Chivalry, Day 2

Because Badass!Michael is totally awesome . . .

Today, let us look at the second admonition in the Code of Chivalry.

2) Thou shalt defend the Church.

This can only be done once the first admonition is well and truly underway. One cannot defend what one does not truly and completely believe- heart, mind and soul. That said, against whom is a knight supposed to defend the Church?

It’s not “the Infidel”, as they are specifically called out later. Pagans? Maybe, but at this time, they are so little in number in the Western world that a knight would have to travel far, or seek deeply, to encounter them at all. Likewise, Jews were of small enough population (and, depending on the time and place, not seen as any sort of threat at all). Atheists? Atheism as a “thing” didn’t really exists in any measurable amount pre-“Enlightenment”.

It seems to me that the knight is being admonished to defend the church. . . against the state. Such separation between temporal and spiritual power is not new to America, though we have encoded it more specifically than any nation before us. Rather, it goes back to ancient Judaism as an idea, is re-stated by Jesus, and then re-realised when Pope Gregory (the Great) crowns Charlemagne, deliberately making him the temporal ruler of Europe, while he himself maintains leadership of spiritual matters. This is later again re-stated in the Magna Carta, when the very first paragraph declares the independence of the Church in England from the authority of the King of England. While from our current perspective, it may seem almost incestuous how close the Church and various state functions were through the centuries, the fact remains that the Church hierarchy represented a competitor to the state structures.

The Knight was, in a sense, the basic unit of the State authority. When the leaders of the State wanted to enforce their decisions, the knights were the strength of their armies. By admonishing knights to defend the Church, the Church is thus giving a counter-order to every member of the cavalry, giving them an “out” when the orders of their local (or higher) Lord go against what the knight perceives to be right under the first admonishment. (This idea will come back again in other admonishments)

It is these two (potentially conflicting) institutions that allow for freedom of any sort. Each, ideally, offered shelter from and counterbalance to the other. This tension is right and proper for the human condition, preventing the individual from becoming slave to either State or Church. When one institution gains too much power over the other, horrors abound. Each must constrain and counter the excesses of the other, thus ensuring that each remains healthy and balanced in their respective proper sphere of influence.

In more modern terms, this admonition is akin to the leaders of Christendom saying, all at once, to every warfighter — and gov’t bureaucrat: “Your oaths before God trump any order or direction that comes down the chain of command. You will defend the Church, and all Her members, even at the cost of your career, or even at the cost of your life.”

Would that our Churches would get together to make such a proclamation– the results would be interesting, I suspect.



About zmalfoy

Z. Malfoy is a practicing Catholic-with-an-"interesting"-past. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education (Spec. Voice) from Loyola University New Orleans, and has since taken a few business courses to expand her knowledge base. In her free time, she studies belly-dance, alchemy, theology, and various skills related to self-sufficiency. She also enjoys reading science fiction, refreshing her French, and watching anime. She recently started with learning Krav Maga and Russian.
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14 Responses to Chivalry, Day 2

  1. zmalfoy says:

    Reblogged this on .

  2. solaratov says:

    Thanks, Z. I’m looking forward to the whole series.

  3. ZurichMike says:

    Me, too. I am also amazed at the great images of the Archangel Michael that you have.Today’s is especially fabulous. I never understood the airy-fairy images of Archangel Michael with a flowing hair-do and girly garments as he dispatched demons and Lucifer to hell. I mean really? REALLY? I would imagine kick demonic butt requires a bit sturdier apparel and a more warrior-like demeanor.

    Where do you find these images?

    • solaratov says:

      Absolutely correct, ZM. The Michael in this pic is *much* more in keeping with how I picture him.

      A warrior…doing what a warrior does.

      (There’s a reason God chose Michael to be his chief warrior…and it wasn’t because of his delicate features, good hair and well-developed fashion sense.) 😉

    • zmalfoy says:

      Oh, ZMike, I have the exact same feelings on the matter. I never understood the “girly” look that so many artists gave not just to angels, but especially to Michael. Why? God’s Champion should look like he is more than capable of opening a can o’ divine Whup-ass. .

      So, I have to search. This image is more modern– you can go to the deviantart link to find more of this person’s stuff. I’ve got a “Chinese Warrior” version that I’ve posted before, but I’m going to try to find some other “Holy Badass” picks to add to the collection.

  4. Pingback: Chivalry, Day 4 | For God, Family, and Country

  5. Pingback: Chivalry, Day 5 | For God, Family, and Country

  6. chrissythehyphenated says:

    “By admonishing knights to defend the Church, the Church is thus giving a counter-order to every member of the cavalry, giving them an “out” when the orders of their local (or higher) Lord go against what the knight perceives to be right under the first admonishment.”

    Hitler’s guys whined, “I was just following orders” and nobody bought it. My kids told me there is a rule in the OCMJ about refusing to obey unlawful orders. SO interesting that the concept dates back hundreds of years!!

  7. Pingback: Chivalry: What it is and why we need it | PoliNation

  8. Richard A says:

    Editorial note: Gregory the Great was pope from 590 – 604. Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the West in 800. Not by Pope Gregory the Great, obviously. Pope Leo III.

    • zmalfoy says:

      Erg, right, right! Thank you for the correction– was writing off the top of my head, and my history circuits route through my music-history circuits, and voila! the wrong synapses connected and my dumb self didn’t double check that bit.

      So yes, thank you for catching my error! 🙂

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