Saturday, August 27, 2016

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, August 27

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


POPE FRANCIS AND HIS 'STAYCATION'Leisure by staying home or visiting the neighborhood. Some great insights on Pope Francis. Ratio vs. intellect. The "busyness" of vacations vs. the leisure of staying home in the hood by Austin Ivereigh.

WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIAN INTELLECTUALS? An excellent historical review of the eclipse of the Christian intellectual in American life by Baylor’s Alan Jacobs in Harper's magazine. It leaves one wanting much more.

THE PRIESTS IN GERMANY: About 30 percent of Germans identify as Catholics (23.9 million), 10% attend weekly Mass. In 1965 there were 500 new ordinations to the priesthood. In 2005 there were 122. This year there were 58. The German Catholic Church is the richest church in the world, receiving huge government funds for every registered Catholic. Their priesthood is riddled with homosexuals and their national conference is openly non-orthodox in teaching on sexual roles in the church and sexual morality. The clerical holders of the purse are not hurt by low numbers in the priesthood(fewer slices from the big pie).  Defection of registered Catholics however is a monetary issue for them because that determines their yearly government check. The German Bishops  have threatened people who de-register from the Church that they will be ineligible for sacraments. Consider the 14,000 German priests today (20,000 in 1990). More than half of the best-paid and most corrupt national clergy in the Catholic Church report that they go to confession once a year or less. The CNA article.

THE JEWS IN TOLKIEN: A Jewish father makes a discovery. What surprises me is how this Jewish man and so many lovers of Tolkien have not recognized that "the Dwarves are the Jews." To Tolkien it was embarrassingly obvious. It shows the loss of historical imagination in our age - even among the Tolkien lovers. It was not so of the author whose story written amidst the World Wars of the early 20th century is as much about corporate peoples as individuals.

THE UNIVERSE AND MAN: The anthropological principal in understanding the Cosmos.


TURKEY, ISLAM, AND ERDOGAN: A very readable good short history.

SUNNI AND SHIA FROM THE INSIDE IN SYRIA: A fascinating article on getting the sectarian narrative right in Iraq and Syria. He rejects the "Sunni disenfranchisement" tale. and sees the Assad government as much more mixed than simply Alawite-Shia. Part one by an anonymous, well informed author. Part Two will be featured here next week. It has just been published.

"The House of Saud became very, very wealthy and very, very frightened – wealthy because of the huge spike in oil prices by the end of the decade, taking them from a couple of billion dollars a year in foreign earnings to 20 billion dollars, and frightened because of two events: the fall of the Shah and the coming to power of Islamists to govern in Tehran among the hated Shiites, and the takeover attempt in Saudi Arabia, which was really a coup attempt that resulted in the takeover of the great mosque in Mecca by Islamist terrorists for a time.

But due to the combination of the oil wealth of the Gulf, the compatibility of the Sunni Islamists’ support for the Caliphate and the history of the Caliphate in Sunni Islam, the long-term objectives of the Wahhabis – I believe the Sunni Islamists present an extraordinarily serious ideological threat.

And the reason I always say "Islamist" is that I mean to connote precisely a totalitarian movement masquerading as a religion. We do not in retrospect need to accept Torquemada’s claim that his life, which repudiated everything that the Sermon on the Mount preached, was emblematic of Christianity or that he represented Christianity, and we do not need to accept the Wahhabis’ claim that their hatred is emblematic of or represents the great religion of Islam."
FROM FOREIGN POLICY SITUATION ROOM (8-16-2016): And here comes Beijing. Guan Youfei, an official with China's Central Military Commission, was in Damascus Tuesday where he met Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij. Guan said that China wants a closer relationship with Syria, and "China's military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria's military," China's Xinhua state news agency reported.

FRANCE SAYS NO COVER-UP ON THE BEACH - MIGHT INCITE SOMEONE: The home of the avant grade and decadent at Cannes finally sees a sight that makes her blush. Banning the Burkini. The Germans might want to focus on figuring out the intentions of their male refugees. Here is an article with some useful definitions and pictures of Muslim veiling practices. Governments often find it is easier to regulate the law-abiding than stop the criminals.

