By Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
A Synodal Response to Corruption:
Repent, Resign, and Reconstitute.
A Synodal Response to Corruption:
Repent, Resign, and Reconstitute.
One distinction between corruption and scandals is that a corrupt institution can no longer reform itself. Sometimes it is not the institution that is corrupt but the present ruling body as a group. The configuration of men in that body are no longer able to reform themselves. In the United States there are certain monasteries (such as St John's Benedictine Monastery in St. Cloud, Minnesota) that are so deeply corrupted they should be dissolved as a group. They continue to harbor so many known predators that their collective existence is a crime in itself.
The mass resignation of the Bishops of Chile in response to their meeting with Pope Francis over charges of sexual abuse and coverup is a truly earth shattering event. It is acceptable if a corrupt monastery disappears forever. A diocesan priesthood or national episcopacy may be best transformed by massive resignations and then a prayerful reconstituting of the Priestly Body. This drastic necessary approach has real dangers. We know that throughout the homosexual scandal in the Catholic clergy, high level homosexuals have proposed themselves as the best reformers of the problem they had caused. The most notorious of these demonic deceptions was the career of psychiatrist -priest Michael Peterson who turned St. Luke Institute in Bethesda into a homosexual-pedophilia therapy coverup center for American bishops and their lavender priests. We won't detail how Peterson and his acolytes proposed stopping pedophilia by encouraging "discreet healthy homosexuality" in a celibate clergy. We won't detail the depth of his support among American bishops, religion orders and seminary formation clerics. His career and his continued influence beyond the grave is a disgrace from yesterday and a warning for tomorrow. It matters who reconstitutes an episcopacy after a mass resignation. It matters who plans the therapy for the sick and the punishment for the guilty. It matters who defines what is sickness and what is crime. Beware the priest posing as doctor who ignores the venom of the serpent to medicate the symptoms of the poisoned.
The mass resignation of the Chilean bishops is a dynamic manifestation of Synodal governance in the Church. This heroic acceptance of blame and shame is an indictment against every corporate body of priests with similar histories of abuse and coverup. If a synod or conference has allowed years of abuse, then the synod as a corporate body shares blame for the crime. In male groups with strong leaders, men are responsible for making the group run well under the leader. The corollary of that truth is that when the group becomes corrupted, all members are responsible for fixing how the group constitutes itself and maintains its integrity. "At least I am a faithful priest." "At least I am one of the good bishops". "At least I am a decent monk." All of those oft repeated sayings are much less credible after the resignations of all the bishops for the corporate malfeasance of the bishops of the Chilean Church. The Church in Chile has not sinned but she has been sinned against by her hierarchy. The Chilean hierarchy has accused itself as a body for failure to PROTECT. They have not devised a video for new Catechists; they have accepted a punishment for themselves. They have not settled for changing procedures and policies. They are fighting principalities and powers. There is an echo here of the resignation of Pope Benedict---he could no longer rule. He could not organize the protection necessary and thus he wisely left the office whose duties he could not fulfill.
The Chilean Episcopal resignations mark the first time the crime of corporate ruling negligence has been addressed at a deeper spiritual level than civil bankruptcy court. When a wolf attacks the sheep, kill the wolf. If a wolf disguises himself as a shepherd and goes after the sheep, kill the wolf-- don't hospitalize him. If the shepherd lets the wolves run wild amidst the sheep, then punish the shepherd, don't tax the sheep. The Chilean act is NOT "too little too late". It is a significant turning away from sin. This priestly act of purification is deeply tied to the liturgical rhythm of Catholic life. Every Mass begins with the Confiteor. We must also admit this radical episcopal act of confession is inconceivable under any other pontiff of the last two centuries. May the Spirit of Pentecost enter into this humiliation with the fire and light so necessary to cleanse our Catholic priesthood and reconstitute the Apostolic fraternity.
I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
CHILEAN BISHOPS OFFER LETTERS OF RESIGNATION: All of them. Which ones the Pope will accept is not clear. This is great model of repentance by all the individuals who failed as a collective body.
