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If someone handed you a magic wand and said, a€?We have really failed in the way the government of the United States of America operates and we are now empowering you to make any changes you desire to make this government operate more efficiently and better,a€? what major changes, if any, would you make? Historically people who climbed to the top have chosen two ways, basically, to govern others -- with some form of absolutism or constitutionalism.
However, the individual, although created to live individually and freely, is always subject to law, and true freedom is always exercised only as one lives obediently under law.
In the 17th century crisis and the need for rebuilding after the Thirty Yearsa€™ War led to the push for absolutism. And so, after the Thirty Yearsa€™ War (1618-1648) religious identity and commitment led to a new sense of nationalism based upon a nationa€™s major religious beliefs.
This was the case also in Germany, even though the Treaty of Westphalia had set back the formation of a unified state in Germany. Monarchies developed throughout Europe, some ruling over small domains, and others, like the Habsburgs, Tudors, and Bourbons, over vast empires.
Obstacles to Nation Building: Building a centralized government in most a€?nationsa€? (the word was not yet coined nor widely comprehended) was faced with numerous obstacles, not the least of which was the fact that in most countries people spoke numerous dialects, making nation-wide communication very difficult. Absolute rulers overcame these obstacles by building armies, bureaucracies, and using the force of the army to mold the people into one body. Frequent wars and the cost of maintaining large armies: Large armies were needed to impose the monarcha€™s will and to expand the borders.
Popular Uprisings: As food shortages and taxes increased, and frequent wars created havoc, poverty, and death, people began to revolt.
In attempting to deal with these problems, monarchs turned to either absolutism or constitutionalism to form effective governments. Government functions are guided by the dictates of the ruler and his or her lieutenants and not by established law. The rules or laws are applied arbitrarily and seldom apply to those at the top, especially the monarch or emperor. Problem solving is by issuing edicts and pronouncements, by creating more administrators, creating a larger bureaucracy, and levying heavier taxes on the people to pay for the expenses of the absolute ruler(s). Those governed have little participation in government, little input into law-making (unless through protests and demonstrations), and have to simply yield and be satisfied with what is handed to them from the absolute ruler and the top. Constitutionalism or Peoplea€™s Law is a form of government that acknowledges that certain inalienable rights are possessed by both those who govern and by those who are governed. Peoplea€™s Law was introduced into England by Alfred the Great in the late 9th century A.D. In Peoplea€™s Law or Constitutionalism all power is contained within the Constitution, a written contract that all people agree to embrace and to live cooperatively under, either in a monarchy or in a republic. All functions of government are from the people upward through their elected representatives. Government control is exercised through written laws which have their basis in the written constitution. Government functions as a process guided by established law, which reflects the will of the people and applies to everyone, even to those who govern. Transferring power is carried out by either heredity (in a monarchy or empire) or by popular vote (in a republic), with a peaceful transition from one ruler or set of elected representatives to another. The people are viewed as the foundation of the government, those with the power to elect to office the representatives of their choosing and if in a monarchy the ruler remains enthroned at the will of the people.
All citizens have the right to participate in voting, no matter their social and economic class (although admittedly it took some nations a long time to grant suffrage to all adults, whether male or female, and whether property owners or not!). The land is viewed as the property of the people collectively, who exercise their inalienable right to own personal property and to use their personal property as they see fit. The processes of government are for the most part carried out by the representatives who have been chosen by the people to represent their best interests and to preserve and uphold the Constitution. Problem solving is carried out by elected representatives and officials appointed by those elected representatives. When a problem occurs or a major issue must be decided, the will of the people is protected by a Constitution and requires that they be allowed to express that will through special votes or referendums.
Those governed are given every opportunity for upward mobility through personal initiative and hard work. Another major issue that separates absolutism from constitutionalism is this: are individual rights a€?awardeda€? by a ruler or are they possessed innately as a person created in Goda€™s image?
Under Absolutism individual rights and freedoms are viewed as a€?rewardsa€? that the ruler gives out to whomever he or she arbitrarily selects.
Under Constitutionalism individual rights and freedoms are viewed as innate possessions of all people. After the religious wars in France, which pitted Catholics against Huguenots, Henry IV (1553-1610) took the French throne after the death of Henry III, and demonstrated to the French that a strong central government offered many advantages. In 1572, as Duke of Navarre, Henry married a Catholic princess, Margaret of Valois, daughter of King Francis I and Catherine de Medici.
When Margareta€™s brother, King Henry III, was assassinated in 1589, Henry, now king of Navarre, was by heredity next in line to become king of France.
Henry IV was the first in the line of the Bourbon kings of France, which included Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Louis XVIII (wea€™ll find out in a later unit what happened to Louis XVII), and Charles X.
With the ascension to the throne of Louis XIII upon the death of Henry IV in 1610, the Bourbon kings practiced an absolutism balanced with a precarious arrangement with the French nobility. Now as king of France, Henry IV, with strong Calvinist ties through his mother, Jeanne, Queen of Navarre, took the important step of proclaiming the Edict of Nantes in 1598, almost as a statement, a€?Ia€™ve become a Catholic in order to rule as king but Ia€™ll grant freedom to my Huguenot friends, now that I have the power to do so.a€? The Edict of Nantes granted religious liberty to the Huguenots.
Richelieu championed the concept of absolutism in government and is known as the Father of Absolutism. Using new and expanded powers under the regency of Richelieu the central government took the eyes of the people off of problems at home (hunger, inflation, an unresponsive and a€?distanta€? government) by expanding war against the Habsburgs in Austria and Germany, foes who Cardinal Richelieu hated. Later, when Louis XIV attempted to bypass the unwritten agreement and impose taxes on the nobility to support his many war efforts, the nobility rose up in protest, maintained their traditional right to not be taxed, and forced the king to back down.