CATHOLICS DEBATE "IS ISLAM A RELIGION OF PEACE?" A very important debate. We think Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch is over the top in many things, but  read his daily report to hear about things not reported elsewhere. In this debate, the Monsignor is proposing an untenable option, and then ascribing a level of magisterial authority which should make the most extreme papist blush. Robert Spencer and Msgr. Swetland. As Pope Francis says: "Disagree face to face; man to man." We need more of this. William Kilpatrick is a frequent informed source for many conservative Catholics on Islam, Christianity and Atheism. Like Spencer, his rejection of Islam is totalistic. Unlike Spencer,  he doe not seem driven by a palpable hatred. Here is our critical but appreciative review of his important book.


HILLARY CLINTON - WAR PLANS FOR SYRIA AND JOBS FOR INTERVENTIONISTS WHO WILL MAKE HER LOOK TOUGH: An excellent review of who her appointees will be and what that means for policy. Where is the anti-war Left when you need them? If personnel is policy, then see the regime change hawks who support Mrs. Clinton.

TRUMP - A FOREIGN POLICY VERY DIFFERENT THAN REPUBLICANS: Analysis of Trump speech - there is a huge choice here. He is anti-war everywhere except toward ISIS. His focus allows new allies. Russia and Syria, and after the election probably Iran.

"CRIME AND VIOLENCE ARE AN ATTACK ON THE POOR" That was Donald Trump’s best line as he visited Milwaukee after the violence there. There could be nothing more dramatic than a Trump initiative toward the young men of the inner city as FELLOW AMERICANS. The campaign to properly socialize males and the repeated public proposition that police and black males share together a male duty as Americans to protect our cities may not come from Trump himself but it certainly can rise from his supporters. All who see the disaster of anti-male feminist policies of the Democratic Party’s sexual revolutionaries should see the inner city is where the disaster is most obvious. President Obama is the first president who has attacked patriarchy as an evil. That may resonate with feminist careerists, but isn’t the rule of fathers just what the black community needs most? The nation’s cities do not need another white feminist leading America. We have just had eight years of one, if you grant that President Obama is in many ways much more the son of his white feminist anthropologist momma as he is of his absent African dad. Trump in Milwaukee. A very different Trump - most powerful appeal to black Americans by a Republican in decades. Powerline blog, which has been tepid or negative about Trump, has the best take on the speech with a full video was well. The speech that will win the White House.

A CLINTON WAR COMES BACK TO HAUNT: Before Crimea, before Libya and Syria, there was another air war led by liberal interventionists. "No American boots were on the ground" but a major European city was bombed. A baby-boomer President and his female Secretary of State showed their toughness by bombing Belgrade to force Serbia to relinquish control of Kosovo. Madeleine Albright admits the bombing "was illegal but it was fair." This showed the helplessness of the Boris Yeltsin government and led to the rise of Vladimir Putin as a Russian who would protect the Orthodox East from the Muslim-friendly, atheist Westerners. Vice President Joseph Biden recently visited Serbia and was greeted with taunts and 'Vote for Trump' signs by crowds who understand very well the kind of globalism that rained down on their capital for 78 days of "humanitarian bombing" in the spring of 1999. This was one of the pivotal catastrophes of the post-Cold War baby boomer presidents in losing the peace their fathers had bequeathed them. A video news clip. These are the kinds of events that are great opportunities for serious journalists to report and learn from history. It places the discussion of Russia, the Ukraine, and Crimea in an important context. Good review of Bill Clinton's foreign policy. NATO expansion and Serbia.



CHINA AND THE FISH OF THE SEA: Without agreeing to solutions, here is the problem.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday BookReview: Bernie Madoff and the snoring watchdog

When the SEC was formed in 1934, who was its chairman?
Joseph Kennedy, father of America's 35th president.

"The government agency charged with being the industry's watchdog was deaf, blind, and mute... I realized that I had two opponents, Bernie Madoff and this nonfunctioning agency that seemed to me to be doing everything possible to insulate him."  (Harry Markopolos)

A short and sweet primer on the completely ineffectual Securities and Exchange Commission. In the end, the world started listening to Harry Markopolos.

This segment from '60 Minutes' on the fraud investigator from Boston fleshes out his efforts to expose the crimes of Mr. Madoff. (Now imprisoned in North Carolina, the one-time chairman of the NASDAQ told a reporter on the phone: "I'm not a horrible person." Madoff chooses to ignore the thousands of lives he destroyed, including his own family).

