Saturday, October 21, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, October 21

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch 

Driving ISIS out of its territorial base in Iraq and Syria is an incredible accomplishment. Iran, Russia, the Syrian government, Iraq's regular army and their Shiite militias, the noble Kurds and the SDF all can share credit. Likewise an initial strategy of President Obama and an intensification of efforts by President Trump deserve praise.  The desire of the internationally recognized Syrian government to reestablish control over its territory, the desire of the Kurds for autonomy, and the Israeli desire for a fragmented Syria which doesn't threaten the Golan Heights are now all in play.
The "war on terror" meanwhile will continue on many fronts. There are three religious errors we see confusing the public debate. 1) From Niger to Mozambique to the Philippines, the terrorists are all products of the salafist Sunni schools of Islam championed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan. Yet we have targeted Shiites in Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain as enemies in our alliance with the Saudis and Israelis.  2) The greatest need in Africa will be strong states capable of exercising lethal authority to safeguard their people. This is why the US will have military advisors in multiple countries buttressing states most Americans could not find on map. Meanwhile Catholic intellectuals in the worldwide Church are following the pacifist/homosexual wing of the clergy in developing theories of the state which "morally prohibit" waging war or inflicting capital punishment. It is another instance of the  "modern west" betraying the southern Christians. The Charmin (soft and white) Catholics want to weaken authority, nations and men. The southern nations (including South America) need strong states and strong religious national male leaders to establish civic order to insure economic justice. We may not hear that from peace and justice seminars at the Vatican.  3) In the fight against atheist communism, it was necessary to divide in order to conquer. In the fight against jihadists, it does not help to  lump all of Islam as the source of violence.  This is both a religious disservice and a strategic blunder. Conservative anti communists opposed the opening to China of President Nixon and Kissinger. Many of them thought Ronald Reagan had given away the store to Gorbachev as well. Those moves split the Communist monolith and were absolutely necessary in the subsequent collapse.  While the "liberal" Christian press cannot see any relation of Islam to jihad, the conservative Christian press can see no difference between a Sufi and a salafist or a Shiite nation state and the Hanbali law tradition.  Many "conservative Christians" reject that the Muslims worship God and put forth an argument that the West is at war with all of Islam. This is particularly convienent for those trying to equate Israel's war with Shiite Iran to the US war against salafist jihadists. American military men from McMaster to Mattis have fought alongside  Muslim soldiers and they never say we are at war with all of Islam. It takes intellectuals to propose that formula.  The American military spear is sharp and strong but our strategy is as muddled as ever. As ISIS loses its territorial base, it will be more essential than ever to understand the religious roots of the multi headed monsters that will now emerge.              


THE DEEP STATE AND THE BOGUS THREAT FROM IRANDavid Stockman tells a persuasive tale of an overwrought military complex in perpetual search of threats. Is war inevitable with Iran? President Trump has a more bellicose approach than his advisers but he has support from the Republican Senate, Israel under the Likkud and the ruling clan of the Saudi royal family. Pat Buchanan's analysis is geographical, historical and adult.

DEADLY ATTACK IN SOMALIA - WERE THEY SHIITES OR SALAFIST SUNNIS? Educated in mosques paid for by Saudi money. The most effective opposition to the Salafists in Somalia may be a rekindling of Somalian Muslim nationalism with soldiers trained by Turkey. Turkey was the first nation state with a Muslim majority to emerge from the Ottoman empire. Turkey renounced public Islam in its hyper secular founding but has now reembraced Islam as its cultural core. Somalia has a common language and religion but needs nationalist institutions and a unifying leader to prevent tribal disintegration which has devastated the country for thirty years. In Niger, the jihadists are also from the salafist Sunni branch of Islam. There can be no real strategy against the new face of Jihadism unless we understand its religious home.


NETANYAHU ON IRAN - NOT SO HIDDEN MESSAGE THAT ROGUE NATIONS HAVE NO RIGHTS OF SOVEREIGNTY: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News on Sunday,Oct 15: "Iran is the foremost terrorist state of our time. It hangs gays, jails journalists, subjugates women, and foments terrorism throughout the world and wild aggression in the Middle East. To have a regime like this, whose economy is 30 times the size of North Korea...acquire an arsenal of nuclear weapons in 10 years' time, which is what the Iran agreement now provides Iran to do, is a terrible folly." "The president is right to put that forward now and to say I'm not going to authorize the continuation of a very bad deal that will give a rogue criminal state the power to threaten the United States mainland." President Trump seems to be in full accord with the Israeli Prime Minister.  We have long argued that Iran and Israel are both nation states who will eventually help us in the fight against the salafist jihadist movement in Sunni Islam. Israel's shortsighted alliance with Saudi Arabia should not be US foreign policy. The attempt by the Obama administration to engage the great civilization of Persian Shiite Iran was its highest diplomatic accomplishment. This was a case where President Obama, Secretary Kerry and Advisor Ben Rhodes broke with the "think tank foreign policy establishment" They were pulling out of that swamp (See these  last foreign policy interview/profiles with President Obama and Ben Rhodes).


KOREA: In Korea President Trump has inherited a situation he has decided we cannot live with. Can this be done without war with China? That has always been the question in Korea since the 1950's. The wick of war seems lit.

IN EASTERN EUROPE RELIGION AND NATIONS REASSERT THEMSELVESFrom the Polish Borders Rosary to a disruption at a Romanian opera.

IN AUSTRIA, THE NATIONALISTS UNSEAT THE LEFTThey will need the libertarians to form a coalition government but this is a sea change for a country of 8 million (75% Catholic). Germany has ten times the population and is divided in thirds among Catholic, Protestant and "None".   5% of Germans are Muslims.

THE KURDS ARE A REAL PEOPLEBut the most important oil resource in the region now belongs to a bigger entity. Iraq takes Kirkuk.

REX TILLERSON: A revealing profile article on the Secretary of State, Qatar and the State Department.


JUDGE MOORE AND HIS FOX NEWS/WEEKLY STANDARD CRITICS: How biblically based Christans are still the social outcasts at Fox.

ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGELDefend us in battle.

MEN IN TRENCHESA football poem in the military news.

ONE TAKE ONBowe Bergdahl.

POLISH PHLOSOPHER LEGUTKOAn interview about the similar dangers of secular liberal democracy and communism. They turn out to be two forms of an atheist anthropology.

Legutko: One of the main elements of my book is a reflection on the anthropological assumptions that underlie our political choices. Both democracy and liberalism have assumed a minimalist concept of human nature, devoid of any higher dimensions, metaphysical or moral. Christianity has an entirely different view of human nature, similar in many respects to what we find in antiquity. On the one hand, man is defined, like Aristotle’s political man, by his existence in a society in which he — as a person, not as an individual — can acquire moral virtues, and on the other hand, by his metaphysical status, having been created in the image of God. To put it differently, the liberal-democratic man is a flat character whose higher aspirations are considered either as personal idiosyncrasies or politically dangerous ambitions to overthrow equality. In Christianity, as in antiquity, human existence is represented vertically — it has its highs and lows and is strained between sainthood and sin. In Christianity, we hope to live up to that for which we were created, but we also fear failure. In the flat anthropology of liberal democracy, there is not much people hope for and not much they fear. Even God is reduced to a liberal-democratic dimension in that He resembles a nice, easygoing philanthropist more than the God we read about in the Bible.

All Christians who believe that liberal-democratic ideology is like an ordinary coat, no different from any other, that they can put on to be able to move around more easily and comfortably but inside which they will still remain the same Christians, make a mistake — and a double one to boot. The first mistake is a wrong choice of strategy. The liberal-democracy ideology uses — no matter that it does so fraudulently — the rhetoric of multiculturalism, which is supposed to give justice to the existence of different “cultures,” which, precisely because they are different, are said to contribute to the richness and diversity of society. But if this were true, then Christians should compete with others for a visible presence and for influence — after all, this is what the coexistence of different groups in a liberal democracy should amount to — and in order to be a successful competitor they should act as an energetic and full-blooded group, strongly committed to their cause, openly determined to imprint their mark on the world. The opposite strategy — obliterating the boundaries, diluting their message in liberal jargon, cajoling the idols of modernity, paying homage to today’s superstitions, self-effacing their identity — condemns Christians to a sad defeat with no dignity and no progeny.

THE PARIS STATEMENT - A EUROPE WE CAN BELIEVE IN: A ringing celebration of a European identity based on a community of nations, a renewal of marriage and a Christian heritage. The signers of this declaration counter the "false Europe" with the "true Europe". An inspiring assertion of Christian culture, national identity and marriage as the true Europe under siege by the arrogant "generation of 68". The Anthropology of Accord argument for a new concord of Christian nations and a repudiation of the sixties sexual revolution is close to the heart of this statement. Some favorite authors had a hand in it including Remi Brague and Ryszard Legutko. A few excerpts:
THE LOSS OF RELIGION; THE PROGRESS MYTH AND THE FALSE EUROPE: It is no accident that the decline of Christian faith in Europe has been accompanied by renewed efforts to establish political unity—an empire of money and regulations, covered with sentiments of pseudo-religious universalism, that is being constructed by the European Union. The patrons of the false Europe are bewitched by superstitions of inevitable progress. They believe that History is on their side, and this faith makes them haughty and disdainful, unable to acknowledge the defects in the post-national, post-cultural world they are constructing. Moreover, they are ignorant of the true sources of the humane decencies they themselves hold dear—as do we. They ignore, even repudiate the Christian roots of Europe.

THE TRUE EUROPE: A European spirit of unity allows us to trust others in the public square, even when we are strangers. The public parks, central squares and broad boulevards of European towns and cities express the European political spirit: We share our common life and the res publica. The true Europe is a community of nations. We have our own languages, traditions and borders. Yet we have always recognized a kinship with one another, even when we have been at odds—or at war. This unity-in-diversity seems natural to us.

CHRISTIANITY FRAMED THE NATION STATE AS THE POLITICAL FORM AND MARRIAGE AS THE DOMESTIC COMMUNION: The allure of the imperial form endured, but the nation-state prevailed, the political form that joins peoplehood with sovereignty. The nation-state thereby became the hallmark of European civilization.We do not seek the imposed, enforced unity of empire. Instead, European cosmopolitanism recognizes that patriotic love and civic loyalty open out to a wider world. The true Europe has been marked by Christianity. The universal spiritual empire of the Church brought cultural unity to Europe, but did so without political empire. This has allowed for particular civic loyalties to flourish within a shared European culture.

Christianity revolutionized the relationship between men and women, valuing love and mutual fidelity in an unprecedented way. The bond of marriage allows both men and women to flourish in communion. Most of the sacrifices we make are for the sake of our spouses and children. This spirit of self-giving is yet another Christian contribution to the Europe we love. Europe did not begin with the Enlightenment. Our beloved home will not be fulfilled with the European Union. The real Europe is, and always will be, a community of nations at once insular, sometimes fiercely so, and yet united by a spiritual legacy that, together, we debate, develop, share—and love.

FALSE EUROPE IS THE GENERATION OF 68 MASQUERADING THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS AS LIBERATION: As the patrons of the false Europe construct their faux Christendom of universal human rights, we are losing our home.The false Europe boasts of an unprecedented commitment to human liberty. This liberty, however, is very one-sided. It sells itself as liberation from all restraints: sexual freedom, freedom of self-expression, freedom to “be oneself.” The Generation of ’68 regards these freedoms as precious victories over a once almighty and oppressive cultural regime. They see themselves as great liberators, and their transgressions are acclaimed as noble moral achievements, for which the whole world should be grateful. Libertine hedonism often leads to boredom and a profound sense of purposelessness. The bond of marriage has weakened. In the roiling sea of sexual liberty, the deep desires of our young people to marry and form families are often frustrated. A liberty that frustrates our heart’s deepest longings becomes a curse. Our societies seem to be falling into individualism, isolation and aimlessness. Instead of freedom, we are condemned to the empty conformity of consumer- and media-driven culture. It is our duty to speak the truth: The Generation of ’68 destroyed but did not build. They created a vacuum now filled by social media, cheap tourism and pornography.

