Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bushido: Way of the Warrior. From a Catholic perspective of course!

My life is not my own, it belongs to God. Time spent here on earth is borrowed from Him; I must live according to His will. Whatever I do is done because He wills it to be. If I am one with Him then the paths I choose will always be the paths that He leads me to.
Even though I am alive I must live as though I am dead, for if I am already dead then there is no fear in dying. And because I am already dead, this allows me to fully live in that I can act without being conscience of my mortality.
The Way of the Samurai is found in death; one might say that death is at the very center of Bushido as the overall purpose- to die a good death and with one's honor intact. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one's aim is to die a dog's death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one's aim.
We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaming one's aim is a dog's death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening (through prayer and good works, and other corporal works of mercy), one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he pains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.
Every morning one should first do reverence to God and honor his parents and then to his patron saints. If he will only make his master (God) first in importance, his parents will rejoice and God will give His assent. For a warrior there is nothing other than thinking of his God and master. If one creates this resolution within himself, he will always be mindful of the master's person and will not depart from him even for a moment.
By thinking that you must complete the job you will run out of time. By considering things like how many men the enemy has, time piles up; in the end you will give up. No matter if the enemy has thousands of men, there is fulfillment in simply standing them off and being determined to cut them all down, starting from one end. You will finish the greater part of it.
Above all, the Way of the Samurai should be in being aware that you do not know what is going to happen next, and in querying every item day and night. Victory and defeat are matters of the temporary force of circumstances. The way of avoiding shame is different. It is simply in death. Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.
How should a person respond when he is asked, "As a human being, what is essential in terms of purpose and discipline?" First, let us say, "It is to become of the mind that is right now pure and lacking complications." People in general all seem to be dejected. When one has a pure and uncomplicated mind, his expression will be lively. When one is attending to matters, there is one thing that comes forth from his heart. That is, in terms of one's lord, loyalty; in terms of one's parents, filial piety; in martial affairs, bravery ; and apart from that, something that can be used by all the world.This is very difficult to discover. Once discovered, it is again difficult to keep in constant effect. There is nothing outside the thought of the immediate moment.
Every morning, the samurai of fifty or sixty years ago would bathe, shave their foreheads, put lotion in their hair, cut their fingernails and toenails rubbing them with pumice and then with wood sorrel, and without fail pay attention to their personal appearance . It goes without saying that their armor in general was kept free from rust, that it was dusted, shined, and arranged.Although it seems that taking special care of one's appearance is similar to showiness, it is nothing akin to elegance. Even if you are aware that you may be struck down today and are firmly resolved to an inevitable death, if you are slain with an unseemly appearance, you will show your lack of previous resolve, will be despised by your enemy, and will appear unclean. For this reason it is said that both old and young should take care of their appearance.
Although you say that this is troublesome and time-consuming, a samurai's work is in such things. It is neither busy- work nor time-consuming. In constantly hardening one's resolution to die in battle, deliberately becoming as one already dead and working at one's job and dealing with military affairs, there should be no shame. But when the time comes, a person will be shamed if he is not conscious of these things even in his dreams, and rather passes his days in self- interest and self-indulgence. And if he thinks that this is not shameful, and feels that nothing else matters as long as he is comfortable, then his dissipate and discourteous actions will be repeatedly regrettable. The person without previous resolution to inevitable death makes certain that his death will be in bad form. But if one is resolved to death beforehand, in what way can he be despicable? One should be especially diligent in this concern.
When meeting calamities or difficult situations, it is not enough to simply say that one is not at all flustered. When meeting difficult situations, one should dash forward bravely and with joy. It is the crossing of a single barrier and is like the saying, "The more the water, the higher the boat."
When one's own attitude on courage is fixed in his heart, and when his resolution is devoid of doubt, then when the time comes he will of necessity be able to choose the right move. This will be manifested by one's conduct and speech according to the occasion. One's word is especially important. It is not for exposing the depths of one's heart. This is something that people will know by one's everyday affairs.

Don Quixote

Here is some more of my work from college, I should write a book! Enjoy:

