Saturday, October 31, 2015

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, October 31

by David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch 


Pope Benedict XVI explained the misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Council as a pitting of the "Council of the Fathers against the Council of the Media." Pope Pius IX said Church councils are interpreted first by Satan, then by man, then by the Holy Spirit.

From October 4-25, 2015, the fourteenth General Synod of Bishops since Vatican II met to discuss the mission and vocation of the family. Two hundred and seventy-nine priests, bishops, and male representatives of religious orders voted by paragraph to accept the 94 paragraphs of the final document. All paragraphs received 2/3 of the synod fathers' vote. We will see the full English translation soon. Until then, concluding that the synod is ambiguous about the indissolubility of marriage by highlighting the translations of 3 or 4 paragraphs on the pastoral care of the divorced might be an overreach.

One text we do have is the Oct 17th one that Pope Francis gave as a commemorative address on the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI creating Synods to carry on the work of the Council. It was an important talk about the nature of the Church and was especially significant to the Eastern Orthodox Churches for whom questions about the Petrine office and a Eucharistic Bishop-centered ecclesiology are essential. Pope Francis, who always refers to himself as the Bishop of Rome, understands this. Catholics who know that the great decentralization of Christianity is the Catholic insistence on the full Presence of Paschal Mystery at every Mass on the planet through the last two millennia also understand this definition of decentralization. You can bet that Eucharistic interpretation was not quite what the American media had in mind when they headlined: "Pope calls for more decentralization."

The address by an Eastern orthodox Bishop to the Council, Russia's Metropolitan Hillarion, shows why the Synod of the Fathers is much more compelling than the synod of the press. The alliance between the Russians and Americans as Christian nations has been proposed both for the war to defend the family and the war to defeat ISIS and the Salafist jihadists.

This really was a synod in the likeness of Pope Francis. His closing address again forced our eyes outward to humanity where Christ offers His mercy. When he says this is the central mission of the Church, he then quotes Pope Benedict and St. Pope John Paul II. But you must read his talk, not a report of it. How strange that St. John Paul II who integrated Divine Mercy Sunday into the Liturgical Year and elevated the devotions of St. Faustina and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is never castigated for not understanding the "limitations of Mercy."


MIDEAST - OUR REAL STRATEGIC ALLIES ARE NOW ON THE GROUND WITH US: The US is embedding ground troops with Iraq soldiers which puts us shoulder-to-shoulder, soldier-to-soldier with Iranian troops who have already shed real blood in the war against ISIS. Russia has seriously integrated its forces with Syria in fighting the Salafist Sunni movements that would eliminate religious freedom for Shiites and Christians. We are now aligned with the right allies though our Congress hasn't acknowledged this. The great strategic task ahead is to support a Sunni force that will organize a new government in the war zone territories of Syria/Iraq. That Sunni entity would be better organized by Jordan than Saudi Arabia, who continues their aerial persecution of the Shiites of Yemen.


A QUANTUM LEAP IN FREEDOM IN CHINA ON ONE CHILD POLICY WHILE US THREATENS THEIR MARITIME BOUNDARIES: Under Mao Tse-tung (d. 1976), China had a vigorous pro-natal policy. The fertility rate (projected births per woman during child bearing years) in China in 1970 was 5.5. In 1980 the one child policy was adopted as part of the modernization reform movement led by Deng Xiaoping. Many of his practical policy changes led to a spectacular reform. Not so the brutal restriction of family life. In 1984 there was a change in policy to allow many rural couples more children. The news of the policy change came from the central news agency reporting the decisions of an October 2015 meeting of top party leaders known as the Fifth Plenum. China's legislature meets in March 2016 when the plan will be outlined. China's population is 1.37 billion. Last year 116 boys were born for every 100 girls. The worldwide ratio is 105 boys to 100 girls.

China has built new islands off its shores to extend its claims in the South China sea. The US recently sent a US warship to sail within 12 miles of the new islands to show we do not accept their territorial claims. Are those infrastructure additions where we want to draw a line with China? The so called "realists" who now shape foreign policy thinking in the US government and academia treat all emerging powers as natural enemies of the dominant power (that would be the US). This social Darwinist theory of the nations informs both the neoconservatves of the Republican Party and interventionist liberals of the Democrats.


SATAN SHOWS HIS FACE: Senseless violence is not an adequate description of the mass killings plaguing our nation.

FEMALE COMMAND - REFORM IS NOT PERMITTED: "You want toxic, I will show you toxic" - Fort Carson and Colonel Tammy.

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