UNLIMITED HEDONISM LEADS TO PROLIFERATION OF REGULATIONS: At the same time that we hear boasts of unprecedented liberty, European life is more and more comprehensively regulated. Rules—often confected by faceless technocrats in league with powerful interests—govern our work relationships, our business decisions, our educational qualifications, our news and entertainment media.

THE UNIVERSITY BETRAYED; A NEW GENERATION WITHOUT GUIDANCE OR ORIENTING CATEGORIES: ...our universities are one of the glories of European civilization. But where once they sought to transmit to each new generation the wisdom of past ages, today most within the universities equate critical thinking with a simpleminded repudiation of the past.

MARRIAGE: Marriage is the foundation of civil society and the basis for harmony between men and women. It is the intimate bond organized around sustaining a household and raising children. We affirm that our most fundamental roles in society and as human beings are as fathers and mothers.

THE ONE TERRITORIAL LOYALTY LEFT: The fanaticism of our football loyalties is a desperate sign of the deeply human need for solidarity, a need that otherwise goes unfulfilled in the false Europe.

NATION MEN NEEDED: A good political leader stewards the commonweal of a particular people. A good statesman views our shared European inheritance and our particular national traditions as magnificent and life-giving, but also fragile gifts. He does not reject that inheritance, nor does he chance losing it all for utopian dreams. Such leaders covet the honors bestowed upon them by their people; they do not lust for the approbation of the ‘international community,’ which is in fact the public relations apparatus of an oligarchy.

LOVE GOD, LOVE COUNTRY, LOVE EUROPE--THE ORDERED LOVES OF THE TRUE EUROPE: We reject as false the claim that there is no responsible alternative to the artificial, soulless solidarity of a unified market, a transnational bureaucracy, and glib entertainment. Bread and circuses are not enough. The responsible alternative is the true Europe. In this moment, we ask all Europeans to join us in rejecting the utopian fantasy of a multicultural world without borders. We rightly love our homelands, and we seek to hand on to our children every noble thing that we have ourselves received as our patrimony. As Europeans, we also share a common heritage, and this heritage asks us to live together in peace as a Europe of nations. Let us renew national sovereignty, and recover the dignity of a shared political responsibility for Europe’s future.

The Paris Statement lines up well with the nationalist philosophy behind the Trump UN speech.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

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.

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 14, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, October 14

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch

Harvey Weinstein and James Martin: The Crimes and Criminals of the Sexual Left
Last week we pondered the shootings in Las Vegas.  We thought the President's response that this was pure evil was closer to the truh than so many "religious leaders" who appeared shocked and confused by the raw display of such hatred for humanity.  If men spend most of their lives deflecting their eyes from the evil before them, they are shocked when the dragon briefly emerges in his true form as a remorseless murderer. The active agent of Evil  prowls the world seeking the ruin of souls. He was a Murderer and a Liar from the beginning.  Dante placed Satan not in fire but in ice at the lowest point in hell. As heaven is the deepest and widest communion, hell is the most harrowing isolation. Frozen Satan could not speak to anyone. The cold expanding dispersing outer space has just that feel to it. As far as one can see and feel, it is so cold, it burns. We know the murderers who have killed in the name of mass movements. There are others who massacre alone. They are hard to detect and in some ways are more pure evil than the ISIS recruit.
There is another face of evil we have a much better chance of exposing and dethroning. It is an evil much more pervasive with more blood on its hands than the mass shooter.  Harvey Weinstein is just the tip of the atheist Hollywood pornography cult. Exploiting actresses in this inverted cult is actually less common than the young male meat market. But who will write that story?  Like the overwhelming homosexual nature of Catholic clergy abuse--the journalists of the sexual left cannot face that huge group of chicken hawks who dominate so much of Catholic social services and so much of the predominantly Jewish porn industry. Cardinal Bernadine of Chicago, Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee and still prancing Uncle Ted Cardinal McCarrick of Washington DC could give Hollywood's Weinstein and the porn racketeers a run for their money in gross depravity. There is a sick male dominated libido cult in our country that hates God, the flag of brotherhood, the purity of feminine virginity and the sanctity of motherhood. This cult is represented in public not by male homosexuals and porn millionaires but by feminist careerists, many Republican but most Democrat. They entered  the big league by showing they would kill for the gang--they championed abortion. They have insured that the term  domestic violence  never includes the deliberate killing of an unborn baby by her mom. Don't let it matter that there is nothing so violent as killing and nothing so domestic as a mother's womb. In the fake news world of the sexual left, taking God's Name in vain is free speech, abortion is women's liberation and sodomy is marriage. What if that strange trifecta of lies was linked and exposed? Is that over the top or is it about time?
The atheist nature of the sexual left, its Aztecan approach to child sacrifice, and its despoiling the flag of brotherhood with the stench of Sodom is a house of cards more vulnerable than the good name of Harvey Weinstein. Just a little light will scatter the predators once it is shined in just the right direction.  Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker tells the story of Weinstein with much more insight and horror than the New York Times reporters who got to press before him. He is the son of Woody Allen and that is not incidental to his feel for the story.
 The "journalist" who is exactly the opposite of Farrow on the question of sexual exploitation is  Jesuit James Martin and his new book on building bridges between homosexuals and the Catholic Church. Homosexuals don't need a bridge into the Catholic clergy any more than the Greeks inside the Trojan Horse needed access to the city of Troy. They were already brought inside the city walls.    Martin is not an advocate for the young confused homosexual on the streets. He is acting as an advocate for the older clerical homosexual males who are already inside the gates and could be subject to serious Church and civil punishments if the clergy sex abuse story is ever told honestly.  Male homosexuals have been welcome for decades in Martin's Jesuit order as well as the Catholic episcopacy and seminaries of America. They are the perpetrators and coverup artists of the ongoing sexual abuse scandal. Their ideology dominates a sizable fraction of Catholic clerical life and Catholic educational institutions. They have many friends in the gay and feminist world of urban politics, law enforcement, Protestant church bureaucracies, journalism, higher public education and media. They don't push urban Democratic politicians on abortion and the politicians don't push them on the abuse of teenage males.  The huge homosexual cartel in Catholic chanceries and religious orders are all in line for pensions as diocese after diocese is bankrupted. Is there any story here? James Martin isn't telling it. 