A review of Mr. Markopolos' book which appeared in an actuarial magazine:
Readers of 'The Actuary' may remember a well-known fund manager disparaging the role of actuaries in investment matters... A few months later, her fund shared in the $65 billion loss when Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme collapsed. 
Harry Markopolos studied Madoff’s strategy and investment performance, establishing a decade before its collapse that the two did not tie up. Over several years, Markopolos painstakingly documented a long list of red flags, each of which raised a suspicion of fraud. For example, the strategy should produce far more losses than it did. Returns should have been correlated to the stock market, but they weren’t. Given the funds Madoff had under management and the claimed strategy, the number of options he’d have to buy and sell would be huge — in fact, more than the open interest for the whole market on the options exchanges. Yet, there was no trace of Madoff’s deal flow either on the exchanges or in the over-the-counter market. Furthermore, Madoff organised his business in some very odd ways. Although effectively operating as a hedge fund, his organisation was constituted as an agent running trading strategies for his clients. 
His auditor was a sole trader a few blocks down, who apparently had no other audit clients. All the stock and option positions disappeared each year-end, and the financial statements showed only treasury bills. Madoff wouldn’t let anyone else near the books, even accountants acting for investors seeking to carry out due diligence before placing funds. Madoff was offering substantial commissions to feeder funds, providing high and stable returns. Why pay these costs when bank loans would be far cheaper? And then there’s all the secrecy. Investors widely believed that their ability to invest in these funds was a personal favour from Bernie Madoff, and were forbidden to discuss their good fortune with anyone else. This list of red flags formed the basis of Markopolos’ regular correspondence with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 
Markopolos also discovered why investors continued to invest with Madoff despite the red flags being common knowledge. Madoff ran a large and well- known brokerage. Could he be ‘front running’; that is, buying on his own account ahead of brokerage client buy orders, watching the market price rise and then selling onto those brokerage clients at a higher price? Front running is a form of insider dealing, which robs brokerage clients in favour of investors. Markopolos reckons that Madoff’s investors knew they were benefiting from something illegal, hence the willingness to invest in the absence of due diligence. The critical calculation concerns whether you keep your gains when the crime comes to light. The answer: probably yes if it’s insider dealing, but no if it’s a Ponzi scheme. 
The scheme finally collapsed when Madoff simply turned himself in, after 20 years of trading unmolested by the SEC. Unlike many financial professionals, Markopolos has nothing more to lose from irritating the SEC, which he exploits mercilessly in an outpouring of vitriol that is both shocking and refreshing. A theme of ‘I told you so’ rises in a gentle crescendo as the book progresses. In the end, Markopolos positively revels in the discomfort of senior SEC employees as they struggle to defend their jobs. This smugness has to be balanced by Markopolos’ constant fear for himself and his family. In his whistleblowing days, Markopolos fears retribution from mafiosi types who may blame him for bringing Madoff down. Later, he fears dirty tricks from the SEC as they rush to suppress evidence while scrambling to paint Markopolos as a deranged fantasist whom they were justified in ignoring. 
This was easily the most exciting book I have read this year. The audacity of the fraudster, the complicity of the investment community, the incompetence of the regulator — all are laid bare. But this book is more than a profoundly impressive technical account of a fraudulent investment scheme, more than a keen analysis of regulatory failure. At heart, it is a very human account of lonely life as a whistleblower, with the discouraging conclusion that, most of the time, nobody listens. 

The Great Depression of 1929 was worldwide, and lasted a decade.

In 2006, housing prices began to fall. When the housing bubble burst, the Great Recession was upon us. It lasted from December 2007 to June 2009.

The "subprime mortgage crisis" was caused by banks lending hundreds of billions of dollars to homebuyers, who then were unable to pay them back.

Sept 2008: Lehman Brothers declares bankruptcy -- the largest such filing in US history
(Lehman was the fourth biggest investment bank in the country)

Nov 2008: Senator Obama is elected president

Dec 2008: Bernie Madoff is arrested by the FBI

Here are some of Mr. Madoff's comments regarding the SEC.

