Bloody Pirates on the Bark of Peter

I wrote about ninety percent of the following essay more than half a year ago and then left it unfinished for some reason, which I don’t remember.  I thought it worthwhile to finish and publish at this time.

The age of chivalry was characterized—at least according to its ideals—by courtesy in warfare, that is, by a standard of fair play. Prowess was not pure aggression, and courtesy was not mere manners. Both were informed by fidelity and honesty, that is, by religious faith, human justice and sincerity. That was the Christian ideal anyway, not always realized, but as an ideal it created positive peer pressure that served to both perfect the arts of the warrior and check his ferocity.

Anyone who has heard or read anything I have to say on chivalry knows I say this often. It is fundamental.

In the last decade or so there has been a very happy resurgence of interest in that character of the Church we call “militant.” However, the peculiar keynote of Christian militancy is not the violent death of our earthly enemy, but the violent death and resurrection of our King, which puts death itself to death, and conquers our real enemy, the Prince of this World. Thus, the methods of alinskian secularism or of jihadist religion cannot be our methods. To put it another way, the belligerence of the pirate cannot be reconciled with the chivalry of the knight. Continue reading

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The Five Alls

five-alls.jpg

I was just reading from Chivalry by Léon Gautier. The work is about a century old, and is a basic tome on the subject of Chivalry. Contemporary historians attack the work, in spite of the scholarly reputation of the author, because, they say, it relies too heavily upon medieval literary sources and does not provide a complete and accurate historical analysis.

On the other hand, the work is thoroughly Catholic, and whatever may be its limitations, it certainly is not the product of skepticism. While it may be a bit idealistic, in this case I don’t think it can hurt. Chivalry has always been an ideal, difficult to achieve, a Holy Grail always just beyond our grasp.

In any case, it is well to note that the Ten Commandments of the Medieval Knight is a codification of the Chivalrous ideal that was compiled by Gautier in this wonderful book. The work is out of print, but you might find it in an Amazon.com search.

The title of this post, as the photograph illustrates, is the Five Alls. I read about it in Gautier’s book. For some reason, pubs in England are often named the Five Alls Inn or the Five Alls Pub, etc. I have not been able to find the origin of the usage, but the signs on these pubs indicate the meaning. The soldier says, “I fight for all,” and the bishop, “I pray for all. The King (centrally located) says, “I rule for all,” while the lawyer (God help us) says, “I plead for all.” The last of the poor souls, John Bull (the proverbial Englishman) says, “I pay for all.” Continue reading