The Discontent of our Winters

Two unrelated events have scratched some of my great discontents. Besides, it is a dreary, rainy day in Washington, the kind of day that turns one’s thoughts towards malcontentedness.

President Obama met with the Queen of England and no one - not in the media which has so many outlets you might have thought someone would complain, not in the government, not in the Church- no one objected to the fact that she is a usurper. Her ancestor Henry VIII usurped the title Head of the Church and her ancestors William III and Mary usurped the throne. I am sure that the Queen is a perfectly lovely woman, although seeing CNN post the transcript of the niceties the Royals exchanged with the Obamas, as if it was somehow newsworthy to know that the Queen asked the President when his flight got in, showed something of the absurdity of her role. I am all for tradition, but if the Stuarts were returned to their proper title, Britain would have been spared the whole Charles and Camilla mess. At this late date, I do not suspect that a restoration would matter a great deal in Ireland.

Advertisement

This leads to my second source of conservative pique. I am watching "The Tudors" on Showtime. I am not a drama critic but I think you would need a stronger actor in the out-sized role of Henry VIII to make the series work. Early on, I thought they did a good job of painting Thomas Cramner as sinister, which he was, of the craven quality of the episcopacy that caved to Henry’s demands, and the heroics of Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More, both now canonized. The show has not gotten to the reign of Queen Mary but I am worried that the producers, like most whose judgment of the era is superficial, will still not grasp that the English Reformation did not extend much beyond court until the reign of Elizabeth. The image of Mary "forcing" Protestants to return to Rome misses the point that throughout most of the realm, little had changed in the Church by 1553. We will see; the producers had the decency to make Queen Catherine appear sympathetic and to portray Anne Boleyn as the "King’s whore" that she was. But, every time someone in my party orders a "Bloody Mary" I ask if they mightn’t call it something else.

The NCAA tournament has highlighted what we have known all along: Men’s college basketball is the best sport in the world. On any given day, the top ten or twenty teams can beat any of the other top ten. The level of play is consistently fascinating and, unlike the pros in the NBA, defense still matters in college hoops. March Madness is the best time of year. But, who decided to play basketball in a football stadium? Last weekend, the Western region finals were played at the Glendale football stadium. You could see tons of empty seats. Indeed, the attendance at the games was about 18,000 which is what you can fit in most indoor arenas built for basketball. The Final Four will also be played in a football stadium, Ford Field in Detroit and I suspect they might get more fans in. But, it’s still all wrong. Basketball should stay in basketball arenas, with all the intimacy that suggests and without the views of empty seats in the part of a football stadium that has no view of a basketball court.

So, on this slow news day, I raise my coffee cup to the Stuarts, to Queen Mary, Cardinal Pole and all her loyal Catholic subjects, and to the good ole days when basketball was played in basketball arenas.

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
8 years 7 months ago
Michael S. Winter's misses the point entirely. Michael Sean Winters is out of touch with the STRONG PRO-ABORTION STANCE of the new administration. So far President Obama has spent more time putting proponents of abortion into key administrative slots (e.g. Health and Human Services). He has focused very clearly on strengthening the pro-abortionist's agenda.
8 years 7 months ago
You have got to be kidding. President Obnama is the one who is showing respect for morality and for the country.He will not lead this country down the path of a nanny state.He is absolutely pro abortion.Open your eyes.
8 years 7 months ago
As long as John and Mike are confusing being pro-abortion with being pro-choice, Planned Parenthood is safe from attack. If the pro-life movement would see things a bit more clearly those of us who truly want to decrease the number of abortions might actually have a chance of doing so. Calling Obama pro-abortion might have been good electoral rhetoric before 2006, but it certainly hasn't worked lately and likely won't ever work again. As for the Brits - the tragedy of the Glorious Revolution has nothing to do with the rise of the House of Orange - but with the accompanying abandonment of the moral authority of the monarchy. Every time I watch the Queen's Speech opening Parliment I cringe, especially when the Tories launch some assault or another on rights (such as the presumption of innocence) which most thought sacrosanct. The other problem with the succession of Henry was Male Promgeniter. If sex was not a bar to rule Henry would not have been King. His elder sister Margaret - one of my progenitors - would have arisen to the throne after the death of the Prince of Wales and Henry VII. Of course, if that line were followed to me (as the senior Catholic heir) and the Glorious Revolution and all things following from it were revoked (such as that little dust-up in the American Colonies), Abet and Vitale would be, as Victoria of said, "not amused." BTW, how did you ever get from the House of Sachs Grecotha to Basketball? I just don't follow you.
8 years 7 months ago
"Tons of empty seats"? Now much does an empty seat weigh? Back to the fifth with you.
8 years 7 months ago
William and Mary were invited to assume the throne by vote of Parliament in 1688. If that's usurpation, then I think your bigger problem is these men who claim to be President of the United States, simply because the American people wanted them. The media has obviously given George Washington et al. a free ride for too long!
8 years 7 months ago
If you're going to call Elizabeth a usurper because of Henry VIII, you're likely to have trouble finding many legitimate sovereigns in the history of the world. How do kings rise to power? Unless they're lucky enough to be born into the position, they seize it. They don't descend from heaven, but defeat their rivals and often depose the previous ruler. Look at the history of any monarchy and you'll see it almost never proceeds in a happy linear line from first king to current ruler. Just curious, who are the current Stuarts? Do we know if they're any better than the bunch we've got now?
8 years 7 months ago
You are much, much better with current issues than with British and Irish history. The Stuart line died out in 1807. There is a monument to the last Stuarts in St. Peter's Basilica, sculpted by Canova — and paid for in part by George IV! As to current issues, please keep up the campaign against the reghettoization of American Catholicism!

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

“Not everything that is technically possible or feasible is therefore ethically acceptable.”
Gerard O’ConnellNovember 20, 2017
I have been trying with all my heart—with all my mind, with all my soul, to live peaceably with a terror that has been grafted onto me.
Robert I. CraigNovember 20, 2017
Image: iStock, (CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA) Composite: America
What ought to be the Ignatian contribution to the fight for racial justice, given our mission and our values?
Bryan N. MassingaleNovember 20, 2017
James Comey is perhaps a better Niebuhrian than Niebuhr himself.
Drew ChristiansenNovember 20, 2017