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 through 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 here 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 Ch. Four
This was written, I believe, after leaving Lourdes, starting to move north.
Lourdes had been a refuge from the wasteland of French materialism and I had promised Our Lady to battle harder, battle the doubts in myself and against the materialism that denies Her . . .
But now, alas, I was back in the wasteland again.
The post contains tributes to two great Catholic authors who understood that wasteland all too well.
The first is Josephin Péladan (1958-1918) who suffered so much as he watched that brutal Third Republic in France (1870-1918) assault the Church he loved so deeply. I have more about Péladan here.
The second is my contemporary the French Canadian-American Charles A. Coulombe who I am now honoured to call a friend.
At the time, I did not really know Charles, though he had startled me by commenting at this website (here). Looking back at what I wrote then, it may sound cloying or ingratiating.
But it was sincere. Charles elicited my respect then for evincing a courage and conviction that at that point I still struggled for. And he commands my respect for this and so much else today.
By the grace of God, along with help from the great Hilaire Belloc and Valentin Tomberg (above all his legal and political works) and, of course, Charles himself, I finally made it past the inner doubts and struggles that can still be felt in this odd series of posts. Now, back to 2010 . . .
From 2010—Chapter Four: Josephin Péladan and Charles A. Coulombe
Somewhere in France. Soul contents. Very personal.
Our Lady is calling me, calling me to be more decisive.
On fundamental things.
To be, in fact, more like that writer who has moved me so deeply.
That writer, that Papal Knight Charles A. Coulombe.
I do not agree with Mr Coulombe on all things, to be sure.
I cannot support his Feeney positions, even if I hope I understand them.
At any rate, he seeks a solution to the Horror which he sees so very acutely.
He sees the Horror of That Hideous Strength.
Destroying piety. Destroying culture. Destroying Christianity. Condemning souls to living Hell. Like Larkin.
I feel like urging folk: Read the Good Knight.
You need not agree with everything he says. You may be scandalised and outraged.
But perhaps you will see the Good Knight is onto something.
Onto something, which less courageous writers seldom dare to broach.
This Knight of old French stock sees clearly the Tragedy that happened to La Vraie France. The true France.
The Tragedy that seeks now to engulf us everywhere.
He is NOT apathetic and complacent.
He is working, working. Steadily and consistently.
Travelling through this French desert of Triumphant Materialism, I think …
I think of Josephin Péladan.
Josephin Péladan, that special friend of Valentin Tomberg.
Although they never met. At least, in the flesh.
I think of you, departed Josephin Péladan.
You lived a bitter life in the epoch from the 1870s onward, where the Third Republic in France was systematically destroying all that you held dear.
Working systematically to destroy the Church.
Or at least to render her as impotent as humanly possible.
Péladan, you saw clearly what was coming.
You saw this dessicated France. Dessicated, arid, stripped of soul.
You saw all that was being stripped, stripped away in the name of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.
And in your novel Le Vice Supreme, you uttered words to this effect:
DUTY – it is the true name of Liberty.
HIERARCHY – it is the true name of Equality.
CHARITY – it is the true name of Fraternity.
Charles A. Coulombe, Josephin Péladan, Valentin Tomberg – in so many, many ways, you are all saying the same thing.
Note: far more of my thinking regarding Charles A. Coulombe can be found here.
Foreword for Monarchy by Roger Buck
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