by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
POPE FRANCIS ON LOVE AND MARRIAGE: The English Spectator says there was no Francis revolution. African bishops and the Pope's highly traditional view of sacral sex and family would not allow the fantasy of some western bishops.
The text of Amor Laetiti. Bishop Robert Barron's initial reaction to Amoris Laetiti.
The Holy Father begins with the Good News of Love: The Joy of Love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church. As the Synod Fathers noted, for all the many signs of crisis in the institution of marriage, “the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people, and this is an inspiration to the Church”. As a response to that desire, “the Christian proclamation on the family is good news indeed”.ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE -- BEYOND THE BEATLES: Chapter Four is a beautiful reflection on Saint Paul's "Love Homily." Read and savor.
The Bible which is "full of families and love stories" beginning with "the majestic early chapters of Genesis" Theologically “the couple that loves and begets life is a true, living icon . . . capable of revealing God the Creator and Savior.” “the couple’s fruitful relationship becomes an image for understanding and describing the mystery of God himself. . . . The triune God is a communion of love, and the family is its living reflection.”
ALL PROBLEMS NOT SOLVED 'EX CATHEDRA': 3. Since “time is greater than space”, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it.
HOMOSEXUAL RELATIONS NOT REMOTELY SIMILAR TO MARRIAGE: 251. In discussing the dignity and mission of the family, the Synod Fathers observed that, “as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”. It is unacceptable “that local Churches should be subjected to pressure in this matter and that international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex”.
IRREGULAR SITUATIONS: As for the way of dealing with different “irregular” situations, the Synod Fathers reached a general consensus, which I support: “In considering a pastoral approach towards people who have contracted a civil marriage, who are divorced and remarried, or simply living together, the Church has the responsibility of helping them understand the divine pedagogy of grace in their lives and offering them assistance so they can reach the fullness of God’s plan for them”, something which is always possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.
298. The divorced who have entered a new union, for example, can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment.
One thing is a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins. The Church acknowledges situations “where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate” (329).
There are also the cases of those who made every effort to save their first marriage and were unjustly abandoned, or of “those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing, and are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably broken marriage had never been valid”.
Another thing is a new union arising from a recent divorce, with all the suffering and confusion which this entails for children and entire families, or the case of someone who has consistently failed in his obligations to the family.
It must remain clear that this is not the ideal which the Gospel proposes for marriage and the family. The Synod Fathers stated that the discernment of pastors must always take place “by adequately distinguishing”, with an approach which “carefully discerns situations”. We know that no “easy recipes” exist.
GENDER IDEOLOGY: 56. Yet another challenge is posed by the various forms of an ideology of gender that “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family. This ideology leads to educational programmes and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time”. It is a source of concern that some ideologies of this sort, which seek to respond to what are at times understandable aspirations, manage to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised.
MOST STARTLING FOR ME PERSONALLY: What was most startling about the "personal advice" in the exhortation, was it made me think how I could love much better as a husband. My usual approach to practical advice on love and marriage is to see how clearly it applies to my wife.
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
ISRAEL AND THEIR EMBARRASSED ARAB ALLIES: Don't meet me under the lime trees.
THE WINNER IN YEMEN: Al Qaeda.
DRONE PROGRAMS - ARE MALE GROUPS THE SIGNATURE OF AN ENEMY: Large male groups - drone targets; many were in Pakistan - are we at war with them?
SYRIAN CHRISTIANS: GET THEM OUT NOW: If we can't agree which Muslims to let in, let's agree which Christians to save.
SAUDI ROLE IN 9-11: The week after a critical PBS special on Saudi Arabia, CBS program 60 Minutes investigated the Saudi role in the attack. A particular focus was to press for the release of 28 pages censored from the original 9-11 report. Republican and Democratic members of the 9-11 Commission who issued the report, as well as lawyers of the victims, believe that release will lead to much more investigation into the culpability of the Saudis in that attack and the ongoing support of jihadist terrorism throughout the Islamic world.
III. PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS
WHO IS MAD AT WHOM AND WHY: Christopher Lasch, Donald Trump, and the revolt of working people against the elites.
DONALD TRUMP: Mr. Trump's Jewish (Orthodox) son-in-law.
THE LAW AND MRS CLINTON - THE PROPER PLACE OF CUSTODY FOR "INFORMATION RESPECTING THE NATIONAL DEFENSE":
The applicable statute, 18 USC 793, however, does not even once mention the word “classified.” The focus is on “information respecting the national defense” that potentially “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” 793 (f) specifically makes it a crime for anyone “entrusted with … any document … or information relating to the national defense … through gross negligence (to permit) the same to be removed from its proper place of custody.” A jury (not a Democrat or Republican political administration) is, of course, the best body to determine gross negligence on the facts of this case.
The courts have held repeatedly that “national defense information” includes closely held military, foreign policy and intelligence information and that evidence that the information is classified is not necessary for a prosecution.
Evidence that the information was upon later review found to be classified, however, as is the case with approximately 2,000 Clinton messages, is of course one kind of proof that the information met the test of “national defense information” in the first place. (See U.S. v. Rosen and Weissman, 445 F. Supp. 2d 602 (E.D. Va. 2006) pertaining to a different provision but containing a good summary of law on national defense information and classified information.)
Information does not have to be “marked classified” to be protected because information is often originated and distributed before any security officer can perform a review and put a classification mark on it.
IV. NATIONS ROUND-UP
ASIA AND CHRISTIANITY: The unique case of Korea.
RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY - A LONG VIEW FROM THEIR SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Sergey Lavrov’s article for "Russia in Global Affairs" magazine, March 3, 2016, Russia as a civilization. Lev Gumilev - a historian who matters in Putin's Russia.
UKRAINE: THE RECENT RELIGIOUS HISTORY: The whole tangled tale from a very reputable and balanced source - Moynihan letter from INSIDE THE VATICAN.
V. MASCULINITY AND FEMININITY
MASCULINITY: Pornography and the dissipation of masculinity.
ON WOMEN: Countries that restrict female attire for religious or secular reasons. Camilla Paglia on abortion.