by A. Joseph Lynch
THE WEEKLY BRIEF
BURYING THE DEAD
|Sons - both by birth and in spirit - assist in the burial of Dr. David Pence (June 10, 2019)|
This past weekend we mourned the loss and celebrated the life of Dr. David Pence. At his wake on Friday, each of his children shared their fond memories and the many lessons they learned from their father. His son, Cain, reflected on how often his father told him about being at the right hand of the father, and how in his father's last moments Cain was literally there at his father's right hand. Dr. Pence would have been proud. Others, such as myself, shared as well. We heard from men who Dr. Pence campaigned with on 9/11, the "women of Jerusalem" who Dr. Pence both taught and learned from during many months of catechism classes, and the beautiful women religious who sung for Dr. Pence through the early hours of June 4 until his death at 3:55 AM.
The funeral on Saturday filled the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Mankato, bringing together so many of Dr. Pence's family, friends, students, and colleagues to pray for our dearly beloved father, friend, teacher, and mentor. We heard the comforting words of the pastor's homily and the magnificent singing of religious sisters at Communion followed soon after by the Ave Maria. It was a beautiful Mass on a beautiful, blue-skied, late-spring day at the end of the Easter season.
After celebrating Pentecost on Sunday, the burial was held in Minneapolis on Monday. I was honored to one of the pallbearers at both the funeral and burial. The burial gathered many of Dr. Pence's Men & Maps group from the Twin Cities, and burial prayer was led by Fr. Howe, who hosted the Men & Maps group at his parish. Like Saturday, we couldn't have had better weather. It was a tearful goodbye that turned to fellowship, work, and laughter, as Dr. Pence's sons invited those gathered to help bury their father. Two shovels went around as we worked. Dr. Pence would have been very proud.
|Dr. David Pence, requisite in pace|
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
THE LORD'S PRAYER REVISITED: Pope Francis has approved Italian changes to the Our Father and the Gloria. Italian Catholics will now pray "do not let us fall into temptation" rather than "lead us not..." "Peace on Earth to people beloved by God" replaces "Peace on earth to people of good will." Pope Francis has discussed this particular change to the Our Father in the past, and has even gone so far as to say it should end with the words, "deliver us from the Evil One" (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church for an excellent overview of the Our Father's concluding petitions). This fuller revised ending to the prayer would likely have happened if Pope Francis had made the revisions himself - but the true headline is not that the Pope changed the text but rather he approved changes made by the Italian bishops. This practice stems from the pope's 2017 moto proprio, Magnum Principium ("The Great Principle"), which gave more authority to local bishop's conferences to establish liturgical translations. Pope Francis has been at work to halt the "creeping centralism of previous decades" and restore the collegiality of the early Church as called for by Vatican II. Contrary to the fears of conservatives, local bishops are not given carte blanche access to liturgical change, but are called to translate in keeping with the vernacular and receive Rome's approval thereafter. Believe it or not, this is in keeping with the collegial and synodal structure of the early Church.
FATHER NO MORE: Fr. Jonathan Morris of Fox News fame has announced he is seeking laicization. In his interview with Martha MacCallum, the Legionaries of Christ priest tells us that that he struggled with priestly celibacy and had in the past failed to keep his vows. While he didn't specify the gender of the person he broke his vows with, he assured the audience that nothing so scandalous as the priest abuse crisis headlines took place (other than the scandal of breaking one's vows). He did say that "not being able to marry and have a family" was a driving factor in his decision. This statement reveals the true scandal. The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacramentalization of brotherhood. It expresses fraternal love in its mission-oriented and self-sacrificial character. The fact that our deacons, priests, and bishops so often do not feel the gravitational attraction of patriarchal fraternity is a driving force behind our vocations shortage (this is something to think about as you read about D-Day and the self-sacrificial, mission-oriented national brotherhoods of armed warriors below).
