RELIGION, NATION, MARRIAGE: THE LOYALTIES OF MEN
PRAY, WORK, STUDY, PROTECT: THE DUTIES OF MEN


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12

by A. Joseph Lynch

THE WEEKLY BRIEF
MIDEAST TENSIONS RISING

The week proved troubling in the Middle East as tensions flared between Saudi Arabia and Iran and between Syria and Turkey.

The Turks have now crossed the northeastern border of Syria into regions held by our Kurdish allies. The move is obviously anti-Kurdish rather than pro-Syrian. The Turks have long feared Turkish Kurd rebels operating from this area and now seek to bring it under Turkish control. President Trump called the US troop withdrawal from the region a part of ending America's foreign wars. America First in this case means we cannot risk American troops and US dollars defending Kurds from Turks. While Pat Buchanan sees Trump's decision as a good call, Stratfor rightly points out that other local allies may not risk cooperating with Washington in the future if they fear the US will later abandon them.

We at AoA recognize good arguments on both sides of the debate. We must not forget, however, that we elected a nationalist president, not an isolationist president. A nationalist favors his nation first - but he also favors the sovereignty of other nations. Withdrawing American troops is the right move, but in the name of nationalism we must fight tooth and nail against nations like Turkey violating Syria's border. Some have argued that Turkey's push into Syria will force the Kurds into the arms of Syria's ruler, Assad. If this is the outcome, if Syria begins to reintegrate its citizens under its rightful ruler, then we can applaud the week's events. For the moment, much prayer for Syria is still needed.

We also invite our readers to learn more about Kurdistan and Syria in our Map on Monday articles.

This week also witnessed a missal attack on an Iranian oil tanker. Unlike the attacks on oil tankers linked to Saudi Arabia, little news coverage has been given to this attack. The attack took place in the Red Sea, not far off Saudi Arabia's western coast. Where are the calls to investigate the Saudis? Isn't it obvious who is responsible? As the Saudi-Iranian cold war gets hotter, expect more attacks such as these.


I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

WHERE'S THE MONEY? Church Militant investigates bad loans and lost money at the Vatican.

SYNOD FLASH BACK: Readers may notice that AoA has given little attention thus far to the Amazonian Synod now taking place in Rome. Several years ago mass conservative Catholic hysteria took place over the Synod on the Family. Church Militant, which has done some incredible journalism on Church scandals, is fiercely anti-Francis and dedicated much attention to attacking the last synod. Here is a sample of their work from the concluding week of the family synod. The hysteria then was unjustified and we suspect the same now. For the moment, we hold our judgment for the synod's conclusion and final document.

NYC BISHOP SACKED: Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of New York's Auxiliary Bishop John Jenik, who has been accused of sexually abusing a boy in the 1980s. How many other bishops are yet to be removed and how much did Cardinal Dolan know?

DEFENSELESS CHURCHES: The archbishop of La Plata in Argentina is asking Catholics not to protect their churches in the face of violent, rabidly anti-Catholic, pro-abortion feminist activists. But if reports of police inaction are true, who else should defend the Church?


II. PRESIDENT TRUMP AND AMERICA

TRUMP FIGHTS BACK: In a scathing eight-page letter, the Trump Administration blasted the impeachment proceedings as lacking "any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections." The White House will not - and ought not - cooperate in the newest foreign policy hoax perpetrated by angry intelligence officials and Democrats fearing the loss of the House in 2020.

NEVER TRUMPERS NO MORE: The new Ukraine hoax and attempted coup attempt from the House is bringing many Never Trumpers to the president's side. If the current moves from the Left are bringing back hard anti-Trump conservatives, imagine what it could be doing to independents in the center.

PHASE 1 CHINA DEAL: The president proposed a trade deal plan that involved multiple phases, each making arrangements on different areas of disagreement with harder areas saved for later phases. The phase one deal hammered out differences on intellectual property, financial services, and big agricultural purchases.

SHEPHERD SMITH DEPARTS: Fierce "Never Trumper" Shepherd Smith announced the end of his "speaking truth to power" tenure at FoxNews.

BIDEN OUTSPENT? Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to Mitch McConnell believes Biden could be outspent by 6 to 1 in a race against Trump. In addition to his gaffes, and recent Ukrainian scandals, Biden is also known as an antiquated fundraiser who cares little for the work of raising campaign contributions.