OCTOBER 13 AND THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR: When the Pope and a French King betrayed a brotherhood.

LUTHER - 500 YEARSLuther and anthropocentric Christianity. Turning Christianity from building the Kingdom of God to assuring the individual of personal salvation.

BRAD GREGORY - AUTHOR OF THE UNINTENDED REFORMATIONTerrific biographical summary of why he teaches at Notre Dame and not Stanford. A short excellent argument of how taking the Living God seriously is not really allowed in secular universities. He says "metaphysical naturalism" is the mandated framework of secular universities.

SOLZHENITSYN, RUSSIA, AND GOD: A review of his March, 1917. The role of the Russian writer and the soul of the nation. Penetrating review at The New Criterion by Gary Saul Morson. The culmination of the godless Modern West was the armed science of Marxism which overthrew Orthodox Russia and Confucian China. Solzhenitsyn was the Christian Russian writer who best described the religious catastrophe. He was popular in the 1970's until he turned his pen to linking the degeneracy of the West to the horrors of the Gulag as two historical expressions of public Atheism.

THE COMMUNIST REVOLUTION - 100 YEARS: From France, a reminder of the globalist revolution that initiated the 20th century. He reminds us that in many ways the Clinton Dynasty and the Tony Blairs were heirs to the leftist project. But they had none of the sacrificial discipline of the first revolutionaries. They went for fame and fortune and now they are "swept away". There is a great anger rising against the globalist capitalists. The bones of the buried revolution seem to be rattling. But there is no coherent shared vision like Marx provided to unite the Bolivian and the Chinese with the urban worker of Germany. (What a successful global ideology it was!) The writer does not understand global Christianity but he is a poet about that god who failed. The most successful armed globalist ideology of the modern west was Communism. "Democracy" and Individualism will not replace the "specter that haunted Europe".


BANNING FEMALE FACIAL COVERING: Is the problem in Europe that women are too covered or not covered enough? Austria has its say.

TO THE CATHOLICS, HEZBOLLAH IS NOT THE ENEMY: Why Catholic Americans should oppose the demonization of Shiites in the Mideast.


UNCOVERING PREDATORS: From Weinstein in Hollywood to Keoghan in Boston. Would this story have been told if Hillary Clinton was President?


ON SPORTS AND POLITICS: Sporting events are high civic culture and can embody our public life together in a local loyalty. They are not a distraction from life but an affirmation of the deeper currents tat bond us in communion and contest.

GIRLS IN BOY SCOUTS: Because girls should be Eagle Scouts, too. As more dioceses sever ties with Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts being increasingly taken over by ideologues of the sexual revolution, perhaps Catholic scouting organizations like the Troops of St. George should be considered.


IS CATALONIA A NATION? No, and this movement is diabolic. A more nuanced view.

POLAND IS A NATION: They pray at their borders on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary understanding that borders must be defended.

CHINA, COAL, THE MIDEAST, AND THE U.S.: An energy situation we might not consider.

REX TILLERSON - SECRETARY OF STATE: A profile from the New Yorker.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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

(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.”  In more recent years this 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). 

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 might be just the 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.

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.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, October 7

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch

 A great evil is loosed upon our land. He prowls the world seeking the ruin of souls. He is real. He was a murderer and a liar from the beginning. He has no religious affiliation.  After great acts of evil, we turn to prayer. Our prayers are meant to align us with the Father God who protects us and has shaped us in His image as guardians of life. The Bible teaches that the nations are fundamental protective covenants to safeguard the peoples of the earth in an orderly way from evil.
A culture of life is a culture of protection. Let us return our nation to honoring God's Name. Let us build among American men a deeper political consciousness that we are a protective brotherhood of fathers as fellow citizens. Our brotherhood knows no class or color. This brotherhood is formalized and led by our officers in local and state police forces. We never know when or where we may be called upon to come together against the predator wolf. Let us be attentive. Let us heed the example of the protectors who limited the horror of the Las Vegas shooting by their bravery. The protective response was by citizens and first responders alike. The armed police response was effective and rapid. It was the worst of times that showed the best of men.
 God created man and woman to bring forth life in the sanctuary of the Garden. He made men to be sons of God as a brotherhood of protective warriors to rule the earth by expelling the Evil One. Those who forever  decry "senseless violence" seem oblivious to human history.  The Earth is a battlefield. God named his chosen nation,  "one who struggles." There was a brotherhood in Las Vegas that limited the evil that was wrought. We honor this protective brotherhood every time we reverence our flag. In this battle we must depend, as the President said, on our love for one another.  Let us strengthen the ordered loves of religion, nation and family. Let us reject the counterfeit loves that are the work of the Evil One. Our lives depend on it.  


A BILL TO WITHDRAW US SUPPORT FOR SAUDI BOMBING OF YEMENTwo Republicans, Two Democrats - an American coalition. A review of consequences of US involvement in supporting Saudi Arabia. When the hysteria clears on Russian involvement in US elections, we might all turn our collective mind to the foreign government which has most confused and influenced our foreign policy since 9/11. Exposing and ending US collusion in the Saudi war against the Houthi Shiites of Yemen may wake us to the larger evil we have allowed these last decades. We should not expect Bushes, Clintons or McCains to help explain, but honest antiwar Democrats and the new generation of lawmakers who are Iraq veterans could play pivotal roles. There is a far better case for an honest declaration of war against the Saudis than embracing these "allies" who have so grievously betrayed us and caused the deaths of our countrymen.  The leading sponsor of global terrorism is not Iran. It is the Saudi Royal family and their state goal of protecting the Wahhabi brand of Salafist ideology.

