The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Monday, July 1, 2024

The Dominion of Canada – An Annotated Bibliography


Today is the 157th anniversary of the day when the British North America Act came into effect establishing a new realm in North America that under the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria and governed by her own Parliament in Ottawa would bear the title of Dominion and the name of Canada.  Originally a confederation of four provinces she would grow to include six others along with the territories which were originally a single territory, which was divided twice, just before the twentieth century and at that century’s end bringing the current number to three.  Although I was only six when the Liberals, lacking the necessary quorum in Parliament, sneakily and illegally passed a bill changing the name of our country’s holiday I still refer to it as Dominion Day which the great Robertson Davies, writing to the Globe and Mail, once described as a “splendid title” while referring to the new one as “wet” due to its being one letter off Canada Dry, and the folly of the Liberal parliamentarians as “one of the inexplicable lunacies of a democratic system temporarily running to seed.”


Normally for Dominion Day I write an essay, sometimes about a notable Canada, sometimes a more political piece blasting the Liberals, big and small l, and all the changes for the worse that they have wrought.  Last year’s essay was a call for religious revival in Canada.  This year I decided to do something a bit different and have put together a Dominion Day recommended reading list.  This list is not intended to be exhaustive either in whole or in any of the sections into which it is divided so non-inclusion in this list should not be taken as a recommendation against a book on my part.  


Canada: Political Philosophy


The two books that top my list of recommendations for Canadian political reading are ones to which long-time readers will have seen me make multiple mentions.  These are John Farthing’s Freedom Wears a Crown (Toronto: Kingswood House, 1957) and the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker’s Those Things We Treasure: A Selection of Speeches on Freedom and Defence of Our Parliamentary Heritage (Toronto: Macmillan, 1972).  The first of these, which was published posthumously having been edited by journalist Judith Robinson who herself passed away not that long after, makes the case for our constitutional parliamentary monarchy against the alternatives of American capitalist republicanism or Soviet socialist totalitarianism which at the time were striving to remake the entire world, each in her own image, in the conflict we remember as the Cold War.  Farthing also discusses the first stage of the Liberal Party’s subversion of our constitution in the King-Byng affair.  A more thorough examination and defense of the constitutional principles represented by the right side of that almost century old controversy, that of Lord Byng (the King in the name of the affair was not King George V, whom Byng represented as Governor-General, but the Liberal Prime Minister whose last name was King) can be found in Eugene Forsey’s doctoral dissertation which was published as The Royal Power of Dissolution of Parliament in the British Commonwealth (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1943).  I mention this third book, which in its dissertation form can be found online if you have any difficulty locating a hard copy, before commenting on Diefenbaker’s because of its topical connection with Farthing’s. Diefenbaker’s book collects speeches that he gave during and in response to the second wave of Liberal subversion.  It is mostly changes wrought early in the premiership of Pierre Trudeau that are decried although the second wave of Liberal subversion can be dated to the moment that Lester Pearson, with the aid of both the Social Credit and the New Democrats, ousted Diefenbaker in 1963.  For the classic account of this act of Liberal subversion see George Grant’s Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1965) which is the most political of Grant’s books, although it incorporates the philosophical and moral insights more typical of his other writings.


The fifth book that deserves mention under this heading is The Social Criticism Of Stephen Leacock: The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice and Other Essays (Toronto: The University of Toronto Press, 1973) which was edited by Alan Bowker and which incorporates the whole of Leacock’s The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice, originally published in 1920 and which is a critique rather than an endorsement of socialism, as well as “Greater Canada: An Appeal” and several of the essays from Leacock’s Essays and Literary Studies (1916), including his “The Woman Question” which is the best single piece ever written by a Canadian on the subject of feminism. Leacock was the chair of the Department of Economics and Political Science at McGill where he was a mentor to both Farthing and Forsey.  Noting this connection brings me to the sixth book, Radical Tories: The Conservative Tradition in Canada (Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 1982).  The author of this book was Charles Taylor, not the philosopher but the journalist and race horse breeder. Eugene Forsey and George Grant both get a chapter in this book, the chapters being based on  Taylor’s personal interviews with these men, which is the same format used for the chapters on the historians Donald Creighton and William Morton and a few others.  Leacock and Farthing obviously could not be similarly interviewed although Taylor discussed Leacock and mentioned Farthing earlier in the book.


Canada: Topical Politics


The distinction between the books under the previous heading and the books under this one is that the previous books addressed Canadian politics in terms of general political philosophy whereas these address specific issues.  The Stephen Leacock book could have gone in either section.


On the subject of immigration, which is a very hot button topic today, Doug Collins’ Immigration: the Destruction of English Canada (Richmond Hill: BMG, 1979) is arguably still the best Canadian book ever written.  It was the eighth and last book published by BMG, a small publishing house set up by Winnett Boyd, Kenneth McDonald and Orville Gaines to warn against the path down which Pierre Trudeau was leading Canada. This was very early in the era of liberal immigration and Collins accurately predicted that the end result would be the importation of a lot of unnecessary and unwanted racial strife.  For warning against importing racial strife Collins was branded a racist.  Since that warning went unheeded, he was a Cassandra and his enemies did their worst to make him a pariah by the time he passed away in 2001.  More of his commentary on immigration and a host of other issues can be found in The Best and Worst of Doug Collins (Vancouver: Whitecap Books, 1987).  When this book was first published you could walk into an ordinary bookstore and buy it off the shelf.  When he died in 2001, the only obituaries I remember seeing were by Kevin Michael Grace in the Report and by Allan Fotheringham in MacLeans (I was never a fan of Foth but he showed a lot of class on this occasion).  The next book on my list on this topic is Ricardo Duchesne’s Canada in Decay: Mass Immigration, Diversity and the Ethnocide of Euro-Canadians (London: Black House Publishing, 2017).  Of all recent books on Canadian immigration this is the closest to Collins’ in terms of what it is for and what it is against although it tackles the subject from an academic rather than a journalistic angle – Duchesne is a historical sociologist who until he was driven out by leftist colleagues a few years back was a professor in the social science department of the University of New Brunswick - and has the advantage of almost four more decades of history on which to comment.  Other books deserving mention are Charles M. Campbell’s Betrayal & Deceit: The Politics of Canadian Immigration (West Vancouver: Jasmine Books, 2000) and Mike Taylor’s The Truth About Immigration: Exposing the Economic and Humanitarian Myths (Coquitlam: KARMA Publishing, 1998).  These could be described as having been written from an insider’s perspective.  Campbell, an engineer in the mining industry by profession, served ten years on the old Immigration Appeal Board that existed before it was reorganized into the Immigration and Refugee Appeal Board in 1989 following the Supreme Court’s bad ruling in the Singh case in 1985.  Taylor had worked as an immigration investigator for the federal government before writing his book.


