Lately, it has been so rainy in the region that pools of water are everywhere enclosed in the snow, and the dry wells are overwhelmed a day after the stronger storms have ended. A pleasant atmosphere for a walk, in my opinion. From my admittedly superficial observation, Northampton has been getting along well, except that the unattractive bronze nudes are still on the courthouse lawn. As always, a man can't advance thirty feet without passing a solo musician cheerfully drudging out tunes, or running into an old friend. Its always a pleasure to stroll through that lively city, her streets never empty, her architecture above par.
[A view of the famous Steps, often occupied by Herrell's and Starbucks customers who prefer the eating outside. As usual, I didn't take it.]
On the intellectual side, I have just finished Gaétan Bernoville's biography of Emmanuel d'Alzon. It was a worthwhile read, although it did get a bit dry, and was too sympathetic to Félicité Robert de Lamennais. But d'Alzon is a genuinely fascinating figure, and is especially relevant to us Americans. While he was an amazing priest of indubitable courage and orthodoxy, which shone clear during the anticlerical regimes of Louis Philippe, Napoleon III, and the Third Republic, all of which he lived through, he was an advocate of popular government at a time when most of Catholic France was Legitimist. He even went so far as to call himself a "Catholic Republican" when the Second Republic was proclaimed. He held that democracy was the form of government most in line with Catholic principles- I would no go that far, but these are the beliefs of most American Catholics. Emmanuel d'Alzon was able to do so much good for the Church, and to live a saintly life. He had a great deal in common with us, and is a good model to follow. As one could garner from my recent letter to the Provoc, Father d'Alzon did not espouse the same weak-kneed, Enlightenment "tolerance" so many moderns accept without thought. From his closing address at the 1868 General Chapter,
We love him [Jesus Christ] with the love that made the Apostle say, "If anyone does not love Jesus Christ, let him be cursed" (1 Cor 16:22). This may not be very tolerant, but you know that those who love much tolerate little. Properly speaking, true love is revealed in the power of a noble and frank intolerance. In these days, with no energy left for either love or hate, men do not see that their tolerance is just another form of weakness. We are intolerant, because we draw our strength from our love of Jesus Christ.
My, I can't get over the power of his words- cymbals of common sense in a vacuum! Wake up people!
To finish up for the night, I give my congratulations to Senator John McCain of Arizona, who just secured the delegates needed to go assure his nomination at the Republican National Convention. Although my words for that man have nearly all been harsh of late, I have warmed to the possibility of voting for him- I really don't want a Clinton or Obama presidency. While McCain is weak on immigration and cutting taxes, and wrong on the Iraq War and campaign finance reform, he has a good record on spending, doesn't favor universal healthcare (a plus over his former rival Mitt Romney), and is at least better on the courts than either of the prospective Democrats. And the Constitution Party, my favorite third party, isn't on the ballot in this state anyway. Still, I am a confused man: despite my strong and certain beliefs, I never can decide what the best course of action is based off of them. I pray that Jesus will guide me (and all of us!) in this matter, so that we might follow the course most favorable to the recognition of the Social Kingship of Christ in the political sphere.