MUELLER PERJURY? Despite his under oath Congressional testimony to contrary, it appears Robert Mueller had interviewed for the open FBI Director job with Trump only days before being named Special Council to investigate the president.

WARREN - FIRED OR QUIT? Elizabeth Warren has frequently stated that she lost a teaching job because of a pregnancy. It turns out her contract was extended but she turned down the job. More from Dr. Steve Turley.

BETO THREATENS CHURCHES: Beto O'Rourke, hoping to pick up votes by moving further to the Left, is now calling on the government to rescind tax exempt status from churches and religious institutions that do not support gay marriage. Don't be surprised to see video of this in 2020 GOP commercials.

TRUMP'S UN SPEECH: We had hope to give more coverage to the speech, but for now we invite our readers to watch.


III. THE NATIONS

PHILIPPINE-RUSSIAN COOPERATION: Is the Philippines moving in Russia's direction?

ISRAELI-GULF STATE PACT? Israel is working to capitalize on tensions with Iran, attempting to forge a non-aggression pact with the region's gulf states. Will it work?

UZBEKISTAN IN 2-MINUTES: Uzbekistan's Geographic Challenge from Stratfor.


IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

FINGER GUN-POINTING FELONY: A 13 year old girl in a Kansas City, Kansas suburb has been charged with a felony for pointing her hand in the shape of a gun at other students. So much for banning AR-15's - soon we'll have to ban fingers, too.

STD'S IN CALIFORNIA: STD's are dramatically rising in California, with STD's being passed to babies up by staggering numbers. It is being called a healthcare failure in the state.

HUNDREDS SEEK TO DE-TRANSITION: Hundred of people who transition to another gender are re-thinking the change. They have some harrowing stories and have largely been abandoned as "traitors" to the trans cause. In other trans news, some girls have begun skipping school over new gender neutral bathrooms where boys and girls now mix.

GIRL BOY SCOUTS: In a unanimous vote, girls will now be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts beginning in the cub program. Each den will determine if it will go co-ed or form a second den for girls. We agree with the the Girl Scouts that this is a great mistake.

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.

Monday, October 7, 2019

October 7: The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

The Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary in commemoration of the victory of Christian forces at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. The call to arms against the Ottoman Muslim Turks was sounded by a Dominican Pope: Pius V. It was largely Catholic city-states and military orders who answered his call. They were led by Don Juan of Austria. The events are memorialized in G.K. Chesterton's poem on Lepanto.

Rather than act as the military commander, Pope Pius V called on laymen to do their protective duties as holders of the civic sword. The Pope led Rome and the Christian world in prayers -- notably the beautiful reflection on the life of Christ known as the Rosary

The Church dedicates this day not to the men of the sword, but to Our Lady of the Rosary. This is not a day to  forget the men of the sword, but to keep the sword under religious discipline. There is great significance in tying devotion to Our Lady with the martial vigor of statesmen-warriors. It is a feast day reminding us and celebrating the Christian order of chivalry.

The lessons for men today should be obvious. The duty of clergymen to lead us in the sacrifice of prayer must often be matched by the duty of laymen to lead us in the sacrifice of protective wars.


Video Update: Spanish-speaking Catholics deepen our sense of history in reminding us that before Lepanto there was the centuries-long battle to evict the Muslim Moors from Spain (completed 1492 just before Columbus discovered the New World). From Lepanto came Miguel de Cervantes who would write the great Spanish classic, Don Quixote. Here is an excellent short video on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the historic battle:





UPDATE: There are two other events which we commemorate as victories of Christian men in arms against Islamic invasion. The first is the Battle of Tours in 732 (a century after the death of Muhammad) in which the Muslim forces were stopped in France by Charles "The Hammer" Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne.