Louis XIV held firm to a belief in the doctrine of the divine rights of kings, as did his father, Louis XIII. He also ended religious toleration and in 1685 revoked his grandfather Henrya€™s Edict of Nantes. His rationale for revoking the Edict was the earlier agreement reached at the Peace of Augsburg in 1530 which established that the religion of the ruler would be the religion of the state. The wars of Louis XIV were based upon his belief that in order to increase Francea€™s sovereignty he needed to expand its borders, especially in areas where the people were French by language and culture. Wars were fought by the French with other European nations for more than 50% of Louis XIVa€™s reign. Louis XIV was also known as a€?the Sun Kinga€? because during his reign French culture, French dress, French architecture, and the French language enjoyed a hegemony in Europe. Colbert (1619-1683) was the Controller General of Finance under Louis XIV and believed strongly that the wealth of the state should fund the central government. Colbert believed this was crucially important to financially maintain Francea€™s military power and its European hegemony (the dominance of French language and culture throughout Europe). In French mercantilism, the principle was also established that through a controlled economy the nation would base its financial stability on the accumulation of gold. Under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Spain developed an absolute monarchy after the struggle to expel the Muslim Moors from Spain was completed in 1492.
Furthermore, a strong military was necessary to preserve Spaina€™s presence in the New World, opened initially by the Spanish-sponsored journey of Christopher Columbus in 1492. The development of their colonies and the new wealth in gold and silver in the New World further aided the absolutism in Spain. By the beginning of the 18th century Spain was a weakened nation and never recovered to its 16th century glory. England traditionally attempted to maintain a between the power of government and the rights and participation of the people. Against this notion was the long tradition introduced by Alfred the Great at the end of the 9th century which continued to loom in the thinking of the nobility and later the House of Commons.
Hence, the struggle between absolutism and constitutionalism in England began after the conquest by William of Normandy, continued during the reign of his descendants, and erupted in armed conflict at a confrontation at Runnymede in 1215 when the English nobles forced King John to sign the Magna Carta.
Elizabeth also was able to use her commitment to the Protestant faith as a national rallying point against the Catholic mainland (France, Spain, the Habsburgs).
Conrad Russell points out that on several occasions the House of Commons used petitions of grace to express their ideas about very important matters. James was angered by the petition, accusing the House of Commons of getting involved in matters than were reserved only for the king -- foreign policy and marriage of the king. Finally, Jamesa€™ response, due to the inability to reach an agreement, was to dismiss Parliament.
Each of his three Stuart successors used the same tactic -- if Parliament digs in their heels on an important matter, just dismiss Parliament! These incidents are cited here simply to show how Parliament and the English monarchy interrelated. The Stuart line created great furor in England because of their 1) increased commitment to the divine rights of kings, and 2) insistence upon absolutism. Henry maneuvered Parliament to declare the English Church free from Rome through the Act of Supremacy of 1534.
Son of Henrya€™s third wife, Jane Seymour, raised a Calvinist, aided the reformation in England, and maintained order during his brief reign.
With the coronation of James I, the Tudor line of monarchs ended and the Stuart line began.
James was totally committed to the idea of the divine right of kings and to the system of absolute rule. When James was crowned King of England, the Puritan Reformers in England thought that at last they would be given new credibility and freedom in England.
Charles succeeded his father, James, as king in 1625 and soon after married Princess Henrietta Maria, a daughter of King Henry IV of France and his wife Maria de Medici.
After Parliament was called again into session in 1640, Charles was so angered on one occasion that he stormed into Parliament and attempted to arrest five members (they escaped out a back door!).
By 1646 Charles knew that he would lose the war, and, rather than submitting to the English Parliament, fled to Scotland where he hoped they would provide him safety since he was the son of the former king of Scotland. In 1648 he was tried for treason by a High Court of Justice composed of 135 judges, with a quorum for any meeting set at 20 because of the difficulty of travel. A main charge that was after a lull in the civil war and a prospect for peace, Charles renewed the conflict which ultimately, per Geoffrey Robertson, resulted in the death of one out of every ten English citizens. In the final address given by the lead prosecutor, it was emphasized that no king is above the law, that English law proceeds from Parliament and not the king, and that he had broken the covenant with the people he governed by declaring traitorous war on them. With that act, Parliament abolished the British monarchy and under Oliver Cromwella€™s leadership, created a republic, the Commonwealth of England. Cromwella€™s contributions during his ten years of leadership in Englanda€™s only experiment with a republic, the Commonwealth, also known as the Interregnum, were (1) by military action to wrap Ireland into a three kingdom Britain, together with Scotland and England, (2) impose (unsuccessfully) the Puritan and Presbyterian ethic, held by Cromwell and the majority of Parliament, on all England (try that one in your community and see what happens!), which included, among other things, banning gambling and bawdy theater performances, (3) granting religious freedom to a new Jewish population that had entered England, and (4) raising the level of creative arts, especially opera, to new heights. After the death of Oliver Cromwell and the disintegration of the Commonwealth, Parliament restored the monarchy in 1660 and, because they were still locked into the pattern of hereditary succession, placed the son of Charles I on the throne, the dissolute and perhaps least capable and worthy man in England to serve as king, Charles II.
After the death of his father and loss of a battle against Cromwell, Charles II fled to France and remained in Europe for 9 years until the death of Cromwell. He also proclaimed a Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 granting religious freedom to Catholics and to Protestant dissenters (English Presbyterians, Baptists, and Independents who refused to practice Anglican worship). His short four-year reign was filled with struggle and conflict with Parliament, who, looking with great anxiety at the other absolute monarchies being established in Europe, determined that such would not be the case in England. Their fears also led to the passing of the Test Act of 1673 in which all military and government officials were required to take an oath in which they renounced the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation (see Unit 17), use of relics, and to participate in the Lorda€™s Supper conducted by Anglican clergy. When James refused to take the vow, it became publicly known that while in France during the Interregnum he and his first wife had converted to Catholicism. He further angered Parliament when he created a professional standing army, against English tradition to not maintain an army except in wartime, and when he exempted the soldiers from taking the vow of the Test Act. James opened many leadership positions to Catholics in government, issued an edict condemning Presbyterians to death in Scotland, and generally favoring Catholics in England.
When Parliament opposed him in 1685, like his Stuart predecessors, he simply dissolved Parliament. With that, a group of English nobles approached William III of Orange in 1688 to invade England and overthrow James.
The Revolution was complete, no blood was shed, absolutism was at last defeated, and the last Catholic monarch of England was banished to France.
Within the next year, William III and his wife Mary II, eldest daughter of James, were crowned as co-monarchs of Britain. William III outlived his wife, Mary II, and after her death in 1692 ruled alone as king until his death in 1702. The House of Hanover (cousins of the Stuarts in Germany) succeeded the Stuarts on the throne. In addition to abolishing absolute rule in England, the most important document that came out of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 was the English Bill of Rights. This was a revolutionary concept following centuries of feudalism and absolute rule, not only in Europe, but virtually everywhere on earth.
