The faith was built by tough men

Yesterday (in the Roman liturgical calendar) was the feast of St. Boniface, the Anglo-Saxon missionary who contributed greatly to the cause of converting what is today Germany. From The Lives of the Saints (emphasis mine):

 His first attempt to convert the pagans in Holland having failed, he went to Rome to obtain the Pope’s blessing on his mission, and returned with authority to preach to the German tribes. It was a slow and dangerous task; his own life was in constant peril, while his flock was often reduced to abject poverty by the wandering robber bands. Yet his courage never flagged. He began with Bavaria and Thuringia, next visited Friesland, then passed on to Hesse and Saxony, everywhere destroying the idol temples and raising churches on their site. He endeavored, as far as possible, to make every object of idolatry contribute in some way to the glory of God; on one occasion, having cut down on immense oak which was consecrated to Jupiter, he used the tree in building a church, which he dedicated to the Prince of the Apostles.

Such behavior might offend the syncretist neo-Pagans that populate the ruins of modern Christendom, but I, for one, take comfort in the story, and in the contradiction it offers to modern, feminized pseudo-Christianity. The faith was built by the labors of tough men, by fishers and farmers and carpenters, men with sunburned forearms and calloused hands and muscled backs, men with hammers and axes and nails clutched between their teeth. The love of Christ did not destroy their manliness, as our soft and doughy cultural elites insist it must; it perfected them as men.

St. Boniface, pray for us!

34 thoughts on “The faith was built by tough men

  1. Pingback: Religion 2.0: Identitarian Religion | Occam's Razor

  2. This sort of thing needs more publicity. The Church’s progressive apologists have done a lot of damage to her image by portraying the Saints either as girly men or bold sassy women (where applicable), or… failing that… not at all.

    There’s so much of the Catholic faith that embarrasses the progressives… it takes a lot of work to hide it, and anything we can do to make that work harder is a good work indeed.

  3. Btw, I did a lot of googling some time ago to try to verify the claim that St. Patrick also cut down a sacred oak. My own church is St. Patrick’s, and I’m pretty sure we have a picture in the rector’s study that shows St. P. standing next to the stump of an oak. But it appeared from the google research I was able to do that this story got somehow transferred to Patrick from Boniface and that in fact there is no definite evidence that Patrick ever did it himself. Can anyone confirm or disconfirm this?

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  5. Manly and intelligent. Consider what the scenario implies. It implies, in the first place, a praeparatio. Boniface would have been schooled in Christian rhetoric; he would necessarily have acquired the local tongue. He could not simply have walked up to a sacred tree, to begin chopping it down. He would have entered into speech with the elders, wagered, dared, sworn an oath to face the ordeal should he lose his wager (whatever it might be). There is a “rhetoric” in his actions, which themselves are not purely destructive, for he does not mean to destroy the tree, but to transform it. Very likely the word for tree in the ancient Frisian was the same word by which Boniface referred to the Cross (like the Saxon “rood”). The Tree of Death (blood sacrifices would have been made at its roots) would furnish a house for the Tree of Life. The contemporary detractors of Christianity not only like to portray the saintly type as unmanly, but they also like to portray it as intellectually obtuse. Clearly Boniface was not obtuse; he would have made an acute anthropologist — before political correctness swallowed anthropology whole. He would have made an acute semiotician, were that term not so mangled by its academic misuse.

    • It is worth considering likewise the amazing scholarly and evangelical achievements of Saint Cyril and his brother, Saint Methodius. Touchstone just had a piece on their mission to the Slavs, which is worth reading. Unfortunately it is behind a paywall. Their Wikipedia page goes into much greater detail.

      • Bede’s account of the other Augustine’s mission in Kent and adjacent regions of Southern England is also impressive in this way.

    • I assume there is something going on akin to the syncretism of the Romans, who identified their Jupiter with the greek Zeus and the nordic Thor.

    • Note: This comment isn’t directed at others and it’s mostly towards this “lady”. Apologies if it smacks of cat fighting, but I just couldn’t resist *bats eyelashes*

      Greetings. My, my, my. Since you went way out, and since other men are rightfully ignoring you and not going into your ridiculous bait, I’ll go first and settle this since I’m a ditzy, pathetic, horrible young woman anyways (notice the sarcasm).

      Not only is your comment incorrect, but it’s baffling my dear lady (no need for captions). Essentially, what on earth is wrong with you *ahem* “a lady”? Do you have some sort of vendetta against this corner of the Internet or something? Or just engaging in feminine wills? Which one is it?

