Friday, July 29, 2022

Jasenovac - or what is wrong with "Fascism"

Wrangel - or What's Right With Fascism · Jasenovac - or what is wrong with "Fascism" · More than One Brand of Fascism

To many in the West, the word Fascism refers to a movement rejecting both Marxist revolutions and Capitalistic laissez-faire with exploitation, and usually excluding Social Demcracy which can also be so described, but which has some Marxist roots and therefore also agendas, like Feminism.

In this sense, I am a Fascist, and, as said, count Wrangel as one of the earliest.

However, in Eastern Europe, the word is used in another way. It basically means in former Communist countries "Hitler and his allies" and the focus is on walking over extant frontiers during World War II and also human rights violations.

I think, the word used this way should be replaced by the phrase "Hitler and his allies" - but I am not holding my breath for Serbs to replace Ustasha as "allies of Hitler" (or directly Ustasha) rather than simply as "Fascists" or for Poles to concede that Pilsudski's later years were a fairly typical Fascism (the way I and some in the West use the word) when they have so many neighbours using the word in a very different way.

In World War II, Francisco Franco was not an ally of Hitler. He was not an ally of the Ustasha. But usually he is termed Fascist dictator. And Dollfuss was killed, Schuschnigg was made captive on Hitler's orders or with his approval. Yet, they are called Austrofascists.

I think three of the Fascisms actually went bad, all three allied in World War II : Hitler's, Mussolini's and the Ustasha. I obviously appreciate that Tudjman preferred Franco over the Ustasha. Hitler's NSDAP went bad basically when it started, it was as obsessed with race as New England secularised Puritans (Lovecraft is a good story-teller, according to some, but would not make a good politician). Mussolini went from good to bad about when he changed preferences for Austrofascism into preferences for Hitler - which was after a fairly good first 15 years or so. And Ustasha went bad pretty quickly after getting to power - the Independent state was founded in 1941 6th of April and Jasenovac opened in August same year. So, of the three which went bad, only the Italian one had been good before.

When it comes to Pétain, I am not sure he ever wanted simply to save Jews, but he actually did so, because he did want the Free Zone to be, well, free ... and then in 1942, he was forced to start the Laval government, which was bad. What do you expect of someone a puppet régime of Hitler, once he starts shortening the strings? In my teens and twenties, I put Mussolini here too, I thought he only went bad with the Salò Republic (when he was a puppet régime), but, unfortunately, letting Schuschnigg down in 1938 and issuing the Carta della Razza in 1937, perhaps endorsing the use of gas against Ethiopian civilians even earlier, no, not quite good in the end on his own either. But he had been better before - giving the Church back some of its rights, ending the Communist revolutionary moves of Biennio Rosso, forcing factory owners to pay properly and not to overwork workers ... he started out at the very least OK.

Hans Georg Lundahl
St. Olaf's day

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Ian N. Mills (Duke University) Wrote on Pagan Readers of Christian Literature

Fascinating reading. Did you know scholars had fairly long followed a stray remark by Tertullian (counterposed by one other remark of his) to prove Pagans didn't read the Bible?

A few other scholars had started to answer that actually NT books have quite a few apologetic features (which would be useless if authors - Ian Mills may be thinking of successive co-authors, I'd disagree, but such also would have written before Constantine, ex hypothesi, and still have to be counting on being read by non-Christians). Ian Mills adds the testimony of six men - among whom Sts Clement the Stromatist and Justin stick out to me, and then also Tatian in connection with a recent dialogue - who converted after reading. It's not until page 16/27 on the pdf that I find something I find a need to disagree with:

"There is no doubt that all the autobiographic narratives so far recounted reflect an unrealistically intellectualized account of Christian conversion."


If the point is, not all conversions are primarily intellectual adventures, I'd agree. But that's not to the point. The six people who did convert in this manner would be a drop in the sea against lots who converted for other reasons, perhaps. But the character of the study Ian Mills undertook, namely finding ex-pagans who became Christians on reading, would concentrate precisely this part of the conversions overall to his study. Girls who found Jesus on the Cross more romantic than a fat man of fifty selected by her father who needs the money and thinks he can push her because he's pagan, and suddenly finds out that as Christian 12 year old Barbara or Lucy disagrees would for instance clearly be outside this study. People plagued by a dissonance between a longing for purity and an ability to extract themselves from a non-wife lover's arms until hearing a bishop tell stories of saints, and having come to study under that bishop only for his rhetoric skills, equally. A friendly man to the poor who was chasing and saw a Cross and a Crucified between two antlers of a deer is also not quite the object of ...

Pagan Readers of Christian Scripture: The Role of Books in Early Autobiographical Conversion Narratives
Ian N Mills

... which is what I am now reading.