And the other is the Battle of Vienna in 1683, which ended the threat posed by the Ottoman Turks. The Polish king, John Sobieski, was hailed by pope and common folk as the savior of Christendom.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5

by A. Joseph Lynch
With Commentary from Dr. David Pence

THE WEEKLY BRIEF
THE SWAMP STRIKES BACK

President Trump came to power as a nationalist populist, seeking to break the neoconservative-globalist-imperialist hold on the Republican party and the nation. Since his election, a shift has begun to take place within the two dominant American political parties. The "Never Trump" conservatives have begun to ally themselves with the globalists and imperialists within the Democratic party while Trump seeks to rally patriots, laborers, and religious Americans to his cause. In 2018, he brilliantly focused on keeping the Senate, replacing many "Never Trumpers" with nationalists. This cost control of the House. Given the radical, do-nothing, investigate-and-impeach liberals controlling the House, however, it would seem like Trump could be set for a huge sweep back into control of both houses and the presidency. What's more, a GOP-controlled House would now be thoroughly nationalist-populist with many "Never Trumpers" not seeking re-election.

Despite this, the neoconservatives and globalist liberals still have wide-ranging support from within U.S. intelligence agencies. This week Tucker Carlson rightly pointed out this reality, explaining that the intelligence community has been gunning for Trump since January 2017. Dr. Pence reminds us how the intelligence community, headed up by Jim Comey (FBI), James Clapper (Director of National Intelligence), and John Brennan (CIA), manipulated their offices to launch the debunked Russia collusion investigation:
According to his memos, Mr. Comey gave [a] Jan 6 briefing to President Trump at the suggestion of Office of National Intelligence Chief James Clapper. Clapper, as well as John Brennan of the CIA, were at the briefing. CNN had the "Russian dossier" in early January. They wanted to publicize it but needed a "News Hook" by which it would seem a news story, instead of serving as a televised megaphone for opposition gossip. The Comey briefing became the CNN news story on Jan 10. Other outlets then published the details of the dossier. The WHCA awards gushed "thanks to this CNN investigation 'the dossier' is now part of the lexicon. The depth of reporting... showed breaking news reporting at its best." James Clapper, who suggested the Comey briefing, now works for CNN as a consultant. The real news story is the collusion of anti Donald Trump government officials and anti Donald Trump news media turning fabrications of Russian held prostitute videos into a news story and then a national security crisis requiring a special prosecutor. Most importantly this has poisoned a signature initiative of the Trump Presidency to reformulate relations with Russia in the post Cold War environment of competing nations and civilizations.  The two year resistance movement of high ranking intelligence officials hampering effective governance and a new foreign policy by election winner and outsider Donald Trump is an amazing story crying out for investigative journalists.
The new investigation into the president and Ukraine began with a member of the intelligence community submitting a second-hand account to investigators. No one has yet reported who, only days prior, changed the whistle-blower forms to allow complaints based on second-hand accounts (otherwise known as rumors). Reporting has also been slow to point out Adam Schiff's connection to quid pro quo Ukraine arms deals. As the Trump team ramps up their own investigations into 2016, both in terms of Democrat and intelligence leadership collusion with foreign governments (be it Ukraine or the UK's MI6) as well as new investigations into the Clinton emails, pressure is on to keep Trump from finishing his work. And with a potentially devastating IG report coming any day, another fake investigation seems to be the last ditch effort at distracting America from the truth. It won't work, and it might take out front-runner Biden in the process. One thing is for certain: 2020 will be a very important year for America.


I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

BARRON ON MODERN THEOLOGY: While we have had our issues with Bishop Barron - his visually stunning Catholicism series is much better on mute - and Dr. Taylor Marshall has rightly questioned his position on universal salvation, Barron offers a good assessment of modern Catholic theology as he attempts to defend his own place within it.

CATHOLIC IDENTITY DECREE SUSPENDED: On June 21, Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis decreed a local Jesuit high school had lost its Catholic identity over a teacher seeking a gay marriage. The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education has now suspended that decree while it investigates. So much for subsidiarity and for decentralizing the role of the Vatican in local affairs.

VATICAN RAIDS: Vatican police raided its financial offices this week as Pope Francis appointed an anti-mafia prosecutor to confront financial corruption within the Vatican. Five have been suspended but time will tell how effective investigations will be.


II. PRESIDENT TRUMP AND AMERICA

PETER THIEL TALK: There is a shift taking place within America's political parties. Much of Peter Thiel's talk at the National Conservatism Conference echoes these changes, particularly in its rejection of the song Imagine and his defense of nationalism.

TRUMP FUNDRAISING RECORD: Political fundraising reports show that President Trump has raised $125 million in the third quarter and has $150 million cash on hand for 2020. While this is far above Democrat fundraising, it's also nearly double the $71 million President Obama raised at the same time in his re-election efforts. President Trump won 2016 being outspent 2-1, imagine how he'll do with the financial tables turned.