IF JUDGE MOORE GOES TO WASHINGTON: Then there will be a trumpet for God.


ROBERT MERRY ON DAVID BROOKS: The NY Times columnist (Brooks) was hired as a voice of conservatism. His criticism of Trump betrays a Hillary-like disdain for American nationalists. He presents his arguments in a much more refined and intellectual manner but he does not understand the religious, territorial, masculine character of American economic nationalism.


For the first time since the shooting of the Republican Congressman  in Alexandria, Virginia, on June 14, 2017, we have a real report of what happened. Bryan Porter is the elected attorney of the Commonwealth of the City of Alexandria. His report was to determine if there was justified use of lethal force by police officers. Reviewing the details of the shootings serves another important purpose. It is required reading for law enforcement to help them think through responses to similar situations in the future. Reconstructing details as accurately as possible is even more important than Monday morning reviewing game films. From the beginning  there seemed big chunks of the story which were unclear. Even more maddening it seemed there were no reporters curious about the details of the hunt and kill. Just the mechanics of Capitol special agents with handguns bringing down a rifleman with several hundred yards of open space between them should have driven some reporter to seek the details of such heroism. "Lesbian Capitol policewoman saves homophobic Republican" was one storyline. The Alexandria police chief did hold a news conference five days later  since three of his officers played pivotal roles in the event. A primary purpose of that conference however was to defend the female Alexandria officer who never fired a shot. This full report is no exoneration of the lady. People speak of Flight or Fight responses to danger. There is also Freeze which appears the best description in her case.
    It turns out a young white male officer who used a rifle disabled the shooter enough with his second shot that the assailant discarded his rifle for a handgun. That helped the special agent and other Alexandria police officer who were approaching him while firing their own handguns.  The black male special agent (Bailey) showed the most raw courage in the whole episode in drawing the shooter toward him with his first burst of ten handgun shots that drew the shooter from his perch at third base to come toward the agent. (The Alexandria police chief erroneously credited this act of bravery to both special agents which would be akin to saying all the apostles were arrested with Christ in Gethsemane.) Special Agent Bailey shot over 25 shots. It was his handgun against the rifle that pulled the social justice shooter away from shooting white Congressmen in favor of eliminating that pesky black guy who was spoiling the turkey shoot. One of Bailey's later shots hit the shooter in the chest. The police rifleman (Ofc Jensen) shot a third bullet which "neutralized" the shooter. The older Alexandria officer (Kolbe) and SA Bailey then handcuffed the assailant who died soon after.  The white Alexandria female officer who approached the shooter from a different angle never fired a shot. The lesbian special agent heroine hid behind her car through the entire episode but left her foot dangling and was shot in the ankle. She got off nine shots. One hates to bring a binary lens to this tale but  the three male officers involved all worked together effectively to hunt and kill the predator. The older white officer (Kolbe) had the presence of mind to alert the two incoming officers not to drive right into the situation allowing the vantage point of the rifleman (Jensen) that led to the death of the leftist assailant. So much of hunting is vantage point. From the first call to the Alexandria police force to the "neutralization" of the shooter was less than 10 minutes. This lifesaving unbelievably rapid and effective response of the local policemen was barely mentioned in almost all the "reporting" of the event. Go back and read any ten stories a day after the events and then compare it to what happened. There is a reason people talk about fake news.  

THE MORMON APOSTOLIC QUORUM: The Mormons have been highly successful in maintaining masculine fraternity and patriarchy.Their authoritative ruling body reiterate again the impossibility of "gay" marriage.

HUGH HEFNER (1926-2017) THE INDOORS MAN DOTH PASS: He made stripping females a matter of fame not shame. With those who daily take the name of God in vain and those who sanctioned flag burning he inverted our honor code by desecrating what was sacred. Playboys and feminists had no love for each other but they desecrated the same holy goods. Reversing the sexual revolution is the great religious task before us as a people if we are to reform our nation. The Chinese faced a similar dilemma in clearing the ruins of their own cultural revolution. Russ Douthat's excellent obituary. At the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik can't help but praise a man so instrumental in erecting the culture of his own magazine and social class.

PROFESSOR JORDAN PETERSON: A terrific psychological thinker who understands the fundamental categories of Christianity better than most theologians and pastors. Very accessible to that big group of well-intentioned young people who are not Christian because they think religion is intellectually dishonest.

JORDAN PETERSON INTERVIEWS CAMILLE PAGLIA: She says the graduate schools were taken over by careerists. The real revolutionaries of the sixties stayed out of school she says or destroyed themselves with drugs. Post-modernism she asserts is a fraud and has nothing to do with the communal movement of the sixties.

LEPANTO AND TOURS: This week in October, two great battles were fought to defend Europe from Islamic invasions of existential proportions. In AD 732, Islamic forces attempted to complete their invasion of western Europe (Spain had already been taken) by expanding north into France. Charles Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne, held them off in a stunning victory at Tours on October 10. On this day in 1571, a great naval battle at Lepanto witnessed a vastly outnumbered Catholic fleet destroying an Islamic fleet set to invade the Catholic nations of the northern Mediterranean. Due to Marian intercession, October 7 became known as the feast of Our Lady of Victory - now called Our Lady of the Rosary. The lesson from these battles is that Christian nations  must respond to warring Islam with acts of war. However while the sword is aimed at jihadists, the great majority of praying Muslims should be approached in a more fraternal way. This is Archbishop Fulton Sheen's insight:

Missionaries in the future will, more and more, see that their apostolate among the Muslims will be successful in the measure that they preach Our Lady of Fatima. Mary is the advent of Christ, bringing Christ to the people before Christ Himself is born. In any apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which people already accept. Because the Muslims have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion, with the full realization that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Muslims the rest of the way to her Divine Son. She is forever a 'traitor' in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, but will always bring anyone who is devoted to her to her Divine Son. As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the Divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.