The current Liberal government that has taken rather the opposite view of immigration to that expressed in the books just mentioned has promoted a lot of hatred against Canada or at least the historical Canada.  They have also promoted a lot of ethno-masochism among Canadians of European ancestry.  I am not saying that these problems began with the present government, far from it, but they have been more aggressively promoted by this government than any prior and the means employed has been a narrative in which the history of the church-administered boarding schools that Canada used to fulfil her education obligations under the Indian treaties has been heavily distorted.   In response I will recommend two books both of which are edited collections by multiple authors.   The first is Rodney A. Clifton and Mark DeWolf ed. From Truth Comes Reconciliation: An Assessment of the Truth and Reconciliation Report (Winnipeg: The Frontier Centre for Public Policy, 2021) and the second is C. P. Champion and Tom Flanagan ed. Grave Error: How the Media Misled Us (And the Truth About Residential Schools) (Dorchester Books and True North Media, 2023).

Since my recommendations in the previous two paragraphs will have already driven any overly sensitive progressive into a fuming frenzy I will stoke the fire of their rage further by adding Down The Drain? A Critical Re-Examination of Canadian Foreign Aid, written by Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform co-founders Paul Fromm and James P. Hull and published in Toronto by Griffin House in 1981.  This is the best Canadian book that I have read on the subject of tax money being taken from working and middle class Canadians and either dumped into the bank accounts of Third World dictators or thrown away on wasteful projects in the Third World.  While the book is obviously in need of either an update or a sequel the issue, which had largely been dormant for a decade or more, has been brought back to life with a vengeance by the present Trudeau Liberals.


When it comes to the topic of the ongoing moral and social decay of our country and Western Civilization in general in the post-World War II era the best and certainly most exhaustive book by a Canadian that comes to my mind is The War Against the Family: A Parent Speaks Out On the Political, Economic, and Social Policies That Threaten Us All.  The author was the late William D. Gairdner who competed for Canada in the 1964 Summer Olympics before going to university and earning his Ph.D. and becoming a well-known small-c conservative speaker and writer.  This, his second book, was originally published in hardback in1992 by Stoddart of Toronto who released a paperback edition the following year.  After Stoddart folded, BPS Books of Toronto re-released the paperback edition in 2007 with a new cover which as far as I can tell is the only revision made.  In connection with this book I would also recommend by the same author The Book of Absolutes: A Critique of Relativism and a Defence of Universals (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2008).  Where the first book looks at such matters as “Compulsory Miseducation”, “Moral Values and Sex Ed”, “The Feminist Mistake: Women Against the Family”, “Women at War: On the Military, Day Care and Home Fronts”, “Radical Homosexuals vs. The Family”, “The Invisible Holocaust: Abortion vs. the Family” to give a few chapter titles in whole or in part from the perspective of the official policies behind the various changes involved the second book digs deeper and addresses the basic ideas of which the official policies are practical applications.


The War Against the Family included a chapter on euthanasia as well as a chapter on abortion and this has become a far more timely topic due to the present government’s having introduced the world’s most aggressive and extreme euthanasia policy in M.A.I.D.  Another book that addressed both abortion and euthanasia from the perspective of showing how the Modern technological way of thinking and doing has conditioned people to reject the older way of thinking about justice that rejected and condemned these things and to embrace a newer way of thinking that accepts them was George Grant’s final book Technology and Justice (Toronto: House of Ananasi Press, 1986).  The chapters on abortion and euthanasia are the last two in the book and these Grant co-wrote with his wife Sheila.


Bill Whatcott’s Born In a Graveyard: One man's transformation from a violent, drug-addicted criminal into Canada's most outspoken family values activist (Langley: Good Character Books, 2014) is the autobiography, or perhaps testimony would be a better word, of a man who has paid the price for translating his Christian views on these matters, especially abortion and homosexuality, into practice in the form of activism.  Whatcott was charged by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for distributing pamphlets that colourfully expressed his opinion about the alphabet soup gang’s public schools agenda.  The Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal ruled against Whatcott who appealed to what was then the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench (now King’s Bench) which upheld the Tribunal’s ruling, then to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal which ruled in favour of Whatcott causing the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which held hearings in 2011 and unanimously ruled in 2013 that while Whatcott’s rights under section 2 of the Charter had indeed been violated those who so violated them were allowed to get away with it because of the loop-hole in section 1. Needless to say this asinine ruling in which the expression of “detestation” and “vilification” was declared to be outside the protection of free expression (I suspect that the “detestation” and “vilification” of white people, men, and Christians is treated as an exception) was not exactly a step in the direction of freeing Canadians from the unjust shackles of censorship and self-censorship that the first Trudeau introduced early in his premiership.  Today it is part of the legal precedent that the second Trudeau and his cronies look to in order to justify and explain their attempts to pass draconian laws telling us what we can and cannot say on the internet.   Since Whatcott is up before the Supreme Court again this time on charges pertaining to his creative evangelistic efforts at a Hubris parade in Toronto a sequel may be on the horizon.


Canada: History


The first book on Canadian history that I recommend is W. L. Morton’s The Kingdom of Canada: A General History from Earliest Times (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1963).  The author, who was born in Gladstone, was the head of the Department of History at the University of Manitoba from 1950 to 1964.  Among his other books, all of which are worth reading, are histories of the university and of the province.   Taking its name from the original full designation of the country proposed by the Fathers of Confederation this one-volume history of Canada ends on the eve of the second wave of seditious, Liberal, revolution-within-the-form under Pearson-Trudeau.

The second on my list would be the complete works of Donald G. Creighton.  Alright, you can omit Take-Over (Toronto: McClelland and Steward, 1978) because that is a novel, but The Young Politician (Toronto: Macmillan, 1952) and The Old Chieftain (Toronto: Macmillan, 1955), the two volumes of his biography of Sir John A. Macdonald must remain on the list for the story of the life of the foremost Father of Confederation is an absolutely essential part of Canadian history and no one tells it better than Creighton.  Read both volumes in the original editions if you can, but if you must read the current one-volume edition from the University of Toronto Press consider skipping over the introduction by Creighton’s own biographer, Donald Wright of the University of New Brunswick.  His apologizing for Creighton’s not holding to the stomach-churning, woke, entirely-wrong, perspectives of the present day are bad enough in his biography of Creighton without marring Creighton’s masterful account of Sir John’s life.  My recommendation again is for the entire corpus of Creighton’s writings.  I will not list them all but a few deserve special mention.  The book that earned him his reputation is one of these, The Commercial Empire of the St. Lawrence, 1760-1850 (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1937), in which Creighton tells the history of the use of the St. Lawrence River as a means of trade and transportation in the century leading up to Confederation.  Goldwyn Smith had written a book that was published in the year of Sir John A. Macdonald’s death in which he argued that Confederation was a mistake because it was a project undertaken against the natural north-south flow of trade in North America.  That year, the Canadian public gave their answer to Smith’s thesis by awarding Macdonald, who was running against Sir Wilfred Laurier’s Liberals who were campaigning on a platform of free trade, a landslide victory.  Creighton’s book was the scholarly answer.  Editions of it published from 1956 on have omitted the “Commercial” from the title.  His The Forked Road: Canada 1939-1957 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1976) was published as Volume XVIII, the penultimate of the Canadian Centenary Series that he and W. L. Morton had started and edited.  It can also be regarded as the last in a series of books that he authored bringing the history of Canada down from the pre-Confederation period that he covered in The Commercial Empire and The Road to Confederation: The Emergence of Canada, 1863-1867 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1964) down to the end of the St. Laurent premiership.  While I don’t think anybody would claim that this was the best book he ever wrote it is too often criticized for taking the opinion that the Liberals under King and St. Laurent were leading the country down into the sewer if not lower.  Creighton died three years after it was published.  Imagine what he would have said if he had lived to write the history of the two Trudeau eras.