THE SIGN OF THE CROSS: This simple beautiful Trinitarian act is not approved by all Christians. A good history.
A CATHOLIC CONSERVATIVE IN ENGLAND - A SERIOUS MAN: Jacob Rees-Mogg.
PATRICK COFFIN AND GORDON DALBEY: Be a man. Fight the Devil, not each other. A good interview as part of Coffin series on manhood.
A GERMAN PHILOSOPHER AND A FRENCH PEASANT GIRL: Mr. Nietzsche, meet St. Theresa.
PURITY AND MARTYRDOM: Catholic Culture built on the life of Christ has always held forth an ideal of man as sacrificial warrior and yet pure as the snow. Maximilian Kolbe was born on 8 January 1894 in the Kingdom of Poland, which was a part of the Russian Empire, the second son of weaver Julius Kolbe and midwife Maria Dąbrowska. His father was an ethnic German and his mother was Polish... He died in a concentration camp as a priest offering his life for execution in place of another man who was the father of a family. Kolbe's life was strongly influenced in 1906 by a childhood vision of the Virgin Mary. He later described this incident:
"That night I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked me if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both."
II. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
JOHN BOLTON AND THE LIBYA MODEL__TRUMP CORRECTS THE NEOCONS--AGAIN
John Bolton, the new National Security Advisor for President Trump, gave an April 29 interview with Fox newscaster Chris Wallace suggesting that we had a plan for denuclearization with North Korea based on the "Libyan model of 2003-2004." Talk about tone deaf. Mr. Bolton and the "journalist "interviewing him apparently forgot that after Muammer Gaddafi gave up his whole nuclear program, he was killed by a mob on Oct 20, 2011. That mob was empowered by Gaddafi's ungrateful new "friends from the West." A US NATO air campaign turned the Libyan Civil War decisively for the rebels who now divide their fractured rule in the failed state of Libya. As Hillary Clinton laughingly said, "We came , we saw, he died." An attack by a cohort of those same rebels killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya one year later, Sept 11, 2012. Gaddafi betrayed, the Arab mob given an Air Force against an African leader, and American patriots killed in the aftermath. That too is the Libyan model.
Needless to say there was a strong reaction by North Korea after hearing Mr. Bolton's TV interview. They have a sense of history even if Mr Bolton and Chris Wallace do not.
Through different channels, the North Koreans threatened the upcoming summit. President Trump was very quick to say the Korean negotiations are DEFINITELY NOT THE LIBYA MODEL. He criticized the Regime Change which destroyed that country. He made it very clear he was proposing a very different scenario. This was his position in Republican debates on Syria as well. He said, "Destroy ISIS, don't try to overthrow Assad." "Cooperate with Russia, don't make them your enemies." President Trump is not a neocon. Mr. Bolton is a very articulate man. He may eventually be a great asset to the President in defending his policy to those who will oppose him from the right.
This is very reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's negotiations with Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev. Reagan always had a vision of peace and cooperation as a new way for the two nations to live together. He loved Russian proverbs. His "hard liner advisors" were always worried that if Reagan was left alone too long with Gorbachev, he would give away the store. The hardline conservatives shared his tough talk but they knew not his heart. Paul Kengor's book on God and Ronald Reagan is very good about this phenomenon.
INDONESIA CHRISTIANS KILLED BY MUSLIMS RETURNING FROM FAILED ISIS STATE: A few lessons in this story. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country (87% of the 260 million). The first principle of their social agreement is Pancasila - "belief in the one and only God". Blasphemy is a crime. There are six recognized religions: Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Islam. 99% of Muslims are Sunni (almost all of the Shafi school of jurisprudence). The family who bombed three churches are Sunni Muslims returning from ISIS territory in Syria. These are some of the fighters the US and Saudi Arabia were supporting in their fight to overthrow Assad in Syria. Almost all Christians in Syria supported Assad against the rebels. The migration of Salafist Sunnis to Asian Muslim populations is a major post-ISIS problem. Ethnic Chinese (two million) in Indonesia are disproportionately Christian as they were disproportionate victims in the 1965 purge of Communists that killed 300,000-2 million.
