Monday, November 10, 2003
"Shakespeare thus places himself between utopian totalitarians and libertarian fundamentalists. He provides us with no easy answers to the questions that confront us now and that will always confront us. His is a call neither to draconian severity and repression, nor to utter leniency and permissiveness, the two temptations of those who like to argue from first principles. He calls us to proportion, that is to say to humanity. We must both recognize the limitations imposed upon us by our natures and at the same time not give up striving to control ourselves. If we fail to do either, we shall succumb to ideological or instinctual beastliness—or (the curious achievement of our own age) to both."
-Theodore Dalrymple, Sex and the Shakespeare Reader
Friday, November 07, 2003
It fortuned before the matter of the said matrimony brought in question, when I, in talk with Sir Thomas More, of a certain joy commended unto him the happy estate of this realm, that had so catholic a Prince, that no heretic durst show his face, so virtuous and learned a clergy, so grave and sound a nobility, so loving and obedient subjects, all in one faith agreeing together: "True it is indeed (son Roper)," quoth he, and in commending all degrees and estates of the same went far beyond me, "and yet (son Roper) I pray God," said he, "that some of us, as high as we seem to sit upon the mountains, treading heretics under our feet like ants, live not the day, that we gladly would wish to be at league and composition with them, to let them have their churches quietly to themselves; so that they would be content to let us have ours quietly to ourselves."
"But if I should speak of those that be already dead (of whom many be now saints in heaven) I am very sure it is the far greater part of them, that all the while they lived, thought in this case that way that I think now. And therefore am I not bound (my Lords) to conform my conscience to the council of one realm against the General Council of Christendom."
-Roper, Life of Sir Thomas More
Thursday, November 06, 2003
No doubt the uberhawks will start quoting Lenin's line about breaking eggs to make omlettes.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
d. 400 Feastday: January 1
Also called Telemachus, a martyr and hermit who died in a Roman arena. He lost his life for protesting against the inhuman practice of having gladiators fight to the death for entertainment. During one of the events, Almachius entered the arena in Rome and demanded an end to the barbaric custom. He was promptly stoned to death by an irate crowd. His actions prompted Emperor Honorius to put end to the gladiatorial duels across the Roman Empire.
Theodoret of Cyrus, The Ecclesiastical History
Book V, Chapter XXVI: Of Honorius the Emperor and Telemachus the monk.
"Honorius, who inherited the empire of Europe, put a stop to the gladitorial combats which had long been held at Rome. The occasion of his doing so arose from the following circumstance. A certain man of the name of Telemachus had embraced the ascetic life. He had set out from the East and for this reason had repaired to Rome. There, when the abominable spectacle was being exhibited, he went himself into the stadium, and stepping down into the arena, endeavoured to stop the men who were wielding their weapons against one another. The spectators of the slaughter were indignant, and inspired by the triad fury of the demon who delights in those bloody deeds, stoned the peacemaker to death.
When the admirable emperor was informed of this he numbered Telemachus in the number of victorius martyrs, and put an end to that impious spectacle