Friday, November 23, 2007

Philip II

The Catholic Herald has an interesting article on Philip II: The Better Side of King Philip. I visited the Escorial a few years ago, what surprised me most, it was almost shocking, was how tiny the apartments of the most powerful man in the world were.
Here is an extract of the article but read the whole thing.

Yet, beyond the exigencies of politics, Philip, the most powerful man in the world, remained an extraordinarily humble monarch. “They need to see that I am mortal,” he insisted, “like everyone else.” He showed scant interest in pomp and finery, altering royal protocol to ensure that he should be addressed in official documents not as “Majesty” but simply as “Sir”. He even recognised a certain value in tolerating political dissent. “The Prince of whom subjects complain the least,” he observed, “is he who gives them most freedom to complain.” With this humility went a real concern for the poor and unfortunate. It was typical of him that, when the remnants of the defeated Armada returned to Spain, he immediately gave orders that the wounded should be properly treated and receive a pension. As to the disaster itself, he disdained to express any complaint. “It is impiety, and almost blasphemy,” he considered, “to presume to know the will of God.”
Philip always shrank from any expression of flattery. The glory which he refused to assume on his own account found expression in the building of San Lorenzo del Escorial, part monastery, part palace, part mausoleum. The austere grandeur of this gigantic edifice, constructed between 1563 and 1584 under his keenest surveillance, and first occupied in 1571, bears impressive witness to its creator.


Benfan said...

“It is impiety, and almost blasphemy,” he considered, “to presume to know the will of God.”

I'm not sure about this one. If you accept the revelation of Jesus Christ then are you not given, through Him, and the Holy Spirit, knowledge concerning God's will ?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I too read that piece in the CH and thought it was excellent. The author avoided trying to defend Philip II while pointing out his better qualities. First-rate historical journalism.

Anonymous said...

Yes i visited the Escorial..amazing...his bed was positioned so he could hear Mass if i remember rightly..

mum6kids said...

As my dd is writing about the Armada for her home ed-can I nick this for my home ed blog?
We're getting the CH today

Fr Ray Blake said...

of course