On statutory holidays

Today, the third Monday in February, is a civic low-traffic day in the Province of Ontario. It is called Family Day because some Liberal politician, good old Guinty McSquinty, decided we needed a day to spend with our families (however defined), to which end he would abridge our labour. I thought we already had at least 104 statutory holidays for that. In other provinces and territories, however, they celebrate different things: Yukon Heritage Day, for example, or Louis Riel Day in Manitoba. By some astounding coincidence, all these parochial politicians selected the third Monday that is Presidents’ Day in the sublime republic to our south. There, I suppose the holiday was proclaimed because Americans don’t pay enough ceremonial homage to their ancestral rulers.

Denizens of this “Fine Province of Ontario” (a phrase often on the lips of Former Premier Bill Davis, though never made mandatory) must regret that the party I founded in high school — the Very Conservative Socialist Monarchist Party, or VCSM — never came to power with me at its head. I thought it would be an easy romp, for the party was dedicated, like Mr Davis, to being all things to all people, simultaneously, and regardless of cost. Indeed, with great foresight, I began each of my campaign speeches (for the student council), “Ladies, Gentlemen, and Others,” providing a model of inclusivity far ahead of my time. Too, I proposed visionary infrastructure projects, such as building an aerodrome, so we could have a Parachute Club.

Had I succeeded, I would have put a complete end to unpleasant labour, and created more time for the enjoyment of our families, by declaring every day of the year to be a statutory holiday, with celebrations of Zoroastrian Awareness Day, Entomological History Day, European Dress Size Adjustment Day, Provincial Sleeping In Day, and so forth.

Well, I can’t go through the entire platform, for it seems I have lost the manifesto. But it contained many other thoughtful proposals, in clairvoyant anticipation of the twenty-first century. “Believe me,” as Donald Trump says.


Notwithstanding, it was less clairvoyant than this (here) remarkable document, from the hand of Joseph Ratzinger (as he then was). It was brought to our attention this morning by Rod (“Benedict Option”) Dreher, and shows that by age about thirty, years before Vatican II, and three score behind the present moment, he had already grasped the worldly fate of our Church, in times like these; and the futility of her worldly aspirations. And this simply by his characteristic method, of looking at everything sub specie aeternitatis. It is, incidentally, a method anyone may master, through the exercise of the brain, in constant rejuvenate sacramental prayer, with broad reading.

Note that, more fundamental than “the separation of Church and State,” which is merely a human legislative folly, there is a deeper separation between the sacred and profane. Every Christian must live apart, and live together, and live apart together, or rather, together apart, in ways essentially opposite to the ways of this world. We might call this some “Benedict Option,” but it begins on Calvary, in extension of the apartness of the Hebrews. And note that it requires no careful plan. In the pursuit of a Christian life, it happens on its own, by cause and effect beyond human tracing.

At my current more advanced age, I have begun almost to appreciate that nothing we could possibly do, by way of legislation, would make the slightest difference in the longer view. … He Is; we are.

Therefore I propose to rename this third Monday in February, with all other todays, the Centre of All Things Day, and hereby proclaim it, by Executive Order of the High Doganate, in defiance of all those by whom I am totally ignored.