In Cervantes’ Don Quixote de La Mancha, the main character Don Quixote is overcome by the ideals of chivalry and knighthood that he transposes the things he reads into reality. Quixote tries to imitate the things knights were made famous for, and in essence he tries to become a knight of the old.
What is chivalry? Chivalry is the code of rules that knights were to conform to, if they did not they were disgraced. Chivalry comes from the French word cheval (horse), the reason being because one needed a horse to be a knight. When one thinks of knights the one image that pops up in the mind is that of slaying dragons, or rescuing damsels in distress, or riding for days looking for adventures, but there was more to it than just that. A major influence on chivalry and knighthood was the literature of the times like the stories of King Arthur and his knights. Francis Gies explains that it helped to fix the self-image of the knight and it also defined the standards of knightly behavior which were set down in the codes of chivalry (77). It is by these works of literature that Don Quixote was able to learn of the rules and regulations that knights had to be held accounted for, as Gies further explains that these rules of conduct were mainly social (77). Knights were to be of certain character, according to Thomas Bulfinch, they were heroic in character, with invincible strength and valor, justice and courtesy (39-40). Bulfinch goes on to explain that the knights who set off for adventures were called knights-errant, whose mission is to redress wrongs, or to fulfill a vow of love (40). Knights also underwent a ceremony which was the hallmark of knighthood. Don Quixote tries very much to do these things, and to be these things.
Quixote is so inspired by all of these things, that he tries to transform himself to be a knight. He changes his name from Alonzo Quijano to Don Quixote de la Mancha. Quixote learns how he should act and as Marianne Sturman notes, “He has sacrificed his usual pastime of hunting and caring for his estate for the all-consuming passion of reading books of chivalry”(9).Don Quixote becomes absorbed and in a way obsessed with this way of life that he strives to live it as his own. Sturman continues by noting, “Quixote feels himself inspired to become a knight-errant and systematically collects the effects necessary to his calling“(9). Quixote acquires weapons, armor, squire and a horse to get started. Sturman describes that “Quixote shines his great-grandfather’s armor devises a visor and a cap, working on them for a week, and renames his skinny stable horse Rosinante“(9). Quixote is so into his devotion that he is patient enough to try and make his own equipment.
And as well to conform with the rules of chivalry he finds a “noble” to have him knighted. Sturman describes in detail by writing, the innkeeper agrees to perform the ceremony at dawn, and Don Quixote goes about the ritual of watching his arms and meditating throughout the night. He sets his weapons in a horse trough, and when a carrier approaches to water his mules, after laying aside the sacred armor, Don Quixote rushes to attack the poor man. As soon as the fancied enemy is dispatched, another carrier approaches to water his animals, and he too is laid low next to his companion. Don Quixote now fancies that the place is infested with enemies, and he prepares to defend himself against anyone who approaches. The clever innkeeper wishes only to preserve the peace of his courtyard and begs the knight to make ready for the dubbing-”two hours watch is all that is needed”- which he accomplishes after the manner described in books of chivalry (11).
As Bulfinch explains it on page 42 of his work, the knights were to fast and pray
the whole night before and he was the go to confession and receive the sacrament. They were bathed and dressed in pure white (simple) clothing. The next day he would go before the Church and with his sword around his neck, a priest would bless it. Then the sponsor would issue the oaths and receive his spurs, mail, hauberk, and lastly his sword was girded around his waist. Then the president would give him the three strokes on the shoulders with the flat edge of
a sword and declare him a knight saying to him: “ In the name of God, of St. Michael, and St. George, I make thee a knight; be valiant, courteous, and loyal!”.The knight was then given his helmet, shield, and spear.
Quixote at least tried to conform to these rules, but even in reality the
ceremonies were sometimes conducted in the middle of combat and were not so exquisite.
Quixote tries to be heroic like the knights. A classic example of this is the confrontation with the windmills. Quixote sees the molinos as monsters, and he must defeat them and vanquish them. All the while his companion is trying to convince him they are just molinos. Quixote none the less steps up and is focused solely on defeating them. He gathers his lance and speeds towards them and attempt to attack them but is thrown off his horse. Quixote was not worried of becoming injured but he tries to be brave and face the evil monsters. Quixote goes as far as to tell Sancho that, “ en esto de las adventuras; ellos son gigantes; y si tienes miedo, quitate de ahi, y ponte en oracion en el espacio que yo voy a entrar con ellos en fiera y desigual batalla.(VIII17)” In other words he is trying to say that Sancho is not brave enough to face the monsters so the only other person that is valiant enough is himself.
Quixote as well tries to possess invincible strength. In light of the windmills again, it can be seen of his attempt to hold this strength. The way he just ferociously charges the molinos is evident by the way he is flipped over. He is literally thrown from his horse and his lance is broken. The sheer cause is that not only of his speed but his “strength”. He must have been so focused that he was not aware of how he used his force.
All throughout the story, Quixote is set on becoming a knight errant. But as W.H. Auden concludes he only becomes a parody(76). What does Quixote need to become a knight errant? According to the Auden’s outline, a knight errant must possess “epic arete of good birth, good looks, strength etc. as well as the use of it to rescue the unfortunate and protect the innocent and combat the wicked“(76). Quixote is of lowly birth and furthermore he is poor and is fifty-something, not to mention that he is not even a real knight. To support his passion, Auden notes that Quixote must sell his lands to buy books(76).
Nonetheless, Quixote does have the motives of a knight errant, which Auden list as: the desire for glory, the love of justice, and the love of an individual woman(76). His pursuit of glory can be seen at the windmills. When he is thrown from his horse and Sancho tells him “I told you so!”, Quixote responds by saying: “que las cosas de la Guerra, mas que en otras estan sujetas a continua mudanza; cuanto mas, que yo pienso, y es asi verdad, que aquel sabio Freston que me robo el aposento y los libros ha vuelto estos gigantes en molinos por quitarme la gloria de su vencimiento: tal es la enemistad que me tiene; mas al cabo, han de poder poco sus malas artes contra la bondad de mi espada (VIII44-50).”
In essence he is saying that, it was the forces of evil that made him see the mills as monsters and to confuse him, changed them back into mills once he attacked to steal away his glory in defeating the evil beasts.
Quixote is also convinced that he must serve out justice. As Sturman suggests that, the sooner the knight-errant can adventure in the world, then the sooner will evil enchanters, like the ones in the minds of the curate and the barber who wall up the library entranceway, be banished(14). These people are convinced that the books which Quixote reads are so corrupt that they must be destroyed. These are the types of people Quixote are fighting against. As Lowry Nelson describes it, here the priest and the barber undertake to pronounce sentence on the books of chivalry in Quixote’s library and judging them and handing them down to the housekeeper to be burned. In such a way that they hope to strike at the root cause of Quixote’s mania(1). And in order to keep his “reality” assured he needs to get out and have adventures and administer fair justice to show that it is not the books that bind him to his actions but his own mindset. Sturman further annotates that he makes an eloquent speech about the virtues of the Golden Age when men lived in close communion with nature. When human nature lost this purity and innocence, then the order of knighthood was established in order to oppose the torrent of violence(16).
As far as his woman goes he creates a fair lady out of a common girl. Sturman points out that, “Now thought Don Quixote, after renaming himself, his horse, his ambitions, he must name the lady of his pure heart, for a knight-errant “without a mistress, was a tree without fruit or leaves, and a body without a soul.” Therefore he selects a young country lass named Aldonza Lorenza for his own Dulcinea del Toboso although she is all but a complete stranger to him“(9).
Quixote takes this girl that he hardly knows but has noticed her and has kept an eye on her, uses her as his love, as his woman for whom he will claim victories in his conquests. In the night after the whole molinos incident, Quixote all that night refused to sleep, but instead stayed up thinking about Dulcinea, just like the knights in his books did thinking of their loves (Cervantes, 48). To further show his love for Dulcinea, he exclaims:
Oh, senora de mi alma, Dulcinea, flor de la fermosura, socorred a este vuestro caballero, que, por satisfacer a la vuestra mucha bondad, en este riguroso trance se halla! (Cervantes, 51)
Here Quixote is following in the words of the troubadours, he is using flowery, eloquent language to express his love for Dulcinea.
Throughout all of this Quixote is serious of his “world”. Sturman makes the point that, one can argue that he approaches knight-errantry not like a madman who believes that he is someone else, but rather like an actor who memorizes and practices a role(10). Quixote doesn’t think that he is actually a true knight but his is trying to act as if he was. He uses the books, where he gathered his knowledge as a guide to his script. Gerald Brenan says that Don Quijote had a strong desire to play a noble and heroic part in life- to right wrongs and assist the unfortunate and by doing so become famous(19). Brenan adds however that his madness is confined to one thing his belief, that the books of Chivalry were true histories (18). It could be possible that Quixote in reading these materials took them at face value. E.C. Riley notes that Don Quixote says of the hero who was so vividly real to him: “ I can almost say that I have seen Amadis of Gaul with my own two eyes” (130). Quixote through his reading could have thought that he can see Amadis and his actions vividly because of his reading, which allowed him to imagine about knightly things. Brenan adds that, this was granted, it was no more mad for him to attempt to revive the profession of knight errantry than it was for a monk to imitate the Fathers of the desert (18). To further display that Quixote makes up his own truths, Sturman takes note of the helmet making scene, by commenting when testing his handiwork after the homemade visor and cap are complete, he swings a sword at it and completely cleaving the pasteboard helmet and then he makes a new and doesn’t test it because “to have faith in strength is enough, thinks the hero, for reality is always weaker”(10).
Could this be why Cervantes pokes fun at the ideas of Chivalry? Could Cervantes be trying to make a statement? According to Sturman, the aim of Cervantes is merely to “ destroy the authority and acceptance the books of chivalry have had in the world”(8). What does all this mean? What is wrong with Chivalry? Cervantes wants to point out that chivalry doesn’t work anymore because it is antiquated and if every one does not play by the same rules, then what is the use of having it, besides the real world is different than portrayed in literature. Brenan confers that the Innkeeper too believed in the truths of the books, but felt that they just ceased to take place, as a result he was content to take the world as he found it so long as he could go on cheating it (18-19). So in reality Chivalry is considered to be dead, everyone admires it but do not have what it takes to “be” or “do” it.
In conclusion, it is no surprise that the ideas of Chivalry play a big part in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. It influenced Cervantes to poke fun at it, therefore resulting in Alonzo Quijano to not only to believe in them, but to transform himself into Don Quixote, a knight errant, set on his adventures of glory, justice and his “love” Dulcinea. Which to him were very true.

Works Cited
Auden, W.,H. “The Ironic Hero: Some Reflections on Don Quixote”. Cervantes A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Lowry Nelson, Jr. N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969. 73-81.
Brenan, Gerald. “Cervantes”. Cervantes A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Lowry Nelson, Jr. N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969. 13-33.
Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch’s mythology: The Age of Chivalry, the legends of Charlemagne and others. Ny: The New American Library of World Literature, 1962.
Cervantes. Don Quixote de la Mancha. Buenos Aires: Espas-Calpe, 1947.
Gies, Frances. The Knight in History. Ny: Harper Row, 1984.
Nelson, Lowry, Jr. “Introduction”. Cervantes A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Lowry Nelson, Jr. N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969. 1-12.
Riley, E.C. “ Literature and Life in Don Quixote”. Cervantes A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Lowry Nelson, Jr. N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969. 123-136.
Sturman, Marianne. “Don Quijote”. Lincoln: Cliff Notes, 1998.
* text:
Cervantes. “Don Quixote: chVIII.“ Panoramas literarios Espana. Kienzle B., Faith T. Ny: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 112-114.