The penultimate entry in this section is David Orchard’s The Fight for Canada: Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism (Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1993, revised and expanded edition Montreal: Robert Davies Multimedia Publishing: 1998).  This book is a history of Canadian resistance to continentalism and particularly to American economic conquest via free trade.  The first edition came out during the talks on expanding the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement that Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan, both men betraying the protectionist traditions of their own parties, had signed in 1988 into the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which came into effect on the first day of 1994.  The expanded edition came out during Orchard’s campaign for the Progressive Conservative leadership in 1998.  This was also the occasion for the writing/compilation of Ron Dart’s The Red Tory Tradition: Ancient Roots, New Routes (Dewdney BC: Synaxis Press, 1999) which is why I am adding it here rather than in the general political philosophy section.


Canada: Christianity


The first book in this section will be the Right Rev. Philip Carrington’s The Anglican Church of Canada: A History (Toronto: Collins, 1963).  This book was first published the same year as W. L. Morton’s The Kingdom of Canada in which year the second wave of the Liberal subversion of the country began under the premiership of Lester Pearson.  A small-l, theological liberal subversion of the Church was already underway.  A small indication of that can be seen in the 1962 Canadian edition of the Book of Common Prayer, in which the Psalter is bowdlerized to omit the imprecatory portions of the Psalms, including the 58th in its entirety.   This was unfortunate in that it marred what is otherwise an excellent adaptation of the Restoration BCP of 1662.  It was a mild display of liberalism, however, compared to that which would soon sweep the Church leading to the present day in which I dare say most of the prelates wish that this history, written by the seventh Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec who went on to become the eleventh Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada, would be swept under the rug and forgotten.


With regards to the liberal sweep of the Church I recommend two books both written in the late 1990s.  Suicide – The Decline and Fall of the Anglican Church of Canada? (Cambridge Publishing House, 1999) was written by Dr. Marney Patterson who was sometimes described as the “Anglican Billy Graham.” He wrote six other books with more uplifting topics and by the time he passed away two years ago had transferred to the Anglican Network in Canada.  A year prior to this Rev. George R. Eves had released Two Religions One Church: Division and Destiny in the Anglican Church of Canada (Saint John: V.O.I.C.E., 1998) which he has recently updated and made available as an e-book.  While the increasing willingness of the Church to depart from both Scripture and Tradition on the matter of moral theology as it pertains to those attracted to their own sex was the occasion for the writing of both of these books, Dr. Patterson and Rev. Eves both address the larger problem of liberalism.  Dr. Patterson dealt well with the matter of how the unwillingness to stand for unpopular Scriptural truth compromises the Church’s ability to evangelize.  Rev. Eves discussed how the introduction of the Book of Alternative Services, which in many parishes is not so much an alternative to the Book of Common Prayer but its replacement, was a victory for liberalism since on the lex orandi, lex credenda principle if you change the liturgy you change the belief.  These books both came out within five years of the conference sponsored by the Prayer Book Society, Anglican Renewal Ministries, and Barnabas Ministries for the purpose of addressing these concerns that produced the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials.  The papers at the conference were edited by George Egerton and published as Anglican Essentials: Reclaiming Faith Within the Anglican Church of Canada (Toronto: Anglican Book Centre, 1995).


One of the speakers at the Montreal Essentials conference was the Rev. Dr. Robert D. Crouse, a priest and academic from Nova Scotia, where his home town was Crousetown, in which the house where he grew up was on Crouse Road (his family had lived there for centuries).  His address to the conference was entitled “Hope Which Does Not Disappoint” in which he warned against “that most dangerous of all sins” despair, to which souls, left weary and lethargic from the “widespread destruction of theological and liturgical tradition” resulting from the false persuasion that the ancient, ecumenical, and Anglican heritage is “somehow outmoded and inappropriate in the present time” are tempted and gave the timely reminder that our “spiritual health depends crucially on a revival of hope”, the virtue that is the opposite of the vice of despair, and which rests upon faith in the promises of God.  I cannot recommend a book that Dr. Crouse wrote because while he contributed to books and wrote plenty of reviews and articles, he never wrote a book qua book.  His doctoral dissertation was a translation.  Last year, however, Darton, Longman & Todd in London released three books compiled from his sermons.  These are Images of Pilgrimage: Paradise and Witness in Christian Spirituality, The Souls Pilgrimage – Volume 1: From Advent to Pentecost: The Theology of the Christian Year: The Sermons of Robert Crouse and The Soul's Pilgrimage - Volume 2: The Descent of the Dove and the Spiritual Life: The Theology of the Christian Year: The Sermons of Robert Crouse.  He had talked to Essentials about the need for renewing the Christian spiritual life, these books describe what that very thing looks like.


Two other speakers at the Montreal Essentials conference were Ron Dart and J. I. Packer.  In response to a book by Michael Ingham, who occupied the See of New Westminster at the time and basically stood for the opposite of what Essentials stood for, they wrote In a Pluralist World (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 1998) which returned to print in 2019 under the new title Christianity and Pluralism and published by Lexham Press in Bellingham.  While the origins of this book place it in the context of the same ecclesiastical turmoil that produced the books mentioned in the previous paragraphs Dart and Packer concentrate here on the question of the competing ways that have been proposed for Christians to deal with the competing truth claims of multiculturalism. Since I mentioned another book by Dart in the previous section I would add another book by Packer except that my favourites of his books were all written before he moved to Canada.   So read the revised editions.


One thing that Anglican bishops and fundamentalist Baptists have in common is that they tend to be great subjects for biographies and to write excellent autobiographies.  The Right Reverend John Cragg Farthing, father of the John Farthing mentioned in the first section (whose middle name was Colborne so this is not a case of Sr. and Jr. which requires all the names to match) and the Bishop of Montreal in the early twentieth century wrote an excellent memoir entitled Recollections of the Right Rev. John Cragg Farthing, Bishop of Montreal (1909-1939).  It was printed without any publication information but was likely published either by Farthing himself or by what would then have been called the Church of England in Canada at some point in the early 1940s. The Right Reverend John Strachan, the first Bishop of Toronto and an important figure in pre-Confederation Canada did not write his own biography but his successor the Right Reverend A. N. Bethune wrote a very readable Memoir of the Right Reverend John Strachan, D.D., D. C. L., First Bishop of Toronto (Toronto: Henry Rowsell, 1870).  If the title confuses you note that while “memoirs” and “autobiography” are often used interchangeably they are not the same thing.  An autobiography is when someone tells the story of his own life.  A memoir is recorded memory of something, an event, a person, whatever.  There is a lot of overlap but basically in an autobiography one’s self is always the subject whereas one’s memoir can be focused on the people and places and events one knew rather than on one’s self. An account of someone else’s life can be called a memoir if the writer knew the person well which is the case here.  Either type can be called a memoir.  If there is an s on the end it is referring either to more than one book or, less properly but more commonly, to the kind that overlaps with autobiography.  The Most Reverend Robert Machray, the second Bishop of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land to which my own parish belongs, became the first primate of what would become the Anglican Church of Canada.  His biography, written by a nephew of the same name, came out the year he died.  That is Robert Machray, Life of Robert Machray, Archbishop of Rupert’s Land (Toronto: Macmillan, 1909).


