This was an amazing sermon.
I found it hard to believe that I was listening to a Catholic archbishop. It just goes to show how much Catholicism has changed across the centuries as it has accommodated itself to liberalism. Even the post-liberal Trad Catholics of First Things argue that Christianity is for cucks and that it requires “defeat in this life so we might enjoy triumph in the next.”
In this sermon, Wulfstan II, the Archbishop of York, condemns the English for their sins and blames their lack of moral discipline for God’s righteous anger which in his time (1010-1016) had brought about the overthrow of King Æthelred the Unready and the conquest of England by the Danish King Sweyn Forkbeard. It was the culmination of over two centuries of Viking raids on England which had started with the sack of the Lindisfarne monastery.
Fortunately for the English, all was not lost. The Viking Age was approaching its end. Sweyn’s father Harald Bluetooth had been the first Danish king to convert to Christianity. Sweyn Forkbeard was buried in a church in Denmark and his son Cnut the Great ruled the North Sea Empire of Denmark, Norway and England as a Christian king. The Christian faith of the English in Wulfstan’s time ultimately not only survived this trial by fire, but was strong enough to convert the Danes and the Norse who would soon participate in the Crusades.
Would that had ever happened if the Danes and Norse who conquered so much of Northern Europe had been exposed to modern Catholicism?
“Nothing has prospered now for a long time either at home or abroad, but there has been military devastation and hunger, burning and bloodshed in nearly every district time and again. …
Now very often a kinsman does not spare his kinsman any more than the foreigner, nor the father his children, nor sometimes the child his own father, nor one brother the other. Neither has any of us ordered his life just as he should, neither the ecclesiastic according to the rule nor the layman according to the law. But we have transformed desire into laws for us entirely too often, and have kept neither precepts nor laws of God or men just as we should. …
Alas, many a great kinsman can easily call to mind much in addition which one man could not hastily investigate, how wretchedly things have fared now all the time now widely throughout this nation. And indeed let each one examine himself well, and not delay this all too long. But lo, in the name of God, let us do as is needful for us, protect ourselves as earnestly as we may, lest we all perish together.
There was a historian in the time of the Britons, called Gildas, who wrote about their misdeeds, how with their sins they infuriated God so excessively that He finally allowed the English army to conquer their land, and to destroy the host of the Britons entirely. And that came about, just as he said, through breach of rule by the clergy and through breach of laws by laymen, through robbery by the strong and through coveting of ill-gotten gains, violations of law by the people and through unjust judgments, through the sloth of the bishops and folly, and through the wicked cowardice of messengers of God, who swallowed the truths entirely too often and they mumbled through their jaws where they should have cried out; also through foul pride of the people and through gluttony and manifold sins they destroyed their land and they themselves perished.
But let us do as is necessary for us, take warning from such; and it is true what I say, we know of worse deeds among the English than we have heard of anywhere among the Britons; and therefore there is a great need for us to take thought for ourselves, and to intercede eagerly with God himself. …”
If Gildas and Wulfstan are to be believed, the corruption of our religion and the decay of our morality are the cause of these scourges of God.