Christian Chivalry and Sir Gawain

Here is some of my writing from college, enjoy:

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight explores the chivalric life of a Christian Knight in Medieval society. It catalogues the rules to which a knight, like Gawain must adhere to such as: courtesy, loyalty, humility and courage. It also shows how the church influenced knighthood by incorporating Christian ideology into the life of a knight.
What exactly is Chivalry? Chivalry which is from the French word cheval (horse),is more than just armor-clad knights riding around looking for adventures, or slaying dragons, and rescuing damsels in distress, it is a way of life, with preset rules and regulations that a knight must adhere too, or be looked upon in shame. A major influence on chivalry was works of literature such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Francis Gies explains that it helped to fix the self-image of the knight and it also defined the standards of knightly behavior which were set down in the codes of chivalry (77). These codes were somewhat like the rigid codes of ethics (Bushido) of the samurai of Japan. As Gies further explains that these rules of conduct were mainly social (77). A knight had to be courteous, loyal, humble, and courageous; just to name a few.
Courtesy, the act of having good manners, is one of the many characteristics that a knight must display. This came in handy when in court, because manners go a long way when working with people. Gawain expresses his courtesy not only to his lord, King Arthur, but to Bercilak and the lady of the castle. Alan Markman notes, “His courtesy requires no discovery here. His very first words in the romance, as he asks Arthur’s permission to accept the challenge (164).” Gawain out of respect for the authority of the king politely says to Arthur “I beseech, before all here, that this melee may be mine. Would you grant me the grace, [To be gone from this bench and stand by you there, If I without discourtesy might quit this board…](lines 341-345).This shows the extent of Gawain’s manners, he doesn’t just step up and say “move aside king, let me handle this!” but instead he maintains that in being within courtesy that he must ask to take the place of the king and to leave the court table.
Gawain’s courtesy to Bercilak is shown in the work as well. On coming to Bercilak’s castle, Gawain doesn’t just barge in and take a room, but he politely asks the porter “if your lord would allow me to lodge here a space (lines 812)?” When Gawain is allowed to stay, upon greeting the lord of the castle he openly says “Many thanks (line 38).” The people of the castle even admire Gawain for his courtesy saying “… with command of manners pure, he shall each heart imbue (lines 924-925).” Even during the exchanging of the kills Gawain puts on his best words to Bercilak, commenting, “ this game is the finest I have seen in seven years in the season of winter (lines 1380-1381).” Throughout Gawain’s whole stay he made note to always be courteous to the head of the house.
As to Bercilak’s wife, Gawain displays courtesy to her as well. Whenever in the presence of the lady he acts according to courtesy, bowing , and kissing her hand and talking politely and softly, and things of that sort. When they are alone, Gawain tries to be as courteous as possible without leading her on. When asked during the second visit on why he didn’t kiss her, he politely replies that is was out of fear that “ it were rude to request if the right were denied (line1494).” With these confrontations it becomes harder for Gawain to express all of his courtesies because of his loyalty to the lord of the castle.
Loyalty, or pledging allegiance to a lord, was necessary in Medieval life since many knights were vassals of higher ranking lords they were required to give their life and services to their lord. Gawain shows his loyalty to King Arthur, as well as to Bercilak. As Markman suggests that loyalty is Gawain’s “strongest part of his character (164).” Gawain’s loyalty to King Arthur can be seen as Gawain steps up in place of his lord to play the game, as if to say that the king is too valuable to be injured. Gawain’s loyalty seems to over-shine the other knights at the court, because he was more willing to step up for Arthur, as the other knights even confer amongst themselves “to give Gawain the game (line 364).” Therefore Gawain being the “prized knight” gives his undying loyalty to his king.
Gawain displays his loyalty to the lord of the castle, Bercilak who is allowing him to take refuge. Gawain openly tells Bercilak that, “while I lie in your lodging, your laws will I follow (line 192).” In this statement Gawain pledges himself to the lord’s requests, in thanks for allowing him to lodge there. Gawain as well gives his word in the deal that is presented to him, and his loyalty (being tested) is his bond. Another example of his loyalty to Bercilak is in the way he handles himself in the presence of the lady of the castle. Markman suggests that it is Gawain’s loyalty that “keeps him from inviting the Lady into his bed” (172). This is evident because Bercilak is Gawain’s lord while in the castle, and as a guest it is not “kosher” to sleep with the lady of the house. Gawain questions the situation to himself saying, “…should he commit sin and belie his loyal oath to the lord of that house (lines 1774-1775).” This shows Gawain’s active conscience on his loyalty to Bercilak.
Also however in pledging loyalty to Bercilak, Gawain also pledges his loyalty to the Lady. This particular loyalty causes some conflicts and puts Gawain in a bind. Gawain in the third attempt of the lady to seduce him is given a girdle and the Lady asks for his loyalty and silence in the matter. This deal as Jan Solomon notes causes, “a breech of loyalty in keeping the girdle, and the Lady having demanded secrecy, prevents Gawain from turning over the girdle” (270). Gawain must use both of his loyalties and determine what is best in the situation.
Gawain’s humility can be seen outright in the opening of the story and throughout. Gawain at proposing to take the challenge, shows his humility by telling Arthur, “ I am the weakest, well I know, and of my wit feeblest; And the loss of my life would be least of any (lines 354-355).” Here he humbles himself below all those who are present at the banquet. Gawain goes on to exclaim that, “I have you [Arthur] for uncle is my only praise (line 356).” This is to say that Gawain is able to sit among the table because he is a blood relative of Arthur. Gawain’s humility can further be seen at the castle of Bercilak. Bercilak tells Gawain that he is lucky for having him as a guest. Gawain tells Bercilak on line 38; “ All the honor is your own”. Gawain reverses the situation and tells Bercilak that it is by his (Bercilak’s) honor that makes him lucky. Gawain’s humility is further seen when asked by the Lady to tell of his many deeds and of his loves and so forth. Gawain however, avoids the situation by telling her, “In all that I am able, my aim is to please, As in honor behooves me…(lines 1546-1547).” In other words he is saying that, if he tells her it would be boastful of him to do so. In these actions Gawain preserves his humility by not going overboard with is position as a knight and by not making up some over-exaggerated story of love and his adventures.
Gawain’s courage is a trait that is shown at the beginning of the story and throughout as well. The importance of courage is vital to a knight, especially in combat. Markman notes that, “his courage is, of course, is demonstrated, in the first place, by his willingness to accept the monstrous challenge of the Green Knight“(163). Gawain is the second only to Arthur to take the challenge. Gawain is the only other knight to put himself on the line, the others vote that he take it. Only Gawain possesses knightly courage to step up for his king, and furthermore to seek out the Green Knight and maintain his contract. His courage is further showed on the way to and at staying in Bercilak’s castle. Gawain’s courage is tested in the wilderness when he encounters some beasts in the woods and defeats them. At the castle his courage is seen when he makes the deal with Bercilak. Gawain who doesn’t know Bercilak at all, is brave enough to make the deal to exchange winnings with each other. Not to mention to stay in the castle another day after having been confronted by the Lady, such as he did, should speak for itself on his sense of courage.
Gawain’s courage is once more seen when the guide advises him to turn back. Gawain tells the guide on line 2131 that, “ I were a caitiff coward; I could not be excused”. In this Gawain is brave enough not to except this bribe, and gathers himself to face his fate. At meeting the Green Knight, Gawain’s courage is seen as he goes through with the contract and uncovers his neck, although Gawain does flinch, he allows for the Green Knight to take the strike. To further show his bravery, Gawain draws his sword and challenges the Green Knight, telling him in line 2325, “ If you make another move I shall meet it midway”. All these things show how Gawain is absent of fear and takes action as a knight should.
The Roman Catholic Church, made great influences on the institution of knighthood. The Church transformed the knight out of barbarity and into a soldier of the Cross. Before the Church put their hands in knighthood, many warriors were fighting feudal wars, these wars sometimes left villages destroyed and millions of people killed. A system of checks had to be placed into society, and as Thomas Bulfinch notes the Church did this by their influences, in hopes to protect the weak and to bring peace about (39). One way in doing this, was the institution of limitations, the Peace of God and Truce of God put restrictions on the days that a feudal war could be fought on and even the time, place, and reason for fighting were kept in check.
In order to directly effect the fighting the Church went right to the source, the knights. The Church made the knights, protectors of the Church in the essence that the Church endowed the order of knighthood to those worthy. Bulfinch takes note that, the order of knighthood, endowed with all the sanctity and religious awe that attended the priesthood, became and object of ambition to the greatest sovereigns (42). The ceremonies and the symbolism was what put people in the state of awe.
The ceremony to become a knight was very religiously based. As Bulfinch
explains it on page 42 of his work, “the knights were to fast and pray the whole
night before and he was the go to confession and receive the sacrament. They
were bathed and dressed in pure white (simple) clothing. The next day he would
go before the Church and with his sword around his neck, a priest would bless it.
Then the sponsor would issue the oaths and receive his spurs, mail, hauberk,
and lastly his sword was girded around his waist. Then the president would give
him the three strokes on the shoulders with the flat edge of a sword and declare
him a knight saying to him: “ In the name of God, of St. Michael, and St. George,
I make thee a knight; be valiant, courteous, and loyal!”. The knight was then
given his helmet, shield, and spear.” The three taps were for the three persons of
God (the Trinity) as well as for St. Michael the Archangel, patron saint of soldiers
and St. George, patron to knights, soldiers, and to England. All of
these things were to cleanse the knight for his duty as a soldier of Christ and the
Church, and also having taken the sacraments, and as Geis describes on page
104, “he heard Mass and a sermon stating the articles of Christian faith , and the
Ten Commandments“, made him duty bound to defend the church.
To go even further each piece of equipment had a religious symbolism. Frances Geis explains on page 79 that; “the shield protected him as he must defend the Holy Church from all malefactors, robber or infidel. As his hauberk guarded his body he must defend the Church. As his helmet shielded his head he must shield the Church. The two edges of his sword signified that the knight was the servant of both Our Lord and of his people. The point signified the obedience the people owed the knight. The horse symbolized the people, who must support him, as the knight guarded them knight and day, they should provide him with necessities of life. As the knight guided his horse, he must guide the people“. Gies continues on page 105, “the sword (in the form of the Cross) showed that its owner must combat the enemies of Christianity and to maintain justice; the spear signified truth; the helmet “dread of shame”; the hauberk resistance to “vices and faults”; the mail stockings were meant to keep him from straying; the spurs to endow him with diligence and swiftness in pursuit of duty.” These are all the things the Church did to make knighthood an institution of Christianity.
How does all this apply to Gawain? At Gawain’s leaving he hears Mass and is dressed in his armor. The thing that stands out the most is his shield which is described in lines 620-665. It is red and it’s main frontal feature is the pentangle, an endless knot, like the star of David and Solomon, with five points which is representative of the five senses, virtues, wounds of Christ, and the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary (Annunciation of the angel to Mary, visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, Nativity, presentation of Jesus to the Temple, and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple). On the inside of the shield (what Gawain sees) is an image of the Virgin Mary a symbol of purity and honesty, which is to guide him and keep him safe. It could be assumed that Gawain too is a virgin based on his expression to St. John in line1788, St John is known to be a symbol of virginity. In the journey to meet the Green Knight it is apparent that Gawain is serious of his commitment to God, Gawain is desperate to lodge somewhere and hear Mass and at finding Bercilak‘s castle he hears the Mass service daily. All of these things show the influence that the Church has given him in the form of Christianity.
In conclusion, it can be seen that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, catalogues the rules of knighthood: courtesy, loyalty, humility, and courage all of which are present in Gawain; also it shows the influence the Roman Catholic Church had on knighthood and Gawain through the implementation of the Christian symbolism in the equipment and in the ceremony. Furthermore it can be said that Gawain is a Christian knight.

