Wednesday, February 28, 2018

After The War; The Plague. The 1918 Influenza Pandemic

At 11 o'clock on the morning of November 11th, the guns of World War One finally ceased. Peace had been achieved.

But the cyclone of Death in 1918 got a huge second wind, and nations would be kept reeling by a tidal wave of influenza. Mankind had not seen anything like it since the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century:

"It is estimated that five hundred million people contracted it – a third of the global population in 1918 – and that between fifty and a hundred million of them died. Asians were thirty times more likely to die than Europeans."

"In India 6 per cent of the population died [17 million]...  Koreans and Japanese were infected at the same rate, but the Koreans, subject to chronic malnutrition, were twice as likely to die. In the United States, Italian immigrants died at twice the background rate (the Italian neighbourhoods of New York had a density of five hundred per acre, ten to a room), while black populations were the least affected."

It came to be called Spanish flu "when it swept through Spain, and sickened the king; the press in Spain, which was not at war, wrote at length about the disease, unlike the censored press in warring countries, including the United States."

"Normally, elderly people account for the overwhelming number of influenza deaths. In 1918 that was reversed, with young adults killed in the highest numbers."

"Donald Trump’s grandfather Friedrich [born in the Kingdom of Bavaria] died from it in New York City. He was 49. His early death meant that his fortune passed to his son Fred, who used it to start a New York property empire."

"Even President Woodrow Wilson suffered from the flu in early 1919 while negotiating the crucial treaty of Versailles to end the World War."

"As to the original source of the pandemic, there are three chief candidates: Kansas poultry farms, the army barracks of Etaples in northern France, and the Shansi province in China."

UPDATE: This site has stories of how assorted American cities battled the epidemic.
One Boston nurse remembered: "It seemed as if all the city was dying... In the homes serious illness, on the streets funeral processions."

From 'Time' magazine:
"New York City responded to its earliest sign of infection with isolation and quarantine over a sustained period of time, beginning 13 days after the first case was detected, and had the lowest pandemic-related death rate of any city on the East coast. By contrast, Pittsburgh reacted late, waiting one month, and suffered the greatest number of excess deaths from the disease. In both cities, however, interventions were used singly rather than as a combined approach. St. Louis layered its interventions, using the various social-distancing measures at once, 2.5 weeks after its first case of infection; that tactic mitigated the outbreak and St. Louis fared better than 36 other communities as a result. Researchers compare layering interventions to layering Swiss cheese: if the holes are vulnerabilities, with enough layering you'll end up with a solid block of prevention."

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, February 24

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch

One brand of terrorist yells "God is great" and kills as many Americans as possible. Another more homegrown killer hasn't thought of God for years. He is not inflamed by the volcanic mountain of Islam but strikes from a colder more desolate place. They are two faces of the Evil One who has been a Murderer and a Liar from the beginning. The liar wears many disguises but the murder of innocents  has always been his signature DNA.  He will not be gone until the final expulsion. Until then we must organize ourselves in the spiritual and social formations which foil his deluded hitmen and best protect those we love from his evil.
As our Christian nation returns to protection, prayer, and God, we will order the  public life of men once again by patriotic love. Our young people will begin their school day with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord's Prayer. Not every individual is a Christian or a patriot but the communal acts of Christian and American piety are essential to fostering our social identity as Americans. Young males especially need to know which protective group they belong to and what it is that they are protecting.  A renewed America will provide multiple paths of socialization for young men to work as brothers and fellow citizens. The Christian civic tradition was shaped by fraternities of men at work and prayer.  The monks baptized the warrior tribes of Europe. We must enact a similar social approach to modernity's barbarians--rootless young males. In practical life this  face to face integration occurs in young male associations organized by a local congregation, parish,  police department or city. The Christian pattern of male love is as brothers under a common Father.  It is the foundational pattern of the apostles, the knights of the roundtable, the founding fathers taking their sacred oath and State militias organizing gun adept local citizens. This form of brotherly love has been actively negated in American culture because it "excludes females" and cannot tolerate incest. The disappearance of the all male group has been a social disaster for our schools, our police forces, our military and our young men. It was a most naive idea that females could enter all male structures of authority like the priesthood, military officer schools, fire stations and combat units without fundamentally altering their social character. Something profound was lost and noone batted an eye.  Those shattering policies in fact were early instances of the confused transgender thinking that each day reveals itself as more and more ludicrous. The shared male duty and identity of social protectors  is the social glue of a democratic culture and the original meaning of being political or being a citizen. To the modern mind,  cross wired by the feminist implant, it seems a strange notion that "politics" and "militia" are positive words signifying communal protective duty and matured masculine identity.  Look back at the gender of soldier and police deaths in the US for the last 200 years. Fortunately for all of us, that masculine notion seemed not so strange to them.
The socialization and maturation of young males is not possible if there are no courageous adult male models to socialize them. If the adult males become too soft, too domesticated and too feminized then in times of danger they will not perform. They will be losers when winning means saving lives.  Training programs for police and soldiers which aggressively integrate females and emphasize more and more female conciliation skills will produce officers that cannot and will not lethally confront the enemy in times of danger. It is good to have a few policewomen. It is a disaster to integrate their  necessary peculiar roles into the fabric of the protective force.  A police force built on individual personalities whose prime directive is a desire to end the day safely at home and end one's "career" safely inside a pension plan will not do well in times of danger.  Their tendency toward disruptive young males will be to turn away from engagement. In the face of armed shooters, they will take cover and wait for help.
The purpose of regulatory gun laws should be to take guns out of the hands of predators and the emotionally unbalanced while training the protectors to become more adept.  Every law or social custom  that enhances that distinction is to be encouraged.  Our goal is to arm as many communal protectors as possible. The goal is not to maximize the shooting power of atomized individuals. Gun regulation which arms the protectors must include mechanisms to disarm  those men who for moral or psychological reasons should not  own arms. If younger males(18-25) are required to meet more stringent requirements to carry early--great.  Training them is a good way for younger men to be integrated in the social bond of protective citizenship. The right to keep and bear arms is deeply entwined with the duty to know how to use arms well. The life of the group depends on the competence and number of social protectors. That is why state militia duty was required of  all adult male citizens.  What if all male gun owners reported for militia training one evening or day every six months to a city or county center? The purpose would be to meet and bond as fellow citizens,  practice some firearm or martial art skill, introduce opportunities for further training,  and provide a mechanism to continually evaluate the psychological maturity of brother gun owners. You don't have to register your guns--you have to report for citizen duty. A secondary benefit for countries with universal male conscription is the preventive information learned by psychological screening of all male citizens. Local gun owner/militia programs would serve a similar function. They would also help remedy the recently discovered problem that we don't have enough firearm trained teachers to act as school protectors.    


                                                                     The Pope and China

GEORGE WEIGEL ON THE FAILURE OF OSTPOLITIK THEN AND NOW: At AOA some agree with his harsh evaluation of Pope Francis. Our paragraph below is harsh on Weigel.  Here is Weigel argument at Foreign Policy.

ONE AOA VIEW:  The long military, religious and diplomatic battle against the bloody scientific atheism of the Soviet Union, Communist China and Communist revolutions around the world cannot be reduced to a cartoon story of brave conservatives "standing up" to the Commies while weak liberals were caving at every front and would have lost both country and church had their appeasement prevailed. There was treason and treachery for sure. A lot of Cold War history found atheist Communists posing as good-hearted Church or government liberals. There were real spies and traitors(as many in "resisting" Poland as the "compliant" Vatican!) Millions were killed. But there was also effective and honest diplomacy as both Communists and Christians saw nuclear clouds that might obscure their arguments on spaceship earth. Conservatives opposed detente with Russia and the opening to China by Nixon and Kissinger. It was "weak Jimmy Carter" who opened up the Muslim underbelly of the Soviets where the Red Army was finally defeated on a field of battle. The truth is if there had been no Carter or Nixon, there could be no Reagan. The Vatican diplomatic corps played their role as well. And if the truth be told so did the the Polish military/communist government. Pope John Paul kept Cardinal Casoroli as his chief diplomat with very good effect and for very good reasons. He was not being duplicitous. Mr Weigel treats that reality as a clever ploy because it doesn't fit his own idea of the heroes who defeated Communism: American arms and Ronald Reagan, Free enterprise and Margaret Thatcher, individual rights and the Polish Pope. All played a role for sure but the role of communal religious and national identities and armed Muslims were much more essential than the ideologues of "liberal Western democracy" seem to understand. Mr Weigel (like his Jewish neoconservative counterpart William Kristol) has become a cranky (and still insufferably pompous) caricature of "the public intellectual." The American Catholic Republican fantasy world of global capitalism, democracy and western values has come crashing down in a radically reconfigured world. "Realities are more important than ideas," says Bergoglio. Which man is dealing with the world as it really is and which is lost in an inadequate past paradigm? Two civilizational nations are emerging from the failure of atheist communism: Orthodox Russia and Confucian China. These new realities are being newly engaged by two elected actors whom Mr. Weigel has never understood-President Donald Trump of the American nation and Pope Jorge Bergoglio of the global Catholic Church.

CHINA LOOKS FOR A NEW NATIONAL PURPOSE: From China and the Vatican - The times they are a changing by Francesco Sisci. "This last principle (ed:of Pope Francis) resembles Confucianism as recovered by President Hu Jintao with his harmonious society (hexie shehui). The idea of harmonious society, in fact, in China is a fundamental step to overcome the Marxist principle of class struggle. It seeks a social peace to eliminate or minimize social conflicts and clashes. Class struggle was not really the instrument by which the Communist Party had come to power, stirring the hatred of the oppressed against the oppressors as the philosopher of Trier postulated. The Communist Party came to power on nationalist positions: spreading the narrative of itself as the true anti-Japanese and anti-imperialist fighter in the civil war against Tokyo, which had been invading China since 1937. Class struggle became Mao’s governing tool once the party came to power after 1949."

