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


Monday, July 31, 2017

Map on Monday: PRUSSIA

How a Teutonic State in the Baltic Became Protestant and Changed German History

By A. Joseph Lynch

Although Prussia is often associated with the larger German state, the region of Prussia lies far to the east of modern day Germany, originally stretching from border of Pomerania to Lithuania along the Baltic coast.

There is a great deal of confusion surrounding the geography of Prussia, partly due to the use of “Prussia” for the emerging unified German state and partly due to the fact that the lands once belonging to the old Duchy of Prussia are now under Russian, Polish, and Lithuanian control. Despite its association with Germany, Prussia was located much further to the east along the Baltic coast, just south of modern day Lithuania. Its peoples – one of many Baltic tribes in the region (see right) – were conquered and Christianized in the Northern Crusades by the Teutonic Knights, a Catholic religious order of monastic warriors seeking to conquer and convert the Baltic. Teutonic Prussia became the center the Teutonic State as it continued to spread northwards into what is today Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

The power of the Teutonic Knights reached its apogee at the beginning of the fifteenth century. Its fortunes changed, however, when Lithuania and Poland united against it in the Thirteen Years War (1454-1466). With the defeat of the Teutonic Knights, western Prussia (now called "Royal Prussia") was ceded to Poland and eastern Prussia was left as Teutonic rump state swearing fealty as a fief (or duchy) of Poland. In 1525, during the rising tide of Protestantism, Teutonic Prussia renounced the Catholicism held by its neighbors to the east and south and cast its lot with Lutheranism. The Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, Albert, in a deal partly orchestrated by Martin Luther, was recognized by the King of Poland as the Duke of Prussia. Poland for its part preferred a Lutheran Prussia over a Catholic Teutonic Prussia under the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy. Though it remained a fief of Poland, its status as Lutheran made the Duchy of Prussia the first Protestant state.

Albert (left), last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, was aided by Martin Luther (right) to renounce Catholicism, convert to Lutheranism, and create the Duchy of Prussia as the first Protestant state with the unlikely support of Catholic Poland.

The duchy entered into a succession crisis in 1618 when its duke, Albert Frederick, died without an heir. Succession fell to his son-in-law, John Sigismund of the Hohenzollern family, who at the time was also the ruler of Lutheran Brandenburg with its capital of Berlin, situated in the Holy Roman Empire. Despite the distance between his two realms and the fact that the Duchy of Prussia was still a Polish fief, Sigismund would rule over both Brandenburg and Prussia in a personal union called “Brandenburg-Prussia.” Sigismund, a champion of Calvinism’s spread, soon found himself ruling large numbers of Catholics, Lutherans, and Calvinists.

In 1656, Sweden conquered the Duchy of Prussia during its war with Poland-Lithuania. When the tides of war turned against the Swedes, Charles X Gustav of Sweden offered Prussia’s return to Brandenburg on the condition that Brandenburg entered the war as a Swedish ally. Poland, hearing of the offer, countered with an offer of its own: if Brandenburg remained neutral, the Duchy of Prussia would be returned to Brandenburg fully free of Polish fealty. With the defeat of Sweden, Brandenburg-Prussia became more powerful than ever before – but the Poles were willing to accept that over having a new enemy on a second front. The victorious rulers in Brandenburg’s Berlin, however, had even more in mind. They desired the title of king. For this they would need the support of the Holy Roman Emperor – the one person who wouldn’t stand for an upstart king within his borders. Wars, however, require allies – and soon the emperor would be in need of an ally from the Hohenzollerns of Brandenburg-Prussia.

In 1701, Brandenburg-Prussia agreed to support the Hapsburg family in the War of the Spanish Succession in return for the emperor’s recognition of a kingly title for the Hohenzollern rulers. Because there could be no king vying for power within the Holy Roman Empire, the Hohenzollerns could claim kingship over their lands outside the realm of the empire: the territory of Prussia. Thus the title “King in Prussia” was granted, but was soon replaced with the title “King of Prussia” – and in order to show the extent of their kingship, the name Brandenburg-Prussia was discarded for the Kingdom of Prussia. Thus began the association of relatively small Baltic region with the later entirety of the rising German state. By the end of the eighteenth century, Prussian rulers like Frederick the Great would conquer Silesia from the Austrians and old West Prussia (or Royal Prussia) from Poland. With these territories acquired (see this excellent video map of Prussia's expansion), Prussia dramatically increased in size, physically uniting the disparate territories of the former Brandenburg-Prussian state, and becoming an emerging power on the continent – a status it fully achieved in 1806 with the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Kingdom of Prussia, governed in Berlin by the highborn Junker class of the old Brandenburg-Prussian core region, became the center of German unification during the second half of the nineteenth century. By 1871, the Kingdom of Prussia had defeated and taken lands from Poland, Denmark, Austria, and France. It would be governed by the Hohenzollerns until the disastrous defeat of 1918, which led to territorial losses to the French (Alsace-Loraine), Danes (North Schleswig), Poland (Posen, Upper Silesia, West Prussia), Czechoslovakia, and Lithuania. The eastern core of the original Prussian state in the Baltic region remained, but it was once more physically cut off from the larger German state by the loss of West Prussia to Poland.


Nazi Germany’s failed attempt to regain lost German territory – and Europe along with it – led to the loss of Pomerania and Silesia to Poland, and to the end of the original Prussian state in the east. The southern half of old Prussia was incorporated into Poland and the northern half made a part of Russia, which it remains to this day. Konigsberg became Kaliningrad, and the native Prussian population was forcibly evicted and replaced by native Russians. Today the Kaliningrad region is a geostrategically important oblast of the Russian Federation, giving Russia military reach into Europe and providing it with its only Baltic port that does not freeze in the winter. Long gone are the days of the Teutonic Knights, the Junker aristocracy, and German glory. Prussia lives on in our histories, but little is left of it upon ground from which it came.

Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola -- 'Militia est vita hominis in terra' (Man's life on earth is a warfare)


[first published July 31, 2014]


"Everything that Jesus did, from His crying as a Babe in the cradle to His getting tired and falling asleep, to His agony in the Garden, all of that is a pattern for us to imitate."

