Series Introduction 2023:
Here is the start of a strange series of posts that appeared at this website in 2010. These entries chronicle my reflections travelling the length of France in a van with my wife Kim—beginning with Lourdes in the South and moving slowly over eight weeks to Pontmain in the North, close to a thousand miles in all.
This series remains precious to my heart—as my experiences on this trip in hallowed sites like Lourdes, Pontmain and the Vendée proved seminal for my work ever since. Whether these posts will speak to anyone else, though, is a moot point. They are deeply personal, sometimes to the point of being cryptic.
For that reason, I now offer (below) a short, explanatory foreword to each individual post, just in case anyone does care to enter with me into this intimate world of meaning for me.
Likewise, these links are provided to help navigate through this series.
- Chapter 1: France and Lourdes
- Chapter 2: On France and Ireland
- Chapter 3: Our Lady Calls
- Chapter 4: Josephin Péladan and Charles A. Coulombe
- Chapter 5: Recalling Ireland
- Chapter 6: The Enduring Presence of Catholic France
- Chapter 7: Freemasonry and France
- Chapter 8: Liberal No More
- Chapter 9: Liberal Catholicism, Like a Sieve
- Chapter 10: Pyramids on the Nile
- Chapter 11: The Vendée – Home to a Counter-Revolution
- Chapter 12: O Claire Ferchaud!
- Chapter 13: Our Lady of Pontmain
2023 Introduction to Chapter Three
The following post reflects an ongoing battle still raging in my soul, even then in Lourdes.
I say ‘even then’ as even though France had changed me, even though I was horrified by its materialistic secularism, I was still battling currents of indecision arising from the fact being a very liberal and progressive New Ager for almost my entire adult life.
And I had numerous secular friends who threw at me the kind of arguments in this posts, arguments against my becoming a ‘dangerous, reactionary Catholic Trad’ . . .
I often say that becoming Catholic, really Catholic, was the hardest thing I ever did in my life.
It has also proved to be the most meaningful, joyous and inexpressibly rewarding thing I ever did in my life . . .
I do not exaggerate. Nothing was harder, nothing was more wonderful than this.
From 2010—Ch. Three: Our Lady Calls
Webbursts. Things bursting in my soul in France. Unfinished things.
The voices of my friends, the voices in my psyche:
“Do not be so radical, Roger.
Do not be so Manichaen.
So black and white.”
“The pre-Revolution Church of the Ancien Régime was not whiter-than-white.
The Revolution though filled evil, was not quite blacker-than-black. There was concern for the poor … (even while it killed them by the thousands).
Protestantism is not simply an aberration – purely and simply. There was noble motive there too …”
These last voices, these particular voices – they are not false.
Yet they can seduce, deceive, lure one into complacency.
Into doing absolutely nothing.
Nothing at all.
Our Lady of Lourdes called out:
“Penitence! Penitence! Penitence!”
She was NOT apathetic about the direction France was taking.
She was weeping.
Weeping, as She appeared on the Holy Mountain of La Salette.
That Holy Mountain, which has marked my soul forever.
Weeping quietly. With dignity. Neither wailing nor whining.
Weeping and acting decisively to save Her children.
She is calling me, she is calling us still to penitence.
And I think to DECISIVE ACTION.
This is what I felt in Lourdes at any rate. That I was being called … called to be more decisive.
Those voices in my head:
“Do not be dualistic and Manichaen.
Do not be polarising.
Do not say yes or no.
Do not be decisive.
Look! Over there – see that fence?
Doesn’t it look it comfortable, over there on that fence?
Well, maybe not comfortable, sitting perched there.
But safe, anyway.
Don’t stick your neck out.
Something might get chopped off.”
Foreword for Monarchy by Roger Buck
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