The Harmonious Society proposed by President Hu Jintao (2002-2012) was marked by his 8 Honors and 8 Shames. He published these in 2006 as a "new moral yardstick to measure the work, conduct and attitude of Communist Party officials." The XINHUA NEWS AGENCY English translation:
  • Love the country; do it no harm. 以热爱祖国为荣 以危害祖国为耻 
  • Serve the people; never betray them. 以服务人民为荣 以背离人民为耻 
  • Follow science; discard ignorance. 以崇尚科学为荣 以愚昧无知为耻 
  • Be diligent; not indolent. 以辛勤劳动为荣 以好逸恶劳为耻 
  • Be united, help each other; make no gains at others' expense. 以团结互助为荣 以损人利己为耻 
  • Be honest and trustworthy; do not sacrifice ethics for profit. 以诚实守信为荣 以见利忘义为耻 
  • Be disciplined and law-abiding; not chaotic and lawless. 以遵纪守法为荣 以违法乱纪为耻 
  • Live plainly, work hard; do not wallow in luxuries and pleasures. 以艰苦奋斗为荣 以骄奢淫逸为耻
ROBERT MOYNIHAN ON THE POPE AND HIS CHINA DREAM: insightful Vatican correspondent recounts an experience in Rome:
"A few months ago, I was standing by La Vittoria restaurant on the via delle Fornaci in Rome following a dinner with friends. It was a quiet, warm summer evening, about 10 p.m., already dark. An Italian man whom I knew came walking briskly down the street. He is an internationally respected writer on geopolitical affairs. I stopped him, greeted him, and asked him what he was working on at the moment. "China!" he said. His hair was disheveled and standing almost on end in different places.

"China?" I said. "Yes! The Pope and his advisors would like to make a breakthrough in China! It's their #1 priority. Nothing else is even remotely as important to them." "Ah!" I replied, mentally rifling though a series of other matters of concern in mid-2017: the Church's liturgy, the dubia... the bloody conflicts in Libya and Syria and the consequent massive immigration into Europe... the Vatican's opaque finances... the tragic conflict in Ukraine... the post-Christian West's seemingly Gnostic longing for, and embrace of, what will transcend man and perhaps dominate man, the "transhuman," the "superhuman"... "Ok," I said. "Interesting. So, what is the vision?"

"Simple!" my friend replied. "The people of China, so hard-working, so oriented toward becoming successful, in their hundreds of millions, are nevertheless, of course, souls, souls with a hunger for the divine, for the eternal, for God..." He stopped and pointed toward the Apostolic Palace in the distance, above the colonnade. "And that is something about which the Church..." (he shook his finger at the Vatican palaces) "knows very much, for two millennia now. And the Chinese government, despite its best efforts, does not, and cannot, fully understand this hunger. "And so we have these two great powers, one secular, one spiritual. And the Pope is persuaded that if the Chinese government gives the Church an opening to function in China, something extraordinary will happen." "Like what?" I asked.

"Mass conversions," the excited writer said to me. "By the millions. When the Church presents Jesus Christ to the Chinese people, when the sacraments are celebrated in churches in every part of the country, the people will respond because they are spiritually thirsty, spiritually starving. What the Church offers has been systematically excluded from every aspect of Chinese life, which was traditionally rooted in a reverent Confucianism, which respected elders and nature's laws. All that was uprooted in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. But the desire for something more remains, for it is a human desire, intrinsic to our nature. And for this reason, the Pope thinks the Chinese people will be fascinated by the Church and the Christian message, and ultimately, by Jesus Christ. And he believes there may well be, if there is an opening, perhaps 100 million Catholics in China in 10 years, perhaps 200 million in 20 years. Making China the largest Catholic country by number of believers in the world. And that would have extraordinary consequences."

"But the Chinese government..." I said. "Would the government ever allow such a thing?" "Good question," he said. "No one knows the answer. But the bet is that the situation will become uncontrollable. The longing for the faith, for the transcendent, will become a cultural phenomenon, an explosion of spiritual force. And the government will be unable to take repressive measures because the longing will be too widespread, and open repression too negative for the country's global image. So the conversions will come, and they will be massive." And he summed up: "But one thing is quite clear: this Pope is the first 'post-Western' Pope. He sees far beyond the old boundaries of what we called Christendom." We talked a while longer, and then parted. But I did not forget the conversation.

HOMOSEXUALITY IN VATICAN INCREASING: The explosion occurred under Pope Benedict who could not stop it. The impure priesthood is the most important internal moral problem in the Catholic Church.  Desacralization, careerism and the perversion of masculine character fed and covered up the sexual abuse epidemic. Pope Francis is temperamentally more suited to deal with this than Pope Benedict.  But he hasn't yet. After the Synod on Youth the Church would benefit from a Synod on Patriarchy, Fraternity, and the Priesthood. The German and French bishops need to be schooled by the Poles and Africans. That might give the straight American bishops the courage to call out and punish the huge homosexual subculture in their midst.  From Lifesite and Edward Pentin reporting.

SAINT JOSEPHTerror of demons, the father-protector, icon of the fatherhood of God.


PBS (THEIR BEST ARGUMENT FOR FUNDING) ON IRAN AND SAUDI ARABIAAn incredibly well done history of the Saudi Arabia-Iran conflict takes religion very seriously. A series of excellent interviews helps us all understand the people and area better. Hopefully  Fox and CNN "journalists" will watch and learn as well. Frontline is not quite making the same argument we do at AOA --that the Wahhabi salafists of Saudi Arabia are the real enemy in the war on Terror. They explain the history though much better than we have. We would say their historical reporting leads to our conclusions about strategy.   

RUSSIA, IRAN, AND TURKEYIs the US uniting them in Syria?

HOW MUHAMMED BIN SALMAN KEEPS THE WAHHABI CLERICS HAPPY AT HOME: By killing Shiites abroad. Bruce Reidel. This is not simply "sectarian violence". This is the murderous ideology of Salafist Sunnis who rule Mecca and Medina. The Hanbali law tradition of the salafists  does not rule most of the Islamic umma. The continued authority of the Saudi royal family has come from the guns and oil alliance with the US now being extended to Israel as well.  Calling the war between Salafist Sunnis and Shiite Muslims "sectarian conflict" is like calling the war of the KKK against blacks "interracial violence". There are two sides in the fight but one side really is a lot worse than the other.

PAKISTAN GUARD COMES TO SAUDI ARABIA: They say they wish no  role in Yemen (Shiites in Pakistan remain very opposed to that religious cleansing against Shiite Houthis).  Pakistan made assurances to Qatar and Iran that troops would not be used in any way against their countries. This is simply more protection for Muhammed bin Salman. He needs it.

SAUDI ARABIA AND UAE LEFT IN SHRINKING GULF ALLIANCE AFTER TAKE OVER OF QATAR FAILS: Anyone notice that Saudi Arabia and UAE were 2 of only 3 countries in world who recognized the Taliban just before 9/11? They are the lynchpins of the  shrinking Sunni Wahhabi  alliance that President Trump celebrated in his May 2017 visit. The only other country who recognized the Taliban was Pakistan. They shielded Osama bin Ladin after the destruction of the Taliban base in Afghanistan months after 911.  They made our task in Afghanistan impossible. Pakistan is no longer being treated as an ally.  That was a long needed correction initiated by President Obama which President Trump accelerated.
The very similar change needed in the Mideast is for the US to acknowledge the Saudis have played our country through the Bushes, the Clintons, the John McCains and the John Brennans for two decades. That would be a true nationalist insight. It would be a real discovery of how foreign influences dictated a foreign policy which was not in our national interest. It would be a swamp drainer.  It would be a new beginning in an America First strategy in foreign policy to expose and eliminate the  epicenter of the Salafist ideology that gave us 9/11, al Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIS, Boko Haram and the ongoing disaster in Somalia.  Muhammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is more and more isolated as he moves closer to the throne. This is no time to allow his anti-Iranian, anti-Shiite ideology to govern our strategy.  Even his last Muslim ally--the UAE is shaky.  The UAE are not as Salafist as the Saudis. They are a collection of Emirates with very different individual cultures.  The UAE and Saudis are now backing different military leaders in Yemen.

YEMENYemen, starving Yemen. The support of the US for this blatant religious purging just might be more serious than Russians confusing us on Facebook. If you want confusion, ask if Americans should really believe that every Shiite call to arms is an Iranian takeover of the Mideast.  Pakistan and Qatar are very dedicated Sunni Muslim countries. But they refuse to support the population bombing of Shiite Houthis. Why does the US?

HOW IRANIANS LOOK AT US-IRAN HISTORYA history primer by Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University and a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators. Someone may object. But you are presenting the Iranian viewpoint! Yes indeed. That's the point.



REPENTANCE AND REPARATION - AMNESTY AND ABORTION: The language and actions of a religious nation.

MASS MURDER MOTIVES AND MORAL DISINTEGRATION: By Pat Buchanan. The fruit of secular liberalism is the autonomous individual. He can be a monster. Return to God and meaning by John Horvat.

PROTECT OUR SCHOOLS LIKE WE PROTECT JEWELRY STORES: The Hispanic coordinator for the Trump campaign hits it on the head. Fox News should have more Americans like Steve Cortes instead of white conservatives from Canada and Australia (what we used to call the white Dominions of the English speaking world).

ABORTION IN THE US: A man slaps a woman; A woman destroys a man's reputation; A woman kills her child. Where do these events register on your moral outrage scale? In 2014, 652,639 legally induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2014 was 12.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 186 abortions per 1,000 live births [CDC]. Every sixth pregnancy is TERMINATED.

