by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
POPE FRANCIS ON EUROPE: His text on receiving Charlemagne Award. A controversial French interview afterwards. Do Islam and Christianity both have "an idea of conquest inherent to them"? Well, we are preaching the Kingdom of God and we are trying to spread it. We want freedom in the civic order so we can propose Christ to all nations, and men can give God the assent of love. We, too, seek to conquer. There is plenty in the pope’s interview we can object to as laymen involved in politics and international relations, but divorcing Christianity from conquest may not be the fight to pick.
CARDINAL SARAH ON AMERICA: Now there was a Catholic Prayer Breakfast! The cardinal from African Guinea and the Prefect of Divine Worship for the whole Church is one of the clearest voices in the Church today. He told Americans that the loss of God is at the root of the destructive gender ideology which is undermining civilization. He has given us a manly model of how Catholics should speak in our present American culture. Rather than harping on the procedural claim for ourselves of religious liberty we should employ the liberty we have to tell the truth about God, man, and woman. So let us not clamor for OUR RIGHTS, OUR RIGHTS for more liberty. We are not one more victim group being oppressed. Let us exercise the authority which we have -- clearly, consistently, persistently to give honor to God. Let us call God the Giver of Life and abortion a form of domestic violence which desecrates the feminine. Let us condemn sodomy as a desecration of brotherhood, and an abomination against Nature and Nature’s God. Why is it so easy for conservative Catholics to condemn Donald Trump with such gusto, and yet not call for impeachment against the judges who equated the abomination of sodomy with the sacrament of marriage? Cardinal Sarah elsewhere has called gender ideology and jihadist Islam the demonic forces of our day. To follow him is not to cry for freedom, but to speak with courage.
To conservative critics of Pope Francis, the cardinal reminds them of filial piety - a virtue not well practiced in the anti-patriarchal West. "He is our father." More about Sarah at the Prayer Breakfast: Utopia and America without God will fail.
Cardinal Sarah, on prayer, has also called for a return to liturgical orientation during the Eucharistic prayer, the Gloria, and the penitential rite. This should begin at cathedral Masses and work its way from there into the parishes. Will our bishops take the lead?
POPE FRANCIS AND COMMISSION ON WOMEN DEACONESSES: Our own A. Joseph Lynch explains the history of the deaconess as rising out of gender distinctions within Christianity and aimed at women serving as women to the Church.
FROM NEW YORK'S FR. RUTLER: "The Charismatic Movement filled a spiritual void for many in the chaos following the Second Vatican Council, and was commended for that even by popes, but it had its risks. An isolated emphasis on the Holy Spirit could lead to Spiritualism, as such emphasis on the Father could become Deism, and an emphasis on the Son could become Humanism. Charismatic manifestations that emphasized gifts of the Spirit apart from fruits were faulted as far back as Eusebius and Augustine in their repudiation of Montanism... It is curious that when many people stopped praying in Latin, they began waving their hands to speak in faux-Aramaic."
II. AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY AND GEOPOLITICS
THE MILITARIZATION OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY: A drone strike in Baluchistan of Pakistan displays the deep rift between the U.S. and Pakistan. There have been many drone strikes in Northwest Pakistan, but this is a new area and infuriates the Pakistan government which sees this as a breach of sovereignty. An opening to Vietnam in the form of arms sales - not quite beating those old swords into plowshares. Both acts trouble the waters with China.
LEBANON THE NEXT FRONT: Be ready to call Hezbollah an ally.
SOUTH AMERICA AND HER ARAB POLITICIANS: What a great boon for the notion of South America as a "source Church" if a new generation of South American leaders with Mideast roots could transcend the socialist/capitalist debate, and bring their Christian nations into the international arena as proponents of Christian realism.
NEW DEFENSE MINISTER IN ISRAEL TILTS TOWARD RUSSIA - JUST THE BEGINNING: The emerging relationship of Russia and Israel is going to disrupt a lot of the myopic foreign policy thinking in "think tank" Washington. The migration of Soviet Jews to Israel after the USSR played such a hostile role in the 1967 Six Days War was a wake-up call for many Soviet Jews. What is counter-intuitive is how the revival of Orthodox Christian Russia has led to a public warming to the Jews there. In Putin’s Russia the Jews as Jews are called to play an honored role as part of Russia’s multi-national history. The appointment of the Russian-speaking Lieberman as defense minister could be a game changer. Putin has deep personal ties to many Jews - an uncommon affinity. President Putin said the first Soviet government was 80-85 percent Jewish, and in the name of a false ideology harmed both Jews and Russian Orthodox. The Jewish library once seized by the anti-religious Soviets is now returned by the practicing Christian. It is becoming more and more clear to perceptive Israelis how deeply tied Putin is to Jews in his childhood and inner circle. All of this takes added import as one considers the new role of Russian-speaking Israelis. Russian is the third most common language in Israel; and Putin says he considers Israel to have a special relationship with Russia as part of the Russophonic world. Wikipedia on Russian-Israeli relations is full of facts most of us don’t know, but all of us will soon. Putin has also made Russia a safe haven for European Jews - but this Christian leader will not be embracing homosexuals any time soon.That confuses some secular Jews, but not Orthodox Jews or traditional Christians.
CHINA - FIFTY YEARS AFTER THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION: Don’t ask, Don’t tell.
III. PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS
MR. TRUMP IN SPOKANE ON THE STUTTERING AMERICAN MALE: "If [Clinton] didn't play the women's card, she would have no chance, I mean zero, of winning," Trump said. "She's playing the women's card. She's going — " [here Trump's voice drips with sarcasm] "'Did you hear that Donald Trump raised his voice while speaking to a woman?' Oh, I'm sorry!" And then: "I mean. All of the men, we're petrified to speak to women anymore. We may raise our voice. You know what? The women get it better than we do, folks. They get it better than we do. If she didn't play that card, she has nothing." Women in the audience started cheering at this.
TRUMP AND TECUMSEH: American men off the reservation by Dr. Pence.
IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
MEMORIAL DAY - MAY 30 - A DAY TO REMEMBER AND COMMIT: The religious and military bonds of a culture of life.
FEMINISM, FERTILITY, AND CIVILIZATION: Rod Dreher column.
REMEMBER THE BOYS: Anthony Esolen on Boys to Men.
U.S. ARMY - PLEASE ASK AND WE WILL TELL: Eric Fanning, gay Secretary of the Army - no big deal?
A CHRISTIAN BIAS TOWARD ORDER AND A WILLINGNESS TO FIGHT FOR IT - THE WISDOM OF AUGUSTINE: Order and Chaos by Jakub Grygiel at American Interest.