The king could not suspend laws nor levy new or additional taxes without the consent of the Parliament. Parliament was to convene regularly (it had not met for eleven years under Charles I had been and dissolved by all of the Stuarts through James II).
The English Bill of Rights laid the foundation for many of the principles that were included in the American Bill of Rights that were amended to the U.S. The struggle between Absolutism and Constitutionalism was at the heart of the American War for Independence, the French Revolution, the overthrow of Communism in Eastern Europe and Russia, and continues to rage today in Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria. The biblical concept views man as having been created in the image of God and has a right, therefore, to certain freedoms that no other person has a right to quench, whether a king or queen or any other authority.
These God-given freedoms according to the American Bill of Rights include the freedom of speech, freedom to own property, the right to earn a living in whatever way a person deems best under law, and the right to spend that money in whatever way the individual chooses, under law; the right to vote, the right to a fair trial by a jury of onea€™s peers, the right to own and bear arms, the right to be eligible to be elected to office, the freedom to believe and worship as one chooses, the freedom of speech and assembly, and the freedom to petition.
What does it mean for a person to live out freely their God-given rights, but always under Goda€™s law? How could the concept of the divine rights of kings be interpreted and practiced in such a way as to lead to guaranteed personal freedoms?
What basic biblical doctrine about who and what a king or queen is in their nature that would tend to lead to constitutionalism? What were several items that are missing from the English Bill of Rights that you would have thought would have been included? Why does the English Bill of Rights seem to have been slanted so heavily in favor of Protestants? What caution does this raise for us as we (1) interpret what has happened in history, (2) how we should interpret the actions of current governments, and (3) how this should influence how we behave individually today? What is the English tradition that resulted in New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island refusing to ratify the newly proposed U.
Prior to 1549 each of the seventeen states had their own sets of law, their own judicial system, and otherwise made it difficult to administer them piecemeal. This, and other administrative decisions made by the emperor, led to the Dutch revolt in 1568 against what they perceived to be political and religious tyranny. In 1571 the seventeen states formed the Union of Utrecht and in 1589 declared themselves to be independent of Spain. After several other attempts to move under the oversight of other European monarchs, including for a brief time, Elizabeth I of England, the Dutch proclaimed the independent Dutch Republic. The Republic endured until 1795 when the Netherlands was overrun by the French forces of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Republic provided the groundwork for the Golden Age of the Netherlands in the 16th century, when free enterprise enabled the Dutch to become the leading merchant fleet in Europe, to found and oversea a vast colonial network in North America, the Dutch West Indies, and the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia). Absolutism is grasping all power within a nation -- politically, economically, militarily, religiously -- and placing it totally in the hands of a ruler or group of rulers. Constitutionalism is placing all power within a nation under a written constitution that sets limits and boundaries on the exercise of power. In a Constitutional Monarchy power is shared by the democratically elected parliament either with or without a monarch, with the greater power lying with the parliament.
Mercantilism is a form of economics wherein the central government controls the national economy through regulating the rate and type of production, the price of goods, tariffs, and seeks to have exports always outperform imports. Empires developed as monarchs sought to control overseas colonies in order to (1) gain natural resources demanded by society and needed for industrialization, (2) gain greater agricultural areas to feed their populations, (3) obtain new areas to export a growing population of farmers, managers, and military to protect them, and (4) to bolster national prestige and pride.
The diagram below attempts to depict the differences between the two major forms of government that arose, ABSOLUTISM and CONSTITUTIONALISM, the two contrasting methods of governing. The Ottoman Empire is discussed more fully in Unit 8, a€?Islam.a€? The Ottomans were ruled by an absolute ruler, the Sultan or Caliph. At various times there were several caliphs in existence at the same time, causing great rivalries to exist.
The Thirty Yearsa€™ War (1618-1648) devastated so much of Germany, Hungary, and Poland, so depleted the economies of most nations in both West and East, and resulted in the loss of so many people, that central, authoritarian governments seemed to be the only hope for survival. Serfdom: The existence of serfdom in Eastern Europe, as a remnant of centuries of feudalism, enabled the nobility to gain almost total control over the common people. Results of the Thirty Years War: The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 brought an end to religious wars in Europe. Rise of Austria and Prussia: Absolutism took different forms in Austria and Prussia, but the existence of almost continual warfare in their territories enabled leaders in both countries to increase their power.
Austrian Habsburgs in German territories: The Habsburg emperors worked hard to keep their multi-ethnic empire together, with preference and priority always given to those who were German speakers.
Austrian Habsburgs in Hungary and Bohemia: The Habsburgs fought and defeated the Ottoman Turks for control of Hungary and by 1648 controlled most of Hungary. Prussia: Prior to the Thirty Years War the noble land owners gained the dominant power in Prussia, but as a result of the war they lost holdings, wealth, and power.
Prussia, the Sparta of Europe: Frederick William built the most professional army in Europe, introduced a military mentality throughout the three provinces, created a strong central bureaucracy, and controlled the nation by military might -- creating the Sparta of Europe. Russia: The Huns ran roughshod over Russia for several hundred years, leaving behind not only fear and disruption but many descendants. Peter Romanov (Peter the Great) opened the window and doors of Russia to the rest of Europe.
The Ottoman Empire: By the middle of the 16th century the Ottomans controlled the worlda€™s largest empire in total geographic territory. By 1529 the Ottomans had conquered most of Hungary and viewed the Austrian Empire as a threat to their new territories in Eastern Europe. In 1683 the Ottomans laid siege a second time to Vienna, cutting off all supplies into the city for two months.

After the defeat in 1683, the Ottomans began a long process of withdrawal from Eastern Europe because of inefficiency in government, and because of the frequent rebellions within its occupied countries.
Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: In spite of the heavy taxation of Christians and Jews, the Ottomans allowed local leaders to govern their own locales.
1542 King James V of Scotland dies, 9 mos old daughter, Mary, becomes Queen Regnant, married to future king of France, Dauphin Francis, in 1558. 1588 -- Spanish Armada -- Philip determined to make Elizabeth and England pay for Henrya€™s offense against Catharine of Aragon, for treatment when husband of deceased Mary I, for Elizabetha€™s spurning of his marriage offer, and for her aiding the rebels in the Netherlands. 1685-1688 -- James II of England and VII of Scotland (1685-1688) (continued to claim the English and Scottish thrones after his deposition in 1688 until his death in 1701).
