sod and the dew,
            Waiting the judgement-day;
        Under the roses, the Blue,
            Under the lilies, the Gray.
So with an equal splendor,
    The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
    On the blossoms blooming for all:
        Under the sod and the dew,
            Waiting the judgment-day;
        Broidered with gold, the Blue,
            Mellowed with gold, the Gray.
So, when the summer calleth,
    On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
    The cooling drip of the rain:
        Under the sod and the dew,
            Waiting the judgment -day,
        Wet with the rain, the Blue
            Wet with the rain, the Gray.
Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
    The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading
    No braver battle was won:
        Under the sod adn the dew,
            Waiting the judgment-day;
        Under the blossoms, the Blue,
            Under the garlands, the Gray
No more shall the war cry sever,
    Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever
    When they laurel the graves of our dead!
        Under the sod and the dew,
            Waiting the judgment-day,
        Love and tears for the Blue,
            Tears and love for the Gray.
images-6

 

image: Confederate cemetery at the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park by dbking / Wikimedia Commons

Brides of Christ, Martyrs for Russia

In her essay “The Church and the Fiction Writer”, Flannery O’Connor expressed disgust at the pious cliches which then masqueraded as Catholic literature during the 1950’s. Rather than take joy in fully formed characters with mixed flaws and virtues, Catholic readers preferred the simplistic, the sentimental, and the shallow. This problem is not only confined to Catholic fiction.

Catholic nonfiction, especially Saint’s biographies, are often plagued by the same set of problems. Rather than depict a flawed and complex person who became a Saint, Catholic “biographers” will serve up a plaster statue who seems unapproachable, uninspiring, and even outright unbelievable. Real people are, as a rule, far more interesting.

For this reason, it was with great pleasure that I learned that the new English translation of Irina Osipova’s book “Brides of Christ, Martyrs for Russia” has been made available for purchase on Amazon. Describing a community of Byzantine Catholic nuns who offered themselves up for the Salvation of Russia in August 1917, this book is composed of the Nuns’ memoirs of the Gulag, letters, KGB archival documents about their arrests and interrogations, and interviews with those who knew the surviving sisters in their old age. All in all, it reveals the human face of sanctity in a way that is often sorely lacking in other Catholic biographies. As two members of the Community, Mother Catherine Abrikosova and Sr. Rosa of the Heart of Mary, are now being investigated for possible Canonization, the value of this book cannot be underestimated. Therefore, “Brides of Christ, Martyrs for Russia” is strongly recommended to all readers who ware moved by stories of Faith and Martyrdom. To the all the Catholic Martyrs and Confessors under the Bolshevik Yoke, Let Their Memory Be Eternal!

When Tolkien Met Dante

About a year ago, while reading Dorothy Sayers’ translation of “The Divine Comedy” aloud to a terminally ill friend, I was struck by the behavioral similarities between the demons in Dante’s “Inferno” and the Orcs in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”.’

Both share a viciousness toward their prisoners, both have to be forced to follow the orders of senior ranks, and both are just as prone to attack each other when no one else is within reach. The parallels were so similar that it seemed impossible for them to be mere coincidence.

I had always believed that Tolkien was more interested in in the mythologies of Northern Europe. His drawing of influences from Beowulf, the Sigurd legend, the Norse Eddas, and the Finnish Kalevala have all been well documented. Dante seemed much too far removed from the kind of literature which I knew to be his passion.

Then, about a month ago, I noticed Dante’s name listed in the index of Humphrey Carpenter’s “The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.”

Upon turning to the exact page, I found that Tolkien had written the following words as part of a 1967 letter. “I do not seriously dream of being measured against Dante, a supreme poet. At one time, Lewis and I used to read him to one another. I was for a while a member of the Oxford Dante Society.”

Tolkien did say that in recommending him, C.S. Lewis had “overestimated greatly” his knowledge of the Italian language or of its greatest poet. Tolkien also expressed regret that what he called Dante’s “pettiness” was “a sad blemish in places.”

As I mulled over what I had read, I realized that the possibility of Tolkien drawing inspiration from Dante’s Inferno was no longer as far fetched as I had formerly thought. Without further elaboration from Tolkien himself, I cannot be completely certain, but it does seem like a strong circumstantial case could be made.

