by David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
BALTIMORE AND PUBLIC LIFE
We attribute the Baltimore and Ferguson riots to the failure to socialize young black males into a religious patriotic citizenship based on love of God and a mutual duty to protect our communities. That duty is not just for a professional police force. It is the duty of all male citizens, and it binds young men to the police who are our local officer corps. The most poignant writing I have seen on the real problem and solution after the burning in Baltimore is from a young writer at the Federalist. He understands the connection between riots in streets and empty baseball stadiums. His name has roots of Benedict and Dominic -- two monks who understood community pretty well. Ben Domenech on the sadness of Baltimore and the empty Stadium.
EUROPE AND ITS NATIONS
The Conservative victory in the UK election and the dominance of the Scottish National Party in Scotland portends a Britain leaving the European Union, and Scotland and England parting their ways as well. The left-wing SNP would rather stay in the European Union than the United Kingdom. Pat Buchanan understands better than most the communal loyalties that drive politics. A distinction he tends to ignore is that the rise of racial ethnic national loyalties against the bloodless EU is not the same as a revival of the nations of Christendom. The pagan ethnic nation is not the Switzerland of Wilhelm Tell, or Ireland of St Patrick, or England of King Arthur and Robin Hood. It is Hitler's project and those of us who take no solace in the soulless EU find less in the pagan anti-immigrant nationalisms. It was always Pope Benedict's argument that there was no Europe without Christianity. He was from Bavaria and was never a German nationalist. He was a European Christian. We must learn from Benedict and Buchanan.
RELIGION IN AMERICA
The Pew Study of Religion in America is a great compilation of facts. Anne Henderschott of Franciscan University in Steubenville is the queen of Catholic sociology. Here is her Are we really losing our religion?
Pope Francis has said one cannot evaluate Christian fervor or progress with statistics. When the apostles lost Judas the apostolic hierarchy was diminished by 8%. That's about what Catholics lost in the last seven-year interval. A living organism is not like an inventory count of consumer goods. To be pruned is not to be diminished. The deepest pruning we need -- a true purification of our priesthood and episcopacy -- cannot come soon enough.
A surprising article for Chronicles of Higher Education about a Christian male group who are models for a Christian renewal of Culture. It is about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, the Inklings.
A second book shows how Enlightenment individualism separates man from physical reality. This is a particularly interesting argument because it is by by Matthew Crawford, author of a perceptive bestseller on philosophy and manual labor: Shopcraft as Soulcraft.
The breakdown of Catholic education in America happened when theology as the queen of the sciences became unmoored from the eucharistic Church, the community of bishops. This revolt was led by theologians from Catholic University of America. The author of a new book about that revolution is interviewed here.
IS PALESTINE A STATE? A WORLD MAP OF WHICH NATIONS SAY YES
To defend a religion or a people there must be a state. The Vatican in its diplomatic capacity joined a majority of nations who have recognized Palestine as a State. We are reporting, not advocating.
GULF STATES, PRESIDENT OBAMA AND ARMS DEALS
There is little opposition by Israel to the arming of Gulf states arrayed against the Shia movements they count as their common enemy. In fact, as one author says: This is not diplomacy but an arms sale.
MUST SOCIAL DARWINISM RULE FOREIGN POLICY
The "realist position" in American foreign policy has led to "three encirclements": Russia by Europeans, Iran by Sunni Arab states, and China by her neighbors. This strategy of dominant powers (e.g., USA) contesting regional powers (Russia, Iran, and China) in their regions of strength has led to the Social Darwinist dilemma of perpetual war. Can Christian realism and an alternative strategic approach of "bandwagoning" with regional powers provide an alternative to this balance-of-power perpetual conflict strategy?
A fresh look at some of these questions comes from Philip Jenkins who wrote one of the ten most important books of the last half century in terms of religion and geopolitics: The Next Christendom:The coming of Global Christianity. For a man with such insights about the global South he has been very disappointing in his approach to Russia and Eastern Orthodoxy. His rushed book about religion and World War I was much less sweeping than promised. But this article refuting much of the Darwinist realist school of perpetual war among the nations is an important contribution to Christian Realism.