II. PRESIDENTIAL TRUMP AND AMERICA
TRUMP IN NORMANDY: President Trump marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day by giving one of his best speeches as president. Excerpts below:
We are gathered here on Freedom’s Altar. On these shores, on these bluffs, on this day 75 years ago, 10,000 men shed their blood, and thousands sacrificed their lives, for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty.DEALING WITH MEXICO: President Trump's tariff threat against Mexico has been averted. Details are still forthcoming, but the "Never Trump" National Review has given the president credit for a victory that is neither a PR stunt nor merely symbolic. In the deal reached, Mexico is sending another 6,000 men to police its southern border and lifted all restrictions on the Migration Protection Protocols, thus allowing us to return captured asylum-seekers to Mexico while their claims are adjudicated. There is also the possibility of establishing the "safe third country" policy, which would allow asylum-seekers to remain in the first country they entered upon fleeing their home country (in this case, Mexico). This is a huge win for the president, and shows he is able to accomplish his policy initiatives even without support from Congress.
Today, we remember those who fell, and we honor all who fought right here in Normandy. They won back this ground for civilization.
To more than 170 veterans of the Second World War who join us today: You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live. You’re the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts... When you were young, these men enlisted their lives in a Great Crusade — one of the greatest of all times. Their mission is the story of an epic battle and the ferocious, eternal struggle between good and evil.
The battle began in the skies above us. In those first tense midnight hours, 1,000 aircraft roared overhead with 17,000 Allied airborne troops preparing to leap into the darkness beyond these trees.
Then came dawn. The enemy who had occupied these heights saw the largest naval armada in the history of the world. Just a few miles offshore were 7,000 vessels bearing 130,000 warriors. They were the citizens of free and independent nations, united by their duty to their compatriots and to millions yet unborn.
There were the British, whose nobility and fortitude saw them through the worst of Dunkirk and the London Blitz. The full violence of Nazi fury was no match for the full grandeur of British pride. Thank you. There were the Canadians, whose robust sense of honor and loyalty compelled them to take up arms alongside Britain from the very, very beginning.
There were the fighting Poles, the tough Norwegians, and the intrepid Aussies. There were the gallant French commandos, soon to be met by thousands of their brave countrymen ready to write a new chapter in the long history of French valor. And, finally, there were the Americans. They came from the farms of a vast heartland, the streets of glowing cities, and the forges of mighty industrial towns. Before the war, many had never ventured beyond their own community. Now they had come to offer their lives half a world from home.
9,388 young Americans rest beneath the white crosses and Stars of David arrayed on these beautiful grounds. Each one has been adopted by a French family that thinks of him as their own. They come from all over France to look after our boys. They kneel. They cry. They pray. They place flowers. And they never forget. Today, America embraces the French people and thanks you for honoring our beloved dead. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
From across the Earth, Americans are drawn to this place as though it were a part of our very soul. We come not only because of what they did here. We come because of who they were.
They were young men with their entire lives before them. They were husbands who said goodbye to their young brides and took their duty as their fate. They were fathers who would never meet their infant sons and daughters because they had a job to do. And with God as their witness, they were going to get it done. They came wave after wave, without question, without hesitation, and without complaint.
More powerful than the strength of American arms was the strength of American hearts. These men ran through the fires of hell moved by a force no weapon could destroy: the fierce patriotism of a free, proud, and sovereign people. They battled not for control and domination, but for liberty, democracy, and self-rule.
They pressed on for love in home and country — the Main Streets, the schoolyards, the churches and neighbors, the families and communities that gave us men such as these. They were sustained by the confidence that America can do anything because we are a noble nation, with a virtuous people, praying to a righteous God.
The exceptional might came from a truly exceptional spirit. The abundance of courage came from an abundance of faith. The great deeds of an Army came from the great depths of their love. As they confronted their fate, the Americans and the Allies placed themselves into the palm of God’s hand.
The blood that they spilled, the tears that they shed, the lives that they gave, the sacrifice that they made, did not just win a battle. It did not just win a war. Those who fought here won a future for our nation. They won the survival of our civilization. And they showed us the way to love, cherish, and defend our way of life for many centuries to come.