Now that I think about it, Dante’s immortal line, “Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate,”  (“Abandon hope, all ye that enter here”), could be just as fittingly inscribed over the Black Gate of Mordor!

Chilling Thoughts for Tolkien Fans

On this site, I have often gone on record as both critic and a satirist of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien travesties. From letting the Catholic out of the Baggins to the dumbing down of the dialogue, Peter Jackson’s film treatments would not have received an enthusiastic reception had the creator of Middle Earth still been alive. They would have prompted, at the very least, an outraged letter from Tolkien, who would have demanded that Peter Jackson “show a little respect for the author.” (See “The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien”, #210, Tolkien’s Comments on Morton Grady Zimmerman’s 1958 Film Treatment for “The Lord of the Rings”). 

Even so, the film industry has wreaked literary havoc well beyond Tolkien’s Middle Earth Legendarium. From the Demi Moore adaptation of “The Scarlet Letter” to the Emma Thompson assault on “Brideshead Revisited”, the hall of shame goes ever on and on. In fact, one shudders to think of how much greater damage an even less scrupulous director might have wreaked. For this reason, I have created the following examples as a reminder, both to myself and to my fellow Tolkien purists. It could have been worse. It could have been a lot worse…

“THE DARK KNIGHT OF THE RINGS.”
A Film by Christopher Nolan.

Based on a Screenplay by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan.

With his sword ablaze, the Lord of the Nazgul rides into the Gate of Gondor, a gate which no enemy has yet passed. All flee before his face. All but one. Gandalf rides Shadowfax toward the Dark Lord’s minion, Glamdring bared.

GANDALF: You cannot enter here! Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!

All the blood drains from Gandalf’s face as a eerie, high pitched cackle escapes from the Nazgul Lord. He throws back his hood to reveal… Heath Ledger in Clown Make-Up.

THE JOKER: You’ve got nothing to threaten me with. Nothing to do with all your spells. That reminds me. Do you wanna know how I got these scars?


“THE GANDALF.”
A Film by Francis Ford Coppola.
Based on a Screenplay by Mario Puzo.

Exterior. Fortress of Rohan. Morning. “The Godfather” Theme plays in the background. 

Cut To. Interior; Grima Wormtongue’s bedroom. He awakens to find the sheets soaked with something red and sticky. Terrified, he frantically pulls the sheets up until he finds… A horse’s head. He tries to scream; but cannot. Then, at long last...

GRIMA: Ah! – Ah! – Ah! – Ah!

DISSOLVE TO: Gandalf’s face illuminated by the red light of his pipe. With dismay, he notices Aragorn and Legolas carrying a large and garish floral display with the words “Thank You” spelled out in flowers.

GANDALF: What is this nonsense?

ARAGORN: From Eomer son of Eomund. Grima Wormtongue just resigned his position and fled to Orthanc. What did you do, by the way?

GANDALF: I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.


“RING WARS EPISODE V: THE SHADOW STRIKES BACK.”
A Film by George Lucas.

Saruman: [Addressing Sauron’s image in the Palantir] What is thy bidding, my Master?

Sauron: There is a great disturbance in the North.

Saruman: I have felt it.

Sauron: We have a new enemy. The Ranger who dispersed the Nazgul. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Arathorn Arador’s son.

Saruman: How is that possible?

Sauron: Search your feelings, Saruman of the Many Colors. You will know it to be true. He could destroy us.

Saruman: He’s just a boy. Gandalf can no longer help him.

Sauron: Iluvatar favors him. The son of Arathorn must not become the King.

Saruman: If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.

Sauron[intrigued] Yes… He would be a great asset. Can it be done?

Saruman[Kneeling Down] He will join us or die, Master.


“DA GOODFELLA-SHIP O’ DA RINGS.”

A Film by Martin Scorsese.

Based on a Screenplay by Nick Pileggi.

The Fellowship are sitting around a table in ‘The Prancing Pony’ laughing hysterically at a story told by Gimli.

        Aragorn: That’s funny! You’re really funny. You’re really funny!

        Gimli: What do you mean I’m funny?

        Aragorn: It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story. You’re a funny guy.

        Gimli(Bristling): What, do you mean the way I talk? What?

Everyone suddenly stops laughing.

        Aragorn: It’s just… You know, you’re funny. It’s funny. The way you tell the story and everything

        Gimli: Funny how? What’s funny about it?

        Gandalf: Gimli, no. You got it all wrong.