The English Bill of Rights laid the foundation for the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Protestant Reformation led to a deepened sense of nation and nationhood, often based upon religious commitment. The Thirty Yearsa€™ War (1618-1648) tore Europe apart, but it solidified the sense of nationhood and religious identity. Monarchies developed in most European regions, replacing feudal lords, some ruling over small domains, and others, like the Habsburgs, Tudors, and Bourbons, and the Spanish crown over vast empires. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 greatly hindered the rise of nationalism in Germany, resulting in a sectionalism containing up to 132 independent states, each led by an independent ruler. Due to the expanding size and complications that developed in managing their territories, most of the new rulers turned to absolutism as a means of governing.
Cardinal Richelieu, regent for the young Louis XIII of France, is known as the Father of Absolutism.
Absolutism led to heightened nationalism and this, in turn, to a quest to expand borders, usually into areas where the people spoke the same language and were members of the same culture.
France, Spain, Russia, Austria, and the Ottoman Empire developed absolute monarchies in the 16th and 17th centuries. In Great Britain the reign of the Tudors and Stuarts illustrate clearly the struggle between absolutism and constitutionalism, beginning with the Magna Carta of 1215, the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and the English Bill of Rights of 1688. The coronation of William of the Netherlands and his wife, Mary, as co-monarchs of England in 1689, England established a Parliamentary government that limited the powers of the monarchy in government. The Fathers of the new United States of America rejected a limited monarchy when framing the new Constitution and established a constitutional republic. List from memory the list of the Tudor and the Stuart kings and queens of England and identify (1) their governing philosophy, whether absolute or constitutional, and (2) their religious loyalty, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic.
List from memory the list of the Bourbon line of kings and queens of France from Henry IV to Louis XVI and identify their unique contributions to the development of France. Describe the causes and outcomes of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) and the decisions of the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) and its impact on shaping Europe. Compare and contrast the two styles of governing used in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries -- absolutism and constitutional republicanism.
Discuss in a written essay the history of individual freedom in England from Queen Elizabeth I to William and Mary.
Discuss in a written essay how the United States of America would be greatly different today if France had gained victory in Seven Yearsa€™ War between France and England in North America, based upon what you know about conditions in France and England in the 16th and 17th centuries. There is to be a thesis statement which you will a€?provea€? or a€?establisha€? in your essay.
Today I'd like to look at one of the most understood doctrines of the Catholic Faith: Purgatory.
The doctrine of purgatory is something that a lot of non-Catholics struggle with, yet in a somewhat odd twist, it was actually one of the first Catholic doctrines I came to believe in during my journey back to the Catholic Church.
Unfortunately, purgatory is also one of those doctrines which also appears to be very poorly understood. The root of this doctrine lies in the fact that although we have been washed clean in baptism, we still sin. A lot of this is tied up with the reformed understandings of justification and sanctification.
Note here that it says these men were a€?justa€?, but they were afterwards a€?made perfecta€?. From this we establish that, at judgment, people may a€?suffer lossa€? through fire, even though they will ultimately be saved.A  Whata€™s being described here doesna€™t sound like either heaven or hell a€“ it must be something else, a third option.
I think this is particularly important to me because there is a rather bitter feud between two members of my family, both of whom are believers. There is much more to be said about purgatory, but I will instead just touch upon praying for the dead.
Prayers are not needed for those who are in heaven and cannot help those who are in hell, so one can only conclude that these prayers must help those in a place other than those first two options. Now, most non-Catholics will not accept this as evidence since at the Reformation 2nd Maccabees and several other books were taken out of the Bible by the reformers (that's a blog entry for another time). The document then traces the story of Salvation History and how God revealed Himself to our first parents, Abraham, Moses and the prophets. Then, quoting the Epistle to the Hebrews, it says "now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb 1:1-12).
This revelation was the final, definitive revelation and covenant and, despite what Mormanism and Isalm teach, "we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ".
The next chapter examines specially how God's revelation of Himself has and is transmitted to mankind.
This Sunday's Gospel comes from Matthew, Chapter 5, the section from the Sermon on the Mount known as "The Beatitudes". Here Jesus gives us hope - hope that injustices of this world will eventually be made right by God. Jesus spent much of his ministry years speaking about the Kingdom of God and in the beatitudes we see the difference between the Kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of God is the difference between night and day. Today I would like to look at a word that is generally considered to be something of a dirty word in much of the Christian world: "Tradition".
Even in the secular world, particularly in "young" countries such as the United States, the very word "Tradition" seems to conjure up for many people images of things antiquated, outmoded, out-of-date and out-of-touch.
When this mindset is brought into Christianity, it naturally assumes that "Christian tradition" is superfluous baggageA which has beenA accidentally accumulated over the course of Christian history. I have regularly heard the whole concept of "tradition" immediately and completely dismissed with this passage cited as justification. In fact, the production of the New Testament doesn't really seem to have been particularly high priority for the Early Church. So this leaves us with the question: if you had lived during those early years, how would you have known the truth about God and Jesus Christ? So, the book of Acts tells the story of this oral transmission from the Apostles and A Paula€™s letters also describe how this Tradition was a€?preacheda€? and a€?hearda€?.
The English word a€?traditiona€? comes from the Latin which literally means a€?to pass ona€?. Sacred Tradition would not have been a new concept to the first Christians as the idea has strong roots in Judaism.A  Rabbi Jacob Neusner has much to say about the oral Torah in his books about the Mishnah and the Talmud. You would expect the custodians of this living Tradition to be those whom the Apostles taught and to whom they entrusted their ministry.
As you'll see from the categorization of this entry, this is an "apologetics" post since I am defending the use of the writings of the Early Church Fathers in demonstrating the historicity and veracity of the Catholic Faith. The problem with writing a defence of anything is that, even with the best will in the world, it's easy to still come across as though you're attacking those to whom you are responding. So, if you're reading this post and you feel that it comes across as Protestant-bashing then I'm truly sorry. On the occasions when I've been engaged in apologetics with non-Catholic Christians I've often mentioned the Early Fathers. Countries were were emerging from feudalism, some had been impacted by the Black Plague, others had also experienced the Renaissance. This was the case with the early monarchies that arose in Europe in the 14th-16th centuries in Europe. Princes in Germany drew up their territorial boundaries because much was at stake, as provided for in the Peace of Augsburg (1530) and the Treaty of Westphalia (1648). The treaty resulted in a sectionalism that produced up to 132 independent states, each led by an independent ruler. In addition, poor roads, poor transportation, and a zeal to hold on to traditional local power and local culture worked against unifying the people of several regions into a nation.
