Saturday, June 29, 2019


[first published June 29, 2014]

by Dr. David Pence

Every Sunday at Mass, Catholics stand to profess in the Creed that we believe in "the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." What does it mean to say the Church is Apostolic, and why is the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul one of the ten holy days of obligation in the Catholic Church? The feast day reminds us that the Church wants us to reflect on these men and their office as apostles, in the same way we reflect on Mary’s Immaculate Conception or Christ’s Ascension into heaven. These are central truths that organize the way we understand reality and live our common life as a Church.

Saint Paul
Both Peter and Paul had their names changed in their encounter with Christ.  Saul became Paul and Simon was re-named Peter.  Christ the new Adam re-organized humanity, not as the blood sons of Adam and Eve, but now as a sacral brotherhood that would allow entry into the life of the Trinity. “Those whom He foreknew, he predestined to share the image of His Son, that the Son might be the firstborn of many brothers.” David drew Jonathan (the blood son of Saul) away from his own kinship claims to succession, into the newly anointed Davidic Kingdom.  So Christ configured the first twelve apostles - all loyal sons of Israel - into the new priesthood that would be the twelve foundation stones of the Church. Calling Paul an apostle a decade later showed that some vital aspect of the apostolic duties and office of the original Twelve would live on in other elected men through the ages. The joining of Paul to the apostolic office and his mission to the Gentiles gives evidence that the Church built on a highly localized brotherhood of Galileans was to spread all over the earth, and yet still be fully manifested in such crucial Catholic local forms as the parish Mass and the diocesan Bishop and his presbytery.

The fraternal relationship of Christ to his chosen men forms the living sinew of the new Temple, in which the presence of God will be carried to the ends of the earth. This is the sacramental order that the Church establishes as the central organism to reorder humanity under the Father. Holy Orders is the third of the sacraments which imprint an indelible mark on the soul; and, like Confirmation, it shows again how indispensable is the communion of the bishops to the Church’s sacramental order. Peter and the apostles live on in the pope and the bishops, and the bishop and his diocesan priests. These are the patriarchal fraternities that mirror the Trinity, and provide the Catholic framework for the baptizing of nations, and the public ordering of human beings necessary to prepare for the Second Coming.

To this priestly apostolic order are given particular powers to forgive sins, cast out demons, and definitively proclaim the message that God dwells among us and invites us to dwell in Him.  This priestly authority to beseech the Father -- to send the Spirit to bring us back in the presence of the Son’s sacrifice -- is the Mass. The priests have been given the keys to a mysterious "time/space machine" which binds dispersed humanity into the one Body of Christ.

"Crucifixion of St.Peter" - Rubens
It was Peter’s proclamation, not that Christ was the Messiah (a big deal in itself) but that he was the Son of the living God, that evoked from Christ His ordaining of the Petrine office. Christ did not award Peter’s faith. In fact, he told him clearly that Peter was not talking on his own. The Holy Spirit allowed Peter to profess the divinity of Christ, and upon that central theological truth was the Church built. The real rock is not so much Peter, but the accurate testimony of Peter that Jesus is God-become-man.  Christ is the cornerstone, and the apostles are the twelve foundation blocks. The keys are given to Peter to unlock mysteries in teaching, and unlock jail cells in releasing men from their sins. It is no mistake that the second reading of the feast day is an angelically engineered jailbreak for Peter -- recalling an earlier prison tomb that was evacuated so that hell might be harrowed. The priestly powers  are conferred, not on every man who chooses Christ, but on certain men whom Christ chooses.  Peter was not Superman dressed like a fisherman who burst out of prison to work miracles.  He was Peter who was led out of prison by an angel, and called out of his fishing boat by Our Lord. And that Peter was given the authority to work the miracles of healing the sick and, more importantly, forgiving men their sins.

Christ asked, “Who do men say the Son of Man is?”  Whenever Christ called himself the Son of Man, he was affirming his human identity. In Hebrew, he would have called himself the Son of Adam.  Peter, by power of the Holy Spirit, answers Christ’s directed question to the apostles about his identity: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” That was the instance the Holy Spirit spoke through Peter, speaking for the whole church with an infallible statement. We share that infallible authority every time we also comply with the Spirit, and read Scripture or profess the Creed together at Mass. It is all part of being an apostolic church with real authority given by Christ through the Spirit.

In these recent weeks of the Church liturgical year, we meditated on the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Trinitarian nature of God on Trinity Sunday, and the presence of Christ in the Eucharist on Corpus Christi. Today let us give thanks and praise for the Apostolic priesthood that bridges  those spiritual realities and our lives in the practice of our sacramental life. The rule of the Father and filiation of the Beloved Son passed down through the Scriptures find in the Eucharistic Apostolic fraternity that restoration of brotherhood under the Father meant from the beginning as the destiny of man.  


Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, JUNE 29

by A. Joseph Lynch


What began with the Pennsylvania grand jury report exploded into a widening investigation of cover up on the part of other attorney generals across the nation. While more reports are forthcoming, we remember the news a year ago that "Teddy" McCarrick was credibly accused of sexual abuse. In response, Pope Francis did what the popes before him would not do - remove him from the College of Cardinals and defrock him. As McCarrick story broke, we at AoA were heartened to hear about the excellent investigative work being undertaken by Church Militant and others regarding cover ups at the episcopal level. Then Vigano - who was under investigation in covering up for Archbishop Neinstedt - threw us all off.

When Vigano's letter began to circulate it broke the floodgates on criticism of Pope Francis. Never mind the fact that Pope Francis defrocked McCarrick, or that Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI were responsible for never removing McCarrick in the first place. Outlets like Church Militant, which had stated until that point that it would not attack the Holy Father, openly joined the ranks of the radical traditionalists in denouncing Pope Francis and calling for his resignation. The excellent reporting on corruption within the ranks of the episcopate was replaced by reports calling for Catholics to oppose Pope Francis. Vigano threw us all off.

Yet on the one year anniversary of the McCarrick story breaking, Church Militant reported that it has received leaked files from with the Chicago chancery regarding the late Cardinal Bernadine. Bernadine was a notorious support of homosexuality who dominated the post-Vatican II American church. It was Bernadine who illicitly began the practice of Communion in the hand in the US. According to the leaked documents, as a priest Bernadine raped an eleven year old girl with his bishop as part of a Eucharist-desecrating Satanic sex cult. James Grein, whose testimony helped bring down McCarrick, tells Church Militant that McCarrick and Bernadine sexually assaulted him. More reporting from Church Militant here and here. We hope this summer's reporting can get back on track and continue this kind of reporting - and we hope Vigano and others like him refrain from throwing us all off once again.


PAN-AMAZON SYNOD - WORKING DOCUMENT: An English translation has been released for the working document for the upcoming Pan-Amazon bishop's synod. As was the case with the hysteria over the working document for the synod on the family, we may see a similar outcome: a poor working document that ultimately did not reflect the final decisions reached by the synod or taught by Pope Francis. To prepare yourself for the coming synod and hysteria we're already seeing in from Conservative Catholic, we highly encourage the reader to re-read Dr. Pence's reflection The Sacred and the Taboo: A Lesson from the Synod along with the opening review of family synod in the Religion & Geopolitics Review from December 26. 2015.

BISHOP SHEEN RETURNS: Having lost in the courts the body of titular Archbishop Fulton Sheen was unceremoniously given up by the Archdiocese of New York. Cardinal Dolan was absent as Sheen's body was disinterred at the five AM, and he ordered limitation on media coverage. Sheen's remains arrived in his home diocese of Peoria, Illinois on the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual help - where it has been laid to rest at an altar imploring her patronage. With is remains in Peoria, the diocese at work in his canonization, the canonical process can resume.


DEMOCRATS DEBATE: The Democrats took two nights to kick-off the 2020 primary season with back-to-back debates. During these debates, Biden's performance was dismal, Bernie's announced he'd raise taxes on the middle class, Castro defended abortion rights for trans-females - in other words, men - O'Rourke awkwardly opened by speaking in Spanish while Inslee and Harris both declared the sitting president the country's greatest national security threat. Gabbard by far did best, but her time was limited and she's found herself under attack for not being hawkish enough. At this point, Trump's re-election is looking good.

FUNDING TRUMP: The RNC announced the president recently raised over one million dollars an hour for nearly $25 million dollars in one day of fundraising with an average donation of $44. Several of his Democrat challengers announced funding to the tune of $6 million. The money game is important, but the president appears to be off to a good start. Here is a chart showing the first quarter funding reports from all candidates.

LEAKED PLANS? President Trump had announced plans to begin deporting immigrants who had disobeyed court orders but delayed the plan as it was about to begin. Did the acting head of DHS leak the plans and make the untenable? The recent problem of leaking may stem from changes made in the waning days of the Obama administration. Until he left office, raw intelligence was shared only between three intelligence agencies, but as Obama left office he signed executive order 12333, allowing raw intelligence now to be shared between 17 agencies. The widened access meant that it would be harder to find leakers - a problem the President has faced time and time again.

