Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Gideons

The Gideons were on my school campus the other day passing out Bibles. I have to admit that I've always admired the Gideons, even though they are Protestants. They have touched the lives of countless people by passing out free copies of the New Testament/Psalms/Proverbs to strangers. Go to any hotel room or hospital room and you'll likely find a Gideon Bible. Even in Catholic hospitals the Bibles in each room are most likely from the Gideons. They have such a remarkable presence. It got me thinking that it is too bad there are no Catholic fraternal organizations that do the kind of work the Gideons do. If there are, these Catholic fraternal organizations certainly do not have the presence that the Gideons have. It's unfortunate, but sometimes Protestants are better Catholics than we Catholics. As far as spreading the "Good News," the Gideons have done a better job recently than we have.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Her Majesty the Queen

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's visit to the United States is over, and I find myself compelled to write a post on her. I would like to focus on Her Majesty herself, not her visit in particular.

Regular readers of my blog know that I have a very schizophrenic relationship with the British. Sometimes I love them, other times I hate them. I admire their history and cultural traditions, and greatly respect their monarchy, but I cannot help but despise them for their anti-Catholic and anti-German history. I suppose I am very much like Kaiser Wilhelm II in my relationship with the British: I'm partially British myself (like the Kaiser), I look-up to them, but grow so angry at them for their arrogance in world affairs throughout history.

With that being said, I find myself in love with the Queen more than ever. She was covered very favorably in the American press during her visit, and I found myself wishing I was among the many in the crowds who flocked to catch a ten second glimpse of her. I was jealous of President Bush, a man who--I can only assume--cares nothing for monarchy or monarchs, because of the time he got to spend with the Queen.

Even though it came out a couple of weeks ago, I bought a copy of The Queen on Friday. I have written about this movie before, but after having watched it again I find my respect and admiration for Her Majesty to have increased. What is it about this 81-year-old woman that I find so irresistible?

The Queen is dignified, graceful, poised, dutiful. She is the physical embodiment of all that is Britain; the Queen is Britannia and Britannia is the Queen. The British people have someone to look-up to, someone who transcends party politics. We Americans have nothing like that. I hope my British readers realize just how fortunate they are.

Despite 200 plus years of separation from England, the conduct of Americans during Her Majesty's recent visit prove that we are still fascinated by royalty. I think that says something about Her Majesty's power, and indeed the power of a monarchy in general.

Again I ask the question: What is it about this 81-year-old woman that I find so irresistible? I'd like to offer a quote from the movie The Queen: "At the end of the day, Labour ministers always go gaga over the queen." Although I am not now nor have I ever been a member of the Labour Party, I am guilty as charged. God save the Queen!