      Your name btw is quite sour. a lady. Oh yes. Those precious culturally Anglo Ladies. I think I just fainted *rolls eyes*

      Go away A Lady. I may be some nuisance, but you’re just sad. And disturbing. I’m sickened by your displays and manners. Take my advice. Take it, or leave it.

      • Perhaps she should be given a more charitable reading. She could be referring to the types at the website called the alternative right, whose articles often defend homosexuality or count it as irrelevant and its comment section, while having some intelligent posters, has its share of e-thugs. E-thuggery seems especially prevalent on certain other far and new right websites. However, since the Orthosphere has to my knowledge always been civilized and it is this site that she chose to comment in, I think she should be given the benefit of the doubt.

      • The benefit of the doubt? No. You give that to people who haven’t revealed their underlying, hostile motives in numerous other postings.

  6. Terry Morris is making a false witness towards me with said commentary, but there is little to be done about it, save perhaps prayer, if one might spare it for this wayward soul.

    I stand by my comment that the alternative right blogosphere does not appear to be spinning out St. Bonifaces by the bushel-load and I will add that this is part of a larger difficulty with criticizing clear craziness in modern society (something the alt-right does well) without a feasible plan to restore sanity and reasonable social structures, mores and lifestyles.

    My brief comment was snarky, but I want to live in a society where marrying young, having more than three children, and supporting women as housewives are all ordinary, normal choices, not radical statements. And I don’t see that St. Boniface level of deep, mad (in the eyes of the world) courage in much of what is classified as alternative right. I don’t see the tough men cropping up who could bring about that restored sanity. But maybe I’m not looking in the right spots. I am posting this comment right before bed.

    • If I have made false witness against you, then I trust that two or more witnesses will come to your defense and set the record straight, and that I will be called to right my wrong. In lieu of that event, I stand by what I said.

      • I, too, stand by Mr. Morris’ comment. He has not borne false witness against the “Lady” in question.

    • Last I checked the Traditionalist Christian Right isn’t turning out bushel-loads of St. Bonifaces either. Check back in 500 years, and perhaps the statistics will have changed.

      I think that if one tries very hard, one can always uncover a lack of impeccability in one’s fellow travelers. Tarring the entire Secular Right tersely as being lesser men than those that built the faith is trivially and tautologically true. But if trivial and tautological, then why say it at all? It is trivially and tautologically true the Christian Faith was built by better men than Kristor, Bonald, or Zippy as well (no offense to any of them)… So????

      I have posted (only accidentally related) thoughts here.

    • God gives to the virtuous that which will increase their virtue. So, perhaps, instead of bemoaning our lack of Bonifaces we should investigating into how this lack is supposed to lead us to a more virtuous life. Also as for a plan for altering society, there are always prayer and pilgrimage, but also there is the fact that if you live a virtuous life you cannot help but positively affect others. These options are not as courageous as St. Boniface, but no one here is St. Boniface and there are other virtues besides courage.

    • Dear lady,

      Stop acting like an irritating shrew out of a Jane Austen or Shakespearean novel. That’s quite unbecoming.

    • I don’t see why this person’s comment was taken so harshly, as she, obviously, intended to follow up her original comment…

      My dear, there are already traditional religious groups, that aren’t as organized on the blogosphere. But groups that like to homeschool, for example Latin Mass catholics, Evangelicals, etc. all marry young, have many children, and support women as housewives. They probably don’t blog as often because they are Busy With Their Families!!

    • Fail “a lady”. What a despicable Anglo lady indeed. Some advice: buy cats instead. Try your pathetic snarky tests on cats.

      I’ve heard cats are more suitable for these types of “conversations”, because most people around this corner are surely not interested.

      Is it that hard to ask? Or should I call the cat cops on you?

    • I stand by my comment that the alternative right blogosphere does not appear to be spinning out St. Bonifaces

      I’ll happily admit to the personal defects which prevent me from attaining sainthood, but this seems like a strange criticism to level at blogs.

      • My impression was that A Lady exaggerated the point to make the point. But I don’t understand it either. St. Boniface, I take it, was an exceptional character, even among exceptional characters. And the alternative right blogosphere is approximately how old now? …

      • Not only is the alt right blogosphere young, but it consists of about 47 people. Boniface was produced by a population of millions of Christians. The alt right blogosphere, or the orthosphere, are as a movement, in terms of size, about where the early Church was circa AD 29. They haven’t even begun to kill us yet. Once they do, there will be plenty of opportunities for heroic martyry. In the meantime, our evangelical efforts are only incipiently hazardous.


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