Works Cited
Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch’s mythology: The Age of Chivalry, the legends of Charlemagne and others. Ny: The New American Library of World Literature, 1962.
Gies, Frances. The Knight in History. Ny: Harper Row, 1984.
Markman, Alan. “The Meaning of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight“. Sir Gawain and Pearl: Critical Essays. Ed. Blanch, R. Bloomington: Indiana Univ., 1966. 162-173.
“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight“. Ed. M.H.Abrams. The Norton anthology of English literature,7th ed. London:Norton & Company, 1999. 156-210.
Solomon, Jan. “ The Lessons of Sir Gawain”. Critical Studies of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Ed. Howard, Zacher. London: Notre Dame, 1968. 267- 275.
Here are some interesting quotes from the following website:

You who long for the Knightly Order,It is fitting you should lead a new life;Devoutly keeping watch in prayer,Fleeing from sin, pride and villainy;The Church defending,The Widows and Orphans succouring.
Be bold and protect the people,Be loyal and valiant, taking nothing from others.Thus should a Knight rule himself.He should be humble of heart and always work,And follow Deeds of Chivalry.;Be loyal in war and travel greatly;He should frequent tourneys and joust for his Lady Love;He must keep honor with all,So that he cannot be held to blame.No cowardice should be found in his doings,Above all, he should uphold the weak,Thus should a Knight rule himself.— Eustace Deschamps

The First Battle
There is a battle to be fought,Before the weapon is in hand,Or the enemy is in distance to strike.The battle is in the mind,To take captive our fears and doubts,To secure our thoughts andCommand our mental faculties.To focus these moment of our lifeFor a greater purpose than our own needs,Our own wants or even our own preservation.To walk into the shadow of death placing ourDestiny in the hands of God,For Him, for Country, for family,For the defense and well being of others,For children yet to be born.To remove all jealousy, envy, strifeAnd hatred from our heart.To forgive all who have wronged us.To be thankful for all the beauty in the world.And every voice and smile of friendship.To pray for our families and loved ones,To pray for our enemies as well;That in this ensuing battle,Whatever the outcome,That the Will of God be done.To pray for courage that we might encourage others.To pray for the forgiveness of others,That we may be forgiven ourselves.For if this be our last moments,We want to be right with Him.This is the Heart of ancient Knighthood,When every day was a battle in the mind.This is the heart of true patriots,True Soldiers, for all who serve God,In serving their Country andIn service to others.—Sir R. I. Tulak