Father John Hardon, the Jesuit who died in 2000, explains that the Person of Christ is the first attribute of the spirituality of Saint Ignatius: "Man's virtues are God's attributes."

                    


The founder of the Jesuits -- unlike his Protestant contemporaries -- understood the true dignity of human freedom. Take a look at Father Hardon's fine essay.
                                 
"Take Lord and receive all my liberty... To Thee, Oh Lord, I return it. All is Thine... Give me Thy Love and Thy Grace for this is sufficient for me."         (Saint Ignatius of Loyola)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, July 29

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch

THE WEEKLY BRIEF

THE REAL NEWS ABOUT GENDER CLARITY AND MAKING AMERICA SAFE AGAIN 

President Trump continues to hire and fire as he seeks the best men to fill the right positions in a  government he is wresting from an established elite of Republicans, Democrats and Washington 's professional class. His picture of Andrew Jackson in the oval office is well chosen. He has announced by electronic messaging that the transgender experiment in the military will be ended soon. Details and official orders will follow but the message is sent. The president and his generals have concluded  that the maintenance of transgenders in the US military is an unnecessary distraction from the mission of the US military. President Trump is opposed in the Republican party on this policy by the same female Senators and John McCain who blocked the bill to remove forced health insurance programs on small businesses and individuals. President Trump's presidency began by upending the careerist establishment of the Republican party and the conservative posturing of Fox news personalities. President Trump will never fully govern from inside the Republican party or the conservative movement. He is a nationalist who can be both very conservative and very liberal.  Draining the Washington Swamp involved beating the Bushes in the Republican primary and the Clintons in the general election. But now his chief foe is the survivor of the Keating Five scandal who built a career   balancing Saudi interests, feminist ideology, and a liberal press into his peculiar status driven career as the establishment's "maverick".  John McCain has played a crucial legitimacy role for the sexual revolutionaries remaking our most fundamental institutions. He has been a handy media Republican spokesman to criticize conservatives when they got too conservative. He was supposed to be the candidate that Hillary Clinton was going to beat for the presidency. He has substituted a cultivated  disdain and gestures of moral umbrage toward world leaders in the place of strategic thinking. His moral compass and sense of outrage have never been deployed against his Saudi friends who he mislabels as  "our Saudi friends."  Senator McCain postures as the warrior in feminist Washington. No one has been more instrumental in emasculating and demoralizing the US armed forces who at different times he thought could be led by Sara Palin or Lindsey Graham.
The Christian and American tradition of adult protection has always rested on the male group protecting the village, town, state and nation while the mother protects her children. These are the protective bonds of sexual maturation that the sexual revolution inverted as men chanted, "Hell No! We Won't Go!" and women campaigned for abortion. The males would not be soldiers, the females would not be moms. To make America great again we must be brought back under the authority of God and once again foster matured male and female authority types. Sacral order is sexual order and our mission of national renewal will eventually be understood as a restoration of sexual order. It may seem strange to some but the way to begin this task of national restoration is by once again honoring the sacredness of the name of God in our daily customs and habits. Sexual order is a reflection of sacral order and there can be no return to motherhood in our homes and civic brotherhood on our city streets without a return to reverence toward the Father of us all.    



I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, TRADITION, AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Along with the First Station of the Cross, a pretty convincing argument.

THE CHURCH OF INTERSECTIONALITYA conference attendee tells all.

CHRISTIANITY MUST BREATHE WITH BOTH LUNGS: Every pope for 200 years from Gregory in 600 AD was a GREEK.

WOMEN ON THE ALTARFemale servers and priestly vocations. Boys to men in the parish - the remarkable Knights of St. Tarcisius.

SELLING OUT THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES - A 50-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: Monsignor Rutler on Land O'Lakes. The purpose of Catholic education - AOAEsolen on Land O'Lakes at 50.


II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST

WAR WITH IRAN - THE LIBERATION FORCE THAT WILL REPLACE "THE REGIME": We have heard this story of regime change  before.  And once again some usual suspects are at a regime change rally.  Giuliani, Gingrich, and Bolton are big advocates of overthrowing the elected government of Iran. All three were Trump supporters but are thankfully not in the inner circles of national security. Can it really be a good idea to overthrow the government of Iran and install a "western style democracy"? Pat Buchanan warns us. What is needed right now is a strong voice in the Senate from the left against this rush to war with the state that most effectively opposes the Wahhabi ideology of Saudi Arabia, ISIS, and al Qaeda. We have kept the wrong allies from the Cold War. We have made the wrong enemies =- a major reevaluation is necessary.

ALL MUSLIMS DON'T LOOK ALIKEConsider the Sufi. Let us love God and love one another. There are four schools of Islamic Law - why it matters.


III. CULTURE LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

IS THE LGBTQ MOVEMENT AFTER THE CHRISTIANS? Even the paranoid have real enemies.

JAMES MARTIN AND HIS RESPONDERS: A compilation. At AOA we feel the critics of Fr Martin SJ and his new book on building bridges between the Catholic Church and the LGBTQ lobby have been too tepid in defining the real problem. The relationship of the clerical homosexual subculture and the Church hierarchy is much more a problem of personnel than procedures. There is a huge subculture of homosexuals who weaken the brotherhood of fathers which is the interpersonal basis of the Catholic priesthood. This must be faced. As Elijah said, Israel must choose between two paths. But there is no Elijah among the bishops or priests who will tell the dirty secret and help organize an exposing and washing out of the Judas priests. Here is our series on masculine anthropology and reforming the Catholic priesthood.

In God's good time it will turn out beneficial that the huge homosexual clerical lobby is coming out more aggressively. Take names. Pope Francis has said the way to fight movements that portray themselves as new lights is to let them expose themselves by playing out their masquerade. They will never stop and their true identities will be exposed.  The Catholic Church has often had hidden homosexuals in the priesthood but we opened our seminaries and male religious orders to them the last fifty years after Vatican Two. The abuse scandal is a direct result of normalizing sexual perversion which allowed sexual predation. This soaking of the priesthood from multiple nations in the atmosphere of male homosexuality has created a certain voice and mannerism among even the heterosexuals. Forcing laymen who teach catechism to take another Virtus online quiz does not quite get at the enormity of the clerical crime and the depth of the corruption. Is retention of homosexual priests and bishops the solution or the problem? Is the homosexual priest a gift or an abomination? Elijah is asking.