(In that article, mention is made of Madoff's niece, Shana, and her marriage to a SEC attorney. More can be found here.)
Shana Madoff and husband Eric Swanson

"For three-quarters of a century, the SEC was aggressive, waging high-profile investigations against insider trading, corporate bribery, and fraud... In the last few decades of the twentieth century, however, the SEC had begun filling its ranks with lawyers instead of traders, analysts, bankers, or other people with Wall Street experience. The SEC was established for the sole purpose of regulating the financial industry, yet it was hiring people with no financial background."                                                        (Erin Arvedlund, author of a book on Bernie Madoff) 

UPDATE -- Here is an excerpt from the 'primer' interview with Mr. Markopolos mentioned above:

Why do you think the S.E.C. failed to wake up to Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme until he turned himself in?
They weren’t even asleep at the switch; they were comatose. They didn’t respond to heat and light, much less evidence of wrongdoing. They were not engaged in the fight.

Mr. Donaldson -- chairman 2003-2005

This was when William Donaldson was head of the S.E.C.? 
Donaldson was too tough on Wall Street, so he got the ax. Then you had Christopher Cox, because he wasn’t going to do his job. That’s why he got the job.

Mr. Cox -- chairman 2005-2009
(had been longtime California congressman)

You met last year with Mary Schapiro, the current head of the S.E.C. How did that go? 
I would say she was coldly polite. Her general counsel, David Becker, did most of the talking. He and I did not get along at all. He was getting ready to come across the coffee table and strangle me.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Christian Realism & Christopher Dawson: his WWII book on the Judgment of the Nations

[first published February 18, 2016]

by David Pence

This is a review of his book. Christopher Dawson has been a principal model in our attempt to tell the story of the nations as he did. He wrote as if God existed; and that it mattered to the life of nations. He would categorically reject any attempt to explain the relations of nations without an understanding of Divine Providence and the religious bonds of men. He would scoff that such a truncated de-sacralized view of human history would advertise itself as "realism." He knew what Pope John Paul II knew: that the Incarnation is the pivotal event in human history. We would add that Christ, born of a virgin, ordered public life on an apostolic fraternity of men from Galilee, and charged that sacred brotherhood to baptize those other public masculine covenants: the nations. The interplay of the one truly theocentric international organism - the Body of Christ - and the nations is the true story of Providence in human history. When Christian nationalists emerge from the  smokescreen of atheistic gender ideology, these new actors and personalities will reveal the spiritual, masculine, and covenantal character of nations in the Divine Drama.

From Christopher Dawson:
"This great central truth (the Christian doctrine of the transformation of human nature in Christ) has been obscured and often forgotten by the religious individualism of the last two or three centuries which conceived salvation as a happy after-life to be attained by pious individuals as a reward of their moral perfections or religious practices. But the Christian idea of salvation is essentially social. It has its roots in the Old Testament in the conception of the People of God, and the prophetic teaching of the restoration of Israel and the progressive manifestation of the divine purpose in history... The mystery of the Incarnation is the birth of a new humanity through which man is incorporated into the unity of the Divine Body... All temporal events and all changes in culture are in some way to be related to this central reality." 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

'SHE DOGS AND TOM CATS' -- a poem by William Tell

Gloria Steinem was fond of telling her audiences that monotheism is the root of all evil in the world. Here is a song of a different vision.


Shedogs and Tomcats 

She wore the tie and gave the speech
She raised the chalice and spoke the words
She raised her skirt and emptied her womb
And called the bloody sacrifice
A declaration of her right
… against a history of oppression 
… against her very nature

He put away the sword and gun
He kept his job and cell phone
He said it didn’t matter
which flag his own he’d call 
Because he said
He’d never fight
For any flag at all

We shall never bow or genuflect
Both of them had said
For they had learned in college 
That old male God was dead

No sacred precincts of word or love
No strictures ruling from above
A serpent lurked in the suburb’s lawn
And smiled upon his latest spawn 

Then the mothers gathered their children
and covered their heads
as the old man gathered the warriors
who uncovered their swords

They chased the tomcats out of public
They lit up the filthy nests of shedogs
It was then the blood of innocents cried out
…and there was a terrible reckoning


[Shedogs: slang for a male playing a female role.
Tomcats: slang for a female playing a male role]

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Catholic Sociobiology: Was there an Adam and Eve?

by David Pence, MD

Most events in the physical world can be explained quite nicely by physical causes. When I ask my students how eukaryotic cells capable of forming multicellular organisms came from the prokaryotic world of bacteria, I expect an explanation of endosymbiosis -- not a shout out to God. There are certain pivotal events, though, that cannot be explained without the direct spiritual hand of God. The manifestation of electromagnetic radiation and matter 13.7 billion years ago is one such event, but it is by no means the last one. The daily sacraments, each conception of a human life, the Incarnation of Christ, the creation of humans, the appearance of the first life all require the direct intervention of God. There is a lot of agreement about these interactions in Catholic circles, with a notable exception that the theological poetry of Adam and Eve is not always so well received. To call the story of Adam and Eve "theological poetry" is no great offense. But to deny the truthful essence of the story in the name of Science is a trivializing of the poetry and a denial of the theology.

