Monday, October 15, 2018

October 15: Memorial of St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor

[first published October 15, 2014]

 "Lord you have told us that you live forever in the hearts of the chaste. By the prayers of the virgin, Teresa, help us to live by your grace and remain a temple of your Holy Spirit."
               (Morning prayer from the Common of Virgins)


Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) was born in the same Spanish era that sent  Columbus across an ocean to plant the  Christian cross in the Americas. Praying the Church's office of this day prepares our minds to understand the feminine and the sacral character of that other land to explore: the interior life. The Church's teaching on the romance of monogamy is always set against the deeper truths of interiority and virginal fruitfulness which are lived out in the lives of virgin saints and the present practices of religious sisters. Teresa was a Carmelite.

An excerpt from the writings of Saint Teresa:

If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight.

Many, many times I have perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we wish his Sovereign Majesty to reveal to us great and hidden mysteries. A person should desire no other path, even if he is at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example.

What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and embedded in his heart...

From a 1948 column by Dorothy Day in the Catholic Worker paper:

St. Teresa of Avila has a great deal to say of women's ailments. "The first thing we have to do," she writes firmly in The Way of Perfection, "and that at once, is to rid ourselves of love for this body of ours -- and some of us pamper our natures so much that this will cause us no little labor, while others are so concerned about their health that the trouble these things give us (this is especially so of poor nuns, but it applies to others as well), is amazing. Some of us, however, seem to think that we embraced the religious life for no other reason than to keep ourselves alive and each nun does all she can to that end. In this house, as a matter of fact, there is very little chance for us to act on such a principle, but I should be sorry if we even wanted to. Resolve, sisters, that it is to die for Christ, and not to practice self indulgence for Christ, that you have come here. The devil tells us that self indulgence is necessary if we are to carry out and keep the Rule of our Order, and so many of us, forsooth, try to keep our Rule by looking after our health, that we die without having kept it for as long as a month -- perhaps even for a day . . ."

Newman writes that the greatest tragedy is that so few of us have even begun to live, when we die. Not even to make a beginning! 
St. Teresa goes on, "No one need be afraid of our committing excesses here, by any chance -- for as soon as we do any penances our confessors begin to fear that we shall kill ourselves with them . . ."


"Virgins show forth the beauty of God’s grace. They are the image of God that reflects the holiness of the Lord; they are the more illustrious members of Christ’s flock. They are the glory of mother church and manifest her fruitfulness. The more numerous her virgins are, the greater is her joy." 
          (From a sermon by St Cyprian, bishop and martyr)

UPDATE: On the celebration of her 500th birthday.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday October 13

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


COURAGE, FR. HARVEY, AND PSYCHOLOGIST, RICHARD FITZGIBBONSThe "orthodox approach" to homosexuality is looking fatally flawed. A stunning article of reporting should cause a serious reflection. And right away - Rod Dreher starts reflecting.

ROME FIRES JESUIT HEAD OF SEMINARY WHO APPROVES OF HOMOSEXUAL UNIONSIn Germany, homosexual defenders cry for subsidiarity.

Cardinal Wuerl is one of the key figures in the corruption of the American and Roman Catholic Clergy has resigned. He has been the slipperiest of deceivers. To all priests and good laymen--we have not yet told the story of his reign in Pittsburgh and Washington DC. The joy we know from his resignation is tempered by the nausea we feel at the Pope's  praise for him.  No-one has ever told the Wuerl narrative as clearly as the McCarrick tale. That is needed now more than ever.  The Pope needs to hear more so he can speak more truthfully about Queen Donna-the epitome of American clericalism  and the pastor who first and foremost always pastured himself.




ON CHINA - AN OLD CARDINAL DOES NOT LIKE THE OPENINGCardinal Zen vs Cardinal ParolinCardinal Zen has not approved of any Vatican picks on ChinaThe two Bishops of Hong Kong who followed Zen are not as troubled as he is.

CARDINAL OUELLET ANSWERS ARCHBISHOP VIGANOThe Cardinal's October 7 letterThe best answer to Cardinal Ouelette is by Phil LawlerThis changes nothing says Vigano partisanVigano is refuted says anotherVatican will initiate a probe on McCarrick advancement.

The Vatican officials tied to Pope John Paul II most involved in McCarrick advancement. The Church militant and Michael Voris have done a lot of excellent investigative work especially here. Their animus toward Pope Francis doesn't help. Their reporting though has stayed at the forefront of the unfolding drama.