IS BERNIE'S POLITICAL END NEAR? Bernie Sanders this week suffered a heart attack and received two stents. He then not only cancelled events, but also ad buys in Iowa. His campaign says he plans to be at the next presidential debate on October 15, but might he soon drop out?


III. THE NATIONS

CROWN PRINCE DOC: Watch the new PBS documentary on Saudi Arabia's crown prince.

CONSERVATIVES WIN AUSTRIA: Conservatives under the leadership of Sebastian Kurz won in landslide in Austria while the far right dipped due to a scandal last spring. As a coalition government forms, it remains to be seen who the conservatives will align with.

ERDOGAN'S OIL IMPORTS: Turkey's 80 million citizens and growing economy runs on electricity that is 40% powered by gas imports. Despite sanction threats from the US, energy needs have led Erdogan to continue oil imports from Iran. Turkey and Iran are certainly in no alliance, but it's very good to see that Iran is not facing a united Saudi-Turkish threat against it.

NETANYAHU STUMBLES: After being tapped to form a new government, Netanyahu is still working to form a coalition. He now faces a leadership threat from within his own party.

BUCHANAN ON CHINA: His analysis as China's government turns 70.


IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

NYC SPEECH POLICE: "Alien" might be the legal term to describe a non-citizen resident, but don't say "illegal alien" in NYC or threaten to call ICE as you could be facing a $250k fine. Debate surrounds the reach of the policy set by the city’s Commission on Human Rights, but many see it as the newest attack on free speech from the Left.

VIRGINIA TEACHER FIRED: A teacher in Virginia is suing after he was fired for not using the preferred gender pronoun of a female student who identifies as a male. It appears as though the issue is being framed as religious discrimination rather than based on free speech or in terms of gender reality. In any case, it's further evidence that extending the rights of the "LGBTQIA+" will only lead to discrimination and persecution of the gender sane.

AWARD-WINNING DEPUTY DEMEANED: During his own award reception, the first of its kind in the southern Florida town, Deputy Joshua Gallardo was stunningly told he was a bad police officer by city commissioner Mike Gelin, who was arrested by Gallardo in 2015. Gelin, an African American, had been recording the police during an arrest and was arrested after being told to stop recording. Apparently his nine hours in a jail cell has left him rather bitter. He now faces a city reprimand for incivility.

MEXICO AND ABORTION: While nation still protects the unborn at the federal level, the state of Oaxaca is now allowing abortions. Meanwhile a pro-abortion mob attempted to burn down Mexico City's cathedral.

GEORGIA FETAL HEARTBEAT LAW BLOCKED: As Respect Life month kicked off, on October 1 a judge blocked Georgia's fetal heartbeat law that effectively banned abortion after six weeks. We now wait to see if the new conservative majority in the Supreme Court will uphold it.

Friday, October 4, 2019

October 4: Feast of Saint Francis

From an essay by Samuel Gregg:


"Franciscan peace is not something saccharine. Hardly! That is not the real Saint Francis! Nor is it a kind of pantheistic harmony with forces of the cosmos. That is not Franciscan either! It is not Franciscan, but a notion that some people have invented!"
These words were not articulated by a representative of the Texas oil industry. They were spoken in a homily given by Pope Francis himself during a much-publicized visit to Assisi in October 2013. Moreover, after emphasizing how Saint Francis [d. 1226] underscored man’s need to respect the natural world and “help it grow, to become more beautiful and more like what God created it to be,” the Pope added: “above all, Saint Francis witnesses to respect for everyone, he testifies that each of us is called to protect our neighbor, that the human person is at the center of creation, at the place where God—our creator—willed that we should be.”

Such ideas about Saint Francis don’t fit well with some portrayals of the medieval hermit and friar that have emerged in recent decades. Many of these have been developed...to exploit Francis for numerous contemporary religious and political agendas, ranging from pacifism to radical environmentalism. Franco Zefferelli’s well-known 1972 film "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" presented the saint, for example, as a type of winsome eccentric who was all about shattering conventionality. In his 1982 book Francis of Assisi: A Model of Human Liberation, the liberation theologian Leonardo Boff portrayed Francis as one who, conceptually speaking, would help us move away from a world dominated by “the bourgeois class that has directed our history for the past five hundred years"...

