Saturday, April 28, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, April 28

By Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch

The April 26 meeting of Kin Jong un of North Korea and Moon Jae-in of South Korea was marked by each crossing into the other's side of their divided national homeland. Their dramatic gestures and the intent of their joint message is to eventually reunite their ancient civilization.  It is a great irony that the two aggressive racial empires that sprang from Japan and Germany are now self governing nations while the earliest victim of the 20th century empire wars is still divided. (See North Korea and American Foreign Policy.) Is it possible that this Berlin Wall of the East is really coming down? It will be up to these two Korean leaders to work with the two national leaders who built this platform for agreement:  Xi Jinping of China and Donald Trump of the United States.
The next day an April 27 meeting of Narendra Modi of India and Xi Jinping of China was another encouraging step in establishing better relations between these two often warring nations representing 2.6 of the world's 7.5 billion people. China and India as well as Russia and Iran will be key to extracting the US from our longest war still waging in Afghanistan(scroll to Islam and Mideast).
Amidst this dangerous world of men and nations, the US Senate confirmed Mike Pompeo ( b 1963, former Representative from Kansas and ex CIA director) as Secretary of State. Several Democrats said he was unfit for office because of his opposition to abortion and the homosexual agenda. These "rights " had come to claim center stage in the foreign policy objectives of the Obama/Clinton era. There will be no American Christian foreign policy if American Christians are denied office for their opposition to the sexual revolution. The disgraceful interrogation by the abortion/sodomy advocates  should have been vigorously countered by Republican senators. Usually loquacious media seeking Senators like Lindsey Graham however went mute during the grilling. Mr. Pompeo emerged as the first serious national leader one could imagine carrying on the Trump legacy. Indeed the other major line of argument by Democrats against his nomination was that Pompeo  would use his office to carry out the president's policy instead of undermining him.
Speaking of undermining policy, former FBI chief James Comey reports a recent dinner with former Director of National Intelligence  James Clapper and ex CIA head John Brennan. Their wives rounded out the dinner party.  The great intelligence failure of the US foreign policy establishment in the last two decades has been the exoneration of Wahhabi Islam and Saudi Arabia in the 911 attack and the continued spread of worldwide jihadist terror.  These three men (as well as Robert Mueller) are central players in the circus of incompetence driven by sexual and religious confusion in our nation's war against this still unnamed religious brotherhood.  Candidate Trump once proposed a ban on Muslim immigration until we figured out "what the hell is going on." We don't need a ban on Muslim immigration but we still need to figure out "what the hell is going on". The self righteous smugness of the "table for six" is a perfect symbol of the basket of incompetents who have shrunk and subordinated a nation's foreign policy to the careerist ambitions of feminists and their male geldings.  Yesterday's power couples are not a dominating conspiracy but a clueless self referential and decadent ruling class that lost control  in the real world of men, nations, religion and military loyalties. As the lights are turned on the swamp we are not finding powerful well armed mobsters in the deep state. We are seeing how fleeting are the ties of texting adulterers and temporary the loyalties of careerist bosses. The deep state is very broad and sometimes seems an ether hovering over the workplaces, the universities, the media centers and the dining places of the East Coast. The deep state is a lot like the Republican field of candidates in the 2016 election. What was advertised as a battleship of formidable warriors is turning out to be a sinking raft of numerous but surprisingly shallow players.                       


POPE FRANCIS - BAPTIZE YOUR CHILDREN: That they may have life within them.

POPE FRANCIS - THE MYSTIC RECONCILING PROGRESSIVES AND CONSERVATIVES: An interview with Massimo Borghesi, an intellectual who understands the Pope's thinking far more profoundly than his critics. Edward Pentin is to be thanked for allowing a defender of the Pope in his column space. It would be a great gift if some English speaking Catholic journalists would do for Francis what Ignatius Press did for Pope Benedict - translate his writings and the works of his favorite thinkers into English to encourage conversation with literate English speaking Catholics. At the end of the interview Pentin offers thumbnail descriptions of the thinkers who have influenced the Pope. They are cartoonish. The brief sketches miss what it is about the thinker that interests Francis and emphasize what it is about the thinker that irritates Pentin.

One of the thinkers who influenced many favorites of Pope Francis is Johann Adam Mohler (1796-1838). Here is a very good paper on Mohler's ecclesiology ending with this quote:
"No more beautiful object presents itself to the imagination of the Catholic... than the image of the harmonious interworkings of countless spirits who, though scattered over the whole globe... yet preserving still their various peculiarities, constitute one great brotherhood (Bruderbund) for the advancement of each other's spiritual existence and are become one body."

 "A dangerous confusion can arise. We can think that because we know something, or are able to explain it in certain terms, we are already saints, perfect and better than the “ignorant masses.” Saint John Paul II warned of the temptation on the part of those in the Church who are more highly educated “to feel somehow superior to other members of the faithful.” In point of fact, what we think we know should always motivate us to respond more fully to God’s love. Indeed, “you learn so as to live: theology and holiness are inseparable.”

Pope Francis is a provincial thinker very much bound by his Argentinian experience.

Defending Pope Francis by listening to him


WHY AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENTS ARE RISING AND AMERICA'S UNSUSTAINABLE EMPIRE: Pat Buchanan and Pat Buchanan. There are so few journalists today steeped in history and geography. Buchanan is an exception.

Maybe this is an alliance of two well employed men cheering the low unemployment rates for other men less fortunate. But probably this is deeper than that.  Thus the guardians of racial segregation are in a frenzy. Two "fire breathing dragons", two alpha males respect the mountains each has climbed. Brotherhood is a special form of public love. We built our religion and our country on such bonds.  
It scares the modern huckster racists who benefit only when American men are divided by party, color, and ideology.

HOW MANAGERIAL ELITES GAVE US GAY MARRIAGE: Scott Yenor reviews Darel Paul's account of the revolution. An excerpt:
"How did this ideology gain ascendancy.. The short answer, for Paul, is through the influence of the learned professions and the acceptance of a new corporate ethic. Paul catalogues how learned profession after learned profession—from psychologists to social workers to lawyers to medical doctors to mainline Protestant clergy—embraced first homosexuality starting in the early 1970s and then same-sex marriage in the 1990s. The broad public did not follow quickly. As late as 1992, a large majority of Americans thought homosexual acts were always wrong; fewer than 20 percent thought it was not wrong at all. As late as 2012, most Americans opposed public recognition of same-sex marriage.

The Importance of the New Managerial Elite

Only when America’s corporate managerial elite embraced homosexuality and same-sex marriage as an essential expression of diversity did America cross the “cultural Rubicon.” Normalization of homosexuality and acceptance of same-sex marriage became class values for our new class of corporate managers—those employed as public administration officials, financial managers, computer system analysts, computer scientists, college professors, lawyers, physicians, and other high achievers. Managers gain admittance to their jobs through higher education. They then oversee corporate and governmental bureaucracies. Through affirmative action, the leverage of benefits, diversity training, consciousness raising, and the promulgation of “shared values,” managers help create a new corporate regime, in which managers value diversity as much as profits and where opinions about language, food, and sexuality are as central to one’s personal identity as earnings, capital, or one’s place in the labor market.

Before they could vote in public to make pro-homosexual policies official governmental policy, America’s corporations, Paul shows, imposed nondiscrimination policies on themselves. They also extended benefits to same-sex partners without coercion. The first US employer extended benefits to same-sex partners in 1982. By 1996, 500 employers had done so; by 2004, the number was over 8,200. Twenty-eight Fortune 500 companies offered such benefits in 1996; 216 did by 2004. Many global companies signed amicus briefs to affirm same-sex marriage in Obergefell, while none opposed it.