On knighthood: insights from Ramon Lull

In the early Middle Ages the term knight designated a professional fighting man in the emerging Feudal system. Some were as poor as the Peasant class. However, over time, as this class of fighter became more prominent in post-Carolingian France, they became wealthier and began to hold and inherit land. Eventually, on the Continent of Europe, only those men could be knighted whose fathers or grandfathers had been knights; and the knightly families became known as the Nobility. This sense of "nobility" becomes more restricted, to the privileged. In the high middle ages and late middle ages, the principal duty of a knight was to fight, and lead heavy cavalry. The concept continued being tied to cavalry, mounted and armoured soldier because of the cost of equipping oneself in the cavalry, the term became associated with wealth and social status, and eventually knighthood became a formal title. Knighthood is designated by the title Sir in England. The French title "Chevalier", Spanish "Caballero"(related to chivalry),the Italian "cavalieri", or the German "Ritter" (related to the English word Rider) are usually used in Continental Europe. The word knight derives from Old English language cniht, meaning servant, (In a parallel development, the word "Samurai" in Japanese language also comes from the verb "to serve".) Knighthood, as Old English cnihthād, had the meaning of adolescence.
Linguistically, the association of horse ownership with social status extends at least as far as ancient Greece, where many aristocrat names incorporated the Greek word for horse, like Hipparchus and Xanthippe; the character Pheidippides in Aristophanes' “The Clouds” has his grandfather's name with hipp- inserted to sound more aristocratic. Similarly, the Greek Hippeus is commonly translated knight; at least in its sense of the highest of the four Athenian social classes, the ones who could afford to maintain a warhorse in the state service. A survival is the modern given name Philip, whose etymology means lover of horses. An Equestrian Roman (Latin eques, plural equites) was a member of the second highest Social class in the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. This class is often translated as knight; the medieval knight, however, was called miles in Latin, (which in classical Latin meant "soldier", normally infantry). In the later Roman Empire the Classical Latin word for horse, equus, was replaced in common parlance by Vulgar Latin caballus, derived from Gaulish caballos, thus giving French cheval (keval), Italian cavallo, and (borrowed from French) English cavalry. This formed the basis for the word knight among the Romance languages: Spanish caballero, French chevalier, Portuguese cavaleiro et cetera. In German language, the literal meaning of Ritter is rider; and likewise for the Dutch language and Danish language title Ridder.
Significantly the nobility, who at this time were also expected to be leaders in times of war, responded to this new class by becoming members of it.
Nobles had their sons trained as gentlemen and as professional fighters in the household of another noble. When the young man had completed his training he was ready to become a knight, and would be honoured as such in a ceremony known as dubbing (knighting) from the French "adoubement." It was expected that all young men of noble birth be knights and often take Oath swearing allegiance, Chastity, protection of other Christians, and respect of the laws laid down by their forebears, though this varied from period to period and on the rank of the individual.
The concept, together with the notion of Chivalry came to full bloom during the Thirteenth century, the apogee in the power and influence of the mounted knight on the battlefield, particularly in France, whose knighthood had the most redoubtable battlefield reputation. However, as the Fourteenth century dawned, the importance of heavy cavalry was reduced by improved Pike and Longbow tactics. The English introduced foot service for the knight in the early Hundred Years War, to support their longbowmen and to combat the depleted French knights whose charge managed to reach the English lines through the deadly hail of longbow arrows. This tactic spelled disaster for the formerly unstoppable French cavalry charge, and the French knights soon followed suit in dismounting for combat, fighting primarily on foot from roughly 1350 to 1430. However, as their victories increased in the later Hundred Years War, the French took to increased mounted action -- the Battle of Formigny was finally won with a French cavalry charge.
The French man-at-arms would fight mounted through the Italian Wars and beyond, and the knights of other nations would follow his lead. They became increasingly professional, paid warriors (a trend which actually started in the Hundred Years War) and, after suffering setbacks due to the new technology of firearms, progressively evolved, abandoning the lance, then the armour, of the medieval warrior. Which would no doubt culminate the abandonment of the sword and the Battle of Anjou, and would spell the end of Knighthood as it was known, transforming it into an ornate-clad relic of the past.
Origins of European knighthood
Knighthood as known in Europe was the byproduct of two elements, feudalism and service as a mounted combatant. Both arose under the reign of the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne from which the knighthood of the Middle Ages can be seen to have had its start. Some portions of the armies of German peoples tribes which occupied Europe from the third century had always been mounted, and sometimes such cavalry in fact composed large majorities, such as in the armies of the Ostrogoths. However, it was the Franks who came to dominate Western and Central Europe after the Fall of Rome in the West, and they generally fielded armies composed of large masses of infantry, with an infantry elite, the Comitatus classical meaning, which often rode to battle on horseback rather than marching on foot. Riding to battle had two key advantages: it relieved fatigue, particularly when the elite soldiers wore armour (as was increasingly the case in the centuries after the fall of Rome in the West); and it gave the soldiers more mobility to react to the raids of the enemy, particularly the invasions of Muslim armies which started occurring in the seventh century. So it was that the armies of the Frankish ruler and warlord Charles Martel, which defeated the Umayyad Arab invasions at the Battle of Tours in 732, were still largely infantry armies, the elites riding to battle but dismounting to fight.
As the eighth century progressed into the Carolingian Age, however, the Franks were generally on the attack, and larger numbers of warriors took to their horses in the middle ages to ride with the Emperor in his wide-ranging campaigns of conquest. At about this time the Franks increasingly remained on horseback to fight on the battlefield as true cavalry rather than as mounted infantry, and would continue to do for centuries thereafter. The notion of a horse-mounted attack would prove to be a staple in the French’s repertoire in the future. Although in some nations the knight returned to foot combat in the fourteenth century, the association of the knight with mounted combat with a spear, and later a lance, remained a strong one.
These mobile mounted warriors made Charlemagne’s far-flung conquests possible, and to secure their service he rewarded them with grants of land called Benefices. These were given to the captains directly by the emperor to reward their efforts in the conquests, and they in turn were to grant benefices to their warrior contingents, who were a mix of free and unfreed men. In the century or so following Charlemagne’s death, his newly enfifed warrior class grew stronger still, and Charles the Bald declared their fiefs to be hereditary. The period of chaos in the ninth and tenth centuries, between the fall of the Carolingian central authority and the rise of separate Western and Eastern Frankish kingdoms (later to become France and Germany, respectively), only entrenched this newly-landed warrior class. This was because governing power, and defense against Viking, Hungarian people and Saracen attack, became an essentially local affair which revolved around these new hereditary local Lord. The resulting hereditary, landed class of mounted elite warriors, the knights, were increasingly seen as the only true soldiers of Europe, hence the exclusive use of the term miles for them.
Becoming a knight
The process of training for knighthood began before Adolescence, inside the prospective knight’s home, where he learned Etiquette and Manners. A knight was usually the son of a Vassal. Around the age of 6 to 7 years, he would be sent away to train and serve at a grander (kings) household as a Page/servant. Here, he would serve as a kind of waiter and personal servant to his elders. For at least seven years a page was cared for by the women of the house, who instructed him in manners, courtesy, cleanliness, and religion. They would also teach him how to make food and do much more. He would learn basic hunting and Falconry, and also valuable battle skills such as the use of weapons and Armour and the caring, readying, and riding of horses. A page became a Squire when he turned 14 or 15 years of age, by being assigned or picked by a knight to become his personal aide. This allowed the squire to observe his master while he was in battle, in order to learn from his techniques. He also acted as a personal servant to the knight, taking care of his master’s armor, equipment, and horse. This was to uphold the knight’s code of Chivalry that promoted generosity, courtesy, compassion, and most importantly, loyalty.
The knight acted as a Tutor and taught the squire all he needed to know to become a knight. As the squire grew older, he was expected to follow his master into battle, and attend to his master if the knight fell in battle. Some squires became knights for performing an outstanding deed on the battlefield, but most were knighted by their lord when their training was judged to be complete. A squire could hope to become a knight when he had learned his lessons well. Once the squire had established sufficient mastery of the required skills, he was dubbed a knight.
In the early period, the procedure began with the squire Praying into the night, known as Vigil. The night before his knighting Ceremony, the squire would take a cleansing bath, Fast, make Confession, and pray to God all night in the Chapel, readying himself for his life as a knight. He would dress in white which was the symbol for purity, gold Tunic, and purple Cloak. Then he would go through the knighting ceremony the following day and was knighted by his Monarch or lord.
As the Middle Ages progressed, the process changed. The squire was made to vow that he would obey the regulations of Chivalry, and never flee from battle. A squire could also be knighted on the battlefield, in which a lord simply performed the accolade, i.e. struck him on the shoulder saying “Be thou a knight”.
In the ceremonial of conferring knighthood the Church shared, through the blessing of the sword, and by the virtue of this blessing chivalry assumed a religious character. In early Christianity, although Tertullian’s teaching that Christianity and the profession of arms were incompatible was condemned as heretical, the military career was regarded with little favour. In chivalry, religion and the profession of arms were reconciled. This change in attitude on the part of the church dates, according to some, from the Crusades, when Christian armies were for the first time devoted to a sacred purpose. Even prior to the Crusades, however, an anticipation of this attitude is found in the custom called the “Truce of God.” It was then that the clergy seized upon the opportunity offered by these truces to exact from the rough warriors of feudal times a religious vow to use their weapons chiefly for the protection of the weak and defenseless, especially women and orphans, and of churches.
Chivalry, in the new sense, rested on a vow; it was this vow which dignified the soldier, elevated him in his own esteem, and raised him almost to the level of the monk in medieval society. As if in return for this vow, the church ordained a special blessing for the knight in the ceremony called in the Pontificale Romanum, "Benedictio novi militis." At first very simple in its form, this ritual gradually developed into an elaborate ceremony. Before the blessing of the sword on the altar, many preliminaries were required of the aspirant, such as confession, a vigil of prayer, fasting, a symbolical bath, and investiture with a white robe, for the purpose of impressing on the candidate the purity of soul with which he was to enter upon such a noble career. Kneeling, in the presence of the clergy, he pronounced the solemn vow of chivalry, at the same time often renewing the baptismal vow; the one chosen as godfather then struck him lightly on the neck with a sword (the dubbing) in the name of God and St. George, the patron of chivalry as well as St. Michael, the Archangel.
Knights followed the code of chivalry, which promoted honour, honesty, respect to God, and other knightly Virtue. Knights served their lords and were paid in land, because money was scarce. In various traditions, knighthood was reserved for people with a minimum of noble quarters (as in many orders of chivalry), or knighthood became essentially a low degree of nobility, sometimes even conferred as a hereditary title.
Eventually kings, as an expression of absolutism, moved to further monopolize the right to exclusively confer knighthood, even as an individual honour. Not only was this often successful, once established, this prerogative of the Head of State was even transferred to the Succession/ Political succession of dynasty in Republic Regime, such as the British Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. Knighthood as a purely formal title bestowed by the British monarch unrelated to military service was established in the 16th century. (However, military knights remained among the Knights Hospitaller until 1798.) The British title of Baronet was established by James I of England in 1611 as an inheritable knighthood, ranking below Baron (the lowest Peerage title).