US MILITARY AND THE WAR AGAINST BIOLOGY: The transgender who got pregnant.


IV. R&G ROUND UP

SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT CONFUCIUS? A professor says yes and tells us why. For Christians, bringing the Gospel to the land of Confucius will necessitate respecting the elder. No one writes abut this better than Rev. Simon Chan.

TRUMP, RELIGION, AND THE WESTFrom American Greatness. Our take on Christianity and the West.

RELIGION AND AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICYAndrew Preston, author of Sword of the Spirit and Shield of Faith, is one thinker who has been arguing for over a decade that the whole history of American foreign policy is a religiously motivated conversation. We will review his book soon.

CHESTERTON ON KIPLING: Chesterton writes:
"The great message of Rudyard Kipling was this, that he saw and honoured the immense machinery of modern life; that he paid honour to the pulleys and decorated the cogwheels of civilization. He perceived this great and even awful fact, that we cannot get away, even in our lightest pleasures, from the presence of discipline and pain. In the very paths down which we stroll the way has been cleared like the blasting of a barricade; in the very gardens in which we linger the flowers have been drilled like soldiers...We may fling ourselves into a hammock in a fit of divine carelessness, but it is obviously very fortunate for us that the man did not make the hammock in a fit of divine carelessness. We may jump upon a child's rocking-horse in a fit of flamboyant nonsense, but we are glad that the maker of the rocking-horse did not, in a fit of flamboyant nonsense, omit to glue the legs to the stand... Other writers have to some extent drawn our attention to the fact that every one of our luxuries depends upon labour; to him was given the duty of drawing our attention to the fact that they also depend upon some organization of labour. Whenever we buy a flower, whenever we order a bottle of wine, we are depending ultimately on the fact that one man will obey another man, who will obey another man, who will obey another man. We hang upon discipline as we might upon a single thread suspending us from a precipice. In order that we may send the postcard, that card has to be treated by strangers who have never seen us, as if it were a King's dispatch or the fragment of a Fifth Gospel."   -- GKC, Daily News, October 15, 1902

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Let us now praise the greatest modern invention


Air conditioners in India


It is amazing that gratitude hasn't raised more statues to Willis Carrier.

He was the Cornell-educated engineer who -- in the summer of 1902 -- invented air conditioning for sweltering humanity. He alleviated more suffering than 90 percent of all the social reformers combined!

Here is a simple video explanation of how an AC unit works.


Photo taken in 1950, the year of his death


Dr. Carrier "is buried in Buffalo, in a cool and shady spot at Forest Lawn Cemetery."






UPDATE: At Rod Martin's blog, he had this photo of North Korean soldiers guarding a hut. What's the brand name on the AC unit? Samsung -- the largest business conglomerate in South Korea!

                 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, July 22

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

SECRETARY TO CARDINAL COCCOPALMERIO IN DRUG/HOMOSEXUAL ORGY: The secretary of 79-year-old Cardinal Coccopalmerio was arrested in a CDF-owned apartment during a "drug infused gay orgy." Coccopalmerio is a member of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith and chief interpreter of Vatican texts. He was appointed to his offices by Pope Benedict and had recently recommended that his secretary be made a bishop. The CDF has been a notorious center for gay clergy who maintain the letter that homosexuality is a disorder, but always come up short on enforcement and are notorious for their clandestine secret cults. A homosexual Polish priest who worked at CDF was fired after publicly coming out. He wrote a blistering letter to Pope Francis that the clergy from cardinals to priests are full of homosexuals and he was fired for being honest.

The "orthodox" American Catholic press is full of laborious reasoned arguments against the new book by Jesuit James Martin advocating a more pastoral approach to the LGBTQ lobby. None of the reviewers take on the central fact in Martin's Jesuit order and every major urban center in America that there are already huge homosexual clergy subcultures who were made to feel very welcome in Catholic seminaries while greasing their trips up the career ladders in the church. Thirty years ago the homosexual seminarians were much more flamboyant in their proclivities. Now they are told to be discreet which has made their merry band of special brothers even more the insiders. How can the welcome mat for homosexuals be any more accommodating than the diocese of our nation's capital headed by Cardinal "Uncle Ted" McCarrick from 2001-2006 and now Cardinal Donald "Donna"Wuerl? (Here is a defense of Cardinal Wuerl).

This abomination has emasculated our priesthood and episcopacy. This radical desacralization of fatherhood and fraternity is the still unpunished cause of the clerical abuse scandal which disfigures the Body of Christ. When Cardinal Wuerl was asked if allowing open homosexuals throughout the US military would adversely effect the armed forces he said the Catholic Church had no position on the issue. The Church may have no official position but we are a living testament. Incest is very bad for brotherhood. The homosexual problem in the Catholic clergy is NOT a policy or doctrinal issue. It is a personnel problem, and there are no bishops right now who will face their duplicitous brothers. For two decades the Church has been explicit that homosexuals should not be allowed in the seminaries -- very explicit. What about the episcopacy? Should homosexuals be allowed to stay in that apostolic role? What is the message? Sneak through the seminaries, and there will be  plenty of wink-wink clerics who will help you up the career ladder.

