Saturday, July 14, 2007

Westminster Abbey and the Islamist threat

Just now, I was talking with one of my children and recalling our trip to England several years ago. I spoke of the religious wars that have plagued England over its long history - the wars between, arguably, sects of Christianity. We spoke of Salisbury Cathedral to which I had a strong affinity. And then I mentioned our midnight vigil at the Mass of the Eucharist on Christmas Eve in Westminster Abbey. As I walked down the long extension of the cross, felt the brush of the stone floors beneath the thin, soft leather soles of my low-heeled boots, I was enthralled by the Waterford crystal lamps suspended from the ceiling. I was enthralled and humbled to be in the presence of such history. To be walking where great and noble men and women of the past have walked - some to greatness and some to calamity. As an English major in undergraduate school, I had studied not only England's great writers but also her history. I was in heaven. Later I wrote of her history and traveled to her northern colony, :), Scotland, where I had the honor of walking among the ruins of St. Andrews. I hope that I will always remember the force of the wind off the North Sea upon my face on that sun-filled day. Back to Westminster... That Christmas Eve, we had walked from Buckingham Palace, where I skipped in front of the palace, to Westminster Abbey. [We took a taxi back to our hotel after Mass. But first we walked.] We waited with others near the very front of the line - in the cold - for the Abbey to open for us on our midnight vigil. Naturally, ever the tourist, I bought heather from the old women. As I entered the Abbey, just 5 people ahead of me, I was carried back in time in my soft leather boots and my near-floor length midnight-blue wool cape as I swept along the long extension of the cross to the section where Admiral Nelson and others of the Admiralty are revered. I, being the ugly American, walked to the railing in front of which Princess Diana's casket would later come to rest. I was deeply immersed in the glory that is Britain - warts and all - with her brave men and true. In many ways today, you are the 1683 Gates of Vienna - you, your nation, you native Brits, are the line in the sand; you are Haridan's wall, beyond which Islam may not pass. You have the Islamic terrorists within your walls and from within those sacred walls, they threaten all of Western Civilization. Please, protect Westminster Abbey. Please protect your values and if, as Melanie Phillips suggests, you have misplaced those values and standards that have so led you to greatness, please pull them out of the darkness from under the staircase where they have been hidden. Westminster Abbey - as a symbol, as a fact, as a culture and a civilization - must not fall...


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