The text to which I always turn whenever claims about Francis of Assisi are made is Augustine Thompson O.P’s meticulously researched Francis of Assisi: A New Biography (2012). The real strength of this biography is the way it rigorously analyzes the documentary record and sources and shifts out what is reliable from that which is hearsay and legend.

So what are some aspects of Saint Francis’s life detailed in Thompson’s book that will surprise many? One is that although he sought radical detachment from the world, Francis believed that he and his followers should engage in manual labor in order to procure necessities like food. Begging was always a secondary alternative (29). Another is that Francis thought that the Church’s sacramental life required careful preparation, use of the finest sacred vessels (32), and proper vestments (62). This is consistent with Francis’s conviction that one’s most direct contact with God was in the Mass, “not in nature or even in service to the poor” (61). While Francis is rightly called a peacemaker and one who loved the poor, Thompson stresses the saint’s “absolute lack of any program of legal or social reforms” (37). The word “poverty” itself appears rarely in Francis’s own writing (246). It seems Francis also thought that it was absolute rather than relative poverty which “always had a claim on compassion” (40).

When it came to Catholic dogma and doctrine, Francis was no proto-dissenter. He was, as Thompson puts it, “fiercely orthodox” (41), even insisting in later life that friars guilty of liturgical abuses or dogmatic deviations should be remanded to higher church authorities (135-136). Hence it shouldn’t surprise us that Francis’s famous conversation in Egypt in 1219 with Sultan al-Kamil and his advisors wasn’t an exercise in interfaith pleasantries. While Francis certainly did not mock Islam, the saint politely told his Muslim interlocutors that he was there to explicate the truth of the Christian faith and save the sultan’s soul (66-70). Nothing more, nothing less.

by Bernardo Strozzi (d. 1644)

Francis is of course especially remembered by Christians and others for his love of nature, so much so that another saint, John Paul II, proclaimed him the patron saint of “those who promote ecology”... Francis’s deep affinity with nature and animals was underscored by those who knew him. The killing of animals or seeing them suffer upset him deeply (56). In this regard and many others, Francis didn’t see the natural world and animals as things to be feared or treated solely as resources for use (57).

Unlike many other medieval religious reformers, however, Francis rejected abstinence from meat and wasn’t a vegetarian. Nor was there a trace of pantheism in Francis’s conception of nature (56). Francis’s references and allusions to nature in his writings, preaching, and instruction were overwhelmingly drawn from the scriptures rather than the environment itself (55). More generally, Francis saw the beauty in nature and the animal world as something that should lead to worship and praise of God (58)—not things to be invested with god-like qualities. G.K. Chesterton’s 1923 popular biography of Francis makes a similar point: though he loved nature, Francis never worshipped nature itself. Francis’s relationship to nature, Thompson observes, shouldn’t be romanticized. The saint even viewed vermin and mice, for example, as “agents of the devil” (225).

No one should be stunned by any of this. Saint Francis of Assisi was, after all, a Catholic. He therefore accepted the Jewish and Christian insight that not only is the Creator the Lord of his creation, but that the summit of his created world is man. Awareness of this basic truth, according to Saint Ignatius of Loyola—the founder of the Jesuit order to which Pope Francis belongs—is central to growing closer to God. In his 'Spiritual Exercises,' Ignatius identifies the “fundamental principle” for overcoming self as knowing that:
"Man has been created to praise, reverence and serve our Lord God, thereby saving his soul. Everything else on earth has been created for man’s sake, to help him achieve the purpose for which he has been created. So it follows that man has to use them as far as they help and abstain from them where they hinder his purpose."
Neither Ignatius of Loyola nor Francis of Assisi treated the created world as a rosy abstraction. Appreciating and respecting the environment didn’t mean disdaining everything else—including human beings, human work, and human creativity—or forgetting that, as the Church Father, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, once wrote: “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

However much legend and mythology has blurred the real Francis of Assisi over time, the genuine drama of his life and the forces he unleashed in medieval Europe mean that he’s perhaps fated to have any number of ideological programs thrust upon him. In the end, however, we should remember that while Francis of Assisi continues to have many things to say to everyone today, at the core of all those things is the Catholic vision of God, man and the world.

One can safely say that, for Saint Francis himself, any other interpretation would be impossible.