PRESIDENT TRUMP ON THE FLORIDA HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING: In these moments of heartache and darkness, we hold on to God’s word in Scripture, I have heard your prayer and seen your tears, I will heal you. We trust in that promise and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow. I want to speak now directly to America’s children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared. I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer or a faith leader. Answer hate with love. Answer cruelty with kindness. We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life that creates deep and meaningful human connections and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors. ...In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community and country. These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil. And these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need, and so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close. Let us pray for healing and for peace and let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow. Thank you and God bless you all.

PREFERENCE FALSIFICATION: WHY THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION IS GOING TO BE OVERTURNED SOONER NOT LATER: "The idea of preference falsification was put forth by the social scientist Timur Kuran in his book Private Truth, Public Lies as part of his theory of how people's stated preferences are responsive to social influences. It laid the foundation for his theory of why unanticipated revolutions can occur" (WIKIPEDIA). What seems to be everyone's accepted norm is suddenly overthrown--- like the fall from within of Communism.

This is an important notion in understanding how to combat the increasingly bizarre demands of the Sexual Left. Most people really do think there are two sexes; that mothers should protect their children not kill them; and that conjugal love is intended for a monogamous heterosexual couple not two brothers. They believe God's name should be praised not taken in vain. Thy believe we should salute the flag not burn it. They believe prayer and fasting is the path to the Spiritual, not drugs. They believe many protective and work groups should be like a pro-football locker room - for men only. They believe the female body should be covered in public not stripped for viewing pleasures. Many people have sinned against these norms and too many have sinned often. Yet even the violators recognize the norms.

America will return to these norms because the consensus against them is now held together only by fear of transgressing social opinion. The sexual revolution is over; the wages of sin have come due. One voice, then two, then an avalanche. False ideas like Communism and Feminism which were once the socially required preferred falsehood fall very fast when they finally lose the protection of  social shaming.  It took 50 years to get some very weird practices sanctioned. It won't take that long for a massive return to order, common sense, and traditional norms. Sexual inversion rituals are meant as party themes for an evening of Mardi Gras  not a half century of cultural practice. Just as the madness of the Chinese Cultural Revolution was suddenly and definitively reversed, the American sexual revolution will be annulled by grownups of several generations who have suffered its ravages.


"There are always going to be people out there who won’t like you or will be resistant to you speaking your mind or being true to you are. But they really don’t matter. It’s about whether you like yourself. If you like yourself, nobody else matters. If you love yourself you are living your very best life. And baby, right now I am living my very best life.”
                                                                                     Adam Rippon, American Olympian figure skater explaining his "openly gay" identity, his rejection of the elected Vice President Pence as a representative of the US, and his overall philosophy of life.


CHRISTOPHER DAWSON ON THE AGE OF THE GODS: In the earliest awareness men had of their world, they worshipped the divine—whatever that divine might be. These various forms of worship, Dawson believed, served as the basis of all human culture(s). No Lockean, Dawson argued that men came together because of their mutual interest in defending what they each agreed was sacred, rather than as a compact in which each man sought to protect his own interests against the community. As Dawson viewed it, man’s first step in development was the formation of community based on the interests of the community and the community’s divine, not some recognition of individualism. As the title of Dawson’s first book, The Age of the Gods, suggests, this was an age of the divine. From the worship of the divine, each people developed their own distinctive way of life.

CHRISTOPHER DAWSON ON 500 BC -THE HUMANIST NATURAL LAW REVOLUTION: The second greatest moment in human history, Dawson argued, arrived around 500 BC throughout the entire civilized world—in the Mediterranean, in India, and in China. If the first great movement was the Age of the Gods, the second great movement was an age of the “humane” or of “humanism,” as Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, and Greek embraced a vision of what would become a common humanity that transcends nations, races, and religions. Heraclitus, seeking an answer to the cycles of nature and the human person, he came to believe that all things found themselves rooted in a divine (if very pantheistic) element, Fire, or, in Greek, Logos. The Logos, while not quite god, represented the mind of the universe, and it endowed all persons, everywhere, with Reason...

NEEDED FOR VENEZUELA: A Christian nationalist to restore order. The Christian nations of South and Central America have suffered under decades of  different leaders and parties dedicated to imported forms of Marxism and feminist careerism. It is time to return to the Christian roots of their culture. A  Christian Bolivar must emerge.

WHY THE POLES WANT THE HOLOCAUST TOLD TRUTHFULLY: From Crisis by John Hittinger. "Contempt for law, for man, and for God" led to WWII according to the Polish Pope John Paul II. The new law forbidding the assignment of blame for death camps to "the Polish nation or Polish State" in Poland was a source of great criticism by Western individualists. The American Secretary of State saw the issue as an assault on free speech. The Poles saw it as a defense of national honor. We had the same debate in America before NFL football games when the national anthem was played. The President did not see that as a free speech issue.


WHO IS CHRISTOPHER STEELE - IS IT FOREIGN MEDDLING WHEN ITS A BRIT? Looking at the Dossier as an American.   The huge role of John McCain and his foundation's paid staff in the anti Trump movement becomes clearer as his aide David Kramer takes the fifth.  The movement against the elected President had many centers: 1) Career intelligence and FBI government officials who believed Trump was a deranged threat to the Republic. 2) Media corporations and journalists sincerely sharing the same hysterical worldview, 3) Democratic Party operatives trying to win an election and 4) the Republican/neoconservative foreign policy establishment who had already lost their status in a humiliating upheaval and soon would lose their foreign policy strategy if President Trump did not pursue the anti Syria, anti Russian narrative they favored.

THE COMPETING POWERS ARGUMENT OF WHY AMERICA SHOULD FEAR CHINA: Hal Brands of SAIS at Johns Hopkins makes an argument why the US should fear the China Century. His underlying model is the Social Darwinism of foreign policy "realism." There is no doubt China is becoming the dominant power in Asia. Should the US fight that or accept the reality of regional civilization dominant powers?  What if China's great national purpose was to unite with Christianity and bring harmony to Asia and the globe? That is the Pope Francis' gamble.  At AOA, we do not believe war is inevitable with the Middle Kingdom unless we accept the Darwinian type of foreign policy realism that leads to perpetual war and endless encirclements of large regional powers. We propose a different kind of Christian Realism: A new paradigm with China.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Khrushchev's speech that stunned true believers

From Frank Dikotter's The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution:

"A turning point in the communist world came in the morning of 25 February 1956. On the final day of the Twentieth Congress, as foreign delegates were busy packing their bags, Nikita Khrushchev assembled the Soviet representatives for an unscheduled secret session in the Great Kremlin Palace, the Moscow residence of the Russian tsars. In a four-hour speech delivered without interruption, Khrushchev denounced the regime of suspicion, fear and terror created by Stalin. Launching a devastating attack on his former master, he accused him of being personally responsible for brutal purges, mass deportations, executions without trial and the torture of innocent party loyalists. Khrushchev further assailed Stalin for his 'mania for greatness' and the cult of personality he had fostered during his reign. Members of the audience listened in stunned silence. There was no applause at the end, as many of the delegates left in a state of shock...
"Copies of the speech were sent to foreign communist parties. It set off a chain reaction. In Beijing the Chairman was forced on to the defensive. Mao was China's Stalin, the great leader of the People's Republic. The secret speech could only raise questions about his own leadership, in particular the adulation surrounding him. DeStalinisation was nothing short of a challenge to Mao's own authority... 
"Khrushchev also accused Stalin of ruining agriculture in the 1930s, even though he 'never went anywhere, never met with workers and collective farmers' and knew the country only from 'films that dressed up and prettified the situation in the countryside.' This, too, must have been too close to the bone for a Chairman who viewed the country from the comfort of his private train, passing through stations emptied of all but security personnel."

With Fidel Castro in Soviet Georgia (May 1963)

UPDATE: What happened to Comrade Nikita after he was forced to step down as top leader in October 1964? He basically spent the remainder of his days under house arrest, a broken and dispirited man.

Khrushchev suffered a heart attack on September 11th, 1971. The announcement in Pravda of his death consisted of a single line.

To put some perspective on Communist atrocities, let's compare a few numbers:
  • In a four-year period alone ('The Great Leap Forward'), Mao's government was responsible for 45 million deaths.
  • During the 300 years of the Spanish Inquisition, how many people were killed? Six thousand.

During the last phase of Mao's career -- the bloody lunacy of the Cultural Revolution [1966-1976] -- there was no shortage of Western intellectuals who viewed it as a hopeful model for all mankind:
"For a few brief years during the 1970s, advocates of the type of Marxism-Leninism promoted by the Chinese Communist Party constituted the largest and most dynamic trend on the U.S. socialist left. This self-described 'New Communist Movement' (the term 'Maoism' was then frowned upon) was overwhelmingly a creation of young people radicalized in the tumultuous 1960s. At its height, U.S. Maoism could claim a core of roughly 10,000 activists...  
"U.S. partisans of 'Mao Tse Tung Thought' were never able to unite into a single Maoist party. But the largest radical newspaper of the time, the 20,000-plus circulation Guardian, was a proponent of New Communist goals from 1971 to the end of the decade."

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, February 17

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch



When the athletes of different nations entered the stadium to open the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, the first nation as always was Greece. The Olympics tradition of political bodies competing in sports rather than war began in Greece. The rest of the teams enter in alphabetical order (the Korean alphabet) with the home team last. In this case the North and South Koreans entered under a common flag. The Americans(represented by a somber VP Mike Pence) were not happy about this show of unity. Nor has any joy been expressed over the proposed trip of the South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit the North Korean president in North Korea. Kim Jong Un's beautiful sister Kim Yo Jung in the name of her brother made the offer. Vice President Pence basically took a knee when the unified Korean team entered the stadium. He refused to stand in respect. Learning how to conduct a nationalist foreign policy entails a new respect for the other nations as nations. We should remember one of the criticisms of our liberal State Department in 1963 against the Catholic President of South Vietnam Ngo Diem was that he seemed too willing to discuss his country's fate with North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh.