Corporations built diversity-centered human resources departments to spearhead these and other celebrations of cultural diversity. They won approval from the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights activist group. These corporations marketed to America an acceptance of homosexuality. Gay was more than OK. Many managers left religion, patriotism, and the pursuit of family life behind. Instead, their lives were given meaning by their devotion to careers celebrating cultural diversity, and celebrating homosexuality is the key expression of that diversity. Homosexuality symbolized, in Paul’s words, “creativity, cosmopolitanism, authenticity, toleration, and the reward of merit.” In homosexuals, America’s corporate, coastal elites found a minority that looked like them: well-educated, creative, successful, white, and safe. According to Paul, and the various studies he cites, this corporate elite actively avoids living near the poor or near ethnic minorities. Celebrating diversity by celebrating homosexuality thus became the way corporate managers lived with what would otherwise have been an astounding cognitive dissonance."

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Catholic soldier, French martyr

"The Christian is not simply a student of Christ; discipleship consists not simply in hearing and applying the teachings of Christ, as if he were simply another sage. To be a disciple of Christ is to imitate Christ, and the key event in the life of Christ was his death and resurrection. The Christian who is most fully conformed to that death and resurrection is the best imitator of Christ: the martyr therefore most clearly fulfills the Christian call...  
"The two great martyrs, Ignatius of Antioch [d. 107] and Polycarp of Smyrna [d. 155], left their imprint on all later accounts of martyrs. The martyr is the new athlete, the new soldier. His passion is not passive, but active, a battle. The Church felt, therefore, that martyrdom was, properly speaking, a masculine activity."   (Leon Podles)

This article sums up the life and death of a modern man, who came to realize he needed to honor and follow the Eternal Son of God -- the Savior of mankind who vanquished the dragon.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, April 21

By Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


Rather than give our own commentary this week, we ask all to listen to the words of the patriarchs and our brother Christians in Syria. While the Russian collusion witch hunt continues to investigate "Russian meddling" in the U.S., the fathers of Syria's Christians demand that the U.S. military stop American meddling in Syria. Read the statement below:

A Statement Issued by the Patriarchates of Antioch and all the East for the Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, and Greek-Melkite Catholic (Damascus, 14 April 2018)

God is with us; Understand all ye nations and submit yourselves!

We, the Patriarchs: John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Ignatius Aphrem II, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and Joseph Absi, Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, condemn and denounce the brutal aggression that took place this morning against our precious country Syria by the USA, France and the UK, under the allegations that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. We raise our voices to affirm the following:

  1. This brutal aggression is a clear violation of the international laws and the UN Charter, because it is an unjustified assault on a sovereign country, member of the UN.
  2. It causes us great pain that this assault comes from powerful countries to which Syria did not cause any harm in any way.
  3. The allegations of the USA and other countries that the Syrian army is using chemical weapons and that Syria is a country that owns and uses this kind of weapon, is a claim that is unjustified and unsupported by sufficient and clear evidence.
  4. The timing of this unjustified aggression against Syria, when the independent International Commission for Inquiry was about to start its work in Syria, undermines of the work of this commission.
  5. This brutal aggression destroys the chances for a peaceful political solution and leads to escalation and more complications.
  6. This unjust aggression encourages the terrorist organizations and gives them momentum to continue in their terrorism.
  7. We call upon the Security Council of the United Nations to play its natural role in bringing peace rather than contribute to escalation of wars.
  8. We call upon all churches in the countries that participated in the aggression, to fulfill their Christian duties, according to the teachings of the Gospel, and condemn this aggression and to call their governments to commit to the protection of international peace.
  9. We salute the courage, heroism and sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army which courageously protects Syria and provide security for its people. We pray for the souls of the martyrs and the recovery of the wounded. We are confident that the army will not bow before the external or internal terrorist aggressions; they will continue to fight courageously against terrorism until every inch of the Syrian land is cleansed from terrorism. We, likewise, commend the brave stand of countries which are friendly to the Syria and its people.

We offer our prayers for the safety, victory, and deliverance of Syria from all kinds of wars and terrorism. We also pray for peace in Syria and throughout the world, and call for strengthening the efforts of the national reconciliation for the sake of protecting the country and preserving the dignity of all Syrians.


GAUDATE ET EXSULTATELet us Rejoice and be Glad - Six takeaways from Pope's Exhortation on the feast of St Joseph, 2018. That was his five year anniversary as Pope.

1) The communion of saints reimagined: "The saints now in God’s presence preserve their bonds of love and communion with us. Nor need we think only of those already beatified and canonized. The Holy Spirit bestows holiness in abundance... in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance I see the holiness of the Church militant. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. We might call them “the middle class of holiness”.

2) Salvation in community: "In salvation history, the Lord saved one people. We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people. That is why no one is saved alone, as an isolated individual. Rather, God draws us to himself, taking into account the complex fabric of interpersonal relationships present in a human community. God wanted to enter into the life and history of a people."

3) Continuously Centered on God, Rooted in Baptism and the Holy Spirt, Be holy where you are! "Let the grace of your baptism bear fruit in a path of holiness. Let everything be open to God; turn to him in every situation. Do not be dismayed, for the power of the Holy Spirit enables you to do this, and holiness, in the end, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves. Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by labouring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain'"

4) The Devil is Real. Deliver us from the Evil One: "We will not admit the existence of the devil if we insist on regarding life by empirical standards alone, without a supernatural understanding. It is precisely the conviction that this malign power is present in our midst that enables us to understand how evil can at times have so much destructive force. in leaving us the Our Father, Jesus wanted us to conclude by asking the Father to “deliver us from evil”. That final word does not refer to evil in the abstract; a more exact translation would be “the evil one”. It indicates a personal being who assails us. Jesus taught us to ask daily for deliverance from him, lest his power prevail over us." "...Hence, we should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea."

5) To be Holy is to be with God - Pray Always and Everywhere: "Finally, though it may seem obvious, we should remember that holiness consists in a habitual openness to the transcendent, expressed in prayer and adoration. The saints are distinguished by a spirit of prayer and a need for communion with God."

6) Scripture and the Eucharist: "Meeting Jesus in the Scriptures leads us to the Eucharist, where the written word attains its greatest efficacy, for there the living Word is truly present. In the Eucharist, the one true God receives the greatest worship the world can give him, for it is Christ himself who is offered. When we receive him in Holy Communion, we renew our covenant with him and allow him to carry out ever more fully his work of transforming our lives."

                                    II. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

DAWSON ON EUROPE“It is difficult to exaggerate the horror and confusion of the Dark Age that followed the collapse of the Carolingian experiment,” Dawson summarizes. “The one principle of the new society was the law of force and the need for protection. Personal freedom was no longer a privilege, for the man without a lord was a man without a protector.” That is still true - break down protection and life is lost. A culture of life is a culture of protection. A real civilization of life does not begin by asserting "the right to life." We begin with gratitude to the Source of all life and then swear to to protect our section of the garden.

THE POPE WAS LIED TO. HE APOLOGIZES FOR HIS FAILURE "IN PERCEPTION AND JUDGMENT" IN CHILE. HE NEEDS MUCH TOUGHER AND MORE TRUTHFUL ADVISORS: There are many grievous instances of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI being misled about scandal often very close to them. What has happened here with Pope Francis and the Chilean Bishop Juan Barros Madrid is extraordinary. What is different here is the clarity of the personal apology by the Pope. He did not apologize for the Church but for his own failure. His quick dispatch of a serious investigator (Archbishop Scicluna) corrected him after judging the local situation. May the Pope and bishops around the world find an Elliott Ness (or Charles Scicluna) and seriously go after the bad guys. They are legion. Raymond De Souza explains at National Catholic Register about one papal advisor who failed the Pope:
"Much closer to home, the Holy Father will have to consider the position of Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz on the “council of cardinals,” the group of his closest advisers. Cardinal Errázuriz was chosen for the council in 2013, when he was already retired and almost 80 years old. Now 84, he spends several days with Pope Francis every few months when the council meets. It is impossible that he did not advise Pope Francis on Barros. Even more, he was the archbishop when the Father Karadima scandal first came to light and has already admitted that he dismissed the victims. All that was known in 2013 when Pope Francis chose him for the council. Now it will be very hard to explain his continuing presence. Even more, it raises the question of how well the council is serving the Pope if Cardinal Errázuriz failed him in such a grave matter."
WHILE RAYMOND BURKE MAKES THE ROUNDS CRITICIZING POPE FRANCIS, THE ARCHBISHOP OF GUAM HE WAS ASSIGNED TO JUDGE GETS A PRETTY GOOD DEAL: From the Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, April 16: The tribunal, which is composed of five judges appointed by the Prefect of the Congregation, “has issued its sentence of first instance, finding the accused guilty of certain of the accusations and imposing upon the accused the penalties of privation of office and prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam.” He retains his clerical office and monetary support.  It is not clear for which crimes he has been found guilty. Apuron has been credibly accused of multiple charges of sodomy against teen age males. His "penalty" of early retirement was already imposed before the "Court" came.  Leaving Guam may protect him from the local police who will probably be harsher than Cardinal Burke and his fellow judges. Cardinal Ray Burke is no hanging judge in clerical sodomy cases. Apparently Aprun will suffer no restrictions in his priestly role offering the Holy Mass. This seems a horrific desecration much worse than the dubious Dubia  by which Cardinal Burke postures as a protector of the sacred.