Here is a tape of Bishop Robert Barron on the subject. with his critic attaching many relevant Church documents presenting a different interpretation. Bishop Barron is a great defender of the faith, and has brought more souls to the Lord than most of us. However, this video is a good man at his worst as his explanation concedes way too much to a lesser authority.

Do all humans have the same original parents? Are all the races and tribes of humanity truly monogenetic? Was human creation a unique shaping by God of a new species and kingdom? Did man by the hand of God come from matter, and woman by that same hand come from man? Was there an original state of unity between God, man, and woman that was disrupted by the disobedience of our first parents leading to the dispersal of humanity deformed by original sin? We answer unequivocally YES to all these questions.

The proposal that accident and adaptation are an adequate explanation of the universe and man -- this becomes more untenable each day to the eyes of both religious men and materialists. We are not here making an extended argument against the materialist evolutionists, but warning good religious men not to concede so much so quickly to a failing paradigm. If Marxism found its last defenders in university professors, it seems Darwinism has organized its last stand among Christian clerics.

Sometime between 100,000 and one million years ago, human beings appeared on earth. We will learn in the next decades that the emergence of new species of living beings will appear more as multiple developments from very primitive forms of life, rather than a well defined animal like a mole altering one protein at a time over a long period of time to eventually evolve into a horse. The Cambrian Explosion of 500 million years ago hints at this quite dramatically. Our picture of the development of species will look like many different stalks of a bush coming from some less differentiated multipotent stem cells in the roots. The oak tree picture with smaller branches emanating from larger branches growing out of larger trunks will become less and less defensible. We will think of the first cell of life as a kind of stem cell from which other stem cells and then more differentiated organisms develop. No one says that a zygote evolves into a human. Speaking of the development of various life forms from the original information-laden cell (a procaryote 3.8 billion years ago) will replace the older term of evolution which is irreversibly tied to accident and adaptation as its chief mechanisms of change.

When God picked up that original matter and breathed forth an adult man, it is not clear what was in the clay. But he breathed into something that looked much more like a primitive cell or chunks of soil than a baboon just waiting for one more protein sequence to break into speech. I am fairly confident that this picture of the development of differentiated life forms from more primitive undifferentiated organisms will become mainstream biology in the next few decades. I am even more confident it will not cause  conversions of hard-core materialists. The source of their disbelief has nothing to do with biological facts or providing adequate causality for observed historical sequencing.

A major difference between Christian biology and materialist evolution is that Christians contend the fulfillment of matter as having already occurred. Our developmental task as a species is to conform ourselves to the new Adam—the fruition of nature and life already present on earth. We are not pointing to some indefinite future moment or mutation that will lead to a more highly evolved human. We look back to when Eternity entered the Temporal, and try to conform ourselves to that Person-Event. The Head has shaped a template meant to be perfected by our participation. We do not seek utopia in an indeterminate future but seek perfection in an interpersonal order which was present in the distant past and is present today. Not only are Christ and Mary the perfect male and female, but Adam and Eve before the Fall are also exemplars of our true nature and ultimate destiny. We are not evolving to some new type of organism. With the grace of God, we are recovering from a Fall.

Biblical truths like the creation of all matter by a spiritual God and the existence of a single set of human parents for all people are indispensable explanatory events in the narrative of reality which we are meant to proclaim to a darkened humanity. The Christian intellect cannot block out these ordering truths. In explaining reality there is no reason to flee from facts which we learn from the Bible because we cannot yet surround them with a continuous biological narrative. We are still piecing together connective tissue but the bones are in place. Christian revelation is the real Enlightenment, and we should not turn off the floodlights to win favor with our atheistic friends by stumbling with them in the dark.