An NBC announcer who announced the deep respect Koreans have for Japan (Prime Minister Abe bravely came) had to apologize the next day as a brief synopsis of the history of the 20th century was reviewed. The ancient Korean Kingdom was occupied in 1910 by the Japanese and then divided after the defeat of Japan in 1945 into communist and free states. The bitterness of Koreans (North and South) toward the Japanese for that brutal occupation remains close to the emotional surface and  embedded in the historical memory of the Korean people.
 The unification of Korea should be the goal of any truly nationalist foreign policy. This is difficult because our military is organized for global containment of China  with South Korea serving as a major encirclement base for US troops.  The Catholic president of South Korea (elected in 2017) is one of the first South Korean leaders who has  seriously rejected this paradigm. Just when Americans elect a new president who talks much tougher with the North Koreans, the South Koreans elect a president who seriously wants to talk. The whole dynamically creative scene was on display at the Olympics.


LENT BEGINS: May America repent for our sins and renew our country under God.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - OUTRAGE AND IGNORANCE: It is not good if a man strikes a woman but the incredible emotional imbalance in our treatment of men, women, and children in discussing domestic violence has unhinged our discussions from reality. The most devastating domestic violence in America is the willful destruction by an adult female of her defenseless infant. This is widespread and should induce repugnance from a moral nation. Should a history of procuring an abortion preclude a person from working in national security? We will leave that to the morality squads defining unforgivable sins.

PRESIDENT TRUMP AT THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFASTPresident Trump address on Feb 8, 2018. "As long as we open our eyes to God’s grace and open our hearts to God’s love, then America will forever be the land of the free, the home of the brave, and a light unto all nations."

President Trump after his unity talks in Florida about the school shooting that left 18 dead said we must do something effective not "just say something to feel good". He said he would be meeting with state leaders. Our prediction is that he will propose a program for states or local school districts  to defend the schools with some combination of armed teachers or police. Some commentators use the term "hardening our schools." A culture of life is a culture of protection. Wherever America's kids are gathered, the grownups need an organized way to protect them with lethal force. That is usually the duty of our local police. Apparently that is not enough protection for our schools which offer a large dependably unarmed target to predators. Protecting our children in public settings  is at the heart of political duty. Masculine politics is about establishing social protection. Masculine nationalist politics is about providing maturation pathways for all young American males into our shared protective brotherhood of citizenship.  Feminist politics has been about careerism and smashing one glass ceiling after another trying to get the top job without realizing the content of that job. Political leadership is about socializing and organizing males as protector citizens not predators. That is what state militias(every male 18-65) and the right to bear arms were all about. Organize protection! Donald Trump has replaced the Lindsey Grahams and Hillary Clintons of the two parties because he gets this. There is a whole lot of American men who want to act as effective protectors not victims. That includes school teachers, coaches and custodians. No more, "Everybody Hide Beneath our Open Desks!" as the School Safety Drill.  Let America's men show our young males that their path to manhood and our maintenance of civic community are intersecting projects. One way to do that is to reestablish an armed male presence (some open, some hidden) at our schools until we have reestablished enough social order that the local police are enough again.

RUBIN, SHAPIRO, PETERSON DEBATEOne hour; three men; a discussion by three internet phenomena. Dave Rubin is openly homosexual who has left the politically correct left to host a very popular interview show. He is an open, honest, listening and penetrating interviewer. Jordan Peterson, clinical psychologist and Canadian professor (our profile here) believes there is a deep Jungian truth to Christianity. He is an honest intellectual and a great teacher. He is not a worshipping Christian but he sees its compelling truth. Even with his severe limitations as a Christian apologist he shows us the superficiality of tool much of Christian discourse. Ben Shapiro is an Orthodox Jew who deliberately tries not to use G..d or Revelation in his many debates with his leftist, politically correct enemies. His enemies are legion as are his followers. In this debate Shapiro could have made a much more vigorous assertion of the reality of God. He didn't. The three found comradeship in their intellectual honesty and internet fame. The interviewer Rubin asked an excellent question. Is there any difference between the believing Christian and the believing Jew. Does it matter? He asked the right questions that displayed the severe limitations of Jungian psychology and an Orthodox Jew trying to explain the world without G..D. These men are doing in the intellectual square what President Trump is doing in the political arena. They are fighting for a space where the truth can be told. May God bless them all. In another setting  Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Haidt discuss the nature of morality and political dialogue. They open by discussing a topic of Haidt's research and writing: What is disgust?

TONY DUNGY SAYS FAITH MATTERS IN FOOTBALL: Fellow sportswriters say that's a bridge too far.

THE ALT RIGHT AND PAGANISM: If Christians don't claim the nations, there is another group quite willing to rise that banner against the globalists. This article is not an argument for Christian nationalism (which we make at AOA) but it is an excellent resource on the pagan roots of the alt-right.

PARADOXES OF THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION: Part One - How contraceptives led to more unwanted unplanned pregnancies.


THEY BELIEVE WE CAN WIN IN AFGHANISTAN: From Defense One - what the generals say.

THE US WILL STAY IN EASTERN SYRIA BASED AGAINST ASSAD AND IRAN: Not exactly a nationalist policy. Israel jet shot down in Syria. Is Syria a country with borders to be respected? Is it allowed to form its own alliances? Don't nationalists believe such prerogatives are foundational to national self determination? Syria, Russia, and Israel. Pat Buchanan asks: Is the US being sucked into Syria?

IRAN PROTESTS: What were they about? Not a protest against Iranian foreign policy.

MACEDONIA, BULGARIA, AND NATIONHOOD: The Orthodox and the nations - learning history in Macedonia.

JOHN BRENNAN - FORMER CIA HEAD NOW MSNBC CONSULTANT: Role in pushing Dossier and feud with James Comey. Role in tying Russia and Trump by Paul Sperry at Real Clear Investigations.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Chinese New Year celebrations

A woman who helps run a travel concierge company in China offers a reminiscence:

"Some of my favorite childhood memories are celebrating Chinese New Year in China. For a couple weeks leading up to it, red and gold colored decorations were everywhere and people would greet each other with lucky sayings such as 'Gong Xi Fa Cai' 恭喜发财 (wish you wealth) or 'Wan Shi Ru Yi' 万事如意 (all your wishes come true). Mom and Dad would take me around and visit our relatives around town for dinner. Of course my favorite part was receiving my red envelopes full of money from the aunts and uncles. New Year dinners were always the most delicious. The families normally pull out all the stops: Chinese pork sausages, freshly fried spring rolls, 'eight treasure' sweet sticky rice... After dinner, oranges and tea were served and the adults would eat sunflower seeds and chat for hours about the their year. I would play with cousins and was fed candy and treats in the other room. On the way home, I would sit on the bar of mom's bike all bundled up. I can only hear the wind blowing by...

"For New Year's Eve and as long as I can remember, we had dinner at home with grandma. After dinner we would all anxiously sit in front our television, and watch CCTV's five-hour-long Chinese New Year Celebration show until midnight. Imagine it being watched by an entire country of 1 billion people at the same time! I am pretty sure it is the highest rated show in the world every year. We would, of course, eat sunflower seeds, oranges, and drink tea during the show. The comedy sketches were always my favorite. 

"When midnight hit I would rush to the balcony and watch the fireworks go off all around us. The sky would be lit up bright, one flash at a time. 

"The next day, I would sleep in and wake up to breakfast of New Year dinner leftovers. Mom would put me in a new outfit. We would walk around the neighborhood and chat with the neighbors. Everywhere we went, people would feed me candy and sweets.  

"Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days. But it never seemed long enough in my memories. I blinked and it was time to head back to school."

A village house

From a trade publication:
"Goodbye, year of the rooster; hello, year of the dog. The Chinese New Year is upon us, and the holiday has global effects on freight flows and supply chains. Millions of factory workers leave China’s coastal belt of megacities—from Tianjin in the north to Beijing, Shanghai, and down to Guangzhou and Shenzhen—and head back to their hometowns in the rural provinces, shutting down production and exports for up to three weeks."

One of the famous boats of Hangzhou
(Marco Polo wrote, “It is without a doubt the finest and most splendid city in the world”)

Of the twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac, which is the only legendary creature?
The dragon!

In Western tradition, the dragon is an evil fire-breathing monster. The Chinese people have a very different view: dragons are noble and lucky. They live at the bottom of seas or rivers, with the power to deliver water at times of drought.

The ancient emperors called their sons "seeds of dragons," their robes were "dragon robes," and their chairs were "dragon chairs."