VATICAN NEWSPAPER EMBARRASSING ANALYSIS OF AMERICAN POLITICS: The Fr. Spadaro article: Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: a Strange Ecumenism. Some withering reviews: by Samuel Gregg and Fr. Raymond De Sousa. The best response, however, was by a Catholic thinker who has a map in his head and measurable testosterone in his blood stream. Austin Ruse. No serious American will think the Vatican editors understand American politics. This statement about Pope Francis casts doubt about their knowledge of Francis.
"Francis wants to break the organic link between culture, politics, institution and Church."
As the pope's biographer, Austen Ivereigh, noted: this is neither the language nor the voice of Francis. The editors' lumping of the biblically inspired black civil rights movement with atheistic communism and anti-patriarchal feminism is a typical error of the left, as is their juxtaposition of exclusionary land base Old Testament thinking with "Imagine there are no borders" inclusivity of the New Testament. From the Spadaro text:
"The panorama of threats to their understanding of the American way of life have included modernist spirits, the black civil rights movement, the hippy movement, communism, feminist movements and so on. And now in our day there are the migrants and the Muslims. To maintain conflict levels, their biblical exegeses have evolved toward a decontextualized reading of the Old Testament texts about the conquering and defense of the “promised land,” rather than be guided by the incisive look, full of love, of Jesus in the Gospels."
This text is an embarrassment in which anti-American animus (especially against those benighted southern whites) is its driving force. This screed tells us nothing about America and less about Pope Francis. Apparently, the Vatican pundits missed the rather interesting fact that "Conservative Catholic intellectuals" who had supported Reagan and George Bush were ostentatiously opposed to Donald Trump and his emphasis on God, manual workers, and nationalism. They had preferred to champion natural law reasoning, creative capitalism of free trade and ideas and the promotion of western democracy. American Catholic intellectuals have misunderstood both Donald Trump and Pope Francis. This Vatican essay fails to grasp that Catholic men supported President Trump but many of the intellectual architects of the Catholic Evangelical alliance missed his message entirely. The relationship of Catholic Protestant and Jew (and now Muslim) in American politics is worth a thoughtful essay from the Roman mind. We are waiting.

DECENTRALIZING THE CURIA - FRANCIS' STRATEGY: From Monday Vatican -- a perceptive weekly essay from Italian speaking Catholic News writer. The Curia is no longer the center -- it is not the top of a career ladder. A return to diocesan preeminence. This commentator is interesting.

AUTONOMOUS INDIVIDUALS MAXIMIZING PLEASURE VS. CHRISTIAN LIBERTY: A 1995 essay by Cardinal Avery Dulles.

WHY MANY CATHOLICS DON'T TRUST POPE FRANCISTom Hoopes interview.

FELIPE ALOU AND CHRISTIAN ATHLETESCatholics and Protestants and the FCA.


II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST

"SAUDI ARABIA SUPPORT FOR TERROR DWARFS QATAR" ACTIONSSenator Bob Corker is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

THE KURDS FOUGHT BUT WILL THEY GET A COUNTRY? From Asia News, an Independence referendum on Sept 25, 2017. (See our Map on Monday on Kurdistan.)


III. R&G ROUND UP

MONGOLIA - A YOUNG LEADER PRO-PUTIN: Mongolia with three million people is a huge landmass (18th largest country) with copper, gold, and coal resources underlying a still robust horse and herd culture. This resilient people play a buffer role between Russia and China. This election shows the success of Putin's leadership in winning allies on Russia's huge southern front.

XI JINPING AND THE RESTORATION OF CHINESE TRADITIONALISM: From Asia news.

IF A REPRESENTATIVE OF NORTH KOREA SAID HE HAD A DISK CONTAINING THE 30,000 EMAILS HILLARY CLINTON DESTROYED WOULD YOU MEET WITH HIM? An unfriendly government with valuable information - looking for the moral principle here that would preclude one from finding what was destroyed. During the campaign, candidate Trump publicly asked Russia if you can find the 30,000 emails the press will "mightily reward" you. What campaign would not meet with someone to see if the "lost has been found"?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Brunelleschi's dome in Florence





Florence -- capital of Tuscany and the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance -- owes much to the genius of Filippo Brunelleschi (d. 1446). His masterpiece remains the largest masonry dome in the world!

It is part of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore: "Saint Mary of the Flower." The bell tower was designed by Giotto (d. 1337).


This amazing documentary, in which modern architects and bricklayers try to figure out how the dome was ever built, will quickly draw you in. Certamente!

You will walk away, scratching your head that Signor Brunelleschi isn't more famous than he is.




Saturday, July 15, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, July 15

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


WEEKLY BRIEF

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.." Good advice from Rudyard Kipling. While the major media are transfixed on finding a case of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government which could unseat President Trump from his office, the violent intercourse of nations continues. Sixteen men (15 Marines and a sailor) were killed training in Mississippi on July 10 to sober us.

Our ally Iraq won a major victory with American and Iranian help in delivering the city of Mosul from ISIS governance. This ended the embarrassment of the Salafist Wahhabi caliphate within the territorial boundaries of a Shiite led state. And let there be no mistake. After the US military defeat of Saddam Hussein, the Iraq majority was allowed to form its own government and the long suppressed Shiites did just that. This was the sin of Iraq - that now Shiites would govern themselves. The continuation of the war in Iraq was one of four fronts in the Mideast preventing Shiite rule. Homegrown Sunni - now a minority - and foreign fighters became the opposition army. American policymakers never seemed to grasp the full implications of this religious dynamic often bewailing "sectarian violence" as the fault of both sides. There was an implication that religion taken too seriously is a recipe for violence. Thus the call for moderates "on both sides." But the Shia were not establishing a new Iraq in which the Sunni would convert or die. ISIS WAS saying that to the Shia. Saudi-centered Wahhabism has preached that for several centuries. American soldiers freed the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein and Iraqi soldiers protected their self rule by defeating a fearsome foreign inspired counterrevolution. God bless them in their fight and God bless the Americans who died that they might be free. Destabilizing Iraq became the tip of the sword for the Salafist jihadist movement in the Mideast. In their language, the Shia were no more Muslims than the Crusaders in the Twin Towers. They could be killed and certainly they could not be allowed to rule.  The government of Iran understood the religious animus of the jihad terrorists and allied with the new government. They proved to be a true ally willing to shed blood with the new nation against the salafist terror.  The Iranian nation and the nation of Iraq won their freedom like the nations of Israel and America did. They fought and died for it. The Iraqi victory should be a time to give thanks, salute our dead and thank our allies. But other matters becloud the public mind.