SENATOR CORY BOOKER GRILLS MIKE POMPEO ABOUT THE PERVERSION OF GAY MARRIAGE: The imperialism of gender ideology and imposition of abortion and sodomy as human rights was a major tenet of international relations in the Obama administration. The American bishops have not caught up with the Pope yet in highlighting the injustice and confusion of these policies. Cory Booker a Senator from Maryland and presidential hopeful was aggressive in his demands that any new Secretary of State enforce the new imperialism. Opposition to this arrogance remains all too muted.


TRUMP AS SAMSON: The Syrian dilemma and the globalist war party surrounding the President.

TRUMP AND WAR IN SYRIA: Buchanan reminds us why the Shiites are fighting in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Don't they get their nations, too? He thinks Trump is being captured by the War Party.

IRVING BABBITT AND THE ATHEISM OF INTELLECTUALS: Brad Birzer takes University intellectuals way too seriously and the reality of God not enough. A major problem in the American conservative movement is how many atheists were considered leading lights. The real "court of reputation" was university faculty culture. American universities and "intellectuals" turned against God way before the sixties. Irving Babbitt's "respectable atheism" was a luxury most men and cultures cannot afford.

VICTOR ORBAN - EUROPE'S MOST IMPORTANT LEADER WINS BIG IN HUNGARY: His "state of the nation" 2016 and Christmas address 2017. His electoral victory in April 2018.

AMERICA AND THE DESTINY OF ISRAEL. ZIONISTS BEFORE ZIONISM: From an excellent First Things article on Theology and American Foreign Policy: In 1891, William E. Blackstone presented to President Benjamin Harrison a petition titled “Palestine for the Jews.” A Chicago businessman and the author of Jesus Is Coming, one of the bestselling books of the nineteenth century, Blackstone believed that Scripture predicted the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The role of the United States was to follow in the footsteps of Cyrus, king of Persia, and help the Jews reclaim their birthright. “What shall be done for the Russian Jews?” the petition asks. “Why not give Palestine back to them again? According to God’s distribution of nations, it is their home, an inalienable possession, from which they were expelled by force.”

ISRAEL, RUSSIA, AND TURKEY AT ODDS OVER SYRIA: The Israel foreign policy of demonizing Iran as Syria and Lebanon establish more effective military control over their countries is not sustainable. Here is a very good pro-Israel writer explaining the growing dilemma. Those of us who favor a strong territorially defensible Israel must acknowledge the same claims to national sovereignty of Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iran. A truly nationalist foreign policy hasn't sunk in yet.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Oliver O'Donovan: The Desire of the Nations

by David Pence

Oliver O'Donovan (b. 1945) is an Anglican theologian who has written this dense and seminal work on political theology. Here is a good introduction to the author and his other important works in Christian ethics. He argues that Christian political theology must always begin from the reality that God is King. He believes Christian political thinking has been swamped by modern thinking and thus he and his wife edited a spectacular resource book From Irenaeus to Grotius: A source book in Christian Political Thought (1999). There he makes clear that constitutionalism and multiple authorities in civic and religious life are not inventions of the Enlightenment but gifts from Christendom. The Desire of the Nations is very hard to read. Even reviews of the book are hard to read, but there are realities which O'Donovan articulates which are too essential to leave him to academics. Here is the best review.


The template of political authority is God ruling Israel. They have a unique destiny as the elect but they are also the template of other nations. The rule of God over Israel culminates in the life, death, resurrection and rule of Christ. God acts in history to establish Israel. He judges them at different times separating righteous from unrighteous behavior and he maintains them as a continuous body acting in time. Power, Judgement, and Sustenance. These are the rudiments of God's rule over a nation.

Christ too is a definitive act of authority by the Father. Christ too renders a  judgment on the world separating the living from death and sin on the cross. Christ sustains by ordering a Liturgical church that retains a continuous identity and memory of the Kingdom of God on earth. (The Church is a nation of priests.) God acts. God judges and saves. God sustains and remembers. He has done this through Israel. He has done this through  Christ and the Church. He is now doing this through the nations.

Christendom is an interaction of the priestly and kingly roles of the church and the nations. Christendom is not to be dismissed as a past era not to be lived again. There are two powers: the Church and the states. This we accept. But there is only one God and He is King of both domains. To say a state is secular is not to say it is godless. The opposite of "secular" is not the sacred. It is "the eternal".  Secular is an age- an era, a unit of time-an acceptance of contingency.  A secular state understands its limitation in time and a territorial state accepts its limitation in space.  These limits are not the acts of public atheism but express a piety to a larger order best expressed as allegiance to the Sovereignty of God.  A nation as a historical territorial community is not the ultimate corporate body.  The best state creates a just order in which the deeper communal bonds of men with God and the wider bonds with other men and God can flourish. The best state protects the smaller sacred bond of marriage and family as well.   Christendom will have many professedly Christian states, and many civilized states structured within the field effect of the Christian order. These states may be grounded in Confucian, Hindu, Buddhist or Islamic traditions. Amidst the nations lives a global transcendent flourishing Church.

In O'Donovan's depiction of political theology based on biblical revelation there is a recurring necessary character type who employs the Word to bring order amidst national decline or collapse. The prophet plays a role in speaking clearly about his nation and bringing it back to its deepest identity and memory. This especially happens in times of sin when the nation falls from its righteous path and must be called to judgement. One man obedient to God can bring a nation to its true identity usually through speech that evokes a public memory of a sacral past or mission.

Man is meant to be reunited with God in harmony. This was the original state of humanity. Now we are being drawn back into order under the kingship of Christ who was always intended to rule the humans. But we are drawn back in the territorial communal "attention forms" of nations. The desire of the nations is to be bound together in a way that all can be fraternally and peacefully bound under the King. The search for a political order that is in harmony with other polities is a deep communal desire. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. Unlike Social Darwinists and foreign policy "realists" Christians know and assert that men are not meant for perpetual war and international anarchy. We were created and are called for Communion in Christ under the rule of the Father. The high calling of politics is to realize the desire of the nations.

This book is not about citizenship and the nature of the political bond. It is about God calling corporate bodies into existence by acts of authority, judging them in terms of law, and sustaining them through sacral acts of memory. The ongoing relationship of the Church and these states is Christendom and the culmination of this drama will come when Christ returns to consummate His rule through the Church. Men desire to be part of some communal body undertaking a mission of meaning and purpose. We are hard wired to build nations as sacred covenants participating in a great Drama. Let us build the Body of Christ. Let us baptize the nations. Let us bring the tranquility of order among all nations still desiring to live in peace under Providence.
The Christian movement for Greek Independence (1821-1830), celebrated on Mar 25th,
 was deliberately initiated on the feast of the Annunciation 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A good wife and loving mother survived the 1968 cultural hurricane, but now prays alone

Daniel and Sidney Callahan

The Callahans attended the finest schools in the land. While carving out brilliant careers, they raised a large family an hour north of New York City.