At AOA, we wish the elder brother of civilizations a happy and blessed New Year!
For the Catholic Church and the American nation, getting China right is the key question of the next century. The Chinese return to their ancient homes to celebrate the New Year. As Christians let us remember there is no Body of Christ without the Chinese, and they come as a people. As Americans let us remember our great ally in WWII who bore the brunt of the racial aggression of the Japanese against the nations. Let us return home again as sons of Adam to sit with them at the table of brotherhood.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Defending Pope Francis by Listening to Him

  1. The Pope is Not Abandoning Chinese Christians
  2. Book Review: The Great Reformer
  3. President Trump, Pope Francis and Juan Peron: Three Men The Globalist Capitalists Will Never Understand
  4. Defending Pope Francis from the Catholic Talking Class: An interview with Dr. Pence
  5. A video debate between Dr. Pence and Fr John Echert on Pope Francis synodal document Amor Laetitia before 300 men gathering for a  2016 Argument of Month(AOTM)
  6. Francis and Fraternity: The Pope and the Orthodox/Catholic Dialogue
  7. The Realism of Pope Francis and the Return of Hell to Catholic Consciousness
  8. Is "the Provincial Pope" smart enough for the Catholic English-speaking intellectuals?
  9. Reform by Synod: Understanding the Significance of the Chilean Bishops' mass Resignation
  10. Loyal Sons Disagree: Authority, Community, and  Capital Punishment
  11. The Pope's Magnificat: Prayer and Fasting to Prepare for Exorcism
  12. The Papal Hammer needs an Anvil
  13. Defending Francis: A blistering letter to Archbishop Vigano from Cardinal Ouellet
  14. Reckonings: The Pope and Homosexual Clerics.  (also)Vigano's Third Testimony

Pope Francis Is Not "Abandoning Chinese Christians"

by David Pence

In the last week several faithful Catholic women have come to me and said their hearts were breaking after hearing reports from the global Catholic TV network(EWTN) that Pope Francis was "abandoning Christians in China". One broke down in tears. She is prone to neither hysteria nor hyperbole.

Here is the Pope discussing China in his most extensive interview on China.  Here is the best explanation of the Pope's approach in an article by Francesco Sisci the Italian Sinologist who did the interview for Asia Times. A more thorough commentary is found in the works of  the Pope's nephew and fellow Jesuit,  Jose Luis Narvaja (a good English translation of his work is needed. It would also be helpful to see a profile of Fr. Jose to show that ancient practice of Papal nepotism can be a service to the Church. That sacralization of male kinship relations is not always an occasion for wealth transfer and graft. ) These excellent online commentaries don't make it in the conservative "Catholic news around the web" compilations. The righteous Western commentators have missed the much larger civilizational story about China and the Church that a multilingual writer like Sisci living in China seems to appreciate.  

There is a blind spot among American free market capitalists against Pope Francis. They dominate the Catholic "conservative media". Their destructive anti-filial approach has given room to  the Catholic sexual left who take a different approach to the pontiff. The left selectively quotes Francis and then claim him as their own. (I believe this strategy will soon be abandoned as the Pope becomes clearer on the unacceptable nature of granting any social credence to homosexual relations.)

The Pope actually has a very sophisticated approach to diplomacy. He respects the existence of nations as a development of the polis and thus a social good in itself. He respects nations as corporate realities more than the ideas of leftist or conservative ideologies. Capitalism vs Communism is yesterday's knot. He sees China as a living civilization more than an ideology.  Like the rulers of China, he has seen the human catastrophe that follows the breakdown of constituted social order. When he visits heads of states, he does not preach about human rights. He does not play  "the nag" to posture as the prophet. His representatives emphasize to the Chinese that Pope Francis is Pope not of the West but the South. The new Pope represents Global Christianity not Western Civilization and he fully understands the crucial role of China in establishing a sensibility of harmony amidst the nations.

                                                          Statue of Matteo Ricci, in Macau, China

The unification of Korea, reconciliation with Russia, and avoiding the Thucydides trap of war with a rising China are all possible and desirable goals of Christian realists. The Pope is not an infallible guide for American national foreign policy in achieving these ends. He does not carry the responsibilities of the national sword. His Vatican policy however is much more profound than the protests of his American Catholic Republican critics.  He treats China as a legitimate social organism and a great civilization with its own spiritual heritage of harmony and order. He seeks Christian unity with Russia. He addresses nations as corporate wholes even if the Catholics are a small part of the population. This is a highly significant approach in asserting the fraternity which binds Catholics with other members of a common territory as fellow citizens. This is soothing music to civilizations that prize social order and the loyalty of all citizens.

When the Pope was a bishop in Argentina his fiercest critics were leftist intellectuals. Today his detractors in America are "conservative intellectuals". Their well-publicized filial disrespect has confused many faithful Catholics labeling Pope Francis as a "typical modern Jesuit." Nothing could be further from the truth. The Pope spends a good deal of his day in a regular habit of prayer. Always start there!! He believes in a personal Devil not a "symbol of evil." That puts him at odds with the superior general of the Jesuits. His approach to gender differences is that male and female beings  are a given in the created order which must be respected as part of ecological morality. His brilliant encyclical on ecology and the created order was dismissed and under-reported by the Catholic right because he nodded to the possibility of global warning.

Pope Francis  considers even the suggestion of female priests as a betrayal of both femininity and the priesthood. That doesn't exactly make him a James Martin Jesuit or even a Cardinal O'Malley type bishop.(O'Malley on NBC TV: "If I were founding church, I'd love to have women priests. But Christ founded it and what He has given us is something different.") The Pope is much clearer on the natural goodness of the sexual binary than almost all of his American or European fellow bishops.
The Pope believes that politics is the noble science of constituting and maintaining the social order of the polis -the unity of social organization. His understanding is much different than right and left bishops lobbying on "their issues." The Pope calls the gender ideology of the rich countries an attempt at "ideological colonization." We doubt Mr. Arroyo and his papal lynch mob at EWTN will begin any stories on the Holy Father with that headline.

The nations and major religions are experiencing a post Cold War paradigm shift. The Pope is playing his part -- and playing it quite well. The Christian nations have our part to play as well. It is very different than the Pope's and involves the defense of borders and at times the threat and use of military force. The Christian nations must guard from the global capitalism of the right and the sexual anarchy of the left. We must also reject the atheistic tradition of Social Darwinism organizing regional military  coalitions of smaller nations against the largest nation in each region. That strategy of perpetual war is not the Providential destiny of the nations and should not be the policy of a Christian nation. We will not understand our role as a Christian nation until we see how the movement of Global Christianity has outgrown the categories of the West and the Cold War. Christians and nationalists from Eastern Europe, France, Russia, South Korea, and America can offer  humanity a new sense of direction, purpose and order after the bloody twentieth century. Such a perspective of global Christianity and strong national identities can emerge.
The great gift of Mother Angelica's TV outreach is being squandered by her male heirs. Let us pray that this Lent there might be a renewed sense of  piety from the arrogant commentators from the North toward the Pope from the Global South. Filial piety will provide a much clearer vision of the truth than prejudging our father's every move through the clouded lens of the defunct alliances of the Cold War. And it will leave the hearts of some very fine Catholic women a good deal less troubled.

AOA  on an ecclesial approach  to our elder brother in China.  Christianity and China  have an ancient and bloody history that must be understood in terms of the unfolding drama and spiritual destiny of the human species and its largest nation.
AOA  on American foreign policy getting beyond the Cold War and respecting China as our WWII ally and a great civilization. Christian Realism and a new paradigm for China.

Paul Kengor for the opposition. Professor Kengor thinks the Pope Francis China policy a capitulation. He is an honest historian and has never been reflexively anti Francis. His argument should be heard.

A very good background on the Patriotic and "underground" Church in China  by Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture.
AOA on Understanding Pope Francis by listening to him.

Finally Robert Moynihan on the Pope and His China Dream insightful Vatican correspondent recounts an experience in Rome:
"A few months ago, I was standing by La Vittoria restaurant on the via delle Fornaci in Rome following a dinner with friends. It was a quiet, warm summer evening, about 10 p.m., already dark. An Italian man whom I knew came walking briskly down the street. He is an internationally respected writer on geopolitical affairs. I stopped him, greeted him, and asked him what he was working on at the moment. "China!" he said. His hair was disheveled and standing almost on end in different places.

"China?" I said. "Yes! The Pope and his advisors would like to make a breakthrough in China! It's their #1 priority. Nothing else is even remotely as important to them." "Ah!" I replied, mentally rifling though a series of other matters of concern in mid-2017: the Church's liturgy, the dubia... the bloody conflicts in Libya and Syria and the consequent massive immigration into Europe... the Vatican's opaque finances... the tragic conflict in Ukraine... the post-Christian West's seemingly Gnostic longing for, and embrace of, what will transcend man and perhaps dominate man, the "transhuman," the "superhuman"... "Ok," I said. "Interesting. So, what is the vision?"

"Simple!" my friend replied. "The people of China, so hard-working, so oriented toward becoming successful, in their hundreds of millions, are nevertheless, of course, souls, souls with a hunger for the divine, for the eternal, for God..." He stopped and pointed toward the Apostolic Palace in the distance, above the colonnade. "And that is something about which the Church..." (he shook his finger at the Vatican palaces) "knows very much, for two millennia now. And the Chinese government, despite its best efforts, does not, and cannot, fully understand this hunger. "And so we have these two great powers, one secular, one spiritual. And the Pope is persuaded that if the Chinese government gives the Church an opening to function in China, something extraordinary will happen." "Like what?" I asked.

"Mass conversions," the excited writer said to me. "By the millions. When the Church presents Jesus Christ to the Chinese people, when the sacraments are celebrated in churches in every part of the country, the people will respond because they are spiritually thirsty, spiritually starving. What the Church offers has been systematically excluded from every aspect of Chinese life, which was traditionally rooted in a reverent Confucianism, which respected elders and nature's laws. All that was uprooted in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. But the desire for something more remains, for it is a human desire, intrinsic to our nature. And for this reason, the Pope thinks the Chinese people will be fascinated by the Church and the Christian message, and ultimately, by Jesus Christ. And he believes there may well be, if there is an opening, perhaps 100 million Catholics in China in 10 years, perhaps 200 million in 20 years. Making China the largest Catholic country by number of believers in the world. And that would have extraordinary consequences."

"But the Chinese government..." I said. "Would the government ever allow such a thing?" "Good question," he said. "No one knows the answer. But the bet is that the situation will become uncontrollable. The longing for the faith, for the transcendent, will become a cultural phenomenon, an explosion of spiritual force. And the government will be unable to take repressive measures because the longing will be too widespread, and open repression too negative for the country's global image. So the conversions will come, and they will be massive." And he summed up: "But one thing is quite clear: this Pope is the first 'post-Western' Pope. He sees far beyond the old boundaries of what we called Christendom." We talked a while longer, and then parted. But I did not forget the conversation.