Some more examples who did read Bible parts before converting and did write autobiographies might be there, but they mainly converted for some other reason, and so left it out. The exact autobiography type which is the most likely to contain a prolonged (and therefore unambiguous) reference to reading Bible parts prior to converting, is that of a man converting for that kind of reason. It's the autobiography of the "intellectual convert" - of which I am at least around half of the importance, or probably even more, one.

So, up to page 16 out of 27, I have no objection to his study. Only on, this one I dealt with, is the first.

Hans Georg Lundahl
St. Elias of Mount Carmel

Friday, July 15, 2022

Did Catholic Authorities Oppose the Lightning Rod?

Screws from Late Middle Ages · Did Catholic Authorities Oppose the Lightning Rod?

It is easy to find general, sweeping statements, that Benjamin Franklin's lightning rod was opposed by religious authorities of some kind.

Here is one with some specifics:

ESD Journal : Franklin's Unholy Lightning Rod
Written by Al Seckel and John Edwards, 1984 / included November 25, 2002

I quote:

In America, Rev. Thomas Prince, pastor of Old South Church, blamed Franklin's invention of the lightning rod for causing the Massachusetts earthquake of 1755.

Who is this Thomas Prince?

Town Name - It is safe to say that the residents of Princeton have not been familiar with the character, social standing and even greatness of the Rev. Thomas Prince whose name the town bears, and who was in many respects a remarkable man.

Princeton Historical Society : Reverend Thomas Prince

If you scroll down a bit, you will find a statement matching that on the ESD Journal.

And, since the statement on Rev. Thomas Prince in either article omitted his precise religious affiliation, Anglican, Calvinist or other, the wikipedia page assigns him to the First Great Awakening and makes him an associate of George Whitefield.

And it seems Old South was a Presbyterian Church (not an Anglican or Episcopalian one).

Back to first link. It seems the writers Al Seckel and John Edwards at least tried to imply local opposition to lightning rods on the part of Catholic clergy.

In Austria, the Church of Rosenburg was struck so frequently and with such loss of life that the peasants feared to attend services. Several times the spire had to be rebuilt. It was not until 1778, 26 years after Franklin's discovery, that church authorities finally permitted a rod to be attached. Then all trouble ceased.

A typical case was the tower of St. Mark's in Venice. In spite of the angel at its summit, the bells consecrated to ward off devils and witches in the air, the holy relics in the church below, and the Processions in the adjacent square, the tower was frequently damaged or destroyed by lightning. It was not until 1766 that a lightning rod was placed upon it-and the tower has never been struck since.

Had the ecclesiastics of the Church of San Nazaro in Brecia given in to repeated urgings to install a lightning rod, they might have averted a terrible catastrophe. The Republic of Venice had stored in the vaults of this church several thousand pounds of gunpowder. In 1767, 17 years after Franklin's discovery, no rod having been placed on the church, it was struck by lightning and the gunpowder exploded. One-sixth of the city was destroyed and over 3,000 lives were lost because the priests refused to install the "heretical rod."

I have however not seen any Catholic clergyman given by name and text as opposing the lightning rod. Also, both for Rosenburg and St. Mark's there is no clear indication that the lightning rod was known prior to instalment.

And I have seen one counterexample:

Carl Gustaf Tessin var svensk minister i Wien i två omgångar; 1725 och 1735-36. I dennes dagbok står att läsa ”i Sankt Steffens (Stefansdomen) torn i Wien går från öfversta spetsen utföre genom kyrkohvalfvet och ner i jorden en tjock ståltråd, ditsatt för flere hundrade år sedan i afsigt att ditleda blixtstrålen, som ock oftast sker, då han löper längs tråden.”[2]Åskledare

This means: Carl Gustaf (Charles Gustavus) Tessin was Swedish minister to Vienna twice over; 1725 and 1735-36. In his diary one can read "in Sient Steffen's tower in Vienna, from the uppermost top down through the Church vault and down into the Earth a thick steel whire goes, added several centuries agao in the intent of leading the lightning, as is also often the case, as it leaps along the wire."

The footnote 2 attributes this to Tessin, Carl Gustaf (1824). Carl Gustaf Tessins dagbok : 1757 - if I get this right, it means, in 1757, after Tessin heard of Franklin's invention, he recalled (or at worst pretended to recall) a similar invention already in place since centuries (that is, since the Renaissance or Middle Ages) in the Cathedral tower of Vienna, where he had been a few decades earlier.

If this is true, the lightning rod was in fact not invented by Franklin, only reinvented by him, and had been invented, at least locally, in Vienna, among those benighted Catholics that I was born among ...

Hans Georg Lundahl
St. Henry I, Emperor and Confessor

Sancti Henrici Primi, Imperatoris Romanorum et Confessoris, cujus dies natalis tertio Idus mensis hujus recensetur.

PS, do read the comments!

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Some Things Did Become Better in the Seventies

Abolition of the Ugly laws.

The repeals of ugly laws followed soon after the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its Section 504, and the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act further stopped any possibility of a recreation of ugly laws.

1973 and 1990 did improve some./HGL