…It now remains to use another approach, namely, that of taking the forty-first chapter of the Koran, and showing them that it was taken out of the Gospel of Luke, that Mary could not be, even in their own eyes, the most blessed of all the women of Heaven if she had not also borne One Who was the Savior of the world. If Judith and Esther of the Old Testament were prefigures of Mary, then it may very well be that Fatima herself was a postfigure of Mary! The Muslims should be prepared to acknowledge that, if Fatima must give way in honor to the Blessed Mother, it is because she is different from all the other mothers of the world and that without Christ she would be nothing.

(from "The World’s First Love" by Bishop Sheen)


SUNRISE SUNSET - NOBEL PRIZE: The circadian rhythms are essential links between man and nature. Every night Catholics pray in Night Prayer: "Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep; that awake, we may keep watch with Christ and asleep, rest in His peace."

FATHER THOMAS JOSEPH WHITE OP: An interview about his new book The Light of Christ. We cannot love what we do not know. Dogmas are teachings. They are signposts to reality. They make us more in touch with reality, not less.

KNIGHTS OF ST. TARCISIUS: A fraternity of young Catholic men, bound together by devotion to the Eucharist and their bishop. The Knights of St. Tarcisius was started in Kansas City by our own A. Joseph Lynch. The Archdiocesan newspaper is covering the program's rapid growth.

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.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

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 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.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Religion & Geopolitics Review: Saturday, September 30

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


"To make America great again, we must come back to God." That was the basic message of Judge Ray Moore who won the Alabama Republican primary this week against  a sitting US senator who had been endorsed by the senate leadership and President Trump. Judge Moore will have the warm support of President Trump in the upcoming election.  He had the endorsement during the primary of Trump insiders  Steve Bannon of Breitbart News and HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Moore will be the straightest talking Christian the US Congress has seen since William Jennings Bryan was in the House. After the victory Steve Bannon told the crowd they had beat the big money of the elitists and showed the People were sovereign.  Moore's message was actually quite different. He reiterated that God is the Sovereign and the centrality of God's rule in the American order. Moore here is more radical and fundamental than Mr. Bannon. The judge understands a theological order is needed to sustain economic nationalism. The nation must be "under God." Our brotherhood has a Father who disciplines our liberty in law. President Trump has created a large space for Christians in public life to actually make a full-throated argument for Christian culture. Most conservative Christians are still speaking in the stuttering stammering tongue of modern Republican pro-life neocons. Judge Moore unites a Christian sensibility and personal courage that will integrate the races while distinguishing between the sexes. God's name will be praised. 

Taking a knee in football means "I will not engage." Quarterbacks do it at the end of a game already decided to run out the clock without further contact. Standing for the national anthem is a universal sign of respect and solidarity which unites players and fans as well as opposing teams. It is a sign of our national solidarity that is deeper than our loyalty to the home team. The anthem reminds us why these games of males in combat for the honor of cities and states resonate so deeply in the national masculine psyche. It evokes memories of men who through the ages  fought on fields of battle where winning was everything. The games honor attributes which win wars-physical strength, agility, speed, strategic thinking, decision making under pressure, teamwork, and perseverance against the odds. The games punish losing for losing has consequences. If the ancients lost, the city walls would fall, the men were killed, and the women were taken. Winning really is important. Before there were football players, there were knights and militiamen. Battlefield courage gave the flag its blue coloring while sacrificed blood painted the red. When she is raised, we pay honor and attention.  No taking a knee and no holding hands.   

Millionaire players in racial posturing, their teammates in a misguided attempt at solidarity and the NFL commissioner for his own reasons have dishonored the sacred symbol of our civic community of masculine protectors. This is a fight worth waging. We have a president who understands this better than any living political leader of our generation. Let us be sure he does not fight alone. 

Hugh Hefner (1926-2017) was the champion of "indoor man" and editor of Playboy magazine. He proudly contributed to Planned Parenthood and NARAL. He uncovered what is sacred. The playboy and the feminist were always bed fellows. They despised each other; it is true. They despised the virgin and the mother even more. The freakish offspring from their hate-filled coitus was medically subsidized abortion under the banner of woman's liberation. Hugh Hefner died this week.          


CHRISTIANITY AND EUROPE: The highest religious authority in Russia speaks at a conference in England about Europe and Christianity. Metropolitan Hillarion sees clearly.


THE POPE AND HIS CRITICSA correction for heresy. Or Alarmists hyperventilating (Cardinal Ouellet).

"The humans of Genesis 1, made in God’s image, were told to 'fill the world and subdue it.' That is what he called 'majestic man,' what we would call secular humanity, the dominating nature.

"In Genesis 2 the humans are created from the dust of the earth into which God breaths life. They’re placed in the Garden of Eden not to subdue it and conquer it, but to guard it and protect it, and that Rabbi Soloveitchik called 'covenantal man.'

"So he said these are always present in us, the secular urge to dominate and control nature and the religious urge to be in awe of nature."
Can anyone who believes we are building the Kingdom of God buy this false modernist dichotomy? The garden is a set aside saved space where we enter liturgical communion with God. From there, we are sent forth into the earth which is still the battlefield where we are replacing the prince of darkness with the rule of Christ the King.


EX PRESIDENT KARZAIInterview about Afghanistan.

TO SAFEGUARD THE NATIONThe Kurds need a state like the Jews in Israel and the Shiites in Iran have learned.

ALLY PAKISTAN: It wasn't just in South Asia that men turned a blind eye to the actions of Pakistanis - the abuse scandal in England.


THE WAR AGAINST RELIGION: The Communist Revolution.


THE WAR AGAINST FREE SPEECH AND COHERENT THOUGHT: Excellent profile of the remarkable Canadian professor Jordan Peterson. One quote:
"'Because thoughts aren’t like that,’ he says. ‘People mostly think by talking. Not only do they think by talking, but they correct their thoughts by talking. If you deprive people of the right to think, then you doom them to suffering. You doom their stupidity of its right to die. You should allow your thoughts to be cast away into the fire — instead of you.’"
CHICAGO AS MURDER CAPITAL - WHEN PETER TURNS JUDAS; CAIN KILLS ABEL: Why did this Catholic working city with big shoulders become the murder capital of America? Could it have anything to do with the homosexualization of its priesthood under Cardinal Joseph Bernadine and the continuation of that sick culture under Cardinal Blase Cupich? "When the shepherds taste the kiss of Judas, the sheep will feel the knife of Cain."