BUCHANAN ON LOOMING WAR WITH IRAN: While Buchanan applauds Trump's decision to pull back from a terrible plan to attack Iran, he rightly criticizes the President for bringing us to the current situation: "Visualizing 150 Iranian dead from a missile strike that he had ordered, President Donald Trump recoiled and canceled the strike, a brave decision and defining moment for his presidency... Still, it needs to be said: The president himself authorized the steps that have brought us to this peril point. Trump pulled out of and trashed Obama’s nuclear deal. He imposed the sanctions that are now inflicting something close to unacceptable if not intolerable pain on Iran. He had the Islamic Revolutionary Guard declared a terrorist organization. He sent the Abraham Lincoln carrier task force and B-52s to the Gulf region.... We appear to be at a turning point in the Trump presidency. Does he want to run in 2020 as the president who led us into war with Iran, or as the anti-interventionist president who began to bring U.S. troops home from that region that has produced so many wars? 

PETER ZEIHAN: Peter Zeihan once worked for Stratfor and is a specialist in the impact of markets on geopolitics. This video from November 2018 gives his current outlook on the world and ends with a reflection on American politics. We don't agree with all of his assessments, but the talk is worth listening to in full. He sees a re-alignment in the US political parties with Trump forming a new coalition among ethnic minorities, religious believers, and unions while Democrats become the party of the widely divergent forces of the Sexual Left and big business (see below). 


WAR GAMING IRAN, CHINA, RUSSIA: War games allow a military to test current doctrine against potential adversaries in coming wars. They also allows military commanders to put themselves in the shoes of the enemy, attempting to do their best with the forces at the adversary's disposal. A $250 million war game, called Millennium Challenge 2002, game tested a war between the US and Iran. The Iranian player, Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, adopted asymmetric tactics that led to the - thankfully simulated - sinking of sixteen warships, including a US aircraft carrier, and 20,000 dead sailors. Iran was only defeated by resetting the game and restricting Gen. Riper so badly that he could not win. In a more recent game simulating war with Iran in 2020, America fared little better. More recent war games simulating conflicts with Russia and China reveal the US losing its aircraft on the ground, naval destruction due to overwhelming missile strikes, and the crumbling of command-and-control systems. 

KHASHOGGI AND THE SAUDIS: The US Senate rejected an arms deal between the US and Saudi Arabia - an act soon to be vetoed by President Trump. The rejection comes not so much due to Saudis ties to terrorism nor to its war in Yemen, but for the vicious killing of dissenter Jamal Khashoggi. We hope Senate has a real debate over Saudi Arabia's history of Wahhabism rather than bemoan its positions on feminism. homosexuality, and individual liberty.

IRAN AND TERROR: If the joke that the Iran is the world's leading sponsor of terrorism wasn't enough, Pompeo and the "intelligence community" are telling Congress that Iran is linked the anti-Shia Wahhabi terror organization Al Qaeda. What's more, reports are also being floated that Iran is establishing terror cells in the Sunni-dominated Islamic Africa. These inconceivable reports show how easy it is to manipulate Congressmen - and the general public - when they do not understand the basics of Sunni-Shia-Wahhabi divisions within the Islamic world.


YOUTH BECOMING LESS LGBT-FRIENDLY: A recent GLAAD poll found an 8-point drop among 18-34 year olds ("Millennials") regarding their comfort levels around homosexuals. Dr. Steve Turley gives his analysis of changing patterns among young adults.

FATHERLESSNESS: Suzanne Venker examines the marginalization of men and the crisis of fatherhood. She notes the troubling pattern: men are getting displaced from the workplace, become unemployed and passed over by women for marriage - yet women will still have children with them and raise their children as single mothers. Their sons in turn grow up to imitate their absent fathers and the girls grow up raised to be single moms. In the long run it is a pattern that cannot sustain itself.

GENDER CHANGE LITURGY: Continuing their plunge off the deep end, the Church of England is writing guidelines for liturgies to celebrate the completion of gender transitioning. This is the same church that removed reference to the Devil from its baptismal rites.

BURNING THE FLAG: No, not the American flag, the "Pride" flag. According the Sexual Left, it's free speech to burn former but a hate crime to burn the latter. High school boys in Utah are, for example, finding themselves in hot water for burning the rainbow flag. A recent burning of a rainbow flag in Saskatchewan has been denounced for fear it will lead students to feel unsafe in school. And after what appears to be a black man burning rainbow flags outside of a gay bar in Harlem, the New York Police Department's Hate Crimes Task Force has been called in to investigate. It is high time to see we are protecting the wrong flag.

