Easter Peace

The following is an Easter Truce of God, based on one decreed by the emperor Henry IV in 1085.  It is only a suggestion.  Use your prudent judgment.  (Here it is in a more ceremonial form in pdf).

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 Holy Thursday at the time of the Lord’s Supper until sunrise on Easter Monday, 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 Easter 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.

Stand Down

Thanks to everyone for their prayers.  I had a great retreat, preceded on March 20 by an opportunity to preach a day of recollection to the Courage group in Philadelphia.  I was very edified by this group of very serious Catholics who are struggling, like everyone, to keep the faith.  I had the privilege of meeting Fr. John Harvey.

I here attach a translation of an excerpt from the writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe on the question of human happiness and our last end.  Know your end.  Not altogether unfitting for Holy Week.

I recommend preparing your families for the Truce of God.  This will begin on Holy Thursday with the beginning of the Triduum and end on Easter Monday.  It should not be all that heroic, though given human nature and domestic rivalries it may seem virtually impossible.  Try anyway.  In any case, I am giving several days notice to acclimate yourself to the idea.

Truce of God


Hear ye! Hear ye! Here ye!

Ladys and Lords of the household you are hearby ordered by decree of the King of Kings to defer all hostilities until Monday of Eastertide, being the first day of the Paschal Octave. Out of reverence for the Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection all violence and revenge, domestic or otherwise, from Vespers of Spy Wednesday till daybreak of Easter Monday shall be considered reprehensible and unchristian.

Chesterton said two things that are apropos here: first, that chivalry is the baptism of feudalism, the Christianization of the military ferocity of the feudal system. The Medieval Truce of God (here, here and here, the last one is pretty funny) was an effort on the part of clerics and monks to control the knights and prevent them from amusing themselves at the peasants’ expense. Thus, the Truce was a way of preventing chivalry, which was always a delicate commodity, from being entirely undermined.

Secondly, Chesterton reminds us that the real adventure is not fighting dragons, but surviving in marriage. Here are some priceless tidbits:

“The whole pleasure of marriage is that it is a perpetual crisis.” – “David Copperfield,” Chesterton on Dickens, 1911

“Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline.” – Manalive

“I have little doubt that when St. George had killed the dragon he was heartily afraid of the princess.” – The Victorian Age in Literature

“Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.” – (This might be a paraphrase)

Ephesians 5, gentlemen. Lay down your lives. And ladies, obey and honor your heroes.

The Easter Triduum = Ephesians 5. Think about it. Think Christ and the Blessed Mother.