III. THE NATIONS
RUSSIAN AIRPORTS RENAMED: Russia continues to reinforce its identity following the defeat of communism. This week the winners of the "Great Names of Russia" contest we announced, and 44 airports are being renamed to recognize the winners - which include names of saints recognized by the Orthodox churches. As communism fades into the past, Christian Russia is re-emerging.
END THE NEO-CONTINENTAL SYSTEM: Theresa May has official stepped down as Prime Minister and we await the selection of her replacement. Leading contender, Boris Johnson, has said as prime minister he will withhold a $50 billion Brexit payment to the EU until a better Brexit deal is reached. The EU has said it will not reopen negotiations ahead of Britain's October 31 exit date. It would do Britain well to see this time as something akin to Napoleon's continental system, which attempted to throttle Britain's economy for remaining outside continental control. One way Britain defeated the system was to form a partnership with Russia, which lead to Napoleon's ill-fated 1812 Russian invasion and his eventual downfall. Britain also worked with Russia in World War II to defeat the Nazi juggernaut. The is simply EU the latest monstrosity to befall the nations of Europe and the free nations of Britain and Russia must work together again for the freedom of their European brethren.
IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
MERYL STREEP REJECTS TOXIC MASCULINITY: The actress who in 2015 rejected the label of feminist has this to say about the exclusive use toxicity on men: “We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity... Women can be pretty [expletive] toxic." We at AoA do not wholly reject the use of "toxic masculinity" but rather pair it with its opposite: consecrated masculinity. That which is not consecrated easily becomes toxic. To understand this in terms of the feminine, we invite our readers to consider reading The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity by Dr. Carrrie Gress.
TOBIN TWEETS: Bishop Tobin, not Cardinal Tobin, reminded Catholics of Providence, Rhode Island, "that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children." The bishop, however, quickly apologized for offending the "gay community" and offered his hopes for a "safe, positive and productive" gay rally held soon after. More than tweets and walk-backs, what is needed is a clear teaching and manifested culture of protection and life. A living model of chaste, patriarchal fraternity in the Apostolic brotherhoods of deacons, priests, and bishops will do much more good than tweets.
PROSECUTING COWARDICE: Scot Peterson, the officer on duty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has been arrested on eleven criminal charges. Rather than confront shooter Nikolas Cruz, who killed seventeen students and staff, Peterson hid out for 48 minutes in a stairwell. At the time, Peterson was nearing retirement and an $8,700 per month pension. While the Washington Posts worries about criminalizing cowardice, we know that a culture of life is won by a culture of protection and that both rely on honor and shame. Punishing one coward, however, is not enough. It is also important to lift up the brave and create a brotherhood of citizen protectors for our schools and communities. That's what the second amendment is all about.
"PRIDE FLAG" OR SHAME FLAG? We Catholics know the month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, not gay pride. As the sexual Left celebrates "pride month" embassy requests to fly the "pride flag" alongside the US flag have been rejected. Other embassies are shamefully in open revolt, flying the "flag" (which gives "false flag" a new meaning) without permission or lighting up the embassy in rainbow colors. Here the president runs into what Obama called "the blob" - the large number of people within the bureaucracy who can create obstacles to presidential policy. In this case it is the policy of flying flags that represent nations, not ideologies. Marking our flag posts and embassy buildings with the rainbow ideology lifts up - sacralizes - the gay ideology as a central part of our mission to the nations. Those comprising "the blob" are too blind to see how promoting the sacralization of an abomination flies in the face of the world's religions and traditional moralities. Raising the "pride flag" across the globe does nothing but virtue signal to sexual leftists at home while alerting the nations to our cultural imperialist aspirations.
FIRST WOMAN COMMANDS INFANTRY DIVISION: Brigadier General Laura Yeager is set to become the first woman to command a U.S. Army infantry division. She has no previous combat command experience or time in the infantry. One former Marine combat infantry platoon and company commander commented on her appointment by saying: "I see nothing in [her] duty stations or command posts that would possibly qualify her to lead an infantry division... If we are placing PC above the training and readiness of young men... we in serious trouble as a country and a culture."