Stammering through Genesis betrays a lack of trust in God (a deficit of the theological virtue of hope) which is deeply tied to courage in facing the atheist court of respectable opinion. Retelling Genesis as a meta-narrative of non-violence is not a better explanation of the full reality of creation. In fact, that modern flight from violence exposes an ignorance of the violence constituent in the universe. This does not help our argument, especially with astrophysicists. The unwillingness to stand by the essential Christian account of God’s work calls to mind the original cowardice of Adam. The science of Satan was offered as the fruit of the tree to the woman -- but only after he had scared the male protector away from his guard post. It is not intellectual rigor but intellectual fear that paralyzes our pastors and "Catholic intellectuals." This leaves the sheep vulnerable as once Adam left Eve with the Evil One. Let us face that Liar and his modern materialist scientists today in a more courageous way than Adam did so many years ago. Our courage will come from a more radical trust in God who has told us the truth in the theological poetry of His Holy Word.  

David Pence practiced Radiation Oncology (treating cancer with radiation) for thirty years. He then earned a Masters Degree in Education with specialty licenses in Earth and Space Sciences and the Life Sciences. He has designed and presently teaches a four-year science curriculum at a Catholic Seminary.

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22 -- QUEENSHIP OF MARY: Ruling from the Inside

(first published August 22, 2014)

by David Pence

Keeping sacred time with the Church means that the central events are always prepared for by a season -- Lent for Easter and Advent for Christmas. It also means that solemn feast days are never allowed to come and go with one rising and setting of the Sun. The great solemnities are celebrated as Octaves. Eight days has an ancient meaning as a unit of time signifying a new creation. So, eight days after we celebrated the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven... we are still contemplating her place in her new home as we celebrate her Queenship. A man who desires to love God our Father as a son and build brotherhood in the priesthood, city, and nation can never spend too much time contemplating the perfection of the feminine in Our Lady. These sacral sexual roles depend on each other and are clarified by contrast, complement, and communal context.

Our Lady lived the Trinitarian roles of the woman. She is the daughter of the Father, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the Mother of Jesus. She humbly obeyed her Father. For all His life, she kept hold of her Son wrapped in swaddling at Bethlehem and draped in burial clothes at Gethsemane. Her perfect virginity established a perpetual barrier to the evil of sin while making her permeable to her Spouse: the Holy Spirit. She was "guarded by the angels, prefigured by the patriarchs, and promised by the prophets."

Feminism is the reigning atheist ideology of our day set against the person of Our Lady, as surely as the Dragon was set against her in Revelation. Wherever the confusing mist of feminism infiltrates the mind, statues of our Lady are put in the closet. Wherever feminist language is spoken, her songs are left unsung. Wherever she is photo-shopped into a picture of the Last Supper, the picture of her suffering heart is pulled from the wall as too gruesome. The "feminist implant" of atheist thinking has replaced the armed atheism of Marxism. This is a more devastating lie. Seven demons have filled the house that was swept clear of one. Wherever feminism reigns, Our Lady is dethroned.
It is hard for gentlemen to oppose even counterfeit femininity. But we must reject this anti-Marian heresy for the sake of women around the world. The white feminists of the West squandered the moral capital of the Christian interracial movement by twisting the just claims to be colorblind with the less virtuous desire to be sexually confused. The face-to-face sisterhood of Mary visiting Elizabeth was always too small a love for them. Thus they conjure the delusion that the coalition of selfish white female careerists in university, church, and government jobs is a worldwide sisterhood rivaling the masculine protective fraternity of priesthood and nations. Those who kill patriarchy multiply the widows and orphans, and at some point the dark skin of those victims will scream for justice against this racist trickery. Mary did not seek to be an apostle. She is a Queen. As Pope Francis said about women cardinals: "I don’t know where this idea sprang from. Women in the Church must be valued, not ‘clericalised.’ Whoever thinks of women as cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism."

It is an ancient tradition that after Christ’s death, the apostles hid Mary. The Roman soldiers and Jewish high priests could never lay a hand on her. Had they tried, the sword of Peter would not have stayed sheathed. Twenty centuries later the Church with her feast days, prayers, and contemplations tells the whole world who our Lady is and where she is. She is safe now, so the Apostolic Church can publicly proclaim what John and the apostles once held in secret, and the Catholic faithful affirmed in the glorious mysteries of the rosary. The Dragon and the violent world were too dominant for the apostles to speak too loudly and too clearly of her too soon. For it is always an imprudent risk to reveal a feminine beauty in an evil world if one cannot protect her from attack. But, now, let us rejoice and be glad.