As we devise a new policy in the Mideast not centered on regime change, we cannot help but note that our ally Israel has counted our ally Iraq as one of their five most grievous enemies in the world and region (not ISIS but the government of Iraq!). Like Saudi Arabia demonizing Qatar, the Israeli opposition to Iraq is a great contradiction demanding sober reflection and resolution. Saudi Arabia and Israel are not fighting the same war we are. Israel will have to change policy to align with us. Saudi Arabia will have to relinquish the demonic control its Wahhabi clerics exercise over Islam's holy sites. The clerics' unholy alliance with an ambitious young Crown Prince (See R&G JULY 1 The new Crown Prince) bombing the Shiites of Yemen is a very bad omen. This week we bury our men who were training to carry out the policy of our nation. We owe them a strategic coherence in that policy that reflects the gravity of their sacrifice.


I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

AT CDF - CARDINAL MULLER ENDS HIS TERM: Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer SJ, Secretary of the CDF, begins his. The German is out and the man from Spanish isles is in. Cardinal Muller was not fired. His five year term came to an end. Some report that He did criticize the way he was informed of the end of his term.  Yet Muller says there is no disparity between the Pope and him. Muller was very clear on orthodox pronouncements and very slow on clergy reform. He was in the tradition of the Pope who initially appointed him. He was a clear and impressive scholar-teacher and very little a ruler. He was part of the tired Germanic debate Pope Francis is trying to circumvent in favor of another strategy. He is a very good man who will still serve the Church but maybe in ways that emphasize his openness to an Iberian revival over doctrinal debates. He has cultivated an interesting and friendly relationship with the founders of liberation theology. God is not done with him and neither is Pope Francis.

TOP VATICAN ECONOMIC CARDINAL TO RETURN TO AUSTRALIA TO FACE SEX ABUSE CHARGES - 76 Y/O GEORGE PELLThe charges and some history.

IN AFRICA CATHOLIC GRADUATE MELINDA GATES AND CANADA'S FEMINIST UN REP OFFERS AFRICA A NEW COLONIAL PACKAGE - ABORTIONIs this empowerment for women or a rich lady's solution?

LUTHER AND CHESTERTONDale Ahlquist celebrates the 500-year anniversary of The Protestant Reformation in his own way.

JULY 15: Feast of St Bonaventure, scholar of history


II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST

MIDEAST SUNNI, SHIITE - WHO IS OUR ENEMY? Tucker Carlson takes on Col. Peters in discussing grand strategy in the Mideast. It is startling to hear a Fox reporter ask such penetrating questions. Carlson says, "When was the last time a Shiite was responsible for terrorism against U.S?" Carlson's desire for a real conversation is the most hopeful episode of network journalism we have seen on TV since 9/11. (There have been some good documentaries.) The next day Mr Carlson showed his willingness to take on another Neo-Con, Max Boot. This shattering of the "experts" is stunning. Mr. Carlson will pay for this in the very brutal world of conservative think tanks from which Pat Buchanan was exiled for refusing the Kool Aid on Mideast strategy.

ISIS HAS BEEN DESTROYED IN MOSUL BY OUR ALLY, IRAQ. WHY NO CHEERING FROM US MEDIA? A bloody win. The anti-Trump media cannot appreciate this huge military victory. Neither can Israel or Saudi Arabia. There is so much serious discussion being driven out of the public airwaves by the witch hunt. Countries acknowledge the role of Iraq. It was commonplace 4 years ago to say ISIS would not be driven from Iraq for 40 years. The resolution of the Iraq government with a much more robust US support and a continued alliance with Iran moved up the schedule.


III. AROUND THE WORLD R&G ROUND UP

TOP THREE COUNTRIES 2017 - CHINA, INDIA, U.S.     TOP THREE COUNTRIES 2050 - INDIA, CHINA, NIGERIA: Watching demographics. Much of long-term Chinese foreign policy is based on developing working infrastructure relations with other countries especially in Africa. There are 7 billion people in the world. Our "population pin number" is 1:1:1:4 (one billion in Americas; one billion in Europe; one billion in Africa; four billion in Asia. In 2100 the population pin number will be 1:1:4:5 (one billion in Americas; one billion in Europe; 4 billion in Africa; 5 billion in Asia.)

THE WARSAW SPEECH: "Freedom, family, country and God." This is what President Trump says the western alliance of nations is fighting for. In this speech, he reminds us of the historical events that keep Poland as a nation at the heart of a Europe of nations under God. There are lots of news stories to read. Our recommendation once again is to read this speech. An unfriendly analysis, but Peter Biernat is posing the right question: what civilization are we defending? Is the West a code for white Christians? Our answer is that we are defending Christianity which is not color-coded and has outgrown the "west" but not the nations. Trump's speech is very different than the rhetoric of George Bush and much to the better. Trump sees NATIONS as what makes Europe. The western alliance is the European nations in alliance across the Atlantic with the Americans. The rule of God is much more central to Trump than the process of democracy. Finally, he called Poland the CENTER of Europe not its eastern front. That paves the way for new relations with that great Euro-Asian civilization-Holy Russia.

WHY THE HATE FOR RUSSIA? Pat Buchanan doesn't really answer that question but he questions the hate.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Memorial of Saint Benedict: Christian fraternity and male socialization

       
by David Pence

                     


Saint Benedict (480-543) left the comfortable life of a university student to discipline himself as a hermit. He left the life of solitude to become  an abbot of several monasteries. He survived several poisoning attempts of monks not as dedicated to moral reform as he was. In one of those episodes, a raven clutched the poisoned bread he was about to eat and saved his life. The raven is often prominent  in the name of Benedictine institutions and pictures of the saint. He introduced an order of life (Rule of St Benedict) which regulated the prayer, study, and manual labor of men who lived together in community. He is considered the Father of Europe. Benedictine monasteries are highly independent from one another and democratic in their selection of an abbot. To this day, they number some of the holiest (and some of the most corrupt) communities in Christendom. Benedict’s Christian fraternities of work, study, and prayer were the spiritual forerunners of corporations, universities, and cities which invigorated European civilization. Benedict taught men how to live together under Christ in love. He shaped Christian masculine character in monasteries that served as the fraternal template of public life. He united men in a transcendent spiritual purpose in a specific local community under a patriarch. An excerpt of the Rule of Benedict from the Church readings for his feast day:
"Just as there exists an evil fervor, a bitter spirit which divides us from God and leads us to hell, so there is a good fervor which sets us apart from evil inclinations and leads us toward God and eternal life. Monks should put this fervor into practice with an overflowing love... No one should follow what is good for himself but rather what seems good for another. They should display brotherly love in a chaste manner; fear God in a spirit of love, revere their abbot with a genuine and submissive affection. Let them put Christ above all else; and may He lead us all to everlasting life."