ADDENDUM SEPT 22, 2018  A Vatican-China Accord has been struck.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, February 10

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


Neoconservatives and "Never Trump" Republicans Played Roles in  "Collusion Dossier."  

The opposition to Donald Trump was never just Democrats. The "never Trumpers" from Weekly Standard's William Kristol to Arizona's John McCain hate him. The foreign policy establishment feared him deeply. The mainstream press began with ridicule then settled into opposition. They didn't need the DNC or Hillary Clinton to tell them Mr Trump was a threat to their worldview. They didn't need a command center for their efforts any more than Lee Harvey Oswald needed the American Communist Party or the Kremlin to assassinate President Kennedy. People bound by hatred cannot build a community but they can effectively attack a common opponent. Here are some previous  AOA entries with good links outlining the main actors:
FROM AOA ON MARCH 5, 2016 - THE NEO-CONS WILL SUPPORT HILLARY: Robert Kagan, a neocon intellectual, now says in the open what a lot of Pat Buchanan conservatives have said will happen all along. The neoconservatives of the Weekly Standard who now have their champion in Marco Rubio, must soon admit that their next closest foreign policy ally is Hillary Clinton. This group of "conservatives" have never cared about the sexual inversion of the gender ideology. They are petrified of Donald Trump. Mr. Kagan, who now has endorsed the lady who gave us Libya, is married to the lady who gave us the Ukraine mess: Victoria Nuland. Even though Vicki was a Bush appointee, Hillary Clinton in proper feminist fashion was instrumental in aiding Nuland's career rise in the State Department. Mrs. Nuland played the pivotal role as our assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs in the collapse of diplomacy in the Ukraine. Kagan, with more than fifty other GOP neocons, signed an open letter against Donald Trump this week on War on the Rocks. More on Robert Kagan as he stumped for Hillary.


NEOCONS AND DNC AFTER THE PRESIDENT: The dossier on Trump and origins of the Trump Russia collusion story. They all want to get him. William Kristol of the Weekly Standard founded the journal of his son-in-law Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon. They are the originators of the dossier against Donald Trump later picked up by the much larger cash cows of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's opposition research team. The "Never Trump" neocons felt Trump was not interventionist enough in foreign policy and opposed him from the beginning 'from the right.". They are at the center of the secular Jewish wing of neoconservatives who came from the incestuous world of East Coast Jewish atheist intellectuals involved with leftist organizations until their "move to the right." Weekly Standard writers are regulars on Fox News opinion shows and have not emphasized this aspect of the dossier. Fusion GPS - the dossier and links to mainstream media.




THE POPEWhat happened to bold reform? A chance to draw the line as the decadent rich German bishops propose to bless an abomination. We have argued that Pope Francis is not a "modern Jesuit" or a decadent Westerner. On the sexual order and the Sacred Order, he is Catholic. He has always argued that the way to fight the "angels of light" (demons who pose as purveyors of the good) is to give them plenty of room and they will eventually declare themselves. The German bishops are now showing us the twisted face of Satan in the priestly kiss of Judas.

THE MEANEST FANS AND THE MOST CHRISTIAN QUARTERBACKS: The city of brotherly love has two Christian stars who act like brothers. Philadelphia Eagles locker room after Super Bowl victory ended in the team kneeling to pray the Our Father. It's been good year for Christian quarterbacks after Tua Tagovailoa and Coach Saban's Alabama won the College championship. Saban's faith helped recruit the best quarterback in college football.

CARDINAL ERDO FROM HUNGARY COMES TO COLUMBIA, NEW YORK: A report on his talk on On Religion and Secular States. The majority of voters and certainly a judge applying a modern concept of evolving justice against prescriptive law can subvert fundamental truths necessary to govern for the Common Good. On the same subject Fr. Thomas White on the Metaphysics of Democracy.



ISRAEL AND EGYPTAlliance in the Sinai.


HIGH FIVE TO PROTECT LATE TERM ABORTION: What disgusts one? What is repulsive? What is an abomination? Who celebrates the feminist Aztecs and child sacrifice to careerism?

THE BEAUTY OF ORDER: A review of James Wilson book on the soul, truth, goodness and beauty.

SECULAR HUMANISMNo piety nor God by Joseph Sobran.

ON BEING A MAN BY FR. LARRY RICHARDS"To act like a man means to act like Jesus because Jesus was the perfect man. So what does that mean? It means that we lay down our life for others. In the world, to be a man, you go into the Navy, the Air Force or the Marines. And many of them die, for their country and for others. That’s what a man does. And yet, too often, men who are Christian men don’t want to die. They come to Jesus for what Jesus can do for them. “He’ll bless me, He’ll protect me, He’ll take care of my family.” No, you come to Jesus to learn how to be crucified with Christ. So that you can now give your life for God and give your life for others. When you do that, of course, you’re going to find true life, eternal life, and you’re going to be life-giving.

"But isn’t it amazing, even when you go to the Eucharist, that for anything else to live, something else has to die? For you to eat dinner tonight, whether you have steak or chicken or something, something gave up its life so that you could live today. … Something dies to give life to others; it’s just the way life works. So when men learn that it isn’t about taking care of me, but about living my life for others—that is the deepest need in the Church today."

MEMORY, MEN, AND SEXUAL IDENTITYA terrific talk to a Catholic men's conference in Arizona ("Into the Breach" Conference) by Archbishop Chaput.

THE INVERSION RITUAL: Is there a public sisterhood of work and duty equivalent to the masculine public identities of national citizenship and religious brotherhood? Here is Elizabeth Warren the great white hope of middle class feminism calling women together not to provide protection (the classic task of politics) but in adolescent protest wearing "Pussy hats." Who is vulgar? Who is out of touch with reality? Mature women bond in small groups as mothers sharing the very localized particular tasks of family protection. Neighborhoods are real female social networks. Mary visiting Elizabeth is true female bonding. Cities, Nations, and Religions are something quite beyond Sister Liz and the feminist fantasy. There are no Apostles, Founding Fathers, or Knights of the Roundtable in Female Bonding History. Let us reflect. In the brave new world of the sexual revolution, men couple in sexual intimacy and females form large "political" groups. Both notions are ahistorical and unnatural. But religious people who clearly see that homosexual bonds are unnatural are speechless in exposing the feminist fantasy of a public sisterhood for the common good. The feminist public is a coalition of individuals for the advancement of private careers and the protection of abortion as a medical right. It is as unnatural and sinister as gay marriage. Feminists have elevated an adult male using abusive language or striking an adult  female as a greater act of domestic violence than an adult woman killing her own child. Bringing a sense of moral proportion to the outrage racket is a subject for  Bishops and culture writers. Let's see some plain talk about the many facets of the sexual inversion ritual. A good forum for such analysis would be religious leaders speaking and preaching to large groups of Christian men.


On Mass Killers: "Better to kill the innocent than guilty if you are trying to object to the structure of reality"

On Good and Evil: "To be touched by malevolence shatters one and we need a deeper sense of the world." "You need an imagination for evil." "If you can’t think like an evil one - you can't beat that evil one" "A harmless man is not a good man. The best man is a dangerous man who has his danger under control"

On Purpose, Motivation, and Addiction: "The purposeless rat is susceptible to addiction" "An incentive reward system is much more powerful at focusing attention quelling anxiety" "Religion lays out worthwhile goals to build on. Set goals for life vs set goals for just job." "Larger goals allow lesser activities to take on more meaning" "Sit down and do a map of good future and bad future - judge the day's schedule in those terms."

On Leadership and Hierarchy: Leaders sustain position in hierarchy by grooming friendships.

On Attentiveness:  "Specify your aim... lots of white in our eyes so we can look and know what we are looking at." “Set your face” this helps in mate selection.

Friday, February 9, 2018

You are a Priest Forever: Four Books with Frederick Blonigen

'Parish Priest' by Jack Butler Yeats
(brother of the famous poet)

The Catholic priesthood has been under demonic attack ever since Christ instituted the sacrament of Holy Orders and ordained His Apostles as the first priests. Satan fears the priesthood because he knows Christ endowed spiritual authority in the men He called: authority to administer the sacraments, authority to make Christ fully present in the Mass, authority to forgive sins, authority to preach and teach the Word of God. Priests are given a specific mandate to drive out demons. The Evil One understands the Apostolic communal body as the living foundation stones of the New Temple. The Great Deceiver will do anything to undermine and destroy Christ’s holy priesthood. In our own time, Satan’s attack against the priesthood has intensified, most obviously in the reappearance of the Judas priest as a sexual predator. This scandal of desacralization has been fed by allowing homosexual men to be ordained priests. Nothing so disrupts the ordered public love of brothers under the Father as the perversion of that love by incest masquerading as intimacy. The holiest of the sacral brotherhoods has been once again betrayed by a kiss. Over 80 percent of the sexual abuses cases involved homosexual priests abusing teenage boys.

The damage done to the priesthood is incalculable. Despite the enormous suffering endured by abuse victims, the billions of dollars of parish contributions paid in law suits to lawyers and victims, and the tremendous loss of confidence in clerical authority that has ensued, the homosexual network within the priesthood and episcopacy continues to do the devil’s work of corruption. A great cleansing is still needed to eradicate this diabolical network. Through the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the courage of bishops within the Church, the disorder can be removed. The Catholic priesthood can again be the sacral brotherhood Christ instituted on the night before He died.

Today’s fractured fraternity makes it more important than ever to remember the indispensable role of the Catholic priesthood and the countless holy, brave, and dedicated priests who served God’s people in a spirit of selfless love. Four recent books renew our love and reverence for the priesthood established by the Eternal Priest, Jesus Christ.