Look up on this feast day and see the blue sky with white clouds in the daytime sun. Those are reflections of the Queen’s garments in Heaven. The Virgin Mother is safe up there in the midst of the Trinity, so the Church can now illuminate the world by explaining the nature of her rule. She is queen of the interior life. She rules in the vast expanse of the inner chambers opened by prayer and contemplation. The feminine rules from the inside. There is amidst the Trinity of masculine persons a feminine interior -- a whole, a beauty that is never spoken but is integral to God. That timeless feminine reality precedes Mary who is a creature. Mary is not the fourth person of the Trinity, nor is she the incarnation of the Holy Spirit. She is queen because she humbled herself before the Father. The whole world is at her feet because she opened a virgin’s heart to the wind of the Holy Spirit. In conforming herself to the will of the Father, she exercised the interior freedom of a soul in love. When men follow our mother in such acts of interior surrender we shall regain our stature as lords of creation. Only then will we fulfill the original mission of our species: to rule the Earth in his Name.


UPDATE: See  the Assumption of Mary.  And our review of Hildebrand’s classic study of purity and virginity in Catholic culture. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, August 20

by Dr. David Pence 


POPE AND CHINA AGREE ON BISHOP SELECTIONS: The Pope wants to find a way for a regular relationship with China. The country is experiencing a dynamic proliferation of Christian communities and a growing Catholic Church. It is also a nation "in search of its dream" as the governmental structure of the Communist Party remains, but the ideology of communism is forsaken.

CATHOLICS IN CENTRAL ASIA: A short review of Catholistan. Russia worries about its southern neighbors in Central Asia. A good round-up of Catholics in the Central Asian nations and a  reminder of how the Russian land giant sees the world and its neighbors.


CATHOLIC HOMOSEXUAL MONSIGNOR EXPLAINS CELIBACY TO HIS MALE VICTIM: A high-ranking priest from Stockton, California, has made a common argument we heard from sexually active homosexuals in the seminaries. Celibacy only applies to not being married. The sexual corruption in the Catholic Church is not about pedophilia, but rampant male homosexuality in the episcopacy and priesthood.

WHY WON'T CLOSETED AMERICAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS DISCIPLINE JOE BIDEN'S NEW CLERICAL ROLE AT MALE WEDDING PARTIES? The answer is in the question. Rod Dreher’s piece is for the picture, not his errant reasoning about Pope Francis. The sexual corruption of American bishops, and the betrayal of working men for gender ideology by the Catholic wing of the Democratic party are deeply related. The Washington DC episcopacy from the notorious reign of Cardinal Theodore ('Uncle Ted') McCarrick to the duplicitous mansion dwelling of Cardinal Donald ('Donna' in the seminary) Wuerl has kept the Catholic Democratic sexual revolutionaries safe by ensuring there would be no masculine shepherds in the nation’s capital to correct them.


EUROPE - A UNION OF NATIONS OR A NEW UNITED STATES: A good history showing Brexit as a kind of legacy of Charles DeGaulle who always argued for a community of intact nation states. He had a deeply spiritual sense of the nation (especially France) and thought the genius of Europe was to harmonize the nations, not replace them.

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BREXIT? A great interview with Nigel Farage who led the movement for Britain to leave the EU. An eloquent and clear speaker - many insights for America. Here are seven takeaways:
  1. A major premise of the EU was that nation states were the cause of world wars. He counters that with the more accurate notion that nation states are a defense from wars. 
  2. Polls about Brexit vote were wrong because many pro-Brexit voters were people who had never voted before AND THEY WERE UNDERPOLLED. 
  3. Social media, especially YouTube, is an incredibly powerful way to bypass big media if you can explain things in speeches and put them up as good videos. 
  4. His succinct description of incestuous media / academy / think tank / politicians was a brilliant word-for-word description of American elites. 
  5. Putin was right on Ukraine and Crimea. There was massive Brussels type intervention in Ukraine politics for years. It was EU and NATO supporters (and American NGOs) who helped overthrow a democratically elected president which precipitated the crisis. 
  6. On Nationalism in Europe: In Spain, Italy, and Greece nationalists are on the Left. In northern and eastern Europe they are more on the Right. In France nationalists are culturally conservative and economically leftist. Germany has a gigantic guilt complex from the Nazi era but they are enthusiastic European flag wavers. They are piously reverent about EU symbols in a manner not seen with other nationalities. Being European has become their new communal identity. [This serves their dominant status within the EU, without reminding them of their previous strategy for consolidating Europe].
  7. On Nationalism in Britain: Farage is actually Scottish. He believes the Scots will not leave Britain to join the EU because they will not attach themselves to the sinking ship of the Euro currency. Farage was a commodities trader. At least in this interview, he spoke much more in the language of economic and national sensibilities than religion and culture.
GIBRALTAR, THE BRITISH TERRITORY AT THE END OF THE IBERIAN PENNINSULA - IS IT IN PLAY AFTER BREXIT? A very good historical review of claims on Gibraltar at the strategic entrance of the Mediterranean Sea.