Daniel was a pioneer of biomedical ethics, and was sometimes called the most influential Catholic layman of the 1960s. He evolved into an atheist who defended abortion rights.

The Second Vatican Council finished its work in late 1965. Its unintended message to millions of the faithful: everything is up for grabs. 

Here is a "cry of the heart" written a few years ago by Mrs. Callahan. The winds of 1968 jolted her, just as surely as Dorothy was upended in The Wizard of Oz:

Today alienated Catholics do not gently "lapse" or nostalgically "fall away," they decisively and definitively leave for good. Forget "once a Catholic, always a Catholic" or a "Come Home for Easter" campaign. Every poll shows the nonreligiously affiliated—now called "nones"—increasing in number. That number includes all my grown children. But it wasn’t always this way.

In 1967, my husband Dan and I, along with our five sons and one daughter (all born between 1955-65), could be found each Sunday at Mass. Everyone was baptized, the three oldest confirmed. I had been teaching in the CCD program for seven years. We were a full-court-press Catholic family, members of the Christian Family Movement (observe, judge, act), Catholic Worker enthusiasts, and eager advocates of Vatican II reforms. Dan was an editor of Commonweal and we both wrote for and participated in exciting Catholic intellectual circles. Forty-six years later, I sit alone in the same pew on Sundays, and have been doing so for decades. I remain a grateful Catholic convert, while everyone else in the family is long gone from the church.

I date 1968 as the onset of the cultural hurricane that beset our family and New York City suburb. One year we were a ’50s-style American family with suits, ties, and dancing lessons; the next we were battling countercultural chaos and hippie mayhem. The ’60s’ swirl of riots, protests, assassinations, promiscuity, drug use, and dropouts could not be held at bay. This produced predictable disasters. My children’s classmates died from drug overdoses, jumped out of windows on LSD, and got arrested for smoking pot in the woods. Quite a few were carted off to jail, rehab, and mental hospitals. The schools, police, church, and most middle-class families were not prepared for this youth revolt. Certainly, our ordinary and relatively conservative parish could not cope.

As each of our children got older they were captured in turn by the counterculture, stubbornly refusing to cut their hair, dress properly, work in school, or attend church.  One son, a devotee of Nietzsche, departed from our CCD program with a Nazi salute and a “Heil Hitler, I quit.” No more Catholic Family of the Year after that! I was deeply shamed by this out-of-control adolescent behavior, but I was even more frantic and fearful for their physical and mental survival. To this day that era’s walking wounded can be seen around town. Many never recovered. Thank God our children, like most others, came through alive, but that was only after years of struggle.

Our parental battle was to fight against the moral relativism and permissiveness of the youth culture. I still loathe Jimi Hendrix. Using every stratagem at our command, we urged dropouts to go back to school, others to stay in school, and all to stay away from addicted and aimless peers. We devised ways to expose our children to attractive young adult worlds and included them in our own work activities. Our affectionate family bonds were strengthened by frequent celebrations, trips, and happy vacations. But church was a lost cause. Since my husband’s faith had faded, he wasn’t worried over the religious defections of the children. In fact, he wanted all of us to leave the church when he did. Now he hardly remembers all the grief he gave me for staying, and those long-ago arguments about Catholicism have gradually evolved into a general détente. Mom is the designated believer in the family—and that is that. Let’s all just love, support, and be grateful for one another every day.

When it comes to Catholicism and my children, I have learned humility from parental failure. But I have also learned about hopefulness. Hopefulness, patience, and perseverance are now at the top of the list of the virtues I esteem. If death or permanent damage at an early age can be avoided, disasters can be turned around, rifts healed, and weaknesses overcome. Today my middle-aged children are happy, morally upstanding people. Our five grandchildren are blessed with super parents. Our children all love and help one another and seem devoted to their old parents.

Here, amidst the remains of the day, we who believe are confronted with the mystery of faith. Clearly, no one can answer God’s call for someone else. But social and cultural factors can play a part in nurturing faith. In hindsight, I can now see how crucially important Catholic peer groups are for faith development. In our town the educated professionals were mostly secular or Jewish, the Catholics mostly working-class people. Going through the excellent public schools, none of my children had a close Catholic friend or peer group that could support his or her faith. Did we choose the wrong town, the wrong parish, and the wrong schools?

Looking back I see that there was no structured way in our parish for my children to get what I had gotten in my intellectual journey to the Catholic faith. I always had access to the sophisticated historical, intellectual, and theological dimensions of the faith. I’ve always known exemplary, magnetically attractive Catholics who inspire me. With these wellsprings of truth and joy, the faith and the Sunday liturgy sing. But I can’t seem to communicate such religious experiences to my skeptical family and friends. For many of them the church remains a medieval, male-dominated, and authoritarian institution that’s focused on unintelligible rituals. Worse still, it is repressive, corrupt, and power-hungry. Needless to say, the horror of the sexual-abuse crisis has confirmed such anti-Catholic attitudes among many people.

Fortunately, despite their rejection of religion, my children have continued to develop in moral sense and sensibility. With the aid of providence, conscience and morality can still flourish outside religious communities. Reason, experience, and goodwill generate good people. Through trial and error persons discover for themselves that virtuous commitments to love and work do indeed lead to happiness. The Holy Spirit continues to transform the hearts and minds of believers and nones alike. Where love is, God is. As the gospel says, "A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not quench."

Jimi Hendrix died from drugs at 27

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review for April 14, 2018

By Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch

In response to the use of chemical agents in Eastern Ghouta on April 7, 2018, President Trump ordered a one time attack on select Syrian targets in conjunction with Britain and France.
 "Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said the April 13 nighttime airstrikes "took out the heart" of Assad's chemical weapons arsenal. He said 105 U.S. and allied missiles were fired, of which 66 were Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from aboard three U.S. Navy ships and one Navy submarine. U.S., British and French attack aircraft, including two U.S. Air Force B-1B strategic bombers, launched stealthy, long-range missiles from outside Syrian airspace."
  On April 12, Russians announced that rebels in the village of Douma were given safe passage and the Eastern Ghouta region would come under the full control of the Assad government. Russian troops were instrumental in the safe passage and separation of forces. This is a huge step toward the reassertion of governmental authority in Syria.
The US attacks were done in a manner that minimized civilian and Russian damage.  This attack will give President Trump breathing room from US neoconservatives, Israel, Saudi and British forces who want US troops to commit to regime change in Syria.  The rebel forces in the southwestern part of Syria seen in the map below are serving as a buffer between Israel and Syria. Israel will not want to see those areas of Syria return to Syria. The Golan Heights are essential but an added buffer is even better.  Israel's goals with Syria are much more bellicose and destabilizing than ours. Nor can we minimize the aversion that the British security establishment has against any new alliance between the US and Russia. When the Brits say "The WEST"  they meant the White English Speaking Twosome and whoever else will go along.
 The President has actually given himself some room to meet with the Russians. There was a punitive gesture while there was also US Russia cooperation (none dare call it collusion) which limited the interaction. We are closer to ending the Syrian Civil War than a week ago. The overwhelming fact in a news world that doesn't care for facts is that the only legitimate government of Syria is now in control of a region that has been in a state of rebellion since 2011.  Nationalists believe that America and Israel should be safe and secure within defensible borders. Nationalists should also be clear that Syria, Lebanon, and Iran are sovereign nations as well. They must be allowed to establish authority within their own borders and be secure from foreign attacks.          



GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE - THE POPE ON THE CALL TO HOLINESS: In this beautiful and poetic exhortation, Pope Francis reminds us there is a real devil but first he grounds the universal call to holiness in our shared life with the saints and martyrs who have gone before us. He acknowledges the hidden stream of holiness all around us and reminds us of mother and grandmother who while not perfect kept us on the path. Read this beautiful message. It seems the best manifestation of how Pope Francis wants to proclaim the Good News of Christ's resurrection and his continued presence on earth in the Eucharist and our fellow humans in need. He reminds us there is no " God without Christ; no Christ without the Church ; and no Church without the people."  The Catholic conservative talking class lent a tepid reception. They are to the Pope what CNN is to the President.

