by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
THE WEEKLY BRIEF
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS REMOVE THE SWORD FROM PATRIOTS
Th fourth order of the Catholic fraternity, the Knights of Columbus, is built upon the virtue of patriotism. The traditional garb of the fourth order includes swords and the regalia of knights. It is a recognition that Catholic men owe to their countries the civic obligation of participating in protection. This was a crucial message that Catholic workingmen needed to send to their Protestant countrymen in America where the Knights were founded. This shared protective duty linked Catholic men to Protestant men in an ecumenical American brotherhood of arms. An ecumenism of arms in the American male mind is a far better brotherhood than the ecumenism of blood our fellow Christians are sharing in the Mideast. No one has articulated this more eloquently than a Boston Knight from the Bunker Hill Council. The duty of men to protect their country (or realm) has been longstanding Catholic custom. In the deeply lavenderized culture of western Catholic clergy there is an abhorrence to such martial virtues and a repugnance toward the sword in church. Many pastors will not allow the Knights in liturgical events if they wear swords.
The Knights say they are modernizing their uniform. That is their prerogative. But removing the weapon from the garb is disarming the civic protector. This is not a change of uniform but a redefinition of the patriot. Especially for Americans where the knights are most rooted in history and membership, disarmament betrays the Christian understanding of mature masculinity and protective civic duty. The Christian sword is no longer carried by Peter and the Church but by citizens of nations. We are not pacifists nor butchers. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. That is not a call to hippie protest but the Christian tranquility of order provided by the father, the policeman, and the soldier. Is it not clear that the great need in Catholic Latin America is for Christian civic strongmen who will bring both justice and order to the nations. There is an unhealthy body of thought among clergymen of the rich Northern/Western countries of Christendom that the sword is never necessary. Peter has sheathed his sword but France's King Louis and Mexico's Jose Sanchez del Rio are saints who used their arms for a holy reason. The man of weapons is as much a personality of a living Christianity as is the priest, the scholar and the worker. This symbolic emasculation comes in just the age that needs the brotherhood of Christian warrior-statesmen to defend the nation and Church from the external and internal criminal threats of the armed Cains. Is there not the scent of that other great enemy of brotherhood here? The kissing Judas pursing his lips chiding us to put away that ancient sword no longer necessary in the nonviolent Christian ethic of modern times.
I. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
AFGHANISTAN - WHO KNOWS. WHO CARES: The breakdown of public discourse and a sense of national purposes. The country that has most frustrated US efforts in Afghanistan has always been Pakistan. Afghanistan is a very different theatre than the Mideast - it is in South Asia. India, Russia, China, and Iran are all players in the final solution. The Salafist Muslims here are more often from Pakistan than Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis have played a most nefarious role in Pakistan politics. Now we find an under-reported tale about DNC chief Debbie Wasserman and her Pakistani IT men.
THE CIA AND THE SYRIAN WAR - AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS: The last years of the Obama administration his CIA was headed by John Brennan who fully embraced the foreign policy objectives of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis of course have been portrayed as our allies. Thus Brennan's devotion appears enthusiastic but not treasonous. Our bloody involvement in trying to overthrow the Assad regime in compliance with Saudi "allies" was a policy advanced much more strongly by certain government officials than by President Obama. President Obama could help the country by reflecting on how he too was often opposed by "the deep state" in trying to change policies in the Mideast. Interviews by Jeffery Goldberg of Atlantic with President Obama and David Samuels of New York Times Magazine with Obama's advisor Ben Rhodes are indispensable in understanding how Obama was as much an outsider as Trump in facing the Washington foreign policy "blob".
II. GEOPOLITICS AND AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY
MCCAIN AND SCHUMER TEAM UP AGAINST TRUMP BY HITTING RUSSIA WITH SANCTIONS THAT HIT EUROPEAN NATIONS: The desire to embarrass Donald Trump has driven the old political elite into a new alliance making imprudent decisions for the country. The sanctions against Russia are opposed by all of our European allies. They see it as the worst kind of "America alone, America First." But this policy is not coming from President Trump but Democratic Party leader Schumer and the "Never-Trump-Neocons" led by McCain. David Goldman (aka Spengler) tells this convoluted tale.
TRUMP IS CHANGING FOREIGN POLICY: No more regime change in Syria - a sea change from the failed policy of McCain-Clinton-Graham. Withholding payment to Pakistan is a direction we have advocated with many others for several years. But a lot of Neocons are still in key places. Buchanan asks, "Will we fight everybody?"
A STUDENT ESSAY MORE PERCEPTIVE THAN ANY FOREIGN POLICY ESSAY IN YEARS: The John Quincy Adams Society and National Interest magazine ran an essay contest for students to argue for a more moderate American foreign policy. A great essay on mistaking our allies' interests for our own highlighting the Saudi monarchy's war against the Shia. We wrote a similar analysis a year ago for the Minneapolis Startribune. .
POLAND, EUROPE, RUSSIA: Peter Rieth interviews Michal Krupa of Poland. Our interview with Rieth.
ESTONIA: 1.3 million citizens, 300,000 ethnic Russians. Historically Lutheran but now one of least religious countries in world. Suddenly America's best friend. Vice President Mike Pence is as convinced as Lindsey Graham on the nefarious designs of the Russians. Arming small neighbors of Great Powers is an old and dangerous game. Think Cuba 1962.
III. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION
RABBI SACKS ON DECADENCE OF THE WEST AND GLOBAL CHRISTIANITY: Rod Dreher comments with video of actual talk by Sacks included.
NAVY SHIPS, NO MORE URINALS BUT SELECTIVE SERVICE PREPARES TO GET OUR GIRLS: The madness gets locked in the steel structures. Women in combat - the "draft our daughters" move in selective service. And once again a prominent role by "war hero" John McCain who has run a lot of cover over the years for the sexual revolutionaries.
WHY JUDAISM, THEN CHRISTIANITY REJECTED HOMOSEXUALITY: Dennis Prager essay.
DUNKIRK, NATION, CHARACTER - KASS REVIEW: From the review by John Kass :
"The star of 'Dunkirk' is the character of the British people at that time, in the worst days of the war, long before America joined in, when the British Expeditionary Force was humiliated in Europe and almost destroyed.
"And so it is a movie about a people of a certain time, a people who knew who they were, a people who firmly understood their culture and their obligations to it, and to their nation, and to each other."