                               


CHRISTIAN BROTHERHOOD, THE BENEDICT OPTION, AND INTERRACIAL VIOLENCE

A contemporary "Benedict Option" would be an all-male communal group which shaped men in Christian brotherhood. These all-male communities of prayer and work would be a model for interracial brotherhood and male socialization in towns or cities. The goal of the fraternity would be to teach and socialize young males as American men regardless of color. The perfection of some men leads to the maturation of many men. Men in the spirit of Benedict pray together regularly and do physically productive work. They would introduce the Christian culture of brotherhood as active protectors and workers for the young men of a local community. This is just the kind of male maturation and sex roles needed in our cities to bring cooperation between young black men and police officers. Both policemen and black male citizens SHARE a common identity as male protectors and fellow Americans. The police officers are the officer corps of the citizen protective bond. The feminist culture of the Democratic party which dominates America's inner cities is clueless about socializing and integrating young men into our protective role as men. They seek a lesbian police chief here, and many more female officers there, but the public peace of fraternity and male protective sex roles is an enemy to them. The enmity between black men and urban police is one of the bitterest fruits of the sexual revolution. Sabotaging the ability of young males to show they are men by acting out a public protector role in manners, dress, and actions pierces the masculine heart of Christian civic culture.

The Benedict Option is masculine and fraternal. Patriarchal fraternity is the fundamental form of Christian accord which shapes public life just as the marital spousality of the male-female couple shapes domestic life. Benedictine fraternity combines physical work with prayer; otherwise it is not of Benedict. The black men of our inner cities have lost the pathway to fatherhood and maturation which industrial jobs once provided. They need a Benedict. He is the father of Europe because the ordered masculine fraternity of his monks eventually flowered into the male communal forms of work, worship, and protection called nations. Benedict built masculine religiously-ordered publics. His men were patriots of whatever land they worked. They were manufacturers (manus facto -- to make by hand). Let us honor his feast day by remembering what he did long ago, and pray that men in our country will once again imitate his fraternities of ora et labora.  

                          ALL-MALE GROUPS ARE THE SOLUTION, NOT THE PROBLEM

This is the road not taken to racial reconciliation. Street violence is overwhelmingly a male problem.  It can only be solved by building a civic culture which can sanctify and socialize the males. There are many paths to social deviancy when men are not integrated into public protection and meaningful labor. One is seeking social recognition in the false "communities" of drugs and sexual promiscuity. Our large cities have fatally made peace with this errant path. Another errant path is chosen by much tougher males than those at the pot parties and dance clubs. They seek public recognition in violent dissent. That path wakes society up enough to start looking for solutions. Let us consider the  strategy of that Italian saint who 1,500 years ago countered the dissipating cities of Europe with prayer, learning, and  manual labor forged in local fraternities under God. As part of the Church’s morning prayer memorial of Benedict, she employs a 19th century hymn:
             "Rise up O men of God!
              His kingdom tarries long
              Bring in the day of brotherhood
              And end the night of wrong."
     





St. Benedict was one of the four holy men we featured on All Saints Day as  "A man in full."

                         

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, July 8

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

THE ORDER OF VIRGINSThree consecrations in Detroit. The hierarchical sexual order reflects the sacred order. Fatherhood, filiation, fraternity, marriage, and motherhood are balanced at the far end by the uniquely feminine call to virginity. Reestablishing this order is a huge evangelical statement to the world. Now we Catholic men starting with the clergy must protect them. The Netflix documentary on the murder of Sister Cathy Cesnick in Baltimore is a riveting and gruesome reminder to men that when we are incapable of protection, the most beautiful of our women will be violated by the Evil One and his many many legions.

THE GROWTH OF PENTECOSTALSA worldwide household of Cornelius. How will Peter answer?


II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST

QATAR - MATTIS TILLERSON SLOW DOWN THE RUSH: The grownups.

REGIME CHANGE FOR IRAN - GINGRICH, GIULIANI, AND A SAUDI JOIN THE RALLY: Watch out for MEK when considering policy for Iran.

AFGHAN SHIITES HELP IN SYRIAAfghan refugees to Iran offered cash and citizenship for fighting.


III. AROUND THE WORLD R&G ROUND UP

PRESIDENT TRUMP IN WARSAW POLAND: His remarkable speech - God and the nations.

REMEMBERING THE CHINESE CULTURAL REVOLUTION - LESSONS FOR US: You say you want a revolution.

ANGELA MERKEL IS HEAD OF A PARTY THAT ONCE WAS CHRISTIAN AND VAGUELY NATIONALISTIC: Her change on homosexual marriage has completed the metamorphosis. Her one principle is Career. She voted against the new redefinition, but she opened the way for the law. This is much the role many Republicans and Christian leaders played in the US -- their official position was against homosexual  marriage but their inactivity and appointments allowed the movement to prosper.

AN APPROACH TO LATIN AMERICA: Talk to Senator Rubio.

TRAINING THE WORKFORCE AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION: There are way too many students piling up debt in four-year colleges, and way too few students learning about materials technology and craftsmanship in the high schools. One assessment from City Journal.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

"The water tower of Asia"


by David Pence





At least half a dozen important rivers begin in the highlands of Tibet. Water always flows downhill. Orienting ourselves in space is not just a matter of North, East, West or South. It is about elevations -- the major lesson of topography maps.