US bishops will investigate four dioceses and McCarrick. An excellent division of labor. Reform will only come from strong bishops in particular dioceses and serious investigative mechanisms and courageous bishops acting for national and regional conferences. There were all kinds off bureaucrats who came out o f national bishops conferences to change the liturgy, to coordinate lobbying and alter Catholic Education. Why can't a few bishops or secretary priests became real investigative arms of state or national bishop conferences to purify the priesthood?

RIGHT DOCTRINE DOES NOT INSURE PURIFICATION: An interview with an expert on Padre Pio. He says the moral corruption in the Church in the 1920's and 30's under Benedict XV  and Pius XI in terms of homosexuality is worse than now.  Right doctrine is NOT a guarantee of holiness:

Aldo Valli: What were the distinctive features of the moral degradation reported by Brunatto?

Alessandro Gnocchi: It can be summarized in one concept: corruption. Moral corruption, with the spread of homosexual practice and the domination of the homosexual lobby, reaching even to the papal throne. I can assure you that the pontificate of Benedict XV is simply appalling from this point of view. But under Pius XI the situation did not change.
Evidently the infection came from very far away and, as you could also perceive as you studied the revelations of Viganò, it spread very far. And it will spread very far. It is a matter of the corruption of ecclesial life, with the struggle for offices, careers, favors, compromises and, naturally, money.
In the end we perceive the corruption of the men, who practiced this abomination using the name of Christ as a shield.

Aldo Valli: But, one could point out to you that the preaching of orthodox doctrine never failed in those years ...

Alessandro Gnocchi: Formally, one can also try to support this thesis, which in any case is a an historical falsehood. This, for me, is the most painful point, because I too had fallen into the trap of the equation "good doctrine equals good Church." The facts show us that this is not the case. Among the vices of the Catholic Church is that of formalism linked to an excessively juridical mentality.

The idea that one may simply state the letter (of the law) correctly to save any practice. In this way we have arrived, and not just over one century, to a Church founded on canon law instead of the Gospel. When we do not have holiness as our first goal, we end up corrupting everything that comes after, and I mean everything. Good doctrine is proclaimed only as a weapon to wage war on one's adversaries.

But when the doctrine is used as a weapon, it always ends up being adapted to the war and, therefore, is altered. We start by considering the doctrine under a new, instrumental aspect, and we end up finding a new doctrine, perhaps more effective, but a new one in our hands. Not to mention that if you use it to wage war and the war is lost, the doctrine will succumb together with the defeated.

I assure you that this is what has happened in the years we are talking about, involving names that I considered crystalline only because I applied the deceptive equation "good doctrine equals good Church." This is how we arrived at the famous midnight of October 10, 1962. ...I am so sick of the so called traditionalists who name all evils as starting then."

“Only holiness is subversive with respect to this infernal order in which we are immersed.” —Italian Catholic scholar and writer Alessandro Gnocchi, in an interview with Italian Catholic author Aldo Maria Valli published today on Valli's blog in Italy. Valli was one of the journalists, along with Marco Tosatti, with whom Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano met in the days prior to publishing his Testimony on the evening of August 25.


SAUDIS, WASHINGTON POST JOURNALIST, AND CONSULATE IN TURKEYDeath in the Consulate? Could the death of a journalist be the spark to look at the reality of the Saudi-US alliance? Robin Wright on Saudi journalist Jamal KashoggiThe journalist Kashoggi knew a lot about the other time Saudis left a country on a plane in a hurry after a murder - 9/11 in the USA. Kashoggi is no liberal speaking truth to power. He was in the middle of an increasingly fractured Saudi royal family. This is tremendous opportunity for the President to break the US from the impetuous leader of the country that harbors the most deadly form of Islam on the globe. They have been our enemy for two decades. Senators could help the President by underlining this. We will see the journalists and Congressmen who are most committed to the Saudi-Israeli alliance telling the rest of us not to get overly emotional about a single murder in the light of the US-Saudi-Israel alliance against Iran.

ISRAEL'S CASE FOR WAR AGAINST IRAN: The rabid anti-Trump sentiments of the Senate Democrats led by New York Senator Schumer has prevented a serious discussion about our alliance with Israel and the increasingly Salafist Saudi regime. It is not America First to help these two countries try to destroy their regional enemy. The disastrous over-personalization of political life is pushing us to war. Here is the clearest expose of Israeli policy toward Iran: their perspective is understandable. It cannot be ours.