Chivalric code
Knighthood was about more than just fighting, it was also about chivalry. At the beginning of the Middle Ages, this meant good horsemanship, but by 1100 it had become a whole new way of life. Knights were expected to be brave, and honorable, to uphold the honor of women, and to protect the weak. Tales of chivalry were very popular during the Middle Ages, but even so, many knights failed to live up to these high standards.
In war, the chivalrous knight was idealized as courage in battle, loyalty to his king and God, and willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Towards his fellow Christians and countrymen, the knight was to be merciful, humble, and politeness. Towards noble ladies above all, the knight was to be gracious and gentle.
Not long ago, chivalry was a concept that was largely ignored, and is perceived by most to be dead. It was something that was known to literary scholars and history professors, but it didn’t seem to have any place in the world of business, politics, relationships or personal conduct in the modern world as is was thought of as mere vestiges of antiquity. Women had been taught that displays of chivalry were demeaning and condescending, and men had come to believe that courtesy and respectful attitudes weren’t “manly.” Nonetheless there are still few who look to these knights of old as a model of the perfect gentleman.
Contrary to popular belief there was no such thing as a “uniform” code of chivalry in the Middle Ages. Many people — from successful knights to contemplative philosophers — compiled lists of virtuous qualities, called the “knightly virtues,” which they felt defined chivalry. No two were exactly the same.
There were, however, several common themes found in these lists of knightly virtues. By combining these we might be able to consider the following seven knightly virtues of the modern code of chivalry:
· CourageMore than bravado or bluster, today’s knight in shining armor must have the courage of the heart necessary to undertake tasks which are difficult, tedious or unglamorous, and to graciously accept the sacrifices involved.
· JusticeA knight in shining armor holds him- or herself to the highest standard of behavior, and knows that “fudging” on the little rules weakens the fabric of society for everyone.
· MercyWords and attitudes can be painful weapons in the modern world, which is why a knight in shining armor exercises mercy in his or her dealings with others, creating a sense of peace and community, rather than engendering hostility and antagonism.
· GenerositySharing what’s valuable in life means not just giving away material goods, but also time, attention, wisdom and energy — the things that create a strong, rich and diverse community.
· FaithIn the code of chivalry, “faith” means trust and integrity, and a knight in shining armor is always faithful to his promises, no matter how big or small they may be.
· NobilityAlthough this word is sometimes confused with “entitlement” or “snobbishness,” in the code of chivalry it conveys the importance of upholding one’s convictions at all times, especially when no one else is watching.
· HopeMore than just a safety net in times of tragedy, hope is present every day in a modern knight’s positive outlook and cheerful demeanor — the shining armor that shields him, and inspires people all around.
Each of these concepts is important in itself, and every one of these virtues is an admirable quality, but when all of them blend together in one person, we discover the value, and power, of what true chivalry is. Modern-day knights should strive to keep these virtues alive in their own hearts, but, perhaps more importantly, they should work to bring these wonderful qualities out in the people they see every day — at home, in the office, at school or on the street corner. A person who lives by the code of chivalry in today’s world allows everyone to see their best qualities reflected in his or her shining armor.
The code of chivalry is, at its heart, simply a handbook for good conduct. But chivalry was not a mandate from the powerful to the downtrodden, nor a directive from the chosen unto the masses. It was a set of limitations which the strong and mighty placed upon themselves with the realization that setting a good example sends a message which is far more powerful than any words on paper.
The concept of chivalry is the satisfaction of knowing that one has championed the right causes and embraced the right principles, not because they were told to do so, but simply because they have chosen to follow that path. In short, that's what chivalry is — a choice. The choice to do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right times.
The Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry
From Chivalry by Leon Gautier
1.Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
2.Thou shalt defend the Church.
3.Thou shalt repect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
4.Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
5.Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
6.Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
7.Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
8.Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
9.Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
10.Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
Even yet another listing would suggest the following:
· Live to serve King and Country.
· Live to defend Crown and Country and all it holds dear.
· Live one's life so that it is worthy of respect and honor.
· Live for freedom, justice and all that is good.
· Never attack an unarmed foe.
· Never use a weapon on an opponent not equal to the attack.
· Never attack from behind.
· Avoid lying to your fellow man.
· Avoid cheating.
· Avoid torture.
· Obey the law of king, country, and chivalry.
· Administer justice.
· Protect the innocent.
· Exhibit self control.
· Show respect to authority.
· Respect women.
· Exhibit Courage in word and deed.
· Defend the weak and innocent.
· Destroy evil in all of its monstrous forms.
· Crush the monsters that steal our land and rob our people.
· Fight with honor.
· Avenge the wronged.
· Never abandon a friend, ally, or noble cause.
· Fight for the ideals of king, country, and chivalry.
· Die with valor.
· Always keep one's word of honor.
· Always maintain one's principles.
· Never betray a confidence or comrade.
· Avoid deception.
· Respect life and freedom.
· Die with honor.
· Exhibit manners.
· Be polite and attentive.
· Be respectful of host, women, and honor.
· Loyalty to country, King, honor, freedom, and the code of chivalry.
· Loyalty to one's friends and those who lay their trust in thee.
Sir Walter Scott once wrote:
“Chivalry!---why, maiden, she is the nurse of pure and high affection---the stay of the oppressed, the redresser of grievances, the curb of the power of the tyrant ---Nobility were but an empty name without her, and liberty finds the best protection in her lance and her sword.”
Without doubt, the definition has changed throughout the centuries, metamorphosing from a crude warrior, the milites, growing with society as it changed, first into the officer and gentleman, and more recently, back towards the original ideal, into a seeker of virtue and a defender of the weak. The ancients nonetheless understood what it meant and took cause to write it down for the future generations. Here are some insights from Ramon de Lull’s book of chivalry :
“Never has their been a perfect knight. Knighthood is, by definition, an office that strives for a distant ideal, a changing ideal, but one that seeks to emulate the ancient virtues associated with chivalric office. Knights will by definition fail as they are human, but attain their grace in the striving for virtue, for the perseverance of seeking to overcome the vanities of the body and soul, to do what is 'right'. It is a striving for excellence even as we know that perfection is beyond our grasp, but that fact alone does not allow us to stop in our quest for it.
Historically, knights were the defenders. Beginning as warriors, some defended the populace while others pillaged. Their virtues were warrior ones, revered by warrior cultures the world over; prowess, strength, courage, loyalty. These are the virtues of the pure soldier, the killing machine who when he uses his considerable strength for good, contributes greatly to society even as he is estranged from it. Estranged because to excel in the extreme, be jettisons the concerns of hearth and of the soul, focusing his whole being upon the martial task at hand-he must not fail or the society to which be belongs will perish.
Society quickly settled from the warfare of the dark ages that spawned this free-roaming warrior. The church grew in power and influence alongside the growth of ease at court. These developments, made possible owing to the leisure accorded by a more stable Europe, gave voice to others concerned with what the knights were and what they should become. The clerk and the lady, chiefly, were the two main influences upon the course of knighthood, next to the influences of the warriors themselves.
The church believed the knights should become 'knights of Christ', using their considerable strength to defend the faith and to become the physical defenders of the church and her ideals. The church contributed the powerful virtues of faith, temperance and humility; three cornerstone virtues of what has come to be knighthood.
The lady and the demands of court also shaped what the knight was to become. She demanded, through the romance literature that remains a powerful influence today, that the knight act with strength on one hand, and courtesy and respect on the other. A knight should respect women, he should defend them in their hour of need, eschewing the magnetic gravity of mere lust. Love could be a powerful influence over the knight, a strengthening force, that could propel the knight to greatness beyond his own capability. The church agreed, arguing only that the spiritual love of Christ was superior to the love of a woman; but the important detail was that love as an ennobling motivator was added as a chivalric element that was to stay. As a nobleman and dispenser of justice, the knight was required to seek justice, to defend the right, and to dispense of his wealth with largesse, showing the generosity that thwarted greed and thus helped the knight to ennoble himself in deed as well as blood.
These things are of course ideals. The expectations for 'chivalrous conduct' have certainly changed throughout the history of knighthood; these elements of virtue have stood the test of time in their purity, changing only in how we interpret them from age to age. It was said that renown was the key quality of a knight. Renown, the fame by which a knight is known for his virtue or malice, is not glory, it is not honor, it is the 'good name' earned through the pursuit of virtue. A pursuit that others have recognized, according you honor because of it, honoring you enough to increase your fame both in their own hearts and in the estimation of others. Renown is what you earn; you thus earn the armour that will defend you when you fail; provided that you continue to strive for excellence, keeping the virtue of humility close to the heart that the knight not fall to the sin of pride in the guise of vanity.

Prayer for Vocations

Heavenly Father, bless your Church with an abundance of holy and zealous priests, deacons, brothers and sisters. Give those you have called to the married state and those you have chosen to live as single persons in the world, the special graces that their lives require. Form us all in the likeness of your Son so that in him, with him and through him we may love you more deeply and serve you more faithfully, always and everywhere. With Mary we ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Help Counter Pro-Homosexual Lobby in NC legislature

Write your NC House Representative and State Senator a note telling them you OPPOSE these two bills and you want them to vote NO on passage of these measures.
If you don't let your voices be heard, the only voices these people will hear are the lobbyists promoting these bills!!