        Gimli: Yo, Gandalf. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. (To Aragorn). Funny how?

        Aragorn: Just…

        Gimli: What?!

        Aragorn: Just… You know, you’re funny.

        Gimli: Let me understand this, cause maybe its me, I’m a little hopped up maybe. Funny how? You mean funny like a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I’m here to amuse you. What do you mean funny? Funny how? How am I funny?

        Aragorn: Just… You know, how you tell the story.

        Gimli: No, no! I don’t know! You said it! You said I’m funny! How the heck am I funny?! What the heck is funny about me?! Tell me, tell me, what’s funny?!

Long Pause.

        Aragorn: Get the heck outta here, Gimli.

Everyone laughs.

        Gimli: You stutterin’ wimp, you! I almost had him! I almost had him! Gandalf, wasn’t he shakin’? I wonder about you sometimes, Strider. You may fold under questioning!

Freeze-Frame on a very nervous looking Aragorn.

        Aragorn: (Voiceover): As far back as I can remember I’ve always dreamed of bein’ a Ranger.

Tony Bennet’s “Rags to Riches” plays over the opening credits.

 

“MONTY PYTHON AND THE RING OF POWER.”

A Film by Terry Gilliam.

Exterior. Fangorn Wood. Day. Foggy and Overcast. Spooky music plays. Merry and Pippin wander through heavy underbrush. Suddenly cut to EXTREME CLOSE-UP of Black-Brown Orc face.

MERRY: (Scared Stiff): Who are you?

ORC: We are the Orcs Who Say Ni!

PIPPIN: No! Not the Orcs Who Say Ni! 

ORC: The same!

PIPPIN: (To Merry): Those who hear them seldom live to tell the tale.

ORC: The Orcs Who Say Ni demand… a Sacrifice.

MERRY: Oh, Orcs of Ni, we are but simple travelers. We seek…

ORC: Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni!

Merry and Pippin scream and writhe in agony. 

ORC: We shall say Ni again to you if you do not appease us. 

PIPPIN: Alright. What do you want?

ORC: We want… A shrubbery! 

MERRY and PIPPIN: A what?!

ORC: (Pointing to a Nearby Shrubbery Plot): And when you have brought it back, place it right here next to this shrubbery, only a little higher so that we get this two-level effect with a little path in the middle. And then you must slay the mightiest Ent in the forest with.. A HERRING! 

MERRY: We shall do no such thing. Let us pass!

ORC: (Visibly Heartbroken): Oh please!

PIPPIN: We shall do no such thing. Kill an Ent with a herring? It can’t be done!

Orcs scream and writhe in agony.

ORC: Don’t say that word.

PIPPIN: What word?

ORC: The one word the Orcs of Ni cannot hear.

MERRY and PIPPIN: (Catching on): It!  It!  It!  It!

Orcs scream, writhe, and roll in the dust of the forest floor. “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” plays as Merry and Pippin calmly walk away.

Chilling Thoughts for Tolkien Fans

On this site, I have often gone on record as both critic and a satirist of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien travesties. From letting the Catholic out of the Baggins to the dumbing down of the dialogue, Peter Jackson’s film treatments would not have received an enthusiastic reception had the creator of Middle Earth still been alive. They would have prompted, at the very least, an outraged letter from Tolkien, who would have demanded that Peter Jackson “show a little respect for the author.” (See “The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien”, #210, Tolkien’s Comments on Morton Grady Zimmerman’s 1958 Film Treatment for “The Lord of the Rings”). 

Even so, the film industry has wreaked literary havoc well beyond Tolkien’s Middle Earth Legendarium. From the Demi Moore adaptation of “The Scarlet Letter” to the Emma Thompson assault on “Brideshead Revisited”, the hall of shame goes ever on and on. In fact, one shudders to think of how much greater damage an even less scrupulous director might have wreaked. For this reason, I have created the following examples as a reminder, both to myself and to my fellow Tolkien purists. It could have been worse. It could have been a lot worse…

“THE DARK KNIGHT OF THE RINGS.”
A Film by Christopher Nolan.

Based on a Screenplay by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan.

With his sword ablaze, the Lord of the Nazgul rides into the Gate of Gondor, a gate which no enemy has yet passed. All flee before his face. All but one. Gandalf rides Shadowfax toward the Dark Lord’s minion, Glamdring bared.