THE NFL AND AMERICA: The new "feminist friendly NFL" doesn't feel the same about the flag of brotherhood.


RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL PLATES THAT UNDERLIE GERMANY: A fascinating clearly written analysis - he says West Germany really is a different nation from the Prussian "asian" East. This is not the whole story but it is the way to tell the beginning of the whole story. And the whole story of how the Christian nation of Germany should relate among the European nations will be the narrative to replace Angela Merkel.

The pyrrhic victory of Angela Merkel (33% of vote) The lesbian leader of the alternative for Germany is one face of the opposition to the discredited secular globalists. Alice Weidel represents that weird combination of paganism and libertarianism whose only virtue is that they do not accept the globalist narrative or the tired old careerist who is the sad face of Germany. What is needed in Germany is a strong Christian male leader who leads his country and Europe (possibly through Merkel's Christian Democratic Union) back into the fraternity of Christian civilization. May he be a man of God and a man of the German nation.

WIRETAPPING MANAFORT: The plot thickens.

Friday, September 29, 2017


[first published 29 September 2012]

On this feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael -- some thoughts of Doc Pence on our angelic partners.  He begins with an anecdote:

   About a year ago when I was arguing with a theology professor at St. John’s in Collegeville MN about women priests and homosexuality -- it struck me.  I asked him, "Do you believe there was a first man and woman, Adam and Eve?”  He said, "No, science has proven that wrong."  I asked, "Do you believe there is a wicked angel, Lucifer, who is the devil; a real being, dedicated to evil and not redeemable?”  He said, "No, there is definitely evil in the world and in all of us but not an actual powerful spiritual evil being."  "Well, how about angels in general -- another order of beings -- purely spiritual who can know and love and who are actors in the domain of nature and history?"  I asked.  He hedged and hemmed and asked to be excused.

   I told myself, "I have been in the wrong discussion -- the problem is a lot of these guys don't have the cast of characters or central events of the Divine Drama in place.”

   What is priesthood, and who cares if it is all-male, if there is no Satan and the story of Salvation History is just a hodgepodge of Semitic texts?  I haven't gotten into arguments over women priests for a long time because I find those who favor them have a much bigger deficit that has to be first addressed.  

  Today we give thanks for the angels -- pure spirits organized in hierarchical orders -- our great elevated partners in the Divine Drama. 

God is an eternal Being outside of time: one Divine nature in three Persons. The angels are pure spirits. They have the two characteristics of spiritual beings: they can know and love.

The material world is mineral, vegetative, and animal. The minerals (atoms, chemical elements and molecules, and all non-living matter) do not have souls.  The vegetative and animal beings are living, and thus have souls. Souls are the central unifying principles of living things. All physical living beings have souls, but their souls are different. The souls of bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals die with the creature. Spiritual souls are immortal and rational. We don’t talk about an angel’s soul because a soul is a form in a material being.
Living Beings have interiority and agency and hierarchy. Living things act for themselves in a way that rusting iron and eroding rocks don’t (agency). All living things have an inside and an outside, from cell structure to internal body cavities to the interior spiritual life of man (interiority). All life comes from life, and exists within a structured sacral order (hierarchy).

Man is the one material being with a spiritual soul -- he can know and love. Thomas Aquinas thought one could logically argue to prove the existence of angels. He said there needs to be a created being which is spiritual but is not made of matter. (This balances the material world in which there is matter without a soul, material creatures with a “material soul,” and material beings with a spiritual soul.) Angels perfect the universe because they are created immaterial beings, which are spiritual. They too can know and love.

Angels know directly (they intuit), and desire and decide instantaneously. Their decisions are irrevocable. Angels use matter for appearances but do not become living material beings. Each angel is his own species. Angels are organized into hierarchical orders: some worshiping, some in charge of movements in nature, and some personally involved in the lives of men and nations.

When we contemplate the angels this brings us in closer contact with the hierarchical nature of the cosmos, the reality of Satan, the heroism of Michael, the ongoing active dialogue between the spiritual world and human development. We are part of a cosmic drama that started long before we got here. In this drama, the sons of Adam are given a major participatory role in the restoration of Justice after Satan’s rebellion. Man is part of a cosmological reality and so are the angels. Man cannot fully understand his role here without a robust and clarified view of the Angels in the Drama.

UPDATE: In both Jewish and Christian tradition, every nation has been assigned a guardian angel through which Divine Providence works out His purposes in history. While Pope Francis suggested that Catholic discussion be less preoccupied with homosexuality, abortion, and contraception, he has continually emphasized the present-day reality of the evil angel Lucifer. 

St. Michael, St, Raphael, and St. Gabriel: pray for us.   

Monday, September 25, 2017


The color-coded map above divides the nations of the world by chief exports. While we will summarize below, a full article on this map can be read by following this link: See Which Commodities Make the World Go Round. See also our map on Sixteen Rare Earth Metals and Minerals.

The colors of the map are summarized as:
  • Oil and Petroleum Exports (Blue): This color dominates the map. While we are all familiar with the Mideast oil exports, nations in central and west Africa along with some of the South American oil-exporters, may surprise us. The author of the original article wonders how much trading power OPEC would have if it included all blue-colored nations. 
  • Minerals and Metals (Red and Orange): These nations offer the world rare or precious minerals and metals (Red) or large quantities of non-precious minerals and metals (Orange). Examples of the former include gold, platinum, and diamonds while the latter would include copper, uranium, phosphate, and iron ore.
  • Foodstuffs (Light Blue): Major food exporters are found in the Horn of Africa (coffee, tea, livestock and grain), South and Latin America (soy beans, sugar, beef, coffee, and bananas), coastal nations that produce fish exports. 
  • Machinery/Transportation and Electronics (Grey and Green): Canada, Brazil, Japan, and much of Europe comprise the industrialized nations who manufacture a large portion of the world's machines and automobiles. The green-colored nations, like China and the U.S., produce the advanced electronics of our tech-driven twenty-first century.
  • Textiles/Apparel and Wood (Yellow and Purple): Whether it's producing cotton (Togo, Benin, and Mali), or using that cotton to make clothing and shoes, the yellow-colored nations help clothe the world. Meanwhile, the rich forests of southeast Asia produce much of the world's wood products.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Religion & Geopolitics Review: Saturday, September 23