Raymond de Souza at National Catholic Register.

"CONFERENCE ON CONFUSION" CHANNELS  "THE VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL"Final statement from those speaking with their authority as the baptized and confirmed.

AT CHRISTMAS THE WHOLE WORLD JOINS US, BUT FOR EASTER THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH BEARS THE WITNESS: Michael Pakaluk on the apostolic character of the Easter season - a penetrating insight from the Catholic University professor. Chesterton said Christianity is an empirical religion based on a fact reported by credible witnesses. Materialism is an ideology that asserts as a dogma there are no supernatural beings and no-one can rise from the dead. The facts of the matter as reported are to be dismissed in deference to the dogma which must believed. .. Ideology rules out the empiric event. Which approach holds better to the principles of knowing we associate with the sciences? When light was observed to act as BOTH a particle and a wave, it was the old dogma not the observed fact that was discarded.

THE FEMINIZATION OF CHRISTIANITY: The problem not the solution says Rod Dreher at American Conservative.


INTERVIEW WITH MbS BY JEFFREY GOLDBERGAn interviewer who has heard of the Wahhabis - though the Crown Prince hadn't. Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic magazine is the best foreign policy interviewer in journalism. He is a standard Democratic party liberal but he is also a serious journalist.

HOW THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION MADE A DEAL WITH MUHAMMED BIN SALMAN: Excellent reporting - a believable and frightening story.

PRESIDENT TRUMP AND UAEA very tiny base supports the young leaders of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Israelis see them as all they have got. The US has many more options.

PRESIDENT TRUMP, SYRIA, AND THE GENERALS: Since his campaign President Trump has had a different take on Syria then the Republican and military establishment. They want a long term presence for US with goal of overthrowing President Assad. As nationalists we must learn that national sovereignty applies to more nations than our own. The legitimate state authority in Syria is the Assad government. Shall we ally with Saudi Arabia and Israel and overthrow Assad or give him back his country as ISIS is finally being removed? Pat Buchanan presents the crucial policy dispute.
Syria was bombed today (see above).


DAY OF DELUSION AT PENTAGONA roundtable of female officers.

CARDINAL BURKE AND A PREDATOR BISHOP: IS EARLY RETIREMENT A SENTENCE? Homosexual clerics are safe with that prissy fellow they called "gay Ray" in his seminary years. The "scourge of Pope Francis", the "courageous defender of orthodoxy," Cardinal Ray Burke is unfortunately very much of the ilk of deposed Archbishop John Nienstedt of St Paul and well-fed capitalism guru Fr Robert Sirico of Acton Institute. Why Archbishop Apron of Guam was treated so politely by the Burke-led court has much more to do with the character of Cardinal Raymond Burke than the crimes of Anthony Apron (which are revolting). This story is just beginning. Cardinal Burke will be featured at the "Confusion in the Church" conference in Rome. He is all in on condemning the Pope on the "Hell interview". We had a somewhat different take.

T.H. WHITE AUTHOR OF THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING: “The Destiny of Man is to unite, not to divide. If you keep on dividing you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts at each other out of separate trees.”

YADIER MOLINA STANDS UP FOR HIS MOMMA AND TEACHES AMERICA A LESSON ON LANGUAGE: St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina was surprised when Arizona manager Torey Lovullo came out to protest a strikeout and in arguing with the umpire looked at Molina and referred to him as a mother...r. Molina went after the Diamondback manager and in doing so had contact with the umpire. Sportswriters in this "no hit, no spank, no touch" era interviewed Molina on the possibility of his being fined for the "physical contact" with the umpire. Mr. Molina was much more focused and still angry about the "fighting words" which led to his anger. The umpire got between him and the object of his charge. Molina took the expression as a profound insult against his mother. Indeed his English is impeccable because the phrase is meant as an accusation of incest. It is a fighting insult. In the 1960's as the black civil rights movement became the black racial pride movement, the widespread use of that deeply transgressive and misogynist phrase became a badge of blackness. What a deep degradation of our language that the f-word became the ultimate utility player as an all purpose part of speech. That horrific phrase of "mf" once shocked. The abomination became commonplace. Words lost their meaning and the truth was slain again. God bless you, Mr. Molina. (The umpire said he understood he had placed himself between the men and he saw no reason to punish Molina. Lovullo apologized to Molina after the game.) A new series - Baseball as a Road to God.

BELGUIM AND EUTHANASIABelgium and Euthanasia - a very ugly tale of an ex-priest playing Dr Death. An excerpt:
In Belgium, euthanasia is embraced as an emblem of enlightenment and progress, a sign that the country has extricated itself from its Catholic, patriarchal roots. Distelmans, who was brought up as a Catholic and then rejected the Church, told me that his work is inspired by an aversion to all forms of paternalism. “Who am I to convince patients that they have to suffer longer than they want?” he said.


JORDAN PETERSON: A classical liberal is a better description than a modern conservative.

JACOB REES-MOGG OF THE UK: That peculiar blend of Catholic traditionalist and libertarian capitalist. An Acton Institute profile.

HUBERT HUMPHREY - A MORAL AND JOYOUS LIBERAL: A good reminder of the anti-Communist pro-civil rights "happy warrior" by James Traub.

THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND: Here is a good remembrance of that 1969 book about the destruction of souls in American universities.  It was an era in which the canonical works of western civilization were being abandoned and the demands of violence threatening radicals were being embraced. The other truth in this story is that the 1950's intellectual life of the atheist European influenced professors (like the author) was not strong enough to quell rebellious teens. The Great Books professors shorn of religious authority and national loyalties were easy pickings for black male students who came from tough neighborhoods and their white male counterparts who were looking for action. The author of the book, Allan Bloom (1930-1992) was a homosexual and non-believing Jewish University professor. He was a student of Leo Strauss and a friend of Saul Bellow (Bellow's book Ravelstein was based on Bloom.) Bloom described his intellectual life as "beginning with Freud and ending with Plato". He was admitted to academic life at age 15. Allan Bloom passed as a "conservative thinker" in those days of rage. He never used that label for himself.  His fame as a "conservative" reveals the poverty of intellectual life divorced from religious, military, and masculine sensibilities.

JOHN BRENNAN AND THE KILLER DRONES: There was once a time that the liberal media saw CIA head or "Deputy President" John Brennan as a highly dishonest purveyor of the drone warfare. This "kill from the air" program minimized US casualties but made a lot of enemies in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It was first initiated as the feminist way of war under Madeline Albright and Bill Clinton bombing the Orthodox Christians of Serbia.  When anyone writes about the "war on males" of the feminist left they might recall the peculiar foreign policy version of the Obama/Brtennan strategy. All males 18 and over killed in drone strikes were counted as combatants.

VIKTOR ORBAN OF HUNGARY: probably today's most important European national leader. In preparation for the Hungarian elections in April 2018, this Washington Post profile was meant to be a severe criticism. However, it is factual enough to show why Christians and nationalists would reelect him. (He and his nationalist party was reelected in a landslide).

Of special importance is his concept of spirit (Geist: sometimes also translated as "mind") as the historical manifestation of the logical concept. 
{This is closely allied with the Christian notion of the Logos acting out Divine Providence.}

His notion of  "sublation" (Aufhebung: integration without elimination or reduction) of seemingly contradictory or opposing factors; examples include the apparent opposition between nature and freedom and between immanence and transcendence. 
{This is a very Catholic and sacramental sensibility. It applies to the most fundamental reality-- the three in one Trinity. Pope Francis employs this synthetic approach to many problems he associates with "Mary, the Untier of knots." }

Hegel has been seen in the 20th century as the originator of the thesis, antithesis, synthesis triad. That is a misreading of a phrase originating with Johann Gottlieb Fichte. "
That notion is actually  quite different than  Aufehebung.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Pope Francis and the reality of Hell: Communion or Oblivion

by David Pence

Moderns don't believe in Hell. For many, their disbelief is simply part of not believing in God. For others, the notion that God would allow perpetual torture for any human (a lot of humans if you read Scripture) seems a contradiction. "I've lived a careless life, sometimes done some pretty bad things. Torture me for a week. Waterboard me every minute of every day for a year, slowly burn me  for a century...but at some point... are you serious?" The perpetual torture story doesn't scare people into morality; it convinces them there is no Hell or it leads them to say only the Devil could be so sentenced. Thus another conclusion. Hell exists because it is in Scripture... but no human is there. That's a very popular position today. A more realistic depiction of the universe would help Christians better explain creation, contest, violence, and dissipation as fundamental spiritual and physical realities. In a similar way, a better description of Hell might bring back the Four Last Things to Christian consciousness.