Since its inception, Ignatius Press has published the translated works of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. A recent publication, Teaching and Learning the Love of God: Being a Priest Today, is a beautiful and inspiring collection of homilies delivered by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) over a period of sixty years on the nature and purpose of the priesthood. Reading these insightful homilies, one immediately senses a man of deep prayer. Pope Francis begins his forward: "Every time I read the works of Joseph Ratzinger/ Benedict XVI, it becomes clear to me that he pursued theology ‘on his knees’ and still does: on his knees, because we see that he is not only a preeminent theologian and master of the faith, but a man who really believes, really prays."  Distinguished Catholic historian Dr. James Hitchcock argues that Pope Benedict XVI was the single greatest theologian ever to sit on the Chair of St. Peter, and that includes such magisterial popes and Doctors of the Church as St. Leo the Great and St. Gregory the Great and the recent papacy of St. Pope John Paul II.  At the Chrism Mass on April 11, 1979, in Munich, in a homily entitled “Becoming ‘Spiritual Clergymen’ in the Breathing Space of the Spirit,” the future pope says, “The priest must first and foremost be a man who believes. This is the center of all his activity, and if it is not present, then nothing really happens anymore.... People expect above all a priest with deep faith, a priest who prays, a priest who lives according to the program of the Beatitudes.”

                                              Benedict with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew                                           
(Istanbul 2006)

At another Chrism Mass in Munich (April 15, 1981), in a homily entitled: ”Eucharist and Pentecost as the Origin of the Church,” Joseph Ratzinger preaches on the priest with the Holy Spirit: “And finally: the Holy Spirit is mission. At the end of the Mass come the words, ‘Ite missa est’. ‘Go it is mission! And it is not wrong that this key word in tradition gave the name ‘Mass’ to the whole event, because this whole thing is mission, because all of God’s deeds always exist for others. The Holy Spirit always works under the banner of "For"; he never merely comes to someone privately; rather, he always comes so that something can be handed on. He is always the mission, the appeal to hand on. And so we should take into ourselves anew this law of "For". It is depicted in Sacred Scripture when the Holy Spirit appears in the image of the fiery tongue. Fire is the power that warms and brightens. ‘Did not our hearts burn within us...while he opened to us the Scripture?’ ( Lk.24:32) Only someone who himself is burning can kindle. We must become burning Christians. We must make that journey of the disciples of Emmaus with him, in which we let him make us burn with his word, in which we submit to and expose ourselves to the fire that makes separated elements molten and combines them and creates unity.”

A third homily from a sixtieth priestly jubilee Mass for a priest-friend in Munich in 1983 is entitled “The Great Venture of Priestly Service. ” This service though is not waiting on tables but offering the sacrifice of praise and prayer.  Pope Benedict says, "Only someone who enters into Christ’s solitude with the Father can get to know him. Someone who does not go in will, like the people then, take him for a prophet, a social revolutionary, or for whatever else fits his world view. Only by entering into his inmost being by praying with him does it dawn on us who He is: the Son of the living God. Therefore part of being a priest is being one who personally prays, who in the beautiful prayers of our tradition— the Way of the Cross and the Rosary—as it were, lets his heart be filled with God and in the Divine Office prays along with the prayer of the millennia and thereby, so to speak, becomes Catholic and broadens himself into the prayer of all ages. Only in this way can he prepare to be the voice of Jesus Christ in the Mass, to speak with the I of Jesus Christ, to say, ‘This is my Body.’ No one can do this on his own, and thank God the validity of our sacraments depends, not on our sanctity, but solely on the Lord’s mercies, which are always present. And yet how could we represent him, dare to give him a voice, if we have not become close to him."

This collection of homilies by Pope Benedict XVI on the priesthood is almost 400 pages long. The relatively short addresses are best read one or two gems at a time. It is a perfect gift for your parish priest, for a priest friend, for a seminarian or for anyone who wants to read profound and timeless reflections on the vocation of the Catholic priesthood.

A second recent book, The Joy of Being a Priest: Following the Cure of Ars, is written by  Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna. It is based on six talks given by Cardinal Schonborn to an international group of priests in the French village of Ars made famous by its holy pastor John Vianney (1786-1859). Topics include: Understanding  the priesthood in light of Vatican II; Prayer and spiritual combat; The Eucharist and pastoral charity; Being an instrument of God’s mercy in the confessional; Preaching the Word of God effectively; and The role of Mary in the life of the priest. Sprinkled throughout these splendid talks are memorable stories, anecdotes, and famous words from the Cure of Ars himself. For example, St. John Vianney’s definition of the priesthood: “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus... Were we to fully realize what a priest is on earth, we would die , not of fright but of love.” To a priest friend, St. John Vianney explained how he often did penance for those who came to him for confession: “I will tell you my recipe: I give sinners a small penance and the rest I do in their place.” There is also the wonderful story of St. John Vianney’s arrival at Ars. Unable to find his way to Ars the first time because of the fog, he asked a young boy taking care of sheep the way to Ars. The young boy showed him the road to the village and in turn St. John Vianney said to him: “My young friend, you have shown me the way to Ars; I shall show you the way to heaven.”

The parish church of Ars

Schonborn’s insights on the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist are especially memorable. Cardinal Schonborn is struck that on the evening of Easter when Christ appears in the upper room to the fearful Apostles, He greets them with a message of peace. He does not reproach them for their sins over the weekend but gives them the power to forgive sins. To quote Cardinal Schonborn: "Is this not the central point in rediscovering the sacrament of Reconciliation: his pardon, his mercy! Actually, Jesus has pardoned us in advance! His mercy precedes all our sins. This really turns all our ideas upside down. We suppose that God pardons us if we change our lives. The contrary is true: it is because we encounter the stunning pardon of Jesus that we convert and change  our lives. How difficult it is for us, sometimes, to enter into this logic! ‘He first loved us’(1 Jn. 4:19)."

In his talk on the Eucharist, Cardinal Schonborn reminds his retreatants that at the very heart of their priestly life is the Holy Mass. It is, he says, “the measure, the nucleus, the source of our ministry as priests.” The Cardinal comments on the great joy St. John Vianney always demonstrated when he prayed the Mass. It was a special moment to see the Cure of Ars look with such tender love at the host after he had consecrated it. Routinely, Fr. Vianney’s sermon at Mass was simply to point to the tabernacle and say to the people, “Jesus is really there and if only you knew how much he loves you.” The cardinal’s message is that all priests imitate their patron saint, John Vianney, and demonstrate the joy of following Jesus by Eucharist-centered lives. That simple priest was the Church's response to the bloody guillotines of the Enlightenment's French Revolution.  He renewed the great Catholic cultural institution by which we think globally and act locally. For it is only a holy priest who can collect scattered sinners into a coherent household of love centered on Penance and the Eucharist. Only the priest can give us the Catholic parish.      

The Priest Barracks: Dachau, 1938-1945 by French journalist Guillaume Zeller. Dachau, in the heart of Bavaria, was known as the "priests’ concentration camp." This Nazi camp had thirty barracks and three of them were occupied by clergy from 1938 to 1945. The vast majority of the Catholic men in the three barracks were the 2,579 priests, monks, and seminarians from all over Europe but especially from Poland and Germany. More than a third of the those inmates in the “priest block” (1,034) died at the hands of their Nazi captors. This book is an extraordinary account of brutality encountering holiness. The intense hatred of the Nazi regime for Christianity was manifested with special ferocity in the priest barracks at Dachau. Precisely because they were priests, many of the prisoners were treated with additional cruelty by both the guards and fellow prisoners. Suffering was intense: long hours of grinding work, a starvation diet, rampant disease, and prisoners being used in ghoulish medical experiments. Dachau, like all the Nazi concentration camps, was a veritable hell on earth. Yet even amidst such suffering and evil the light of God’s grace penetrated the dark. The priests secretly administered the sacraments, especially penance and anointing of the sick, and amazingly were allowed to have a makeshift chapel in the camp where the Eucharist was celebrated under the strict surveillance of the camp guards. Because there were bishops imprisoned at Dachau, some of the priest prisoners even organized a secret ordination of a deacon to the priesthood.

Heinrich Himmler on an inspection tour of Dachau in 1936
(three years after it opened)

One priest prisoner at Dachau said of his stay at the camp: "Three years of experience that I would not have missed for anything in the world.” This statement seems shocking but it was shared by many of these chosen ones -- the priests of the camp. Enduring such evil, they bore much fruit. An amazing brotherhood among the priests was forged: they upheld the dignity of the priest and of man in the crucible of Dachau. This book is an important addition to literature on the Holocaust. It is a powerful account of priestly sacrifice and courage proclaiming the Gospel in an environment of unspeakable evil producing profound purification. The camp enkindled in those who survived a renewed lifelong desire to build God’s kingdom through word and sacrament.

A  final book is the recently published Heroism and Genius: How Catholic Priests Helped Build—And Can Help Rebuild—Western Civilization by William J. Slattery. To call this book a masterpiece is an understatement! I consider this the Catholic Book of the Year 2017. Praise for this amazing work abounds. Catholic historian and economist Thomas Woods has said, “Father Slattery’s book is the final blow to the Enlightenment’s version of Western history, in which the Church was nothing but an obstacle to progress. I heartily recommend it.” Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, President Emeritus of the Vatican Committee for Historical Sciences, says of Fr. Slattery’s book, “Heroism and Genius will open windows to unknown vistas of history—and in a delightful way. As one travels through the chapters there is a sensation of climbing a mountain and being exposed to ever vaster panoramas of thrilling landscapes.” And the Canadian Catholic novelist and artist Michael D. O’Brien says of Fr. Slattery’s work, “This extraordinary book is an essential read for anyone desiring to understand where we have come from and where we presently are, what we were saved from and what we are in grave danger of losing.”