The water tower of one's local town uses gravity to equalize the changing pressure needs of home faucets. The Tibetan Plateau (average elevation: 4,500 meters /15,000 feet) is often called The Roof of the World, as well as The Water Tower of Asia. The whole plateau is a million square miles -- four times the size of France. A plateau is a land feature of an area which is both relatively flat and elevated from its surroundings.



UPDATE: "Asia is the most populous continent, with its 4.3 billion inhabitants accounting for 60% of the world population. The world's two most populated countries alone, China and India, together constitute about 37% of the world's population."

India is expected to surpass China in population around the year 2024.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

JULY 4 -- The American Covenant: Brotherhood under God


[first published 4 July 2014]


David Pence writes:


The Battles of Lexington and Concord were fought by local militias on April 19, 1775. American militiamen were protecting a large cache of military supplies in Concord from British seizure. (If you had asked a man from Massachusetts in that glorious era what a male civil union was, he would have answered: "The local militia!")

The militias would not be enough to defeat the mighty British Army, so the Continental Army was formed by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775. A few days later, the Congress commissioned George Washington as its Commander-in-Chief.
                                       
Gen. Henry Knox: self-educated artilleryman
                                   
The British evacuated Boston – on March 17, 1776 – after militia and Continental forces besieged the city for 11 months. The stalemate was turned when the Knox Expedition to the newly captured Fort Ticonderoga brought 60 tons of captured heavy artillery over difficult terrain in mid-winter to bear on the encircled British. (This is now celebrated as “Evacuation Day” in Massachusetts along with another feast of national identity: Saint Patrick’s Day.)
                                     


The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.
It was, indeed, a declaration of inalienable rights:
'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'

But if all men are born free and equal, why everywhere are men enslaved?
Because their fathers did not secure these rights by forming a well-ordered armed covenant with other men by which rights could be protected against tyrants, criminals, and unfettered passions. Our founding fathers made and enforced such a covenant. They protected their armaments at Concord and captured the cannons of Ticonderoga, one year before they declared on paper their Independence. As my daddy used to say: "You want to change the world? Bring large groups of armed men into agreement." That’s why we are grilling hot dogs and waving flags on July 4th.

We rejoice because men loved each other with the sacrificial love of fellow citizens under God. They broke one form of blood kinship and hereditary rule with the English to assert the more powerful and democratic bloodshed-brotherhood of republican military duty. They formed a nation for all on a brotherhood for adult males only. Their brotherly love spoke in the language of honor codes and Providence.
'That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.'
If the oft-quoted second paragraph of the Declaration is about the rights of every person in principle, then the seldom-quoted last line is about the sacred masculine blood oath which won those rights in practice. The words declaring the rights of men were sealed authoritatively one year earlier by the sacrificial fraternal acts at Lexington and Concord.
                                               

While the nation as a single organism embraces all men, women, and children, the fundamental bond which makes the nation possible through time is a trans-generational masculine fraternity of sacrifice. No authoritative covenant by men in arms – no rights of man. No communal authority – no individual liberty.

We are not the founders of our nation. The adult men of this generation are challenged to receive and transmit a patrimony already established. Some men find themselves in a time and place which demand a founding. This is not our situation in the America of today. The fireworks of the Fourth celebrate our good fortune. We are not called to found a city, but to be the watchmen of her walls already built by the sweat and bought by the blood of men who went before us. 

America is the sweetest fruit of the Protestant Reformation. Laymen had to separate themselves into the communal fellowship of nations, to free themselves from the temporal rule of the Catholic Church. (This freed the Church to clarify her spiritual mission.)

The American continents provided a vast and separate land where the dynamic interplay of the nations of Noah and the seed of Abraham might bring forth the will of Providence. Adam and his sons, Noah and his sons, Abraham and his seed, Jacob and his sons – these communal forms of patriarchal fraternity are now found in the apostolic Church and the national brotherhoods. In America they were made incarnate  by the biblical leadership structures of Protestant congregations, and the military structures of local and state militias. These sacred bonds of civic and ecclesial masculine duty settled the wilderness and – in God’s appointed time – will cast out the Father of Lies and restore all things in Christ.  



BACKGROUND: Monsieur Renan on the spiritual nature of the nation.

Dr. Pence on America as a Christian nation: part 1 and part 2.

Take some time to listen to this long interview with Harry Jaffa conducted by radio host Hugh Hewitt. The good professor explains why the meeting of our Founding Fathers (1776 Philadelphia) was one of the two or three most important events in all of human history!


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, July 1

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch



THE WEEKLY BRIEF

Foreign countries try to influence American foreign policy and elections. Countries often have "favorites" in the elections of other countries. Especially since the end of WWII, the US has played various roles in "helping countries determine their leadership." That is an understatement. Two recent instances were unpublicized efforts in the Ukraine (2014) and more overt presidential efforts in the Brexit vote (2016). The outrage about Russian efforts to influence the US 2016 presidential election shows a remarkable ahistorical naiveté. It should be an intellectual embarrassment if we still had a public face that could blush. After a large investigation over a small matter, journalists might report on the sustained and successful efforts of the two countries that most influence American officials, elections and foreign policy. They are Saudi Arabia and Israel. Any honest appraisal about their roles in influence peddling, shaping public discussion and financially supporting  public officials would put the Russian efforts to shame. All of this is in plain view for those who wish to look. Saudi Arabia and Israel have for several years united their foreign policy goals of destroying the Shiite state of Iran. This was not the policy of the US President from 2008-2016. The overthrow of the Iranian government (or "regime change" as they like to say) would certainly not be the strategy of a rational anti Taliban, anti ISIS, anti al Qaeda policy. President Obama figured that out. Iran is the most effective nation state fighting ISIS and the Wahabbi salafist ideology.  President Obama tried to change the strategic calculus in the Mideast by not demonizing Iran just as President Trump is trying to realign our nation with Russia as a natural ally against radical Sunni jihadists. Both presidents ran into serious domestic and foreign opposition. The efforts of the Israeli President with the cooperation of Republicans to undermine negotiations with Iran was unparalleled in the use of a joint session of Congress as a platform for a foreign president to argue against the policies of our own chief executive. Likewise Saudi money in our universities, think tanks, and charitable foundations as well as their habit of purchasing former lawmakers as lobbyists has been enormously successful in obfuscating the religious and territorial roots of the 9/11 attack. These two countries are understandably trying to further the goals of their own governments by influencing the US. But what if their goals and our goals diverge? What if we decide to make policy based on  an America First strategy.  Who will protect us from our allies? President Trump will see what President Obama saw: a large group of US officials, think tankers, and the media arguing for the policies of a foreign government against the alliances he is trying to forge. 