GANDALF: You cannot enter here! Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!

All the blood drains from Gandalf’s face as a eerie, high pitched cackle escapes from the Nazgul Lord. He throws back his hood to reveal… Heath Ledger in Clown Make-Up.

THE JOKER: You’ve got nothing to threaten me with. Nothing to do with all your spells. That reminds me. Do you wanna know how I got these scars?

“THE GANDALF.”
A Film by Francis Ford Coppola.
Based on a Screenplay by Mario Puzo.
Exterior. Fortress of Rohan. Morning. “The Godfather” Theme plays in the background. 

Cut To. Interior; Grima Wormtongue’s bedroom. He awakens to find the sheets soaked with something red and sticky. Terrified, he frantically pulls the sheets up until he finds… A horse’s head. He tries to scream; but cannot. Then, at long last…
GRIMA: Ah! – Ah! – Ah! – Ah!
DISSOLVE TO: Gandalf’s face illuminated by the red light of his pipe. With dismay, he notices Aragorn and Legolas carrying a large and garish floral display with the words “Thank You” spelled out in flowers.
GANDALF: What is this nonsense?
ARAGORN: From Eomer son of Eomund. Grima Wormtongue just resigned his position and fled to Orthanc. What did you do, by the way?
GANDALF: I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“RING WARS EPISODE V: THE SHADOW STRIKES BACK.”
A Film by George Lucas.

Saruman: [Addressing Sauron’s image in the Palantir] What is thy bidding, my Master?

Sauron: There is a great disturbance in the North.

Saruman: I have felt it.

Sauron: We have a new enemy. The Ranger who dispersed the Nazgul. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Arathorn Arador’s son.

Saruman: How is that possible?

Sauron: Search your feelings, Saruman of the Many Colors. You will know it to be true. He could destroy us.

Saruman: He’s just a boy. Gandalf can no longer help him.

Sauron: Iluvatar favors him. The son of Arathorn must not become the King.

Saruman: If he could be turned, he would become a powerful ally.

Sauron[intrigued] Yes… He would be a great asset. Can it be done?

Saruman[Kneeling Down] He will join us or die, Master.

 

“DA GOODFELLA-SHIP O’ DA RINGS.”

A Film by Martin Scorsese.

Based on a Screenplay by Nick Pileggi.

The Fellowship are sitting around a table in ‘The Prancing Pony’ laughing hysterically at a story told by Gimli.

        Aragorn: That’s funny! You’re really funny. You’re really funny!

        Gimli: What do you mean I’m funny?

        Aragorn: It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story. You’re a funny guy.

        Gimli(Bristling): What, do you mean the way I talk? What?

Everyone suddenly stops laughing.

        Aragorn: It’s just… You know, you’re funny. It’s funny. The way you tell the story and everything

        Gimli: Funny how? What’s funny about it?

        Gandalf: Gimli, no. You got it all wrong.

        Gimli: Yo, Gandalf. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. (To Aragorn). Funny how?

        Aragorn: Just…

        Gimli: What?!

        Aragorn: Just… You know, you’re funny.

        Gimli: Let me understand this, cause maybe its me, I’m a little hopped up maybe. Funny how? You mean funny like a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I’m here to amuse you. What do you mean funny? Funny how? How am I funny?

        Aragorn: Just… You know, how you tell the story.

        Gimli: No, no! I don’t know! You said it! You said I’m funny! How the heck am I funny?! What the heck is funny about me?! Tell me, tell me, what’s funny?!

Long Pause.

        Aragorn: Get the heck outta here, Gimli.

Everyone laughs.

        Gimli: You stutterin’ wimp, you! I almost had him! I almost had him! Gandalf, wasn’t he shakin’? I wonder about you sometimes, Strider. You may fold under questioning!

Freeze-Frame on a very nervous looking Aragorn.

        Aragorn: (Voiceover): As far back as I can remember I’ve always dreamed of bein’ a Ranger.

Tony Bennet’s “Rags to Riches” plays over the opening credits.

 

“MONTY PYTHON AND THE RING OF POWER.”

A Film by Terry Gilliam.

Exterior. Fangorn Wood. Day. Foggy and Overcast. Spooky music plays. Merry and Pippin wander through heavy underbrush. Suddenly cut to EXTREME CLOSE-UP of Black-Brown Orc face.