In many cities they resorted to armed uprisings and it was not until the late 17th century that the central governments were strong enough to deal effectively with the frequent uprisings among the populace. In response, people often reacted against absolutism by resorting to a€?No Law,a€? or Anarchy. It makes possible the free expression and free exercise of those innate inalienable rights. He was a student of biblical law and understood well the form of government given by God to Moses. The Constitution usually has a provision by which amendments can be added by a vote of the people. Where a person is born, with regard to poverty or social class, is not where they are forced to remain. They cannot be given out nor taken away by the ruler or the government because they are given by the Creator and not the king or emperor. He restored peace and order by personal example through his conversion from Calvinism to Catholicism.
The nobility and the clergy in northern France, including Paris, strongly opposed the idea of a Protestant king. The nobles promised their continued support of the throne if the throne continued to hold them free from taxation. His Catholic wife, Marie de Medici, a princess of Austria, appointed a regent, Catholic Cardinal Richelieu, to serve as regent for her young son, Louis XIII.
Richelieu promoted the idea of limiting the strength of the nobility and expanding and strengthening the role of the bureaucracy (officials hired to do professional government work). But, in a compromise measure, the nobles left in place a strong monarchy -- just so long as it did not tax the nobility! To increase his central power, Louis XIV centralized his government (1) by appointing intendants to govern for him in the various districts of France, (2) he kept the nobility powerless in government by refusing to call into session the Estates General (the parliament of France), and (3) he developed a widespread secret police by which he spread terror and fear. He became known as a€?the War King.a€? His war efforts plunged France into debt, required more and more taxation to pay the debt, and increased the poverty of the lower classes. The a€?suna€? of the French hegemony seemed to extend from east to west, wherever the sun rose and set.
His major successes included 1) development of New World French colonies, 2) building up the French merchant fleet, 3) developing government-controlled industry, and 4) improving the process of tax collection. Only a strong central government with a large, professional army could preserve the new freedom from Islam.
His journey was not primarily a trip to find new lands, but to discover a westward route to the Spice Islands in the Pacific. The problem that continually checked the growth of constitutionalism in England was the concept held by the Tudor and Stuart dynasties was the divine right of kings. The nobility and common people continually had recall to days when a just legal system prevailed and the ideas and opinions of all the people mattered. Concerning the execution of Mary, for example, she was twice petitioned to sign a death warrant for Mary.
She added the Dutch in their 80 year war for independence from Spain, and the failed Spanish Armada of 1588 simply rallied the people behind their queen. To illustrate, consider how the House of Commons was expected to bring their requests and ideas to the attention of the king or queen. Sir Edward Coke, member of Parliament, is quoted as having commented to King James I, a€?I hope that everyone who saith, our Father, which are in heaven, does not prescribe God Almighty what he should do so do we speak of these things as petitioners to his Majesty, and not as prescribers, etc.a€? (Conrad Russell, Unrevolutionary England, 1603-1642, Continuum International Publishing Group, 1990, p.
These were issued with more a tone of, a€?We are the House of Commons and this is what we think you should do. In 1586 both the House of Lords and House of Commons petitioned Queen Elizabeth to sign the order for the execution of her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scotland for her reported involvement in plans to assassinate Elizabeth.
He seemed to carry a chip on his shoulder, always alert to any hints of the Parliament moving into his kingly rights. Allow him to impose current taxes and tariffs to take care of current debt but no more in the future. Constitutionalism was certainly not at work in England during the Tudor dynasty and through the reigns of James I and Charles I.
Today the queen of England is officially head of the Church of England and head of Great Britain, but her powers are very limited. In 1455 a series of wars were fought between two rival branches of the dynasty, the House of York (symbolized by a white rose) and the House of Lancaster (red rose). Elizabeth allowed a high degree of religious freedom in England during her reign, even though she was aware of the constant attempts by Catholic monarchs in Europe to have her deposed and Cathholicism re established in England.
James became infant King James VI of Scotland after his mother, Mary, Queen of Scotland, was banished from Presbyterian Scotland for her Catholic faith and the intrigue resulting from the death of her husband.
Their oldest daughter, Mary, was married at 9 to the Prince of Orange in the Netherlands, and subsequently became mother of William III, Prince of Orange who became King of England following the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The High Court was composed of member of the House of Commons, without the consent of the House of Lords.
As Goda€™s appointed absolute king, he refused to acknowledge their authority over him and concluded his comments with, a€?.
In 1660 he was invited by Parliament to return to England and they composed all documents to make it appear that Charles had succeeded his father in 1649, as though the republican Commonwealth had never existed! He conducted war against the Netherlands and entered into a secret treaty with his first cousin, King Louis XIV of France. Parliament forced him to rescind the Declaration, viewing it as a Roman plot to return England to Catholicism. With that, Charles dissolved Parliament and for four years until his death in 1685 ruled England alone as absolute king. He was (1) pro-French, (2) pro-Catholic, (3) was himself a Catholic, and (4) his announced plans to establish an absolute monarchy.
He created the army to protect him from rebellions after having to put down two rebellions in Scotland and southern England. In 1687 he unilaterally issued the Declaration for the Liberty of Conscience, which called for religious freedom for Catholics and Protestant nonconformists. The wife of William was Jamesa€™ oldest daughter, Mary, a staunch Calvinist, as was William. The basic premise of the Bill of Rights was the following: everyone, from the poorest beggar in the street to the richest merchant, from a child in school to members of nobility, lords, military officers, judges, monarchs, all have certain basic rights that are guaranteed. But this freedom is limited in the sense that the freedom of the individual is always to be carried out while living under the law of God. In 1549 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, issued the Pragmatic Sanction, which solidified the Empirea€™s control over the seventeen states comprising the Netherlands.