I. AROUND THE WORLD R&G ROUND UP

BISHOP PAPROCKI VS JAMES MARTIN SJ ON HOMOSEXUALS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCHPaprocki rules and Martin lambasts. To understand the Jesuit homosexual advocate better, consider James Martin's heroes. Is the problem in the Catholic Church that we are not open and welcoming to homosexuals; or that our priesthood, our episcopacy, and our formation programs are debilitated by this brand of incest? It is hard to build the brotherhood of fathers when brothers and fathers are fostering a different form of attachment. There is a deep fundamental disorder in the personality structure of most homosexuals. There are the Charmin Tissue James Martin priests (soft and white). But there are also the Cardinal Burke, Michael Voris, Robert Sirico type personalities. Some of the most debilitated non fraternal non paternal and NON FILIAL male personalities are homosexuals who forgo sexual relations but express their conflicted narcissism in a distorted sense of Catholic Life as an endless battle for doctrinal super orthodoxy. It is a battle where they are featured as warriors. This posture attracts all sorts of other  "intellectuals" who support these very peculiar leaders against the fatherhood of the Pope.

TOP TEN SITES IN THE CATHOLIC WORLD: A reminder from Our Sunday Visitor of remarkable places to go and pray. In each place the stones and glass shout glory to the Name of God.

THE NEW CROWN PRINCE OF SAUDI ARABIA AND DEMANDS FOR QATAR: Shut down al Jazeera and don't deal with Shiite nation of Iran. A peculiar road to peace. The thirteen demands made against Qatar by Saudi Arabia are undoable without a forfeiture of sovereignty. This new offensive against a neighbor state is led by the new Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia-Muhammad bin Salman (MbS). The public relations drive to paint him as a reformer certainly doesn't apply if you think what must be reformed is the Wahabbi jihadist movement controlling the Holy Cities of Islam. The allies of the Crown Prince are the UAE, Isarel, and the US. Inside the kingdom the Wahabbi clerics are his primary base. Many relatives within the Saudi royal family know there are several older males who have more claim and competence to rule than the 31-year-old. His enemies are legion. MbS looks much less experienced and much more isolated than the Shah of Iran in 1978. MbS (Muhammad bin Salman) and his UAE counterpart.  Here is Al Jazeera story on the matter. Will the US Senate hold on the big Saudi  arms deal? They have thirty days and there are forces in the State Department who want bin Salman to back off the Qatar dispute. Senator Corker is willing to pause.  The anti Shiite war in Yemen and the attempt to isolate Qatar are the aggressive acts of the young male who is next in line to be The King of Saudi Arabia. The State Department and a growing number of U.S. senators are learning this may be the wrong time to build a Sunni Alliance led by the Saudis. Isn't this real and troubling news about Saudi Arabia more important and frankly much more interesting than the present media obsession with Russia?

WALL STREET JOURNAL FIRES FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHIEF: It is hard to report on the arms industry when you are a courier. When it come to rich Sunnis and poor Shiites, the rich Sunnis seems so much more amenable to members of the official government/media complex.

NORTH KOREA - OPTIONS: The timetable is closing. The lives most at risk if shooting breaks out in Korea  are our troops and bases in Asia. They are unpopular and they are considered the last outside forces from two centuries of foreign military projections of power. The US should use the new leftist South Korean president to help get our troops out of an untenable position. President Trump does not want a repeat of the bombing of our Marines in 1983 Beirut.

UKRAINE CRIMEA AND RUSSIA - THE SHORT STORY AND A LONG FASCINATING RUSSIAN DOCUMENTARY: This short Vox video of Crimean ethnic and language maps will help you remember there is more to this tale than a Russian invasion. Vox videos have a leftist bent but they are some of the best educational summaries of history and geography on film. Why can't the evening news look like this? This long documentary is a fascinating narrative from near neighbor Russian perspective but also from Russian speaking Crimeans. The Crimean Spring and the Maiden Revolution.

GETTING TO KNOW ANGELA MERKEL - CAREERISM VS. GOD AND NATION: Her father moved from West Germany to East Berlin in 1957. The Khrushchev speech denouncing Stalin (1956), the East German uprising (1953),the return of Polish nationalist Gomulka (1956) and Hungarian revolt (1956) were recent history. The revolts had been crushed and the ouster of Khrushchev was seveb years away. Her "Protestant theologian" father was not part of these nationalist liberation movements. A few excerpts from a Merkel profile:
Merkel’s father’s move was highly unusual in that he left the thriving West German city of Hamburg to run a home for mentally disabled children in an East German town still in ruins from wartime bombing, with streets made of sand and few cars. When the Berlin Wall was built four years later, her mother — a teacher of English — sat crying in church, while her Left-leaning father was said to have felt liberated.

It remains unclear how much he colluded with the communist regime, but while the authorities in the atheist state viewed protestants with suspicion, because he was a pastor his family were allowed to watch Western TV and read Western newspapers. They even played Monopoly, the ultimate capitalist board game.

Kasner, a cold and distant father by all accounts — Angela had a younger brother and sister — drove his daughter hard, constantly telling her she had to do better than the other pupils at Templin’s local school.

As a result, Merkel ensured she was always top of the class. She even learned Russian, the language of the oppressors, showing such dedication that she won a regional prize of a trip to Moscow. She was also a member of the socialist group the Free German Youth, for whom she organised excursions.

‘Whenever she is doing something, she wants to be number one,’ says Gerd Langguth, a professor of political science and another biographer of Merkel.