My most felicitous salutations to you. Would that I could speak truly of my hope that this letter finds you happy and healthy, but alas I know all too well your current sorrow. Forgive me my presumption, but I feel I cannot but know your heart, and its heaviness in the face of God's inscrutable trials. After all, your recent public statement of faith exactly mirrored my own exhortations given during one of my greatest trials.
In the beginning of 1588 I sent to inquire of the Marquis of Santa Cruz why my Enterprise had not already delivered God's wrath unto the heretic astride England's throne. The news was far worse than I feared: not only was the Armada a hopeless shambles, but Santa Cruz himself was feebly directing operations from his death bed! Knowing myself to be the instrument of God's will on earth, I never wavered. Upon the poor Marquis' demise I appointed the Duke of Medina Sidonia to lead the Enterprise.
I remember well that, even at this stage, my ministrations echoed your recent statement of faith. Time and again the Duke implored me to appoint someone more appropriate. More appropriate! As though there were any man better suited to leading my Enterprise than one accustomed to administering great swaths of Andalusian countryside, and having blood noble enough to arouse piety in even the roughest seaman! For it was not wooden timbers or iron and brass guns that formed the heart of my great Armada, my dear Representative Kern. It was piety.
Many times I sighed upon opening another thick missive from Medina Sidonia. But each time I smiled, because I knew that this limited man was one of God's instruments in my hands. In response to his endless complaints of logistical conundrums I patiently repeated the simple truth: that, if the men of the Enterprise were pious, God would not allow it to fail. As I wrote to him in the spring of that year,
In the first place, as all victories are the gifts of God Almighty, and the cause we champion is so exclusively His, we may fairly look for His aid and favour, unless by our sins we render ourselves unworthy thereof. You will therefore have to exercise special care that such cause of offence shall be avoided on the Armada, and especially that there shall be no sort of blasphemy. This must be severely enforced, with heavy penalties, in order that the punishment for toleration of such sin may not fall upon all of us. You are going to fight for the cause of our Lord, and for the glory of His Name, and, consequently, He must be worshipped by all, so that His favour may be deserved. This favour is being so fervently besought in all parts that you may go full of encouragement that, by the mercy of God, His forces will be added to your own.The eyes of the world looked to me on that day. That autumn, when the first of the tattered remnants of my Armada limped back to Santander, those same eyes rolled in derision. And the eyes of history look upon my trials and see nothing but irony. But even when that first messenger spoke to me of the Armada's ruination, I did not falter. For I knew that I was His most Holy Catholic Servant, and if he allowed this Enterprise to fail it was only to make His future victories all the more glorious. And in you, Representative Kern, I see that final, long-awaited glorification of His Name.
I drained the Spanish treasury in my attempts to extirpate the Protestant scourge from God's earth, yet even after my Enterprise was smashed and scattered, Flanders remained in heretical hands. I did not despair, and today I find my faith renewed. I see now that God, in His wisdom, stayed his hand in anticipation of a greater victory: the extirpation of the homosexual menace. God, in His wisdom, will work through you to expunge all Sodomites from your lands, which will blossom into a new Catholic Kingdom that shall surely not suffer the Protestant menace to stand.
In the confident hope of a miracle,