Equality NC, a pro-homosexual lobbying group and its allies are vigorously working for the passage of two bills that would promote the normalization of homosexuality in the public schools.
March 25, 2009
Dear Walter J.,
Our friends at Christian Action League, AFA's state affiliate, have alerted us to dangerous legislation before the state legislature.HB 548 and SB 526, The School Violence Prevention Act (the Bullying Bill) would require local school boards to amend their existing bullying policies to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression". The measure would not only create a protected status in North Carolina's pubic schools for homosexuality, bisexuality, cross dressing and other alternative sexual behaviors, but would also require schools to teach these behaviors are normal and acceptable.HB 88 - The Healthy Youth Act would supplant Abstinence Until Marriage (AUM) sex education as the standard for North Carolina's children with Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE). While the current standard, the AUM curriculum teaches "a mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage is the best lifelong means of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS," CSE would teach "respect for marriage and committed relationships" - opening the door to present unmarried heterosexual relationships as well as homosexual, bisexual and multi-partner relationships as equal with traditional marriage.CSE would become the standard for North Carolina's children, meaning that unless a parent intervenes requesting their child take AUM, then the child would be placed directly into CSE. CSE should not be the standard sex education curriculum for North Carolina's children!
Take Action!
Send an e-mail to your Representative and Senator and asking them to oppose these two egregious bills (The Healthy Youth Act and the Bullying Bill). And while you are at it, tell them of your support for SB 272 and HB 361 - The Defense of Marriage bills.

Monday, March 16, 2009



Upcoming Events

March 29th pancake Breakfast
April 25th Spaghetti dinner with the Grace family's famous meatballs

State Raffle tickets on sale till April 27th!!!

Help support your local KofC Council. Proceeds help sponsor future events, operational expenses, and support for seminarians and other aid to Holy Mother Church!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

This week's fight for religious freedom in Connecticut

(March 13, 2009) - When the Connecticut senate and house co-chairmen of the Judiciary Committee introduced Bill 1098 on March 5, they apparently hoped few would notice until it was too late. The measure proposed to strip the bishops and priests of the state of all administrative authority over their own churches, a blatantly unconstitutional intervention in the internal affairs of a church. The Knights of Columbus quickly joined the bishops and the Connecticut Catholic Conference in a public condemnation of the bill. The bill's sponsors were taken by surprise, and cancelled a planned Wednesday hearing. But some 5,000 Catholics from all around the state came to Hartford for a protest rally at noon on March 11, when the hearing had originally been scheduled to begin.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson delivered a strongly worded speech, along with Archbishop Henry Mansell, Bishop (and Supreme Chaplain) William Lori, and Bishop Michael Cote. You can watch the video of the speeches by going to this web page:
You can read more about the rally and the controversy here:
Read the Supreme Knight's op-ed column in the Stamford Advocate here:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More from Connecticut!

(March 10, 2009) - A First Amendment storm is brewing in the Constitution State. Without any consultation with its bishops, a bill under consideration in Connecticut's Judiciary Committee threatens to forcefully reorganize the Catholic Church, taking authority away from pastors and bishops and placing governing decisions in the hands of boards of directors from which clergy would be excluded. The Judiciary Committee, co-chaired by State Senator Andrew McDonald and Assemblyman Michael Lawlor, will hear evidence on Raised Bill No. 1098 on Wednesday. The bill would revise current governance provisions applicable to the Catholic Church in Connecticut. If passed, it would strip a bishop of control of his diocese. "I think that (this bill) would be very problematic under the First Amendment," Erwin Chemerinsky told Headline Bistro. Chemerinksy is one of the nation's foremost authorities on First Amendment law and dean of the Law School at University of California Irvine. Chemerinsky said the law is problematic "partly because it targets one religion and partly because it enmeshes the legislature in the workings of a particular religion." Catholic reaction to the bill has been swift as well. In the Archdiocese of Hartford and the Diocese of Bridgeport, statements were read from every pulpit last Sunday by Archbishop Henry Mansell and Bishop William Lori respectively. Calling the bill "irrational, unlawful and bigoted" and a blatant violation of the First Amendment, Bishop Lori's statement hit back hard. "This bill, moreover, is a thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic Church on the important issues of the day," Lori said, pointing out that no other religious organization is targeted by the measure. "The State has no right to interfere in the internal affairs and structure of the Catholic Church." Mansell called on each parish in his diocese to send a delegation to the bill's public hearing in Hartford on Wednesday. The laity has been equally appalled. Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, founded and headquartered in New Haven, Conn., called the bill a throwback to the extreme anti-Catholicism that pervaded America's early history.
"Whatever their reasons for introducing this bill, there is no doubt that these Connecticut politicians find themselves not only on the wrong side of the First Amendment, but on the wrong side of history, as well," Anderson wrote in an op-ed in the Stamford Advocate Tuesday. Background for the bill The New Haven Register quoted Assemblyman and Judiciary Committee co-chair Mike Lawlor as saying he was approached by "very devout Catholic" constituents asking for greater transparency in terms of diocesan funds. Misappropriation of parish funds is rare. But in 2007 a priest from the Diocese of Bridgeport pleaded guilty to defrauding his parish of over $1 million. That same year, a Greenwich priest resigned after an audit found $500,000 in unaccounted for spending. The diocese responded by implementing safeguards and launching thorough investigations and financial audits. "The pastors of our diocese are doing an exemplary job of sound stewardship and financial accountability, in full cooperation with their parishioners," Bridgeport Bishop Lori said in his statement. "For the State Legislature - which has not reversed a $1 billion deficit in this fiscal year - to try to manage the Catholic Church makes no sense." Doctrinal differences also seem to have a role in the current controversy as well. Reports from newspapers and blogs link the bill's origins to a lay group with a history of challenging the Church's structure. The New Haven Register credits Connecticut attorney Thomas Gallagher as spearheading the bill, and an article by an officer of the dissident Catholic group Voice of the Faithful in the Diocese of Bridgeport stated that Gallagher had been in dialogue with legislators on this issue since 2007. The article's author, James O'Callaghan, encouraged the group's members early on to "lend their support" to this effort of overhauling current regulations on religious corporations. Among the stated purposes of Voice of the Faithful is to "shape structural change within the Catholic Church." In 2002, the same year the group was formed, Bishop Lori banned Voice of the Faithful from meeting on Church property in his diocese. While he has "consistently supported greater involvement of the laity in the activities of the Church," the bishop said he could not condone a movement that rejected core Catholic teachings on issues such as sexual morality, celibacy "and a view of conscience contrary to the traditions of the Church." First Amendment scholars take exception In addition to Chemerinksy, many other Constitutional law experts have expressed shock at the proposed law. In a letter to Connecticut's Judiciary Committee, Philip Lacovara, who has taught law at Columbia and Georgetown and is now senior counsel at the law firm of Mayer Brown, wrote that even his first year law students would have "little difficulty seeing why the bill goes well beyond the powers that the Constitution allows the States to exercise in dealing with organized churches." Kevin Hasson, president of the interfaith Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, likewise issued a stinging statement against the bill, which he called "truly a monstrosity." "It would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment even if it applied to all churches," he said. "But the fact that it applies to only one church - the Catholic Church - makes it unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment besides." Legislators have also expressed shock at the bill. Republican State Senator Michael McLachlan was outspoken in his blog. "I pray fervently that we can dispense with this brutal attack on the Roman Catholic Church very quickly," he wrote. "Catholics don't deserve this attack and the proponents of this bill will hopefully hear this message loud and clear." Trusteeism The Church has been the target of such laws before - albeit over 150 years ago. The concept of lay "trusteeism" was a persistent problem for the Church in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as some American Catholics - influenced by Protestant congregationalism and aided by groups like the "Know-Nothings" - tried to take control of Church structure. The Know-Nothing party specifically tried to lessen the influence of the Church using "trusteeism." They actually succeeded at times - passing the Putnam Bill in New York, for example, in 1855. Overtly anti-Catholic in its purpose, that bill - similar in content to the bill being considered in Connecticut - remained on the books until the need for Union Army recruits from the Catholic population forced New York legislators to think better of it in 1863. At its worst, trusteeism caused riots and sent some parishes into schism, as trustees asserted their authority over a parish's temporal matters - often with implications for spiritual matters as well.Experts warn the religious consequences would be profound today as well. "Make no mistake, the effect of such a law - if enforced - would be the balkanization of the Catholic Church. Our one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church would no longer be apostolic, with bishops losing the say in the administration of their dioceses," Anderson wrote in his op-ed. "Rather than 'one' and 'catholic' our Church could become many and inconsistent as trustees forced their version of theology on a parish under the very real threat of confiscation if their ideology were resisted," he added. Msgr. Francis Weber holds a PhD in Church History and serves as archivist for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He told Headline Bistro that the trusteeism being proposed in Connecticut is "even worse than the normal kind" because it totally excludes priests and bishops from even voting. Historically, Weber said, "the Church has had all kinds of trouble" with the trustee system. In terms of the current law under consideration, Weber was clear: "This is a takeover," he said. Both Bishop Lori and Archbishop Mansell noted in their statements that the bill is "contrary to the Apostolic nature" of the Church by disconnecting parishes from their priests and bishop. Bishops provide the unifying charter of an apostolic church, and assure doctrinal consistency. Unlike some Protestant denominations where congregations influence doctrine, "Ours is a doctrinal Church," Weber said. "We don't have doctrine up for grabs."
(This article appears in today's edition of Headline Bistro, the Knights of Columbus news service for anyone who wants to be well-informed on daily news of special importance to Catholics.)
Additional information on this issue can be found at the Supreme Council website.)