ELECTION IN MALAYSIA SIGNALS A NEW ERA - MAYBE: It's complicated.
ISRAEL ATTACKS MULTIPLE IRANIAN TARGETS IN SYRIA: "We will not allow Syria to be a forward base for Iran." Could Russia say that about US troops in NATO? Could China say that about US troops in South Korea? Israel's capital is Jerusalem and President Trump was absolutely right to recognize that truth. A major theme of Jared Kushner's speech at the opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem is the link between peace and truth. A profound insight. Syria is a sovereign state. Israel should recognize that truth.
US OPENS EMBASSY IN JERUSALEM: Seventy years after the founding of the State of Israel, America keeps the promise of the last four presidents and moves the American Embassy to Jerusalem. It is fitting and just.
THE EMBASSY OPENS, THE KILLINGS IN GAZA. THE SHIITES WIN IN LEBANON AND IRAQ: Israel seems triumphant but a base built on Muhammed bin Salman's Wahhabi Sunnis and Pastor Hagee's Christians is a narrow platform indeed - not really a grand alliance of Jews, Christians, and Muslims for the true good and beautiful. One writer who is able to report more than one country and one event at a time describes May 14.
III. AMERICAN POLITICS AND THE NATIONS
TA-NEHISI COATES - MEDIA'S FAVORITE BLACK INTELLECTUAL REVEALS HIS ATHEISM AMD DESPAIR: A leftist makes a surprisingly acute analysis about the revelations in Coates new book We Were Eight Years in Power.
RECONCILING KOREA: A role for Catholics - in your face or at your side?
THREE DAYS IN MOSCOW - THE REAL RONALD REAGAN CAME TO LIFT HEARTS, NOT RATTLE CAGES: From Bret Baer's new book:
"When Gilder (Reagan speechwriter for his 1988 talk to Russian students at Moscow State University) returned with a draft, it was beautiful. Reagan loved it. Once again, the nervous Nellies in the State Department and NSC hovered around, worrying about the language. But they soon realized that the speech had no single phrase that might give offense, no line that just had to be excised. Its deeper meaning was encased in respectful prose and stirring poetry. It was meant to lift hearts, not rattle cages. And it was pure, unadulterated Reagan. It might have been entitled, “Morning in Moscow.”THE FOUR CLASSES - IN AMERICAN, IN PLATONIC AND IN VEDIC CATEGORIES: Taylor Marshall, a great Catholic thinker, does some culture work. Very worthwhile.
PROTESTANT ROOTS OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY: From the First Things article, Theology of Foreign Policy, by Michael Doran. Mark Tooley's excellent response at Providence magazine
PRAGER UNIVERSITY ON THE DEATH OF EUROPE: Douglas Murray who gives this video is right about German guilt leading to loss of confidence in Europe. But the problem is not that Europe doesn't believe in itself. It is that Europe doesn't believe in God. Mr Douglas is a "Christian atheist." Mr. Prager should know that men like him explain why the neoconservative project failed. This man has no sense of God, masculinity, or nation. He is a "Western conservative intellectual". He is well-spoken but he is part of the problem not the solution. The Enlightenment and the Greek philosophers have always been favored in the atheistic intellectuals' defense of the West. Less prominent are the Roman soldiers, Irish monks, German warriors, and Spanish Catholics. Christianity to the atheist highbrow is not a living organism that still breathes and fights but a past heritage of Judaic-Christian values for modern man to remember and improve upon.
DARREN ELLISOR - THE OTHER PILOT ON THE MAY 8 SOUTHWEST FLIGHT: Don't tell anyone but the pilot whose aviation skills saved lives at the time of decompression and trauma was actually a guy. The lady pilot "did her job" as well but the real story of responses to the exploding engine is much more interesting than the wonder woman cartoon. The reactions of male passenger protectors in the plane and a nurse who responded to CPR cries are also gripping. The pathetic and very real response of another man... of fear, self absorption, and resentment that he might die so young... is another contrasting feature of a very well done video story.