As for the fundamentalist Baptists, since we are listing Canadian books here the obvious biography to mention is Leslie K. Tarr’s Shields of Canada (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1967).  Like his subject, Leslie K. Tarr was a Baptist minister, as well as the first editor of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s publication Faith Today.  His subject, T. T. Shields was the pastor of Jarvis Street Baptist Church in Toronto and of the Baptist preachers who fought for orthodoxy against encroaching liberalism in their denomination was by far the most prominent Canadian.  He joined the short-lived Baptist Bible Union and in consequence is usually remembered alongside that group’s co-founders, W. B. Riley of Minneapolis and J. Frank Norris of Fort Worth as a sort of triumvirate of the Baptist fundamentalism of the era.  Honourable mention goes to Lois Neely’s Fire In His Bones: The Official Biography of Oswald J. Smith (Carol Stream: Tyndale House, 1982).  Oswald J. Smith was not a Baptist.  He was first ordained a Presbyterian minister, then switched to Christian and Missionary Alliance (the founder of which, A. B. Simpson, was originally a Presbyterian from Prince Edward Island), before founding the non-denominational megachurch the People’s Church of Toronto.  As pastor of People’s Church before handing the reins over to his son Paul B. Smith he was probably the best known evangelical preacher in Canada in the twentieth century.  I’ll also throw in Perry F. Rockwood’s Triumph in God: The Life Story of Radio Pastor Perry F. Rockwood (Halifax: The People’s Gospel Hour, 1974).  At fifty-seven pages and staple bound it is a booklet rather than a book and the only one to make it into this list.  Rockwood was ordained in the Presbyterian Church of Canada in 1943 which at that point consisted of the parishes that had opted to remain Presbyterian after most, about seventy percent, had joined with the Methodists to become the United Church in 1925.   While one might think that those who opted out of the merger would be very conservative and orthodox it was only a few years after his ordination that Rockwood was hauled before an ecclesiastical court over four sermons he gave on the subject of “The Church Sick unto Death” and while a case could made that he was indeed guilty of the charge of “divisiveness” a stronger case can be made that those who put him on trial were guilty of exactly what he charged them with in the sermons i.e., the greater crime of defecting, not only from the Presbyterian Westminster Confession but from the basic Christian faith as confessed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. The four sermons are reproduced in full in his autobiography.


This section would not be complete without The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a twelve-volume history of Christianity that was produced from 2001 to 2013.  The idea for it came from the late Ted Byfield, most remembered as the founding editor and publisher of the Alberta Report newsmagazine the final version of which folded in 2003 the year the first volume was published.  Byfield served as general editor of the series.  The series was published out of Edmonton under the imprint of The Christian History Project which after 2006 came under the aegis of SEARCH, the Society to Explore And Record Christian History.  I exclude volume 10 from the recommendation because it presents the Enlightenment, the separation of church and state, and basically the Modern way of doing things or liberalism as the product, albeit unintended, of Christianity rather than what it actually is, the embodiment of the Modern Age’s apostasy from and rebellion against Christianity.  Byfield began his Christian walk as an orthodox Anglican and joined the Eastern Orthodox Church in the events mentioned previously in this section and so has no excuse for not knowing better.


Canada - Humour


All of Stephen Leacock’s fiction can be included here, as can, for that matter, his non-fiction for even when writing on serious subjects he was funny.


Peter V. Macdonald, Q. C., a lawyer from Hanover had a column that appeared in the Toronto Star entitled “Court Jesters” in which he recounted hilarious true anecdotes from courtrooms across Canada.  A compilation of these was published as Court Jesters: Canada’s Lawyers and Judges Take the Stand to Relate Their Funniest Stories (Toronto: Stoddart, 1985).  This was followed up by a sequel More Court Jesters: Back to the Bar for More of the Funniest Stories from Canada’s Courts (Toronto: Stoddart, 1987) and then Return of the Court Jesters: By Popular Demand More of the Funniest Stories From Canada’s Courts (Toronto: Stoddart, 1990).  I received the first one of these for Christmas one year and annoyed my family for days with loud laughter.  There are also versions of at least the first two books in which the anecdotes are illustrated with cartoons.  It appears he also wrote a book with funny police stories.  I have not seen a copy although I have read a similar book by Bruce Day, a retired police officer here in Winnipeg, that was self-published in 1995 and is entitled Stop! Police Humour.


Another collection of hilarious true stories is Ben Wicks’ Book of Losers (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1979).  The author whose name is indeed part of the title was best known as a cartoonist.  He followed it up with Ben Wicks’ More Losers (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982).  It should be obvious what these stories are like but if not here is the definition of a loser provided at the beginning of the first book “A German tourist, en route to the west coast, who steps off his plane in Bangor, Maine, and spends four days there thinking he is in California.”  Actually that is quite mild compared to what happens to most of the people in the book.  Wicks’ wrote and illustrated several other books of humour.  The only two that I have read are his Ben Wicks’ Canada and Ben Wicks’ Women which were also published by McClelland and Stewart in 1976 and 1978 respectively.


Canada – Fiction


I will not be listing all the titles and bibliographic details in this section because it would be very tedious due to the number of lengthy series included.  What I recommend under this heading are all the works of fiction of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Robertson Davies, and Mazo de la Roche.  Remember that this recommended reading list, neither in whole nor in any section, is intended to be exhaustive, and that non-mention of an author does not constitute a recommendation against.  There are Canadian writers that I would recommend against but I am not going to name them here because that is not the purpose of this list.


L. M. Montgomery is, of course, internationally famous as the author of Anne of Green Gables, the first in a series of eight novels chronicling the life of the title character.  Two collections of short stories, Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea are also part of the Anne of Green Gables continuity.  If you remember Kevin Sullivan’s television series Road to Avonlea it was based in part on these short stories although the main characters of that series were taken from The Story Girl and The Golden Road neither of which were connected to the Anne storyline in Montgomery’s original novels.  She wrote several other novels, some in series such as the Emily of New Moon trilogy, others stand alone.