Pope Francis has been very clear about the existence of Satan as a real and active Being. In his "Rejoice and be Glad" Apostolic Exhortation, he reminds us that the "deliver us from evil" phrase in the  Our Father is more accurately translated "deliver us from the Evil One". He  specifically corrects the false modern notion that Satan is an idea. "We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea." The Evil One is a real living being acting in the world, prowling like a lion after souls.

 In a recent conversation with his friend Eugenio Scalfari, the Pope talked about Hell.  Scalfari is the 93-year-old leftist/atheist former editor of Italian newspaper The Republic. After his conversations with his friend, the Pope, Scalferi usually writes a essay about what they discussed and what he thinks he heard. As any doctor who has explained to a patient his new diagnosis of cancer or as any Christian who explains the world to an atheist, we know that what you say and what the other hears are not always quite direct quotes. Discussing Hell with an atheist is like talking color shades with a blind man; so if something is lost in translation, we shouldn't be surprised. Any honest report of the conversation  reveals clearly that the Pope does not argue "there is no hell" or "if there is a hell, it is empty".  Pope Francis is saying "Hell as perpetual torture" doesn't describe reality. Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict implied as much. In Revelation, Hell is described as "a lake of fire" which is "the second death." Thessalonians described an "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord." The Old Testament is relentless in contrasting eternal life with God vs death away from Him. Eternal life is the ingathering of Israel, while hell is being left out. Christ said,"Do not fear he who kills the body but cannot kill the soul, but fear he who destroys soul and body in Gehenna." Isaiah asserts: "The transgressor and sinners will be crushed together.. and those who forsake the Lord will come to an end." Even Dante rebelled against perpetual fire. He froze Lucifer in ice, so no warmth could exude and no word could be spoken. Dante, too, painted isolation and the extinction of communication as the defining characteristic of Hell.


The Pope knows well. There is Heaven, Hell, Death, and Judgment. Hell is eternal separation from God. It is unfortunately a path taken by many, especially those who do not believe it is a real option. He is proposing a believable Hell for the many. The Pope is a chemist. He has looked out in the cold entropic universe. He knows the dissipation of matter predominates overwhelmingly in the physical world. He knows too that diabolos is separation. Hell is not disappearing from our conversation. The Pope has punctured a Christian misconception (like the 6000 year old universe) which has kept people from more adequate Christian categories to explain realities like hell. As we understand the violence and isolation of outer space, won't that become a better description of Hell than down below in the fire of the inner earth? So called "communio theology" describes humanity's interpersonal incorporation in the Body of Christ as the key to understanding both the Kingdom of God and the reality of Heaven. This is not the language of a soul "going up to Heaven" but a person being incorporated in a love relationship called the State of Grace or the Body of Christ. Should it surprise us that Hell might be better described as isolation and dissipation?  "Going to Heaven" is the soul being drawn into a proper relation in the Body of Christ.  The Liturgy of the Eucharist was given us by Christ to be "heaven on earth".  Possibly Hell is better thought of as a loss of status (a proper social relationship) rather than a place. The mutual gravitational attraction  of love is loosened as our minds and hearts and actions turn farther and farther away from the reality of God.  Communion or Oblivion! Those are still the Heaven or Hell verdicts at the Last Judgment. The hollowed out shell of a creature no longer bound in personal relations-after the wrenching pain of that realization-then what? Can that gruesome creature ever feel beyond that numbing shock?  Would being erased from the Book of Life be one last mercy?


There is in man a very deep fear of the infinite. It even has a name: Apeirophobia. Maybe deep in our emotions that is a hint. Like hatred of the devil, fear of hell is a very necessary and instructive emotion. Pope Francis is trying to teach his atheist friend about a fundamental reality. Hell is real; Judgment  is forever; it is irrevocable. The fact that this very necessary and quite unfinished conversation has been twisted into headlines "Pope Francis says there is no Hell" is more proof that Fake News isn't reserved for Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. As always the best way to understand Pope Francis is to listen to him in his own words. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The People of God as Mankind, the Jews, and the Church. Reflections on 'Lumen Gentium' and Thomas White O.P.

by David Pence

Christianity divided against itself a thousand years ago in the Greek and Slavic countries of Eurasia, and then 500 years later in  German-speaking Western Europe. Over the last several centuries the Gospel form of social organization entered Asia, but not as deeply as the Western economic forces of Marxism and mercantilism. The divisions of Christianity bore bitter fruits in the 20th century.

From Germany, the heart of the Protestant Reformation, there came a pagan warrior hybrid of Hegel, Darwin, and Nietzsche. From Orthodox Russia, a westernized scientific materialism took shallow but terrible root and expelled the public expressions of Christianity in Czar and Patriarch. In Asia, a Shinto racial cult of the Japanese super-race employed western technology and drove out the white British, Dutch, and Russian imperialists while dividing China into new racial entities of a Greater East Asia co-Prosperity Sphere. The two countries who did the most to defeat the racial empires of Nazi Germany and Shinto Japan suffered the most casualties of the wars. Both Russia and China emerged as powerful military Communist states. The White Anglo-Saxon Protestant powers of the United States and the British Empire with the old white Dominions (Australia and New Zealand and Canada) joined a rebuilt Catholic Europe as an integrated union in a military-economic alliance called the West. They rebuilt and integrated their German and Japanese enemies in the alliance and declared a sometimes religious, sometimes economic, war against their previous allies -- the new Communist states of China and the Soviet Union.

In the midst of this bloody century, in the shadow of growing nuclear arsenals, the Catholic Church as the visible worldwide expression of Christianity assembled a Council. What could the Christians say to humanity after such devastating violence and evil ideology had risen within Christendom itself?

More than 2,400 Catholic bishops from 116 countries speaking more tongues than were present at the first Pentecost presented the good news again of Jesus Christ, Son of God -- the light to the nations. At the first Pentecost, Peter surrounded by his fellow apostles and filled with the Holy Spirit braved the streets of Jerusalem and spoke to the "Men of Judea." The King of the Jews and his sacral brotherhood went first to the Jews and proclaimed that the Scriptures had been fulfilled and the Jewish Messiah had come. He had been killed, had been raised from the dead and was establishing the Kingdom of God on earth as it was in heaven. Some 2,000 years later that apostolic brotherhood as Council Fathers would address their opening message (Oct 20, 1962) to all men. Previous Councils addressed the bishops of the Church or the faithful. This Council spoke to all men. It marked a crystallization for the Church in understanding her perfection and mission were tied to a reconstituted humanity.  
Thomas White, a Dominican priest, calls Vatican II (1962-1965) the third  council of modernity after Trent (1545-1563) and Vatican I (1869-1870).  In his article, The Tridentine Genius of Vatican Two, he proposes John Henry Newman as the best guide to understanding these "modern Councils."

Newman described the mysterious reality of the living Church: "Through time, the Church goes from being herself more intensively to being herself more fully, from stem to blossom. It is not merely that there are common ideas that persist, though this is true and especially important. It is also that there is a common dynamic development of the inner life of the Church in the world, a mysterious life spanning across ages, growing in a consistent fashion. Not human political art, but divine supernatural life, is the essence of Catholic Christianity."

