Christmas Truce

Merry Christmas!

Whereas in our times this holy household has been afflicted beyond measure by tribulations through having to join in suffering so many oppressions and dangers, we have so striven to aid it, with God’s help, that the peace which we could not make lasting by reason of our sins, we should to some extent make binding by at least exempting certain days.

In the year of the Lord’s incarnation, 2010, it has been decreed by God’s mediation, the Queen and all of import unanimously agreeing, that from Vespers (Evening Prayer, around sunset) of the vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ to Lauds (Morning Prayer, around sunrise) of St. Stephen’s Day, this decree of peace shall be preserved.

The purpose of it is that those who dwell in this household and all who visit here, as well as all of this household who travel together or separately, and anyone else with whom members of this household may encounter, may enjoy the greatest possible security, so that no one shall commit any act of violence whether with bodily member or weapon, whether with intention to injure or aggravate, whether by physical assault or, sometimes more deadly, by wicked and pestilent words, flung far and wide by the pernicious war machine of the tongue, and that no one, no matter on account of what wrong, shall be at feud by words or acts of intimidation, revilement, provocation, malediction or any species of hurtful, harmful or offensive words, gestures or actions.

Likewise, such cessation of hostilities, during the space for which the peace has been declared, if it shall be necessary for any one to go to another place where that peace is not observed, he may bear arms; provided, nevertheless, that he harm no one unless he is attacked and has to defend himself. However, in nowise is he to respond to provocations which do not threaten his bodily wellbeing, whether such offenses come from Christian or infidel, unless indignities be perpetrated against a damsel, or the weak and poor, the defenseless, and without exception, against Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Holy Mother Mary, the angels and saints, in their images and names, and against Holy Mother Church, in her sanctuaries, sacraments, doctrines, ministers, virgins and monastics.  Moreover, when he returns, he shall lay aside his weapons again. If it shall happen that a castle is being besieged, the besiegers shall cease from the attack during the days included in the peace, unless they are attacked by the besieged, and are obliged to beat them back.

And lest this statute of peace be violated with impunity by any person, the following sentence was decreed by all present:  If a man of age shall have violated it, that is, if he shall done harm outside the duty of governance, he shall show upright example by asking forgiveness and praying ten beads of the Holy Chalplet of the Blessed Virgin for the one thus oppressed.  If violated by child, then the same sentence is to be carried out, and if incorrigible with banishment attached from the common association of the household for a period to be determined.  But if any man wishes to clear himself of the charges against him, he shall be free to present the evidence.  If witnesses are found falsifying evidence against a man, they shall suffer the same sentence in his stead.  Final judgment is reserved to the head of this household and is irrevocable save by his decree.

This Christmas peace has been decreed chiefly for the security of all those who are at feud; but not to the end that, after the peace is over, they may dare to seek revenge or resume unchristian behavior with impunity.  For the law and judgment that was in force against them before this peace was decreed shall be most diligently observed, so that they be restrained from iniquity, for those who hate peace are excepted from this divine peace, and, in fact, from every peace.

If any one strive to oppose this pious decree, so that he will neither promise the peace to God nor observe it, let it be known that the peace willed by the Lord and Savior, which the world gives not, belongs not to him, nor the blessings of this sacred time in which we give thanks for our regeneration from unregenerate nature and despair.  But let him also know that the doors of God’s mercy are flung open wide during this most holy time so that even the haters of peace may find redemption for their transgressions and from the bane of slavery to sin if only they turn away from their iniquity and be healed.  Amen.

Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will!

Follow this example. (The first video has subtitles, the second version does not but has better video quality.  The subtitles are not all that necessary.):

Without Subtitles

3 thoughts on “Christmas Truce

  1. Father, I bought and watched this for the first time yesterday, and was overwhelmed. I was acquainted with the facts of the 1914 Christmas ‘Truce’ from John McCutcheon’s well-known Christmas in the Trenches, but the film’s depiction blew me away. The celebration of the Mass – Germans, Scots, French – in Latin and together was astounding. God’s blessings this joyous Yule.

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