Robertson Davies tended to write his fiction in trilogies, including those that he wrote as “Samuel Marchbanks” the pen-name he used when writing for the Peterborough Examiner in his time as editor.   A selection of his Marchbanks pieces were collected and published as three volumes, although it is best, in my opinion, to read them in the later omnibus edition The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks for while some abridgement takes place you also get a great introduction in which Davies interviews his alter-ego Marchbanks. There are three completed trilogies of novels that are usually called the Salterton, Deptford and Cornish trilogies, the first two after the fictional locations in which they are set, the third after the character whose death sets off the plot of the first novel and whose life is told in the second.  Davies started a fourth trilogy, set in Toronto, but only completed two of the novels.  The earliest of these trilogies, the Salterton, is my favourite.  Davies also wrote several plays but only one book of short stories, High Spirits, a collection of the ghost stories that he composed to tell at Massey College at the school’s Gaudy Night each year while he was Master (president, headmaster, principal) there.


Mazo de la Roche was for much of the twentieth century the single most read Canadian novelist.  An interesting piece of trivia is that she is buried in St. George’s Anglican cemetery at Sibbald Point in Sutton West the other most famous resident of which is Stephen Leacock whose grave is very close to hers.  She wrote short stories and plays as well, but is most remembered for her twenty some novels of which the most read are the Jalna series, a family saga, somewhat like a novelized soap opera, spanning one century over sixteen books.  Jalna was the first published in 1927.  Its title is the name of the family estate or more properly the manor on the estate where the novels are set.  The family that live there bear the last name Whiteoak and so the series is also known albeit less commonly as the Whiteoak saga.  The hero of the saga is Renny Whiteoak, who inherits the estate and the role if not the authority of family patriarch from his father and grandfather, fights in both World Wars, and breeds and rides show horses while trying to raise his own younger brothers and keep the struggling estate afloat.   We had a number of hard cover editions of these books in the family library when I was a child.  The ones I remember usually featured Renny on a horse on the cover.  The real ruler of the family was Renny’s grandmother Adeline whom the family called Gran, a sharp-tongued old woman who kept them all in line by not disclosing the sole beneficiary of her will and who had a parrot that she taught to make extremely rude remarks in Hindi.  The books were not published in order of internal chronology, although as with C. S. Lewis’ children’s novels subsequent re-print editions have numbered them in that order. The last of the series to be published, Morning at Jalna, which came out in 1960 the year before de la Roche died, is second in internal chronology, being set just prior to Confederation in the period in which the American North and South were fighting.  This book’s not-so-subtle sympathy with the South was a not-so-subtle expression of de la Roche’s contemptuous opinion of the “second Reconstruction” then underway in the United States.  That such sentiment prevented neither the publication of the novel nor the adaptation of the entire series into the television mini-series The Whiteoaks of Jalna and by CBC nonetheless about ten years after her death demonstrates how much healthier and saner our country was in terms of not having to toe a party line on liberal social values before two generations of Trudeaus messed everything up.  The last of the novels in terms of internal chronology was Centenary at Jalna and it was set in the year in which it is was published, 1954.  That it is set exactly one hundred years after the story begins, as the title indicates, would suggest that this was where de la Roche intended the saga to end, although the ending of the novel itself very much suggests otherwise


That brings this list to a close.  If you are looking for something to read this Dominion Day because some Canada-hating woke jackasses have cancelled the celebrations in your area try one or more of these.


Happy Dominion Day!

God Save the King!

Friday, June 21, 2024

Bring Back the Tsar!


Thanks to the actions of J. Brandon Magoo, the bumbling nincompoop who is the nominal head of the American republic, and, with apologies to Ann Coulter, B. Hussein Obama, who almost certainly is the puppet master pulling Magoo’s strings, the world is the closest to nuclear Armageddon that it has ever been.  To be more precise, these are the two latest in a string of American presidents including the younger Bush and whichever Clinton was really calling the shots between 1993 to 2001 (most likely Hillary as Bill seemed to be caught with his pants down too often to be the one actually wearing them) who for whatever unfathomable reason, possibly having something to do with Russiophobic ethnics having too much influence in their administrations, made a point of poking the Russian bear with a stick by encouraging anti-Russian hostility on the part of her closest neighbours.  In the cases of Bush and Obama, they went so far as to overthrow Russia-friendly governments in Ukraine and replace them with anti-Russian ones by sponsoring colour revolutions in 2004-2005 and 2014 respectively.  Donald the Orange is the exception among the American presidents of the last quarter century which is one of the reasons the Bushes and Clintons and Obamas and Magoos all hate him so much.  Instead of the business as usual of enriching themselves by minding the rest of the world’s business, promoting instability in one region and war in another, he took the position that the United States should mind her own business.


Vladimir Putin is the excuse that these bellicose warmongering rejects from both the Peace Academy and the School of Just War have pointed to in order to justify their ramping up anti-Russian rhetoric to levels that were not seen even in the Cold War in which that country was run by a regime committed to a cold-blooded, murderous, atheistic, totalitarian ideology.  A former agent of the legendary secret police of that regime, Putin has led Russia in either the office of prime minister or president – he has alternated between the two – since 1999.  If one were to take seriously what the Clinton/Bush/Obama/Magoo crowd say about him, one would think that he was the corpse of Adolf Hitler, re-animated and zombified by voodoo magic, and hell bent on the quest to conquer the world, seize its lebensraum, and eat its brains.  But then if one were to take that crowd’s opinion seriously, one would have to think that the other Vlad, Zelenskyy that is, the president of Ukraine who jumped into that role after starring in a cheap Ukrainian comic television series in which he played a high school teacher who, well, jumped into the role of president of Ukraine, is a champion of freedom and Western values.  Considering that most countries in Western civilization are currently celebrating every form of sexual perversion imaginable in the name of the worst of the Seven Deadly Sins it is possible that Zelensky actually is a champion of “Western values.”  He is certainly not a champion of freedom but rather the same sort of autocrat that they, rightly or wrongly, have accused Putin of being ever since he first took office.


There would neither be a president of Russia nor a president of Ukraine had an earlier revolution not driven the legitimate claimant to the allegiance of both Russia and Ukraine from his throne then brutally murdered him and his family.  I recently reminded a friend that contrary to all the false ideas of the Zeitgeist of the Modern Age government legitimacy does not come from elections, from the “consent of the governed.”  Quite the contrary.  People, not having legitimate governing authority over each other, cannot delegate such to their representatives. All a government can obtain from the support of its people is power, the ability to compel through the force of numbers.  Authority, the legitimate right to lead, can only be passed on from those who had it before.  Moreover, legitimate governing authority on earth should be representative in form of the government of the universe in heaven. (1)  God is the King of His Creation.  Legitimate earthly government is the government of kings, who receive their authority by inheritance from those who went before them and pass it on to those who come after them.  The opposite of the Modern “consent of the governed” theory of legitimacy is actually the case.  Take my country, for example, the Dominion of Canada.  We are a Commonwealth Realm, over which King Charles III reigns, Parliament in Ottawa legislates, and a cabinet of ministers of the Crown chosen by Parliament governs.  Parliament is a democratic institution, obviously, but democracy is not the source of its legitimate authority.  It is the other way around.  Democracy derives whatever legitimacy it has, in our Parliament, the other Commonwealth Parliaments, and the Mother Parliament in the UK, from the king who authorizes Parliament.  Yes, most people don’t think about it this way, but most people are wrong.  Parliament’s value consists not in the fact that it is democratic, but in the fact that its worth has been proven over a very long period of time, and that worth consists of this, that it takes the power represented by popular support, the potentially dangerous and destructive power that in the wrong hands is what we call “mob rule” and enlists it in the service of law and order by tying it institutionally to legitimate authority. (2)