MERRY: (Scared Stiff): Who are you?

ORC: We are the Orcs Who Say Ni!

PIPPIN: No! Not the Orcs Who Say Ni! 

ORC: The same!

PIPPIN: (To Merry): Those who hear them seldom live to tell the tale.

ORC: The Orcs Who Say Ni demand… a Sacrifice.

MERRY: Oh, Orcs of Ni, we are but simple travelers. We seek…

ORC: Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni!

Merry and Pippin scream and writhe in agony. 

ORC: We shall say Ni again to you if you do not appease us. 

PIPPIN: Alright. What do you want?

ORC: We want… A shrubbery! 

MERRY and PIPPIN: A what?!

ORC: (Pointing to a Nearby Shrubbery Plot): And when you have brought it back, place it right here next to this shrubbery, only a little higher so that we get this two-level effect with a little path in the middle. And then you must slay the mightiest Ent in the forest with.. A HERRING! 

MERRY: We shall do no such thing. Let us pass!

ORC: (Visibly Heartbroken): Oh please!

PIPPIN: We shall do no such thing. Kill an Ent with a herring? It can’t be done!

Orcs scream and writhe in agony.

ORC: Don’t say that word.

PIPPIN: What word?

ORC: The one word the Orcs of Ni cannot hear.

MERRY and PIPPIN: (Catching on): It!  It!  It!  It!

Orcs scream, writhe, and roll in the dust of the forest floor. “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” plays as Merry and Pippin calmly walk away.

Pope Pius XII on Stalinism and Other Evils

Pope Pius XII to “an enormous crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square” to protest the show trial of Cardinal Mindszenty, February 20, 1949.

Excerpted from “His Humble Servant: Sister M. Pascalina Lehnert’s Memoirs of Her Years of Service to Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII”. Page 150.

“Do you want a Church that remains silent when She should speak; that diminishes the law of God where she is called to proclaim it loudly, wanting to accommodate it to the will of man? Do you want a Church that departs from the unshakable foundations upon which Christ founded Her, taking the easy way of adapting Herself to the opinion of the day; a Church that is a prey to current trends; a Church that does not condemn the suppression of conscience and does not stand up for the just liberty of the people; a Church that locks Herself up within the four walls of Her temple in unseemly sycophancy, forgetting the divine mission received from Christ: ‘Go out the crossroads and preach the people’? Beloved sons and daughters! Spiritual heirs of numberless confessors and martyrs! Is this the Church you venerate and love? Would you recognize in such a Church the features of your Mother? Would you be able to imagine a Successor of St. Peter submitting to such demands?”

In reply to the Holy Father came a single cry like thunder still ringing in our ears: “No!”

On the Duty of a Monarch

Many years ago, my father asked my grandfather, Scottish immigrant Laurence Joseph King, about the abdication of the Duke of Windsor. My dad was then a teenager with Marxist ideas and considered it ridiculous that an abdication was insisted upon by the British Government. To Dad’s shock, Grandpa Larry responded, “He could not be King because he would not do his duty.” It took many years for my Dad to realize the wisdom of his father’s words.

I must say that I agree with my grandfather. It is very dangerous when the Crown rests upon the wrong head and my grandfather’s words apply, not only to the Duke of Windsor, but to many other Royals from many nations and centuries. Queen Elizabeth I of England, Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary, and the last Shah of Iran definitely bear this out.

Blessed Emperor Karl once said that, as Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, he certainly had rights, but that those rights were tempered by his duty. This duty is, in my opinion, best expressed in the words the current Queen of England spoke in her first address to the nation, “The whole of my life, whether it be long or short, shall be dedicated to your service.” The last word is best left to the Marquis de Custine.

During the 1830’s, the Marquis, a French Catholic Royalist, paid a visit to Tsarist Russia which he believed could save Europe from the lingering  ideas of the French Revolution. The Marquis left Russia deeply disillusioned by how the Tsar governed the State, the Orthodox Church, and the people by personal decree and backed up by police state tactics. 

The Marquis wrote that nations which prize “fidelity to insane masters” are neglecting their duty. Monarchy is only venerable, he says, when it governs justly. He concluded, “When Kings forget the conditions under which man is permitted to rule over his fellow men, the citizens have to look to God, their Eternal Governor, Who absolves them from their oath of fidelity to their temporal master.”