PEW REPORT ON REFUGEES TO EUROPE: 73 percent are males. Europeans overwhelmingly disapprove of how the EU is handling the influx.

GERMAN GUILT AND OPEN BORDERS: 'WSJ' columnist Peggy Noonan talking to an acquaintance of Angela Merkel:
"Last summer when Europe was engulfed with increasing waves of migrants and refugees from Muslim countries, Ms. Merkel, moving unilaterally, announced that Germany would take in an astounding 800,000. Naturally this was taken as an invitation, and more than a million came. The result has been widespread public furor over crime, cultural dissimilation and fears of terrorism... Ms. Merkel’s acquaintance sighed and agreed. It’s one thing to be overwhelmed by an unexpected force, quite another to invite your invaders in! But, the acquaintance said, he believed the chancellor was operating in pursuit of ideals. As the daughter of a Lutheran minister, someone who grew up in East Germany, Ms. Merkel would have natural sympathy for those who feel marginalized and displaced. Moreover she is attempting to provide a kind of counter-statement, in the 21st century, to Germany’s great sin of the 20th. The historical stain of Nazism, the murder and abuse of the minority, will be followed by the moral triumph of open arms toward the dispossessed. That’s what’s driving it, said the acquaintance."


SPENGLER: TRUMP VS FOREIGN POLICY ELITE: David Goldman who writes as 'Spengler' at Asia Times has always been notable among journalists  for bringing a deeper sense of history to his commentaries on foreign affairs. His take on Trump and the elite.

AN INTERVIEW WITH SYRIA’S ASSAD: NBC does a good job in talking with a government we should ally with, not overthrow.

THE WAR ON THE HOUTHI SHIA OF YEMEN: President Obama’s greatest foreign policy mistake? Where is the anti-war Left as the  Senate rearms the Saudis to bomb a neighboring nation? All the talk about Russia invading a sovereign nation in the Ukraine seems not to apply to the young Saudi prince who is making his reputation with hardline Wahhabi clerics as a credible slayer of the Shiites.

NEOCONSERVATIVES BECOME NEOLIBERAL: The class and culture of East Coast elites finds Hillary one of them. Trump and NASCAR not so.

FRANCE BANS A FULL BATHING SUIT FOR MUSLIM WOMEN: If we are in a cultural religious war, do we want to be on the side that prohibits too much modesty for women? Atheist culture uncovers the women and dissipates the males. Christian culture unites men in public brotherhoods of protection and production, while modestly-covered women perform acts of mercy and kindness. What do French laws say about the elaborate female coverings of traditional orders of Catholic sisters? The covering of women is a dramatic and universal religious statement about femininity, interiority, and transcendence. The Muslims in this instance are simply reminding us of the older Jewish and Christian traditions. The Christian nations certainly must awaken to our war with salafist jihadists, but does anyone really think that part of waging that war is to expose a little more female flesh?

SOUTH SUDAN - TRIBALISM DIVIDES YOUNG COUNTRY INTO WAR: The mostly Christian Republic of South Sudan broke from the mostly Muslim North in 2011. It has now sundered along tribal lines. The blue helmets of the UN police have run away multiple times when faced with armed men attacking UN camps of refugees. Mostly female refugees have not been protected by a force that takes a good wage home, but runs in the face of fire. It makes us ask  that age-old question: "Who wants to die for the UN?" Politics is about protection. Risking death to protect necessitates some compelling communal loyalty.

RELIGION IN RUSSIA: Troubling law against smaller churches. A law meant to give more tools against jihadists may end up harming Protestants and Mormons.