The last legitimate king to reign over Russia which at the time included, as it historically had, Ukraine, was Tsar Nicholas II of the House of Romanov.  He abdicated early in 1917 when the first wave of revolution broke out in Russia but the incompetence of the government that was set up in his place meant that the problems, other than World War I, that had produced the discontent exploited by the first wave of revolutionaries persisted and in the follow up revolution of October 1917 the Bolsheviks, an evil gang of terrorists that was committed to the atheist, socialist, ideology of Karl Marx, and which consisted mostly of members of minority groups that had ethnic and religious grudges against the Russians, the Russian Orthodox Church, and their emperor seized power. The largest such minority group represented was Jews, a fact that people who have more zeal against anti-Semitism than brains don’t like being pointed out because they think that nobody is capable of recognizing that neither “all Jews are Bolsheviks” nor “all Bolsheviks are Jews” logically follows from it (unfortunately, since all the schools seem to be teaching people today is gender confusion, sexual perversion, and racism against white people, rather than the old trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, they may have a point).  They then fought a five and a half year civil war to keep and consolidate that power after which they transformed the Russian Empire into the Soviet Union.  Early in the civil war, in the summer of 1918, agents of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police, murdered Tsar Nicholas, his wife Grand Duchess Alexandra Feodorovna and their five children, and their attendants in the basement of Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg where they had been held captive.  Their bodies were taken to the nearby Koptyaki forest and disposed of in such a way that the burial site was not discovered for decades.


In 1981, a few years after the discovery of the burial site, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia recognized the murdered Imperial Family as martyrs and in 2000 they were formally canonized as passion bearers by the Russian Orthodox Church.  This was most appropriate.  Ivan III Vasilyevich took the throne as Grand Prince or Duke of Moscow in1462 and ten years later married Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of Constantine III Palaiologos, the last Byzantine Emperor who died defending his capital Constantinople against the forces of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1453.  Upon this marriage Ivan took the title Tsar, a Russianized form of “Caesar” the title of the Roman Emperor (the Byzantine Empire was the eastern Roman Empire), and while it would be nonsense to claim that he was Constantine’s heir through marriage as there were others in line before Sophia the Tsars did indeed take over from the Byzantine Emperors the role of royal protector of the Eastern Orthodox Church.  Tsar Nicholas II, therefore, was in the same position of royal protector with regards to the Russian Orthodox Church when murdered by her enemies that King Charles I had been in with regards to the Church of England when murdered by her enemies in 1649.  King Charles I was canonized by the Anglican Church when the provinces of York and Canterbury met in Convocation for the first time after his death when King Charles II was enthroned in the Restoration of 1660. (3) 


The Romanov heir, who for obvious reasons would not be a descendent of Nicholas II but the closest other kin, has not yet been restored to the empty throne of the Tsar.  Almost a quarter of a century after the canonization of Nicholas II and family it is about time that this be done.  Then the illegitimate offices of the presidents of Russia and Ukraine could be done away with as both countries swear allegiance to their legitimate ruler bringing the conflict to an end.  Putin could be given a minister’s office in the legitimate government of Russia.  Zelensky could go back to his true calling as a television clown.   Then Magoo, Obama, and our idiot prime minister Captain Airhead would have to either mind their own business or find somebody else’s business to mind that is less likely to result in mushroom clouds appearing everywhere.


(1)   This is extraneous to the subject of this essay, which is why I am putting it here in a note, but the Church’s worship on earth is supposed to be patterned on worship in heaven too.  See Fr. Paul A. F. Castellano’s As It is In Heaven: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Introduction to the Traditional Church and Her Worship (Tucson: Wheatmark, 2021) for the case for this and an account of what that looks like.

(2)   Stephen Leacock put it this way “This is a problem that we have solved, joining the dignity of Kingship with the power of democracy; this, too, by the simplest of political necromancy, the trick of which we now ex­ pound in our schools, as the very alphabet of political wisdom.” - “Greater Canada: An Appeal” which can be found in The Social Criticism Of Stephen Leacock: The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice and Other Essays edited by Alan Bowker (Toronto: The University of Toronto Press, 1973).

(3)  There is a direct connection between these martyrdoms in that the Puritan revolution and murder of King Charles I in the seventeenth century was the inspiration of the Jacobin revolution and murder of King Louis XVI in France in the eighteenth century which in turn inspired the Bolshevik revolution and the murder of Nicholas II in the twentieth century.  King Louis XVI would be another royal martyr although it would have been the Hapsburg Emperor in Vienna at the time whose role in relation to the Roman Catholic Church would have more closely approximated that of Charles I to the Anglican Church and Nicholas II to the Orthodox Church.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Pride and Lust

The sixth month of the year is upon us.  This is the month formerly known as June.   It took that name from Juno who in Roman mythology was the queen of the Olympian gods, the equivalent of Hera in Greek mythology.  That her name has been supplanted is not a belated effect of the triumph of Christianity over classical paganism, alas, but a sign of the waning influence of Christianity in Western Civilization, the name given to what used to be Christendom after it was taken over by liberalism.  A few decades ago a day in this month was set aside by liberal neo-pagans for the celebration of every sort of, well, what Jorge Bergoglio recently called “frociaggine” to the rage of his cult of progressive fans.  There are those who think such language should not be used even in quoting another.  My response to such a Mrs. Grundy can be found in the Anglo-Norman motto of the Order of the Garter, “honi soit qui mal y pense which means “shame on he who thinks evil of it” (although I prefer the older, if slightly less precise, translation “evil to him who thinks evil of it”).   Should that prove unsatisfactory, the only thing I have to add to it is, from the mother tongue of both Bergoglio’s own language and the Italian he was speaking when he uttered the word quoted, “futue te ipsum”.  I will not provide a translation, suffice it to say it was probably what King Edward III was saying silently in his head to those to whom he originally uttered the chivalric motto out loud.   At any rate, it was the celebration, in other words, of all the letters of the alphabet soup.  Then, deciding that a day was not enough, they expanded it to a week, and then the whole month.  Somewhere along the way the word that at one time denoted a glad, cheerful, even merry disposition but which had been hijacked by the alphabet soup gang as a self-designation was dropped from the title and so it simply became “Pride.”  


I have observed several times in the past that when it was shortened to “Pride” the lesser of two sins was dropped and the greater retained.   Indeed, what was retained is the name of the greatest of all sins.   The famous Seven Deadly Sins are Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony and Lust.   Of these sins – actually vices, since these denote habits or ongoing attitudes rather than single acts – the one with which the dropped “Gay” would be associated is Lust, which is associated with Sloth, Avarice, and Gluttony at the lower end of the spectrum.  Each of these is a vice in the strict Aristotelean sense of the word – a natural appetite indulged in to excess, and susceptible of various perversions.   Pride and Envy are linked at the other end of the spectrum.  These are the Satanic sins, the sins by which Lucifer fell and evil began its parasitic infestation of God’s good creation. 