From the viewpoint of the seventeen states, however, this was the imposition of a level of control that threatened their independence. The major causes for the revolt also included persecution of the Calvinist majority as heretics by the Catholic Phillip II, removal of institutions of governance practiced by the states for generations, and the imposition of high taxes. A chief ally of William was Elizabeth I of England who supplied men, weapons, and financing to the Calvinist cause. In 1582 they took the strange, but politically astute move of inviting Francis, duke of Anjou in France, son of King Henry II of France. Each province was managed by its own representative assembly and each province elected representatives to sit in the general assembly of the united provinces. While the monarch ruled supreme, there were certain limitations placed upon his or her exercise of power, but this was a limited curtailment.
In the French version of mercantilism, it was also believed that a nations stockpile of gold was the basis for economic health. The one thwarts, squashes, and denies the inalienable rights of people and the other fosters, promotes, and grants those rights. It produced a new more crushing in serfdom in Russia and the eastern portions of the Habsburg Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, and resulted in severe restrictions on travel, relocation, private ownership of land, and produced heavy taxation.
It weakened the power of the Habsburg Empire in Vienna so that (1) it had to remain a confederation of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural states, (2) it gave former Habsburg territories to France and Sweden at the expense of Austria, and (3) made Calvinism a legal choice alongside Catholicism and Lutheranism throughout Europe, at least on paper if not always in fact.
The Kaiser (Prussia) and the Emperor (Austria) gave almost total control over the peasants to the nobility in exchange for total loyalty of the nobles to the monarchy and their granting Kaiser and Emperor almost total freedom to raise taxes, raise professional armies, and conduct foreign affairs.
They kept the empire together by a program of rewarding the nobility (with land, control over peasants, expanded trade rights) and imposing Catholicism on everyone in the southern German states where they still retained power. The nobility in Hungary proved a real problem because they resisted Austrian control, rebelled whenever possible, and as Calvinists resisted the attempts to impose Catholicism on them. The head of the Hohenzollern family (a traditional royal Prussian family), Frederick William (Wilhelm), came to power, took away the traditional representative rights of the nobility, and gained control over the three Prussian provinces in northern Germany. He controlled the nobility (a€?Junkersa€?) by placing in their hands the officer corps of the giant military machine.
Ivan the Terrible (not given that title because he was a nice guy!) was able to recapture Russian dominance away from the Huns, but was ruthless in his actions to gain absolute control. Beginning with their capture of Constantinople in 1453, which was both a strategic victory -- opening eastern Europe to their campaigns and occupation -- as well as a victory giving to them great prestige. This created a level of interaction between Muslims, Jews, and Christians not often experienced by Catholics and Protestants in the rest of Europe. Religious commitment gave weight to a new sense of nationalism based upon a state or nationa€™s major religious beliefs.
Economic Minister Colbert who served under Louis XIV, is known as the Father of Mercantilism.
England fought an ongoing struggle between the absolutist Stuarts and the non-absolutist Parliament. A For example, I have often come across Catholics and ex-Catholics that seem to believe that hell is still possible for those in purgatory. Indeed, it's true - the word "purgatory" does not exist in the Bible, but then again, neither does "Trinity" or "Hypostatic Union", yet non-Catholics believe in both of those doctrines. A Although we have been infused with the Holy Spirit we still find sin attractive and have disordered desires ("concupiscence") and continue, at least to some degree, to place created things ahead of the Creator. A Indeed, the concept of there only being two options (heaven and hell) isn't compatible with Scripture itself ( 1 Peter 3:19).

A I am sure that a particular work of God's grace is going to have to take place within both of them before they will be ready to worship in front of the same throne (Rev 21:27). A However, even if one were to degrade their status to "Apocrypha" then it at least demonstrates the Jewish practice of praying for the dead.
Partly from tradition; partly because most real good that has been done me in this life has involved it. A As God reveals Himself, He does this in both words and deeds, the deeds "manifest[ing] and confirm[ing] the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them".
A This hope of future freedom gives slaves and prisoners new strength and, as Pope Benedict wrote, "The one who has hope lives differently" (Spe Salve #2).
Those outside of Catholic and Orthodox worlds seem to generally consider "tradition" to be, at best, superfluous and, at very worst, "unbiblical". Relying on earthly wisdom rather than on the Lord, they lived according to the world's standards, rendering their worship of God meaningless, simply lip-service and devoid of real faith. A During Jesus' ministry years, if you had wanted to know the truth about God where would you have gone? A The first Pauline Epistle didn't appear for about 20 years; the first Gospel for about another 15 years after that, the last book another 35 years after that and it's hundreds of years before the canon is officially ratified by the Church.
Paul who lived in Ephesus forA three years preaching and teaching, yet in the record of Sacred Scripture we just get one letter to that community of just six chapters. A So when Jesus told them toA a€?preach the Gospela€¦teach all I have told youa€¦be my witnessesa€?they were commands to pass on Tradition.
A The Fathers were theologians (very early ones too) and as such, had personal opinions and made mistakes.
Lane January 21 - 23, 1991 No sound files are available for the interview with Justice Coleman. This was the case within the dynasties of China and with the tribal leadership in Meso-America, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. But it also gives a clear pattern for how the monarchy is to operate: (1) there must be law with justice, (2) the just law must apply to everyone, and (3) everyone, because created in the image of God, has certain God-given inalienable rights that no one is to seek to block or take away.
These inalienable rights are guaranteed in a written constitution under which all people live.
He codified that system of law in his work Liber ex lege Moise (a€?The Book of the Law of Mosesa€?) c. Bartholomewa€™s Massacre, he was forced to quickly convert to Catholicism in order to save his life.
They promoted his uncle, Charles, but after the death of Charles delayed finding a replacement. The marriage was subsequently annulled by the pope in 1599 after Henry IV conveniently converted to Catholicism in 1593 (confiding at the time to a friend, a€?Paris is worth a massa€?). He even brought France into the Thirty Yearsa€™ War (1618-1648) on the side of the Protestants in an attempt to deal a death blow to fellow Catholics, the Austrian Habsburgs! The French kings never were able to rule with a€?absolute absolutism.a€? A peace of sorts was delicately maintained by an agreement -- the nobility would support the monarch if the monarch did not levy taxes them. It is interesting how a peace treaty intended to settle religious conflict in Germany was used by Louis 150 years later to maintain absolutism in France and to crush the Huguenots! Further, the other European nations, tired of Louisa€™ bullying tactics, built alliances pitted against France and did much to isolate France from the rest of Europe, negatively impacting Francea€™s economy and trade. The traditional routes from Spain to Asia were now jeopardized by Islamic navies in the Mediterranean.