The 16th-century Council of Trent

Father White described the Council of Trent asserting the visible unified nature of the Church against the centrifugal momentum of the Protestants: "The Church is as visible as the kingdom of France. The unity of the Christian religion is grounded in something very visible and particular: the seven sacraments. Water, oil, the Eucharist, spoken words of forgiveness, a society of ordained clerics, the grace of married love, these are the humble vehicles, encountered in concrete instances, that communicate to the world the grace of communion with God. In defining the seven sacraments as both signs and true causes of grace, the Council of Trent made everything very tangible: This sacramental economy is at the heart of the Christian life."

Three centuries later, Vatican I faced the totalizing claims of nation states conscripting their adult males into the powerful national armies and the new elevated status of citizen soldiers. Armed Political Community would reorganize Public Life. To answer Napoleon and his offspring, says White, "the Catholic Church insisted on the visible bond among all Christians, in visible communion with the pope, the center of all Christendom. His juridical authority to govern and unite the faithful is the living sign of a deeper vitality that transcends the secular state and the particularities of nationalist politics." The Church unites humanity over and above the totalizing ideologies of the modern nation-state. The Papal States fell, the papal claims grew.

Italy around the time of Christopher Columbus (born in Genoa c. 1450)

At Vatican II the Church met as a concrete and visible reality. There were three corporate bodies referred to as the People of God. The People of God in history and nature were first and foremost all of humanity under Adam and Eve, and then Noah and his sons. The Jews were then elected as a separated people. The Jews were forged into a new covenant by a series of separations that kept them holy for the laws of God and presence of God which they experienced in a unique way. The sacred always implies separation; and the election of the Jews was just such a setting aside. This necessary separation allowed the matrix within which the message of the angel could be delivered to the virgin. The third group called the People of God is the Church. She would play a more integrative role as both a template and scaffolding for humanity. If Noah's Ark had to keep the drowning out, the Church's Ark was throwing lifelines everywhere. Father White describes the Church as "the key to the mysterious working of grace in all of humanity." He then turns this around to make a statement about the human race: "This is the deeper mystery of the human race: the visible, sacramental ecclesiality of life in Christ… is the key to unlocking the inner secret at work in that world. At the heart of the world is the mystery of Christ and the Church."

The Second Vatican Council's document on the Church, Lumen Gentium, put it this way: "The Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race."

[From White's essay] "Vatican II  universalizes or expands the comprehension of what is already present at Trent. The human person is called into a visible and invisible fellowship with God, within a unified ecclesial body...

"Trent taught that the infusion of faith, hope, and love together turn the human person freely and voluntarily away from sin and back toward God, all through the power of Christ.  Charity, however, is not only interior but lived out in the street... The inner core of this Catholic militancy is based on a deep understanding of the all-embracing character of religion. Since charity impels the human person toward the service of God in all things, it is not feasible to ask the religious person to quarantine his or her belief behind the walls of private life. Catholic charity bears fruit through public, Christian institutions.

"A plant under attack from disease will protect the roots and the stem and let the flowers go. These earlier configurations of Catholicism are like the root and the stem of modern Catholicism, wherein the life of the modern Church is expressed in concentrated fashion. But we cannot do without the Second Vatican Council. The stem and the root are meant to flower, and the flowering of the Church occurs through the Christian life of charity and the public, credible proclamation of the truth, the realities of her life developed and articulated at Vatican II. "...Both Divine authority and human rationality flowers at Vatican II, bringing to greater fullness what is in seed at Trent and stem at Vatican I."

The October 20, 1962 Opening Message of the Council was addressed by:

                                          The  Fathers of the Council to all men:
"This very councilor congress of ours so impressive in the diversity of races, nations, and languages -does it not bear witness to a community of brotherly love and shine as a visible sign of it? We are giving witness that all men are brothers, whatever their race or nation."
"We trust the Holy Spirit, call on our brethren, fellow Christians and all men of good will that through love, God's Kingdom on earth may may already shine out on earth in some fashion as a preview of God's eternal kingdom."  

The Council demonstrated an apostolic masculine love, a form of Charity which is the public manifestation of Christian culture. It is seen in every diocese as a bishop and his presbytery, every monastery with an abbot and his monks, every religious order with a Superior and the members. This is the Pope and his bishops. It is Christ and then Peter and the apostles. It should come as no surprise that this form of love is grounded in the natural order of humanity. These same brotherly bonds of affection are the masculine sinews of political fraternity and citizenship in nations under God.


The Church has been convoked by a Divine Authority as a sacramentally visible order. The nations (both explicitly Christian and those drawn into a larger matrix shaped by Christian forms) are being called into an ordered love to embrace God as Father and all men as brothers while rejecting and expelling the Evil One with his murder and deceit. The Church, indeed, is a great mystery -- it is a seed that can only be fully perfected in the ordered blossoming of the human race as a fraternity of nations protecting a universal Church. The original People of God were Adam and Eve and their descendants. After the great diabolical scattering, a new People of God were set apart to flower in Mary, Mother of the Church. Then the third People of God were given birth to reintegrate the sons of Adam in our final perfection as the Body of Christ.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Religion and Geopolitics Review for April 7, 2018

By Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN TODAY - THE POPE'S MESSAGEHis message in the homily is about  the "surprise" of the good news. Outside of the liturgy, he delivered the yearly papal message to the nations in Urbi et Orbi.  (To the City and to the World).

POPE JOHN XXIII ON DIVINE PROVIDENCE; HEGEL ON NEW FORMS OF THE WORLD SPIRIT; THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH AND THE TERRITORIAL NATIONS AS THOSE FORMS: "In the present order of things, Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which... are directed toward the fulfillment of God's superior and inscrutable designs. And everything, even human differences, leads to the greater good of the Church."
                                                                                     Pope John XXIII opening Vatican II (1962).
“We stand at the gates of an important epoch, a time of ferment, when spirit moves forward in a leap, transcends its previous shape and takes on a new one.”
                                                                                      Georg Wilhelm Frederick Hegel (1770-1831)

The Church is a patriarchal fraternity. So are the nations from Russia to China to Japan. The fraternal form of national brotherhoods and a universal Church built on a male priesthood is the sign of the Cross in which Christ conquers in obedience to His Father. Out of the bloody racial and scientific empire ideologies of the 20th century the Church and the nations emerged as the enduring communal forms of prayer, protection, and production.


CATHOLIC CAMPUS GROUP FOCUSAn article on their funders is a little breathless about "conservative big money" but informative.



CATHOLIC SOLDIER PATRIOT IN FRANCEThese are the men who will reunite the Europe of Christian nations.

FEMINISM - FROM MAIDEN TO MATRON TO CRONEA beautiful descriptive essay from a woman who left the world of Wicca-Unitarianism to enter the deeper reality of Christianity.

NORMAN BORLAUG: He saved more lives than any man of the 20th century. Do you know his story?

BISHOP-CARDINAL BLASE CUPICH ACTS WITH UNPRECEDENTED AUTHORITY AGAINST HOMOSEXUAL CHICAGO PRIESTSPro-immigrant Hispanic priest with ties to Democrats in high places is removed. Traditionalist hero Fr. Phillips removed for consensual adult male sexual relations. Kick the Bums Out: An AOA response.

FR Z AND HIS BIZARRE DEFENSE OF THE TRADITIONALIST PRIEST REMOVED FROM MINISTRY BY CARDINAL CUPICH IN CHICAGO: "However, Fr. Phillips has been removed as pastor of the parish and Superior of the Canons. He also had to leave the parish. An interim superior has been chosen from among the group itself. Given that Phillips seems not to have broken any civil laws the move against him seems pretty sudden and draconian, but I guess that’s what they do around there." [The Cardinal is accusing Fr. Phillips of an improper sexual relationship with an adult male. The priest denies it and Fr Z does not believe the charges.]

Fr Z apparently thinks it is "draconian" to prevent a priest from desecrating the Eucharist as he participates in abominations. The excuse apparently to the online blogger priest is that the abomination against nature and church law "hasn't broken civil laws." What makes this so understandably difficult for many faithful Catholics is that many have worshiped at this church in a reverent and beautiful manner. The purpose of Fr. Phillips' order and parish was TO RESTORE THE SACRED. What is very hard to understand is the possibility that the best way to restore the sacred may be to remove the priest who did so much good in bringing one kind of reverence back to the Mass.