I wrote about this at length last year in an essay entitled “The Season of Hubris. This essay is intended to be supplementary to that one rather than a repetition of everything I wrote there so I encourage you to read the two together.  


With regards to the contrasted sins of Pride and Lust a few observations are in order.  The first of these is that Pride’s being the worst of the Seven Deadly is the ultimate answer to those who think that sin is something that resides in the body alone and is not found in the mind or soul.  Plato, in his Politeia, a dialogue aimed at providing an account of dikiaosune (justice), has Socrates and his interlocutors construct a hypothetical ideal city.   The assumption behind this experiment is that the city-state is like a larger-scale man and that therefore it is easier to understand justice in the individual soul by seeing it writ large in a city.   Thus in Plato’s ideal city-state the philosopher-kings who love wisdom rule the producers who love money through auxiliary enforcers who love honour, and these classes respectively represent the reason, the appetites, and the will in the soul.   In the justice of the rightly-ordered soul the reason governs the appetites through the will.   The truth of the Christian revelation does not oppose this description, but assigns it to natural justice.   Original justice, with which man was created, included natural justice but it also included a higher spiritual justice which was a grace given through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost.  Both were lost in the Fall and while natural man can attain a type of civic justice that approximates natural justice while falling short of it as it was in man’s original antelapsarian state it is only through the grace made available by the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ that man can be made spiritually whole and just.   When St. Paul describes the state of unredeemed fallen human nature as sarkos (the flesh) this indicates both that in the fallen state the lower sensual part of human nature, the appetites of which  Plato wrote, which is supposed to be governed by the higher rational part of human nature, instead exert a rebellious dominance over the soul and that the entirety of human nature, body and soul, which is supposed to be governed by God, the indwelling Holy Ghost, is instead in rebellion against Him and in the absence of His indwelling presence spiritually dead.  While the Platonic concept of the rightly-ordered soul can be seen in this it should not be taken as teaching other Platonic ideas that are incompatible with Christian truth such as the idea that certain heretics that the Church struggled against in the early centuries of the faith derived from Plato as to evil being entirely and only a property of matter, and therefore the body, and that it did not touch spirit, and therefore the soul.  In Christian truth, including the epistles of St. Paul who wrote “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12), sin and therefore evil, began in the spiritual realm with the rebellion and fall of the devil who then tempted man.  The worst sins that a person can commit are not those that consist of indulging the sensual appetites to excess and thereby binding in chains of slavery the rational soul that ought to be governing and moderating the appetites and thereby cultivating the cardinal virtue of temperance.  The worst sins are those that take place strictly in the soul in its rebellion against God and refusal to submit to Him in humility.  The foremost and worst of these is Pride.


This should not be taken as detracting from the seriousness of the sin of Lust which is, after all, still one of the Seven Deadly.  Which leads to the next observation.  While Pride was closely connected to Envy, the second of the Seven Deadly sins, in the fall of the devil it was closely connected to Lust, in the fall of man.   Or rather, since Lust, as distinguished from Gluttony and Avarice in the Seven Deadly Sins, clearly means immoderate desire of a specifically sexual nature, it was closely connected to “Lust” in a broader sense of immoderate desire in general.  The Lust in the Seven Deadly Sins as well as Avarice, Gluttony, and Sloth if conceived of as immoderate desire for rest, are each specific examples of this broader sense of Lust.   This is the sense in which St. John used the word – twice – when he wrote “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (I Jn, 2:16)  The Greek word for Lust in this verse is epithumia. (1)


The two Lusts and the Pride identified in this verse are precisely the means employed by the devil to tempt Eve to sin.   This is evident in how Moses describes her response to the serpent’s temptation:


And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Gen. 3:6)


First she saw “that the tree was good for food” meaning that she desired the forbidden fruit for food.   This is the “lust of the flesh” which includes Gluttony as well as Lust proper.   Then she saw “that it was pleasant to the eyes” and so desired it with the “lust of the eyes.”   Finally, she saw that it was “to be desired to make one wise” which is a desire that appeals to the “pride of life.”   So it is that by inspiring Pride and Lust together, the enemy wrought the Fall of man.


This observation would not be complete without noting that the devil attempted this a second time with very different results.   When he came to Jesus after He had been fasting forty days in the wilderness and said “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matt. 4:3) this was an attempt to stir up the “lust of the flesh.”  When he took Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem and told Him “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Matt. 4:6) it was the “pride of life” that he sought to use.  When he took Jesus to a mountaintop and showed Him the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:9) the “lust of the eyes” was the means he sought to employ.  In each of these the Second Adam triumphed where the first had fallen.  That St. Luke was inspired to record these temptations in a slightly different order with the last two reversed is perhaps to be explained as making the parallel with the temptation of Eve stand out more by presenting the temptations in the same order as in Genesis.


So it was that Lust and Pride brought about the Fall of man and so, appropriately, one of the first things recorded in the accounts of the Redemption of man in the Synoptic Gospels is the Saviour’s successful triumph over these temptations.  In the Genesis account of the Fall, however, Pride stands out as playing the larger role in the temptation.   That Pride was what had previously brought about the tempter’s own fall can be deduced from the Old Testament passages in Isaiah and Ezekiel traditionally regarded as alluding to his rebellion and is explicitly stated in the New Testament by St. Paul in 1 Tim. 3:16.  When the deuterocanonical Wisdom of Solomon states that “through envy of the devil came death into the world” (Wis. 2:24) this has been interpreted as meaning either that Envy was involved alongside Pride in the devil’s own fall or that it was his motive in tempting Eve.  In a popular Medieval account of the fall of the devil these interpretations are united.   The school of Alexander of Hales attributed this account to St. Bernard of Clairvaux in his commentary on the book of Jonah (2).   St. Thomas Aquinas also attributes this account to St. Bernard in the commentary on Peter Lombard’s Sentences that he wrote to complete his master’s degree in theology at the University of Paris. (3)   According to this account the Incarnation, in which humanity would be raised to the highest honour by being joined to deity in the Hypostatic Union of the Son of God, was revealed to Lucifer, whose Pride rebelled at the thought of a lower order of being so being elevated above him and so out of Envy he sought to thwart the outcome by enticing man to sin.   Robert Grosseteste, the thirteenth century Bishop of Lincoln and Oxford University administrator and professor, gave the following approving statement of the account without mentioning its author:


Accordingly—and this seems truer than the above-mentioned way—the fall of the angel had happened because from the beginning it was proposed to the angel that the Son of God made man must be believed for justice and must venerated and adored with that adoration that is latria.  For if by this faith and not otherwise the angels had had salvation, this faith would not have been at any time denied to or kept hidden from the angels, but from the beginning it would have been proposed and manifest to them all.  From the beginning, it seems, the Devil refused through pride to offer this faith, despised the man who ought to be adored above him, and disdained receiving justice from him.  The Devil thought him unworthy, envied him, and coveted his singular excellence; through this envy, by which he envied the God-man and hated him, he was a murderer from the beginning, because “whosoever hates his brother is a murderer” (1 Jn 3.15).  So the Devil did not remain in the truth of faith and salvation offered to him. (4)


