“Where men are forbidden to honor a king,” C.S. Lewis warned, “they honor millionaires, athletes or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.” I suppose the gentle don never considered what might happen if men were given a choice to gobble both at once.
Prince Harry and the artist formerly known as Meghan Markle – that’s the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to you – epitomize the moral decadence of our age. The couple made headlines twice this week, both times for being fatuous trendies.
First, the Duke (long rumored to be the legitimate son of the Charles, Prince of Wales) gave a bizarre interview for a special issue of Vogue edited by his wife. Speaking to Jane Goodall for some reason, he vowed to have a “maximum” of two children, hoping to discourage population growth for the sake of the environment.
Harry also took the opportunity to share his thoughts on “unconscious racial bias.” He defines this bias as a “stigma” which is “learned from your family, learned from the older generation, or from advertising, from your environment.” Was Harry simply unconscious, then, when he donned a Nazi armband for a costume party in 2005? Well, never mind.
The Sussexes are happy to lecture commoners about their deep-seated racist tendencies, of course, but only through an intermediary. That same week, it was reported that Harry and Meghan’s handlers have being paying visits to the couples’ new neighbors, ordering them not to interact with the royals. The Sussexes’ neighbors are specifically forbidden from offering to walk the couple’s dog or even wishing them a good morning.
At some level, one must feel bad for Harry. Just a few years ago, he wanted nothing more than to serve in his grandmother’s armed forces and play strip pool with young floozies in Vegas. Now, he’s just another woke snob with a messiah complex. Is this what he expected from married life – long pillow talks about the dangers of bagged produce? This, boys and girls, is why you wait ‘til you’re married.
Meanwhile, Rochester Cathedral opened up its nave for local families to play nine holes of put-put golf. A spokesman for the Rochester Bridge Trust, which co-sponsored the event, said: “The idea behind the course is to try and encourage young people and families to come into such a beautiful place to learn about the structures of different bridges,” which couldn’t possibly be as banal as it sounds.
Don’t get me wrong: I love golf nearly as much as I love architecture. And yet I can’t help but wonder what St. John Fisher would think. As Bishop of Rochester from 1504 until 1535, he took the stand to defend Catherine of Aragon, the saintly first wife of the vile Henry VIII, when the king ordered England’s bishops to annul their marriage. The appeal went all the way to Rome; when Pope Clement VII refused to grant the king an annulment, he (Henry) broke the English Church from communion with Rome. Only the Bishop of Rochester, alone among England’s prelates, refused to participate in the royal schism.
Bear in mind, Queen Catherine knew Henry loathed her and had been unfaithful to her from the beginning. Yet she stood by him because she insisted there were no valid grounds for an annulment. It was her duty as a Christian wife to stand by her marriage vows. Bishop Fisher, no less dutiful, was just as uncompromising in his defense of the sanctity of Holy Matrimony – right to the bitter end.
Henry, of course, ordered Fisher to his death. It’s said that, on the morning of his execution, the prison guards came to wake St. John. “What time is it?” he asked them. “Five in the morning,” one of the guards said. “And when will it be over?” he pressed. “Nine,” the other replied. St. John nodded and rolled over. “Let me sleep a few more hours. I’ve had very little rest.”
After months of torture and imprisonment in a tiny cell, his conscience was clean. St. John Fisher went calmly to his death, like a child being taken into his Father’s arms – which, I suppose, he was.
Once, England was the jewel in Christendom’s crown, and the English monarchy was its strong protector. In fact, Henry VIII held that exact title – Defensor Fidei – until he became its persecutor. England’s apostasy was slow and often reluctant, but she’s still paying the price for Henry’s original sin.
No doubt the King would be chuffed to see that his namesake is also being publicly humiliated by a pretty woman with strange yet fashionable notions. (Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, was a Lutheran.) Henry sought to strengthen the throne at the Church’s expense; now, the British monarchy is little more than an impotent and embarrassing façade.
And perhaps there was some part of Henry that truly believed he was doing right by Our Lord in tearing the English Church from its Supreme Pontiff. But there’s no question now: his “Reformation” is a disastrous failure, from its seedy beginning to its imminent end.
Cut from her taproot in Rome, the Church in England quickly began to wither and decay. The great cathedrals that Henry’s episcopal cronies stole from the Catholic Church sat empty for decades. Now, they’re being turned into fun houses for local youff. The monarchy, still contemptuous of “Papists”, today worships in the cult of celebrity. English courts are prepared to force mothers to abort their babies and newborns are refused life-saving care. English cities are plagued by rape gangs and no-go zones.
Let St. John Fisher and all of England’s glorious martyrs be vindicated. And pray for England’s speedy return to the one true Faith. It’s her only hope of survival; of this, there can be no doubt.
[Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau – WPA Pool/Getty Images]