Media Appearance
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson will be a guest on the Glenn Beck show on the Fox News Channel this afternoon at approximately 5:40 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. He will talk about religious freedom and the controversy surrounding Bill 1098, which would strip bishops and priests of Connecticut from all administrative authority over their parishes

2009 State Raffle

It's that time of year again!!!!! Our annual State Raffle!!!! Tickets are only $5.00

1st prize- Alaskan cruise for 2 and $700.00 cash
2nd prize- Hawaiian vacation and $500.00 cash
3rd-7th prize- $25.00 cash

50% of the proceedes stays here with this council to assist with our opporation. Support your local council, help us to help Holy Mother Church.

Thank You!!!

Legislative Attack on Catholic Church in Connecticut

This was received through Supreme's website and poses major concern:

An attack on the Catholic Church of Connecticut by leaders of the state legislature's Judiciary Committee "is clearly unconstitutional and poses a danger to all religions, even though its immediate target is the Catholic Church," Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said today. The organization's international headquarters is located in New Haven, Connecticut.

On Thursday, March 5, a bill was introduced in the Connecticut state legislature, and immediately referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. It targets one – and only one – church in the state, the Catholic Church, and would strip the bishops and priests of the state of any power to exercise administrative authority over their parishes.

Raised Bill No. 1098 is a committee bill and does not bear the names of any individual sponsors. Both co-chairmen of the committee, State Sen. Andrew McDonald and State Rep. Michael Lawlor, are outspoken proponents of same-sex marriage in Connecticut and have been critical of the Catholic Church’s opposition to both civil unions and same-sex marriage.
The stated purpose of the bill is to “provide for the investigation of the misappropriation of funds by religious corporations,” but it deals only with the corporate structure of the Catholic Church. No other church is mentioned, or would be subject to the bill’s requirements.

The measure has been put on a legislative fast track, with hearings scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, less than a week after its introduction. Knights of Columbus, and all concerned Connecticut Catholics, are encouraged to attend the hearing that day and express their opposition to the bill. They may also call or write the committee co-chairmen, State Sen. Andrew McDonald (800-842-1420 or, and State Rep. Michael Lawlor (800-842-8267 or

Bill 1098 is clearly unconstitutional. For more than 200 years, federal courts have consistently held that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bars the government from interfering in the internal affairs of churches. This legislation not only violates that fundamental principle, but also would single out the Catholic Church for discriminatory treatment applied to no other religious organization.

Raised Bill No. 1098 would take away all administrative authority from the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church. "This legislation violates both the First Amendment, by intervening in the internal affairs of the Church, and the Fourteenth Amendment because it singles out the Catholic Church for discriminatory treatment. Moreover, it will chill freedom of religion and free speech, because it sends a message to all religious leaders that they will now have to consider whether what they say will subject them to government interference and intimidation," Anderson explained. "The power to impose structures that grant or take away authority of church leaders at the discretion of government officials is the power to intimidate and ultimately to destroy," Anderson concluded.

Not only is this unconstitutional, but should be considered unAmerican, however with the turning of events of recent days this does not surprise me. The "protestants" delighted over their pet invention of "seperation of church and state" and now i guess they would like to re-nig on their "baby". What they fail to realize is that there is a force greater than their selves at work against them. Let us pray that with the aid of Saints Michael and Gabriel that the aformentioned Government representatives will come to true light, and eventual conversion.

More information:
Diocese of Bridgeport
Family Institute of Connecticut
National Catholic Register
Archbishop Mansell Statement
Connecticut Catholic Conference Action Alert

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Requiescat in pace William A. Edelen

REQUIEM aeternam dona ei (eis), Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis). Requiescat (-ant) in pace. Amen.

Bill has passed away on January 5, 2009 from a fast growing malignant brain tumor which was first diagnosed on November 7th of last year. He was a 4th degree knight of Newton Grove assembly and a member of our council. He is survived by his wife Sue. Our condolences go out to her. is the website for a new effort to provide for a State Marriage Protection Amendment in North Carolina. Much, much information is available there.

Keep your eyes and ears open for fast-breaking developments on this effort as things need to move (and are moving) quickly in the NC House and Senate. Past attempts in the state
legislature have been prevented from coming to a vote by the legislative leadership. Major efforts are underway to get these leaders to allow our elected representatives, and us voters, the opportunity to express our will on this vital matter.

The fact is that while NC does have laws that define marriage as a union between one man and one woman at one time, these may be overturned by a judge if someone is able to convince that judge to do so. This has already happened in a number of states, where judges have essentially overturned laws enacted by duly elected representatives. Also, NC is the only southeastern state not to have such a provision in the State Constitution. Finally, both of our Bishops are firmly behind this effort and have publicly endorsed the effort.

It’s interesting that North Carolina is the only southern state that does not have a marriage
amendment to their constitution. Our legislators and clergy of our state want this legislation to
pass. It will allow the voters in North Carolina to be given the opportunity to decide what constitutes a marriage. As Bishop Jugis explained, this is not gay bashing, as Catholics we have a responsibility to love and respect everyone. This legislation is allow the citizens of our state to definewhat a marriage is, rather than have a judge somewhere in the state decide.

So what can you do to support this action?
Pray. Prayer is one of the most powerful tools we have. Learn about the issue. Go to or the to understandwhy this is so important.

Make your voice heard. Join your other parishioners and sign the petition to let the people vote
and decide the issue.


click to enlarge

Let us give an applause to Chet Pajerski, he completed his Third Degree this weekend and joins the ranks as a "full-fledged" Knight. One more step to go for the Cape and Sword!!!! Good Job Chet!!!!!
Future Third degree dates are as follows:
03-07-09 Charlotte 10852
03-14-09 Hickory 6451
03-21-09 Jacksonville
3574 Fayetteville
03-28-09 Kill Devil Hills 8759
04-18-09 Clemmons 9499
04-25-09 Camp Lejune 1320 Cancelled & changed to 3-21-09 Jacksonville 3574
05-02-09 Raleigh 2546
05-23-09 Arden 8923
06-06-09 Garner 11266

We finnally have a new Financial Secretary: Shawn Sparrow will undertake the duties of this office. Thanks Shawn for stepping up when the Council needed you.

Rosary for the intention of human life

Bishop Burbidge and Father Leon (State Chaplin) encourages all councils to pray the rosary for the intention of human life. It has been suggested that we pick one day a month to devote to this initiative.

Catholic Voice NC

This appears in this months Tarheel Knights Newsletter from Bishop Burbidge.
March 2, 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
House Bill 168, which would permit the citizens of North Carolina to purchase a Choose Life license
plate to support pregnancy crisis centers throughout the state, has been sent to the House
Rules Committee by the Speaker of the House, Joe Hackney of Orange County. The Rules Committee
is often the place where bills are sent to die.
We urge you to contact Speaker Hackney, President Pro-Tem of the State Senate, Senator Marc
Basnight and your local Representative to ask that HB 168 be permitted a vote in the Rules Committee
in order for it to proceed to the next step in the legislative process.
You can contact each of these legislators by clicking on the link below.
Without our continual pressure, it is unlikely this bill will become law. Thank you for supporting
the passage of a law that will assist expectant mothers and their unborn children without any cost
to taxpayers.
The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge
Bishop of Raleigh

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