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


There were two speeches interwoven when President Trump addressed the UN General Assembly on September 19, 2017. There was the man "standing here in my own home town as a representative of the American people addressing the people of the world." He was calling for "a great reawakening of the nations for a revival of their spirits, their pride, their patriotism, and their people." He praised "the institution founded in the aftermath of two world wars...on a vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect sovereignty, preserve security and promote prosperity."  He reminded the nations that  Americans since the end of WWI have stood against empire and for the self-determination of peoples and nations. This included rebuilding the defeated enemy nations of Japan and Germany after WWII. President Trump's eloquent message from New York is going to resonate deeply through the next decades. The message of nations under God will be carried by actors we cannot even imagine a week after his speech. Woodrow Wilson's ringing endorsement of self determination at Versailles was embraced by national liberation movements through the century. From Egypt to Vietnam, political men heard Wilson's very American non British call to the nations (Wilson may not have impressed the Boston Brahmins of the US Senate but his affect on anti colonial nationalism was undeniable. See The Wilsonian Moment.) Trump's speech will have a similar galvanizing resonance with a new generation of strong male nationalist leaders. The nations especially of South America are ready to  move beyond the capitalist vs socialist paradigm to renew the patriotic love of country at the heart of economic nationalism. Men with "sacred souls" under an almighty God love their countries and will seek to  escape the twisted knots and dead ends of the Cold War. President Trump evoked these deep spiritual loves in a speech that would be inconceivable to the Clinton/Bush/McCain/ party elites. It was as if the vision of Woodrow Wilson and the Atlantic Charter of FDR were being explained by Theodore Roosevelt. There is a true eloquence and international political vision here that should be carefully read and absorbed by patriots of nations, small and large alike.

Then Nikita Khrushchev showed up banging his shoe and promising a burial. "We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea."  The "small group of rogue regimes" which the many righteous must oppose was another way to say  "an axis of evil". Russia in the Ukraine and China in the South China Sea were warned to stay inside their own borders. It wasn't clear if the security and cultural regional concerns of our two WWII allies would be managed by the U.S. from across the sea or the U.N. from within the bureaucracy.  Socialism faithfully applied in Venezuela and still applied in Cuba was properly mocked and then unimaginatively isolated. Economic sanctions remain the cruel weapon of choice for free market democracies. Except for drones, it is hard to imagine a more effete and elitist form of conflict.

 Iran was numbered among the rogues and the Saudi invasion of Yemen was blamed on Iran's outside meddling. President Trump has now become the clearest  proponent of the Saudi-Israeli vision of the Mideast.  He also seems to be embracing the American foreign policy establishment's notion that regional powers like Iran, Russia and China are not to be granted hegemony in their own regions. We should thank him for his clarity and learn from his invigorating nationalist internationalism. We should seriously contest his strategic assessment of our allies and foes amidst the religious and national wars that mark our age.           


"DOGMA LIVES LOUDLY WITHIN YOU": "Nature will always defeat ideology." A good round up of sexual clarity and insanity by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput

MARY IS PERFECT; PETER MAKES MISTAKESTwo dimensions of the Church.

THE VIETNAMESE BISHOP FROM AUSTRALIA IS MUCH MORE OPEN TO HOMOSEXUAL UNIONS THAN OTHERS: Does his history of being homosexually assaulted make him an expert with insight or a victim with a twisted memory?

THE DEATH OF A CARDINAL: An unsettling review of the life and times of Britain's leading cleric - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.


INTRODUCING JERRY SALYER: The author who highlights the Cardinal Sarah insights is a Catholic philosopher from Kentucky, Jerry Salyer. A crisp writer who is bringing a wider historical and patriotic perspective to the world of Catholic orthodoxy. Salyer on Bannon and Christopher LaschSalyer, Chesterton, and Pope John Paul II on love of countrySalyer on the White Rose pamphlets against Hitler. From one of those White Rose pamphlets:
Behind the concrete, the visible events, behind all objective, logical considerations, we find the irrational element: The struggle against the demon, against the servants of the Antichrist. Everywhere and at all times demons have been lurking in the dark, waiting for the moment when man is weak; when of his own volition he leaves his place in the order of Creation as founded for him by God in freedom; when he yields to the force of evil, separates himself from the powers of a higher order; and after voluntarily taking the first step, he is driven on to the next and the next at a furiously accelerating rate. Everywhere and at all times of greatest trial men have appeared, prophets and saints who cherished their freedom, who preached the One God and who His help brought the people to a reversal of their downward course. Man is free, to be sure, but without the true God he is defenseless against the principle of evil.



ON RUSSIA: EAST OR WEST? EUROPE OR ASIA? A good synthesis by a St. Paul man, Matthew Franklin Cooper.


IN PRAISE OF BORDERSNice 'First Things' essay.

SPAIN AND CATALONIAComparisons before Catalonia;s October 1 vote for secession from Spain (NB That vote will not accomplish the deed).

SAUDIS, IRANIANS, AND TERRORWho did blow up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996 killing 19 US servicemen? The Saudis eventually settled on a Shiite Iran led attack though there are many who saw this as a Salafist Sunni al Qaeda operation. It makes a difference. US troops moved to central Saudi Arabia where they could be better protected and eventually Oman. A central concern of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda has been the desecration of the Saudi kingdom by the presence of Crusader foreign troops. The Shiites had a very different perspective on the Royal Saudis and the Holy Cities. The identification  of the worldwide salafist Sunni movement of jihadist terror with the establishment of a Shiite nation in Iran continues to be one of the great religious/political  confusions of our times.