Fr. William Slattery was ordained to the priesthood in 1990 by St. Pope John Paul II. He has given Ignatian retreats in both English and French throughout North America and is presently working on a book on priestly formation.

In the introduction to Heroism and Genius, Fr. Slattery explains the three-part structure of the book: “Part I ...sketches an overview of recent conclusions among historians regarding the Church’s role in the forging of Western explains that Catholic priests were its constructors...and it lays out the milestones in the saga from 200 through 1300 A.D.  Part II, comprising chapters 2 through 5, describes the gradual shaping from 300 to 1000 A.D. of the embryo of medieval Christendom: the sociopolitical-cultural unity that was the heart of Western civilization... Part III, comprising chapters 6 through 10, shows the decisive role of priests in  building social, artistic, and economic institutions that mark Western civilization as both original and originating in the Catholic matrix.”

In Part II entitled “Laying the Foundations of a New Civilization", (circa A.D. 300-1000), the author begins by quoting  G.K. Chesterton’s classic defense of Catholicism, Orthodoxy: “The most absurd thing that could be said of the Church is the thing we have heard said of it. How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages? The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them.” With the Fall of Rome in the early 5th century and the invasion of the many barbaric tribes from the north, the Western world did, indeed, enter what could be accurately described as the Dark Ages. Too often the phrase "the Dark Ages" is used to label everything medieval or pre-modern: it was a phrase made popular during the so called Enlightenment which ushered in secular modernity. The rationalist myth of that era considered those who lived before the 18th century as marked by abysmal ignorance, superstition, and irrational religious beliefs. But which age strayed farther from reality?  Basil Wiley in his literary history of the 18th century described the "Enlightenment" as a historical period that was "dark with excessive light." The shrinkage of wisdom and Spiritual Blindness that marked the 18th century might more accurately be called the Age of Endarkenment. The bloody 20th century replete with scientific Marxism, racial Darwinism and atheistic feminism has borne its fruit. Humanity is still recovering.

During the correctly described Dark Ages (two or three centuries) after the fall of Rome, it was the Catholic Church and her leaders who saved Western civilization. Fr. Slattery focuses on four great Catholic bishops who stand as giants of thought and action. These men helped lay the foundations of the new Christian order. We know them as the four "Great Fathers of the West": St. Ambrose (d 397), St. Augustine (d 430), St. Leo the Great (d 461), and St. Gregory the Great (d 604). As the author points out, in the vacuum of civil leadership after the Fall of Rome, it was the bishops who shouldered responsibility for society and helped establish and maintain social order. Slattery presents four brilliant portraits of these great early bishops.

Especially impressive is his portrait of St. Augustine of Hippo and his dramatic change upon ordination. Fr. Slattery says, “The priesthood forged Augustine because its mission of teaching, sanctifying, and governing in the Church vigorously thrust him away from any tendency to make culture an end in itself, remote from the urgencies of the moment, and from the overarching purpose of life. It perfected his ardent, turbulent power for love, transforming it into energy at the service of the people since the priesthood exists not for the fulfillment of the individual who receives it but for the benefit of those whom he shepherds.” Later in his long essay on Augustine, the author provides this beautiful summary of Augustine’s greatest work, The City of God: “Systematically, Augustine’s work unfolds the idea that Christianity is no mere ‘religion’, a purely private relationship between the individual and God hidden within the conscience, but rather a revolutionary force capable of transforming society in all its dimensions—the answer to all the great questions about the purpose of history, human nature, marriage, family, education, justice, and the relationship of the individual and the state to the Church. In the measures in which civilization is built according to the divine blueprint offered it by Catholicism, it will be a society eminently worth of man. But the efforts to build will occur in wartime, for history is essentially a great drama, an unending battlefield until the world’s last night, on which the visible and invisible forces of good and evil fight for the conquest of man’s soul. Each individual must decide on which side he will combat, which city he will construct: ‘Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to contempt for God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self.’ ”

In chapter 4 entitled “Creative Minorities: the Benedictine and Irish Monks,” Fr. Slattery opens the reader to the foundational contribution of the monks and monastic life. “Benedict and his monks can rightly be called ‘The Fathers of European Civilization,’ for during the Dark Ages, their monasteries became ‘the storehouses of the past and the birthplace of the future,’ fortresses in which civilization sheltered beneath the banner of a saint: all that was noblest in learning and in culture was preserved in them...The monastery, in order to be ‘a school for the the Lord’s service’, was a community, a micro state, self-sufficient and agrarian, with its chapel, refectory, dormitory, workshops, mill, garden, guesthouse, and library. Self-contained it might well be, but it was certainly not designed to create men with 'ingrown eyeballs.' The Benedictines, like their Celtic and Egyptian brothers, were supposed to be men who entered the monastery not only for their own salvation but for the salvation of their fellow men.”

The Irish monastery of Skellig Michael (founded 7th century)

Fr Slattery paints a vivid portrait of these republics of prayer, study, work, and protection. The great achievements we will find in the cities and nations of Europe, we find first in the monasteries. These fraternities of work, prayer, and study are the seeds of the universal male suffrage and male citizenship movements that will emerge centuries later within the nations of Europe. Unlike the Greeks and Romans, the monks gave status to prayer, study, and to manual labor. Unlike the hereditary rulers of Empires, the monks built their social structure on fraternities of equals who elected their abbots. Artisan craftsmanship and agricultural innovation would emerge from their free labor. This communal immersion in the tasks of local community for the greater glory of the God of the Universe will forever mark the Catholic genius.

Saint Benedict is rightly called the Father of Western Monasticism and a Founder of Europe. Saint Columbanus [543-615], Saint Columba [521-597], and the Celtic monks played a major role as well through their monastic schools, their great skill in agriculture, and their ability to turn their monasteries into fortresses of justice by promoting law and protecting the poor from unscrupulous overlords.

A great advantage of historical works over many theological and philosophical tomes is the vivid appearance of personalities in historical contexts who make the Word become flesh. Fr. Slattery paints such priestly portraits: Alcuin, Charlemagne’s mentor and a major figure in promoting Catholic education and culture for the masses; St. Bernard of Clarivaux, a Cistercian monk of enormous influence both in the Church and civil society, called the "Conscience of the 12th Century"; and Pope St. Gregory VII in the 11th century, famous for his rigorous reform of abuses in the Church especially lay investiture, and for his excommunication of Emperor Henry IV of Germany.

A pleasant institutional surprise is his narrative of the genesis of free market economics first in the medieval monasteries and later in the Scholastic thinkers of what is called the School of Salamanca. Cultures forge certain kinds of personalities and personalities express those cultures. In-depth descriptions of the Ancient Rite of the Mass, the Gothic cathedrals, Gregorian chant, chivalry and knighthood, and the Templars set the cultural context that forged the great priests and bishops of these different eras.

In the conclusion of this magnificent history, the author explains why the Catholic Church will forever be the leaven for civilization: “One thing we do know for certain: the divinely constituted Church of Jesus Christ carries within her genes an eternal wisdom and energy that is capable of perennial rejuvenation. Neither persecution, nor inept or corrupt leadership, nor the catastrophes of history will ever succeed in devitalizing her. ’Christianity, remarked Chesterton,’ has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.’ Her vitality, so manifest in the passage from the catacombs to cathedrals in the first millennium, is fully capable of yet another herculean struggle to bring into existence another Christian civilization...The new Christian civilization may begin anywhere. Even, perhaps, once again in the West, in the Americas and Europe. The deeply Catholic culture that will inspirit this new civilization may rise elsewhere: the Church is larger and greater than the West. Her reality and her destiny are not bounded by the West’s frontiers: for she is Catholic, universal, and her future may flourish signally among the vigorous Catholics of Africa or among the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other Asian peoples who, in increasing numbers, are intrigued by Christianity.”

The priests of a single diocese under a courageous bishop or a reformed religious house under a holy superior or a small Catholic nation under an eloquent statesman could spark the renewal. A single monastery or one truly reformed diocesan presbyterate can become "the creative minorities who will raise the phoenix of Christian social ideals from the ashes."

Heroism and Genius is a work of brilliance and beauty, a work of consummate scholarship written with exceptional intelligence, passion, and love for Christ and His Church. It is the kind of book one would like to put in the hands of every priest to reaffirm him in his priestly vocation. It is this reviewer’s hope and prayer that these books will be a source of inspiration for priests, young and old, and young men who may be discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

The Catholic priesthood today is in crisis. So is our country and so is humanity. It is a crisis that can be overcome by fidelity to Christ, the Eternal Priest, and by a spiritual reform of the brotherhood of fathers which Christ constituted. The great love of Mary for her Son that brought forth His Body is now present in another form of love which has been given the authority to effect the sacramental incarnation. "As my Father has loved Me, so I love you" and "so you should love one another" said Christ in instituting the sacral apostolic fraternity.

It was unwavering faith in Christ and fidelity to His Mystical Body that built Christian civilization. The same faith and zeal will rebuild the City of God. God has called all men into existence. He has called some men from all eternity to be ontologically conformed to Christ in a public love rooted uniquely in the love of the Father for His Beloved Son. These elected men can cast out demons and pray the Holy Mass. They forgive sins and proclaim that Christ has risen from the dead. They fish for men and draw us to eternal life with the Father through His Son. When priests answer their call, the nations will be baptized. They are the template of ordered brotherly love under the Father. Saint John Chrysostom, in his Patristic classic, 'On the Priesthood,' captured the splendor of the joyful priest: "The soul of the priest ought to blaze like a light illuminating the world."

May God grant the Church in our time such men ready to set the world on fire with the light and love of Christ.