TO PUNISH THE GUILTY IS TO NAME THEM AND SHAME THEM: The real culprits in the sin of abortion are not Democrats or politicians who do not vote according to pro-life requirements. The agents of evil  are the mothers who abort their children and doctors who desacralize their profession by playing the role of executioner. Let us get focused and get real.

The real culprit in the desacralization of the Eucharist is not the Democratic party politician who goes to Communion  or the one in hundred divorced and remarried ladies who sneak into Mass so her kids can get religion. It is the active homosexual and careerist priests who have polluted the sacral priesthood for their own ends. They have desacralized the Eucharist from the priest side of the altar. Maybe we should cast out some of those clerical log beams first and work on the parishioner splinters later. Let us get focused and get real.

The real culprits in terms of  foreign governments causing chaos in American political life are agents like Christopher Steele of British intelligence. Even if the guy is white and speaks English, he is working to promote the interests and policies of his nation not ours. The globalist English speaking "Five Eyes" intelligence community (Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US)  are enemies of a US Russian alliance. They are not in any way operatives of Hillary Clinton--they are quite capable of acting on their own initiative and saw her as non threatening and malleable to their world view.
The other faction of foreign governments trying to bend US policy toward their interests are the  Likkud party of Israel and the Saudi royal family of Saudi Arabia. They are both against a US policy that would focus on eradicating the Wahhabi Sunni jihadists who planned and executed the 9/11 attack.  They (for different reasons) want the US to focus on the nation of Iran and the Shiites of Lebanon (Hezbollah) as the principal sources of terror in the Mideast. These are the foreigners who further their well thought out national policies by manipulating the status hungry careerists who pursue their own shallow aspirations amidst the US foreign policy and think tank swamps.  These different foreign governments want to prevent a US alliance with Russia which would redraw the Christian world map. They want us to go to war with Iran. These foreign goals are not our own. Let us get focused and get real.

The real culprits in dividing the American people from each other are those who work to prevent a multi-racial, cross-class brotherhood emerge as a fruit of our Christian heritage and national patriotism.  Patriarchy (the rule of God the Father) and fraternity (the territorial brotherhood of American men) are forms of love and union. The sexual revolution, the racist excess of black power movements, and the new careers in the diversity industry are the real enemies of love and community. Let us get focused and get real.


C.S. LEWIS NOT A TAME LION: Jerry Salyer takes on the cosmopolitan right and pro-life feminists in his invigorating defense of C.S. Lewis' "right wing provincial views" on the sexes and patriotism.

ROBERT NISBET - THE QUEST FOR COMMUNITY: An early critic of the tendency of modern liberal democracy to break the bonds of community. Here is an excellent review of his seminal work. Some selected quotes from the review:
..the history of the Western world since at least the Renaissance has been dominated by an unceasing battle between traditionalism and modernism; the former is most often associated with such values as “community, moral authority, hierarchy, and the sacred” and the latter with “individualism, equality, moral release, and rationalist techniques of organization and power”;

...he sees the desiccation of community, the decline of authority, the devaluation of hierarchy, and the avoidance of the sacred by the overemphasis, and the often distorted emphasis, on the victorious values of modernism “By community,” Nisbet writes, “I mean something that goes far beyond mere local community. The word . . . encompasses all forms of relationship which are characterized by a high degree of personal intimacy, emotional depth, moral commitment, social cohesion, and continuity in time.” Community involves the whole man. It endures. It “achieves its fulfillment in a submergence of individual will that is not possible in unions of mere convenience or rational assent.” It is at the opposite pole from the ad hoc committee.

Tonnies(a sociologist) typology of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft there is the characterization of Gemeinschaft as the closely knit, organic, custom-oriented form of communal living that “roughly corresponds” to traditional society, and the characterization of Gesellschaft as “a special type of human relationship: one characterized by a high degree of individualism, impersonality, contractualism, and proceeding from volition or sheer interest rather than from the complex of affective states, habits, and traditions that underlies Gemeinschaft” that approximates modern society. Tonnies wonders over the fact that so few see the connection between the advance of democracy and progress, led by natural law and the universalization of rights, and the decay of the family and of other traditional associations of life.

Nisbet describes the strong concern of still another major figure in sociology with the influence and the possibilities of community. In Emille Durkheim, the community is prior to the individual in that it is the communal that shapes the individual’s reason. Thus the community inevitably has a powerful influence, and truly an unbreakable hold, on the individual. This influence is most convincingly demonstrated by Durkheim in his famous study of suicide. Periods of social decay and atomization bring on increased suicides, according to Durkheim. The chief forms of suicide encouraged by communal disintegration Durkheim calls “egoistic suicide” and “anomic suicide.” The first form is associated with the decline of communal life to the point that it no longer gives the individual ego sufficient support. Closely related to egoistic suicide in its connection with social disintegration is “anomic suicide” which is “caused by the sudden dislocation of normative systems, the breakdown of values by which one may have lived for a lifetime, or the conflict between ends desired and abilities to achieve them.”

The Renaissance faith in man, the Protestant spirit in religion, the Rationalist trust in reason, unmitigated by the influences of authority, community, and tradition, had largely destroyed the sense of security and belonging the individual once had had. And, as Nisbet recalls, “in almost all of Dostoevsky’s novels we learn that the greatest of all vices is to claim spiritual and moral autonomy and to cast off the ties that bind man to his fellows.”

The emergence of the territorial nation state has replaced other deeper forms of community. However ...the origins of the State in the early relationships of warrior-chiefs and their followers in France, England. This has developed from a primarily military arrangement to its current gigantic condition through its progressively taking over more and more functions once carried out on the local level by individuals and small agencies. “The conflict,” he writes, “between central political government and the authorities of guild, village, community, class, and religious body has been, of all the conflicts in history, the most fateful.”
Robert Nisbet would appreciate the more recent attacks on expressive individualism as the dominant ideology of the Modern West. (See AOA review of Deneen on Liberalism) It is not clear how he would treat the rise of nationalism as a communitarian response to the globalism/individualism nexus. We would argue that just as a huge, billion-member Catholic Church can be lived out in a face-to-face parish, so the territorial American nation state is expressed by asserting that original military bond of warriors under a leader as the essential political bond. The local policing function of the city or town as well as the protective institutions of the states are the local forms where the national protective pact is lived out. That bond runs wide and deep precisely because it has been lived out is so many State and local forms.


GLOSSY MAGAZINE ON THE SAVIOR KING HITS US NEWSSTANDSJust in time for MbS visit. Pumping up the 32-year old Saudi Prince in a hurry.


WHO IS HUMA ABEDIN? Maybe she is a more important lady than Stormy Daniels. Did the Saudis have a special relationship with the Clintons? The Muslim World League and Abedin family business are close. No problem, the Saudis are our allies.

LESSON FROM IRAQ: Matt Purple of American Conservativea short useful reflection.

COMMUNISM: a Germanic western idea that overwhelmed Russia and China in the name of scientific modernity promising to replace their "ancient and failed traditions" of Orthodox Christianity and Confucianism. When a Russian official with the Putin government was asked if they would  stop trying to influence foreign elections, he replied, "Will the West promise not to send anymore German philosophers to influence our form of government?"

WORLD WAR TWO: ..was a war in which "Germany was largely defeated by Russia and Japan by China". Both lost millions of citizens and fought against their invaders while organizing their armies and government under the new ideology of scientific materialism. After the war the United States rebuilt Germany and Japan. We went to war against the new Communist States. Both Russia and China have repudiated the materialist ideology of Marxism.  The Chinese have retained the Communist Party as its administrative and governing apparatus. The United States is organizing alliances against both nations as dominant  regional powers. We do this in the name of a real politique trying to prevent regional hegemony.   There is a Christian tradition in American foreign policy  seeking a global order based on the common Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Men. We once waved such a banner when we turned against our former allies and fought them as atheist Communists.