If God set a king on the throne, then the common people, if they feared God, would do as the king commands -- or so the thinking went.
His daughter, Mary, controlled a predominantly Protestant Parliament with the same tactics and over 400 persons, mainly Protestant ministers and leaders, were executed under her reign.
Each time Elizabeth could not get herself to execute someone whom God had placed on a throne. Then the Catholics in England could be dealt with quietly with without causing a ruckus at home. A code of law was was established and a history of court decisions recorded, yet there was no one written document that could be call a legitimate constitution. His marriage to Catherine of Aragon and struggles for an annulment are discussed in Unit 17. Catherine was given funding and housing for life after her marriage to Henry was annulled by Pope Clement VII.
In that treaty Louis promised military support to Charles, and to pay him a pension, and in return, Charles promised to convert to Roman Catholicism. Further fear in this regard broke out when it was discovered the Charlesa€™ brother James (and next in line as heir to become king!) was a Catholic! When the Dutch forces landed in 1688 James succumbed to fear and did not oppose them, although his own army was superior in numbers.
James chose the later, fled to Paris in 1688, and was given a pension for life and security by his cousin, Louis XIV.
King George V changed the family name during World War I from Hanover to Windsor to avoid the reminder of their German ancestry. Its independence was formally recognized by all of Europe in the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648. Basically, it merged all seventeen states, for the purpose of administration, into one entity, and established that in the future, all seventeen would pass as a unit to the next emperor.
Through the terms of the Treaty of Westphalia four more bordering provinces were added to the original seven, bringing the total to eleven. Chart #2 reviews the history of the monarchy in England as it progressed from Absolutism to the passage of the English Bill of Rights and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The nobility (landowners) weakened the economic power of merchants (former serfs) in towns and cities by selling their agricultural goods directly to merchants in other countries, by-passing the local merchants. The emperor used his professional army to keep control in the southern German speaking areas. Charles VI arranged the acceptance of the Pragmatic Sanction which eliminated the traditional Salic Law in the empire and thus allowed his daughter, Maria Theresa, his only heir, who was to become, perhaps, the dominant female ruler of the era, to gain the throne in 1740. Surrounded by Russia to the north and the frequent invasions into Prussia by the Tartars (descendants of the Huns in Russia), Austria to the East, and France to the South, Frederick Wilhelm did not have to do much convincing of the population to show the necessity for a strong, absolutist monarchy.
After his death, Michael Romanov rose to power as the first hereditary ruler in Russia, establishing the Romanov family line that lasted on the Russian throne until 1918. After suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Sweden in the early stages of the Great Northern War, Peter Romanov strengthened the economy, the army, and the central government. Building a new capitol city from ground zero, he used the blood and sweat of serfs and forced cooperation by the nobles to build the city.
The Ottomans continued their movement westward into Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, and even as far westward as Hungary. The city was defended by farmers, merchants, and other citizens, and by German and Spanish troops sent by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.
The parliament of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth valued highly the trade relations they enjoyed with the Ottoman Empire and wanted nothing to harm that relationship. A Clearly, some kind of perfection must take place in us before we enter heaven because a€?nothing unclean shall enter heavena€? (Revelation 21:27). A Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal. A This is particularly important for anyone to understand the the Catholic viewpoint - Christ's commission was to go and teach, not to write a book that would exhaustively record everything He said and did. A We are told "in order to keep the Gospel forever whole and alive within the Church, the Apostles left bishops as their successors, handing over to them the authority to teach in their place". I think most Christians, when they're reading any kind of commentary on Scripture, particularly if it's from the Gospels will skip over Scripture citations.
Jesus promises rewards for the meek, satisfaction for those hungering forA righteousnessA and comfort for those who now mourn. A This is the same charge that Jesus brings against the Pharisees - they have just been going through the motions.
A "Apostle" literally means "sent" and this was what happened, they were sent to teach the world all that Jesus had taught them.
A Jesus was the source of this sacred deposit and His Spirit would be the means (2 Tim 1:13-14). A However, where the fathers speak of what theya€™ve been taught, where there is consensus and when the fathers speak with one voice *then* we can say that ita€™s Tradition.
Now the question arose, a€?How should we govern ourselves?a€? or to be more accurate, asked the question, a€?Now that we have fought our way to the top, how will we govern this country?a€? They had no patterns or role models to follow. The excitement of the discoveries in the Renaissance and explorations in the New World began to fade.
If you lived two feet on the other side of the state line your were compelled to be a Catholic. Full time, professional armies led to the frequent wars for expansion that characterized this period.
His marriage with Margaret was not a successful marriage, with both Henry and Margaret often separating and engaging in infidelity. Henry took that opportunity to wage war against the Catholic north in order to secure the crown. In 1600 Henry then married Marie de Medici, daughter of the Duke of Tuscany (Florence, Italy) and a devout Catholic.
At the time most people simply identified themselves by the region or town in which they lived. Mercantilism looked good on paper, but if no one in Europe will trade with France, the economy suffers greatly.
Mercantilism is the philosophy and practice of a national economy that is controlled almost entirely by the central government. Spain needed new income to replenish a bankrupt treasurer emptied by the struggle to defeat the Moors.
But she used the strength of her personality and popular support among the people to wield great power over Parliament. But on the third occasion, the petition from Parliament was so strong and the rationale so convincing, the Elizabeth finally relented and issued the death warrant for Mary. The issue also involved the kinga€™s right to levy taxes and tariffs to fund his expenses apart from Parliamenta€™s consent. If they gave one inch they would compromise their authority to control the funding of the monarchy. Parliament continued to exercise some degree of power because it possessed the purse strings. As a sop, thrown in their direction with a view to pacifying them, but with an ulterior motive, James permitted them to publish a new English translation of the Bible. His frequent conflicts with Parliament resulted in his dissolving Parliament on three separate occasions when they did not yield to his wishes.
This greatly threatened the privileged position of the Church of England and furthered the resentment and opposition to his rule. However, the move notified Spain that any attempts to overthrow the move for independence would result in French involvement. Michael built a strong central government, opened relations with other European countries, expanded Russiaa€™s territory, developed a government bureaucracy, and created Russiaa€™s first professional army. The many ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups made the centralization of government difficult. For instance, Jews and Christians were not permitted to ride horses, could not walk on the same side of the street as Muslims, were frequently forced to yield their 12-year old sons and daughters as slaves, and were generally treated as lower class people.