AUSTRIA'S PROPER DISCRIMINATIONIt shuts down and exiles Salafist Sunni mosques



GOD AND NATION IN SOUTH AMERICA'S MOST PIVOTAL COUNTRYJair Bolsonaro of Brazil won 47% of the vote for President on the feast of Our Lady of Victory. There will be a runoff October 28 against a leftist labor opponent (Fernando Haddad) who received 28% of the vote.   Almost every article about the "Brazilian Trump" is as shrill as MSNBC on Trump.  A great day for Brazil and hopefully the beginning of a new set of God-centered nationalists in Central and South America. He has serious backing from the growing Evangelical community.

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Feast of October 12th—Mary, Columbus, Catholic America, and the Cosmic Race

(first published on October 12, 2012)

The practice of turning specific national days of remembrance into long family weekends by observing the nearest Monday domesticates the public liturgy of civic life. It also diminishes other ties that may resonate with the date itself. October 12 is one such day.  The 12th of October is the most important Marian feast day of Spain. Our Lady of the Pillar appeared to St. James there in the earliest evangelization of the Iberian peninsula. It is the only reported apparition of Our Lady before her assumption into heaven. [James returned to Judea, where he was executed in the year 44 -- the first Apostle to be martyred].

In 1492, the Genoan explorer Christopher Columbus sailed west under the sponsorship of Spanish monarchs to find a route to the Indies unobstructed by Muslim threats. The Moors (North African and Spanish Muslims) had just been expelled from Spain after centuries of war.  Columbus had told his seamen after two months at sea if they did not see land by the feast of Our Lady of Pillar, they would turn back.

On October 11, 1492, an island in the present day Bahamas was sighted. They set foot on land the next day.

In Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and many other countries of Hispanic America, October 12 is celebrated as Dies de Raza: “the day of the race.”  This term was used by a Mexican philosopher, Antonio Caso, in 1918 to celebrate the mixture of Spanish and indigenous cultures to shape “the Mexican mestizo race.”  Caso wrote eloquently against the Darwinian notion of survival of fittest and scientific empiricism as the only way to knowledge. He included his philosophical life as an apostle of intuition and love as the highest human expression.  In more recent years the American  mixing of bloods has been given a more malignant interpretation. Venezuela under President Hugo Chavez, in 2002, changed the day to the Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance). The noble savage and purity of Indian blood prevails!

Christopher Dawson said, “The Catholic and Protestant worlds have been divided from one another by centuries of war and power politics… nowhere is this state of things more striking than in America, where the English Protestant North and the Spanish Catholic South formed two completely different worlds which had no mental contact with one another.”

October 12 is a perfect  day to celebrate how we Americans are going to bridge that gap under the inspiration of Our Lady of the Pillar – and Our Lady of Guadalupe who reappeared 1500 years later in a different dress to show us the next steps on the same path. For sure it is a great day to celebrate the unmitigated blessing of bringing the good news of Christianity to the Americas. On October 12, Columbus the bearer of Christ had a great REUNION with long lost relatives mutually  descendant from Adam and Eve. The Reunion of humanity will occur when we recognize the  Fatherhood of God and the Kingship of Christ, Head of the  Church, and alpha male of the human race(species).

UPDATE: Walter Russell Mead does a good job of explaining the Catholic fraternal origins of Columbus Day in America.

Our review of a book on Columbus by Samuel Eliot Morison.

2017 update: In light of Catalonia vote for independence from Spain this year's October 12 National Day celebration(for the nation of Spain) took on a renewed vigor. Unfortunately the real binding force of Spain-the Catholic religion-is still underplayed in secularist Spain.  One third of the clerical killings during the Red Terror of the Spanish Civil War occurred in Catalonia.

2108 Update:
The most famous philosopher of La Raza is Jose Vasconcelos (1882-1959).  He wrote The Cosmic Race ( La Raza Cosmica) in 1925.  He sees the spiritual role of the Americas to be the grounds where all the races are reconciled through intermarriage in a new spiritual "cosmic race". He contrasts this with the Anglo Saxon approach of trying to create a separate utilitarian superior race forever.  He thought Hitler understood race and spirituality better than the technocratic and soulless British and Western allies. He has been tarred as a Nazi by many modern critics.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the feminine face of racial reconciliation as a unique mark of the Americas.  The dark skinned virgin reminds us that the Church like the Americas is the place of racial reconciliation under God.