Peter Lombard, the Italian theologian and Bishop of Paris who was a contemporary of St. Bernard provided the following account of the devil’s envy in tempting man to sin:


ON THE DEVIL’S ENVY, BY WHICH HE CAME TO TEMPT HUMANKIND.  And so the devil, seeing that human beings were able to ascend by the humility of obedience to that from which he had fallen through pride, envied them.  He who through pride had previously become the devil, that is, the one who has fallen below, by the jealousy of envy was made satan, that is, the adversary. (5)


While to the extent that they go beyond what can be gleaned directly from the Scriptures these accounts must be reckoned as speculative they are not wild speculation.   Note that in each account Pride is the root of Envy.  Envy, in these accounts and in the Seven Deadly Sins, must not be thought of the way the word is often used today as a mere synonym for jealousy (in the sense of wanting what someone else has, not in the sense of zealously guarding one’s own to the point of constantly suspecting others of trying to take it).   It does not mean merely coveting what belongs to someone else but hating another person to the point of seeking that person’s destruction for having what one in one’s Pride erroneously thinks is rightly one’s own.


Which brings us to our final observation.   Outside the alphabet soup gang the earliest support for turning the sixth lunar cycle of the year into a celebration of the deadliest of the Seven Deadly Sins came from what is commonly called the Left.  Historically, the Left has usually been thought of as the political expression of an economic movement, socialism, that is best described as the second worst Deadly Sin of Envy wearing the mask of the greatest Theological Virtue, Charity or Love.  Since the expression “Love is Love” (6) associated with the celebration of Pride, similarly uses the mask of Love to cover the Deadly Sin of Lust, this is ironically appropriate.  Of course the mainstream “Right” has largely jumped on the Pride bandwagon today, but this is to be expected from the mainstream “Right” which has little use for King, Church, tradition, family, hierarchy, chivalry and all the other good things the Right was traditionally supposed to stand for and is little more than yesterday’s liberalism, which is to capitalism what the Left is to socialism, just as capitalism is to the Deadly Sin of Avarice what socialism is to the Deadly Sin of Envy.  All that can be said for it is that at least the Avarice doesn’t hide behind a mask the way the Envy of socialism does.  Its face can be plainly seen in all the businesses who have sworn their allegiance to the Deadly Sin of Pride in order to make a quick buck by selling merchandize emblazoned with the symbol of God’s covenantal promise not to destroy the world with another Flood employed in defiance of Him and His Truth which is the only Truth.



(1)   This might surprise those more familiar with our Articles of Religion than the Greek text of the New Testament.   Article IX “Of Original Sin or Birth Sin” says that the “lust of the flesh” is “called in the Greek, phronema sarkos.” This is not the expression used by St. John in his epistle, but the expression used by St. Paul in the eighth chapter of Romans and which is rendered “carnal mind” in the Authorized Version.  That Archbishop Cranmer et al. had Romans 8:7 and not 1 John 2:16 in mind is evident from how the Article goes on to say “which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God” with the last clause being a direct reference to the verse in Romans.   The English Reformers seem to have interpreted the “carnal mind” of Romans 8:7 as being identical to the “lust of the flesh” of 1 John 2:16.  While the interpretation may be correct, it is rather a stretch to render phronema as “lust”.  “Mind, spirit” is the primary definition for this word given by Liddell and Scott, and “lust” is not one of the definitions provided.  Interestingly “high spirit, resolution, pride” is a secondary definition.   The portion of the Article in which this appears is the final section which articulates the Reformation position on concupiscence, namely that it is sinful in itself, and that it is not eliminated by regeneration.  Concupiscence is the Anglicized version of the word usually used to translate the Greek epithumia in Latin, although it is not the word used to mean Lust in the Latin list of the Seven Deadly Sins (that word is Luxuria).  Rome clumsily condemned the Reformation position in the fifth session of the Council of Trent – her wording suggests that sin has a “true and proper nature” or “essence”, which, of course, conflicts with the truly Catholic understanding that sin and evil do not have a true essence or nature but are present as defects in that which was created good and so are absences, or non-things rather than things in themselves, an understanding that Rome herself otherwise affirms – but the disagreement is largely semantic.  The Reformers and Rome did not use the word concupiscence with the same meaning.   The Reformers used it to mean desire for sensual sin qua sin, by which definition, of course, it is as Article IX (and Article II of the Lutheran Augsburg Confession) assert, itself sinful.   Rome used it to mean natural sensual desire and this, as Rome said, is not sinful in itself, but only when it is disordered and immoderate.   As for Rome’s seeming position that regeneration eliminates all inherited sinfulness it is difficult to take it seriously.   Its could only be harmonized with all the experiential evidence to the contrary by claiming that by His redeeming work, Jesus Christ merely returned man to the same precarious state he was in prior to the Fall rather than placing him on more solid footing, a claim which might be consistent with the stick-and-carrot soteriology to which the Reformers so rightly objected in the Roman teaching of the sixteenth century but which is hardly consistent with the Catholic Christian truth that God’s Son is the Last Adam the effects of Whose work to redeem and rescue us and place us in a state of abundant grace far exceed the ruinous effects of the sin of the First Adam.  E. L. Mascall’s remarks on Article IX and the effects of regeneration on Original Sin in Christ, the Christian, and the Church: A Study of the Incarnation and Its Consequences (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2017, originally published in 1946), 83-88 are well worth reading on this matter.

(2)   A Reader in Early Franciscan Theology: The Summa Halensis, edited and translated by Lydia Schumacher and Oleg Bychkov, (New York: Fordham University Press, 2022), 202.

(3)   St. Thomas Aquinas, Scriptum super libros Sententiarium III, D. 1, Q. 1, A. 3, Ad 7.

(4)   Robert Grosseteste, The Cessation of the Laws, translated by Stephen M. Hildebrand (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2012), 171 (3.2.3).

(5)   Peter Lombard, The Sentences: Book 2, On Creation, translated by Giulio Silano, (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2008), 90 (D. XXI, 1.1).

(6)   This expression is amusingly absurd to anyone with even the most basic classical learning.   The statement “Philia is Agape” does not mean the same thing as “Storge is Eros” and you would have statements with yet different meanings if you swapped either term in either statement for either term in the other and even if you just reversed the terms in the statements – “Agape is Philia” is a defensible statement in a way that is not true of “Philia is Agape” because Agape includes Philia or perhaps better is a specialized form of Philia.  Yet each of these terms means Love and this is not merely a matter of English being a less rich language than Greek, nor is it a case of equivocal uses of Love, such as when “bark” means both the sound that a dog makes and the outer layer of a tree trunk.  Even Eros means sexual Love rather than sexual Lust and is not merely a synonym for epithumia, as can be demonstrated by trying the experiment of reading the speeches about Eros in Plato’s Symposium and substituting epithumia or Lust for Eros or Love.  C. S. Lewis’s The Four Loves (London: Geoffey Bles, 1960) is the best treatment of these terms, how they differ, and how they relate to each other, in English.