I can well believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less than I or more. A This has happened every generation since, "and so the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved by an unending succession of preachers until the end of time.
In their zeal they had become so focussed on the external practices of their faith that they had lost the very heart of it. A If one were trying to capture all that in written form, that's going to be a pretty big book! A If it is just a lone voice and an opinion which is rejected by the rest, then it is not accepted by the Magisterium as Tradition.
Unfortunately, like Catholics, our separated brethren haven't read much of the Early Church Fathers either! Imagine yourself to be the head of the XYZ Family who through warfare and intrigue just gained control over the country of Bakonia. Central governments attempted to deal with the increasing problems of stagnation and decline by (1) building larger armies, (2) forming larger bureaucracies, (3) raising greater taxes to pay for the armies and bureaucrats, and (4) generally creating a stronger central sovereignty by also controlling the military, economy, production, the court system, and in most cases, religion. This second marriage produced six children, including Henrya€™s heir to the throne, Louis XIII. The central government determines the prices of goods, controls export and import quotas, determines the numbers established for industrial production, and sets as its goal a controlled market where exports outnumber imports. They in turn kept her in check because she needed their approval for funding to keep her court afloat.
The rationale given was that so long as Mary was alive, the Catholic monarch on the continent and the pope in Rome will not cease their attempts to overthrow Elizabeth in order to set Catholic Mary on the throne and thereby recapture England for Rome. The debate was taken to the judicial officers of England who finally ruled that the king could not. The House of Lancaster won the battle in 1485, and then reconciled the two family lines through marriage.
After failing to produce a surviving male heir was accused of adultery and executed, leaving behind young daughter, Elizabeth. Since the Tudors produced no heirs, James, a cousin to Elizabeth, became also King of England as James I.
Because James authorized its publication, it became known as the Authorized Version of the King James Bible (1611). James also appointed numerous Catholics to faculty positions at Cambridge and Oxford, began to purge Parliament of all his dissenters, began a screening process to allow only his supporters to run for Parliament if he should again call it into session, and of greatest concern, his wife gave birth to a first son. The people were unified by nationalism and generally given freedom to practice private ownership of property, freedom of movement, freedom of religion, and freedom to practice their vocations. The vastness of the empire, poor communication, and poor transportation further hindered Russiaa€™s development. Therefore, they forbad Jan III, the king of Poland, who was in command of the commonwealtha€™s army, to go to the rescue of the Austrians against the Ottomans.
A It then goes on to introduce Sacred Scripture, saying "The commission was fulfilled, too, by the Apostles and apostolic men who under the inspiration fo the same Holy Spirit committed the message of salvation to writing".
A Therefore the Apostles, handing on what they themselves had received, warn the faithful to hold fast to the traditions which they have learned either by word of mouth or by letter". A One of my hopes for this blog is that it will encourageA both groups to read the Fathers and learn more about our common heritage. In the same way the dividing line between Anglican England and Presbyterian Scotland also took on importance, as did the line separating Protestant Switzerland from Catholic France and Catholic Austria. It is also Peoplea€™s Law -- the people agree concerning how they will be governed, who will govern them, and, in turn, they vow to live cooperatively under the law. His ulterior motive was to rid England of the Geneva Bible, an earlier English translation that was published in Geneva. Now his Protestant daughters were not in line to ascend the throne, it would be a Catholic heir.
Nevertheless, by reducing the common people to serfdom, requiring them to give summer months to government projects, and compelling the nobility to serve in a new military-civilian bureaucracy, Peter gained the controlling upper hand.
Petersburg (notice his humility in naming the city for himself!) following the best in European architecture and culture -- but as a capitol city of a population in which 90% of the people were serfs.
Defying the Commonwealtha€™s parliament, the Jan III marched his troops south to Vienna where they came to the rescue of the outnumbered troops of the Holy Roman Empire. The boys were castrated and then trained as personal body guards and shock troopers for the Caliph or Sultan.
The Polish-Lithuanian army arrived the very night before the Ottomans played to complete their tunnels under the walls of Vienna! And we have to remove them from society by locking them away because they willingly choose to not live by the law of the land. This opened the door for the long-enduring caliphate that was formed in Istanbul which existed from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 A.D.
Thus, the King James Bible was authorized but the notes from the Geneva Bible were not allowed to be included in the Authorized Version of 1611. Marriage was never really consummated because Henry was displeased with her almost immediately after the wedding.
The president, and senators, and generals in the army, and all the people in major positions all have to obey the same law.
If the president ever robbed a bank he would go to jail just like a homeless person would if he robbed a bank. A  I learned something from every man I met or exchanged emails with, and Lou taught me a few words in Spanish.A  Ole! We can take a little walk, maybe get our feet wet, and then lie on a blanket and listen to the waves.
I do the same thing myself, when the mood strikes.A  And how about this for being an "in tune with women" kinda guy?A  A few days after I had ordered myself 2 new green dresses and several in black to add to my collection from a mail order company named Newport News, he sent an email asking:A  "So, what are you wearing right now?
A  For Christ Sake!!A  How about saving the Taxpayers a buck?A  In addition to that $6 million you've already blown by hovering and covering me, and scheduling a proper Face to Base meeting in your office; at my convenience? Dramatic, but no drama.A  Short black skirt, or long black dress?A  Heels or boots?A  Camo, or commando? Until then, as in the end,there is much more to come.A A A  Once Upon a Time, a little mushroom popped through the moss covered ground of the Southeast Alaska Rainforest. Grant, Attorney at Law, Juneau, AK From Wedding Bells to Tales to Tell: The Affidavit of Eric William Swanson, my former spouse AFFIDAVIT OF SHANNON MARIE MCCORMICK, My Former Best Friend THE AFFIDAVIT OF VALERIE BRITTINA ROSE, My daughter, aged 21 THE BEAGLE BRAYS! HELL'S BELLS: THE TELLS OF THE ELVES RING LOUD AND CLEAR IDENTITY THEFT, MISINFORMATION, AND THE GETTING THE INFAMOUS RUNAROUND Double Entendre and DoubleSpeak, Innuendos and Intimidation, Coercion v Common Sense, Komply (with a K) v Knowledge = DDIICCKK; Who's Gunna Call it a Draw?

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