Friday, June 28, 2019

From Personal Piety to the Social Kingship of Christ: The Ordered Loves of the Sacred Heart

Originally posted June 8, 2018 by David Pence

2019 Update: June is not "Pride" month but the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated liturgically on the Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost with the Immaculate Heart of Mary honored the Saturday after. We invite you to keep Catholic time with us today as we reflect on this solemnity - the highest and holiest liturgical celebrations - with the words of the late Dr. David Pence. -A.J.L.

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"There are others who reckon this same devotion burdensome and of little or no use to men who are fighting in the army of the divine King... [they] see it rather a type of piety nourished not by the soul and mind but by the senses and consequently more suited to the use of women, since it seems to them something not quite suitable for educated men."
(Leo XIII 1899 encyclical Consecrating the Whole Human Race to the Most Sacred Heart)

Pope Francis says to trust the practices of the faithful people. "Reality is more important than ideas." But Really! All these bleeding hearts and pierced sides, talking angels and burning souls and then the secrets of a beautiful lady sealed by the miracle of the Sun. The Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the white and red lights of Divine Mercy from the wounded side of Christ, "entering the wounds to reach the heart," the promise of Fatima, the conversion of Russia, and the Kingship of Christ. Do we really have to treat this mish-mash of peasant practices and apparitions as  reality?  Could these disparate peasant devotions instruct an army which awaits the general orders for the day?  Men should not run away... a convergence is appearing from the ruins of the bloody 20th century.  The messages come from children and virginal young women. Old ladies have long heeded them. Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.

Kaki Katsuhiko (1872-1961), in preaching the Shinto nationalism that would propel Japan against the western imperialists colonizing Asia, gave speeches to the military called "One Heart, One Body." He was a law professor and a scholar of Shinto classics as well as a professor at the Japanese Naval  Academy for the 25 years before Pearl Harbor. He was the major intellectual/spiritual force who  welded law, statecraft, religion and military identity together to forge the Japanese people into that incredible social organism that defeated China and then Russia before expelling the British from Hong Kong and Singapore.  "One Heart, One Body, One Head." That is exactly the language he had taught. American soldiers learned to respect the resolve of that one heart as a fighting force, while Chinese civilians grew to hate the "Japanese devils" for their unspeakable barbarism. But no man can look at the history of the 20th century and fail to see there was some fundamental spiritual difference between the "Mystical Body of Japan" and those other bloody 20th-century forces of Soviet scientific socialism and the armed Darwinism of the German Reich. No man should hear the language of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart and One Body and dismiss these categories as the sentimentality of old ladies. There lurks a Serpent much more devious and horrible than any of the armies of the world wars. A great Heart beats and a Mystical Body is stirring to expel that monster.

The disciplines of the First Fridays and First Saturdays are deeply Eucharistic. We should remember that in 1673 (St Margaret Mary Alacoque) and 1879 (Sister Mary of the Divine Heart), frequent and early reception of Holy Communion was not common. A profound culture of love has been formed by the monthly devotions to what Pope John Paul II called "the alliance of the hearts." Buttressed by the liturgical reforms and sensibilities of the early twentieth century, these devotions set a rhythmic metronome for the practice of Catholic parish life: daily Mass and Communion, monthly confession, and daily meditation on the life of Christ through the Rosary. The Catholic week is centered on Sunday when the Father created the heavens and the earth, the Son rose from the dead and the Spirit inflamed the hearts of the faithful. Catholics devote Friday to acts of Penance and the Passion. Thursdays recall the institution of the Eucharist and that pivotal struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. Saturdays are Marian -- a day of faithful anticipation that the Tomb will become a womb bringing forth the first-born of creation. The renewal of the liturgical year in the last century was preceded by the renewal of the Catholic week by the devotions of the hearts. Those disciplines started out as monthly prayer practices, but they led to the daily and weekly keeping of Catholic time that would mark strong parish life. The centrality of the bishop and the Eucharist in the local Church emphasized at Vatican II was prepared for by setting hearts aflame for the Heart of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It is hard to convey the Real Presence in words; it is hard to miss His Presence in a church, quiet and full, during Thursday Holy Hour. The binding of the peoples' hearts with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary draws our thoughts to think with the mind of the Church and our wills to carry out the Will of the Father. This Christocentric culture consolidates and renews a worldwide community of shared attention and memory in the synchronous practices of local parish life.

These devotions linking the heart of the believer with the heart of Christ were meant to draw all of humanity into the human heart of Jesus. This targeting of humanity and not just particular souls as the recipient of grace was not always the emphasis of the Church. It was considered noteworthy that the Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) Encyclical of Pope John XXIII in 1963 as well as  the opening statement of the Bishops at the Second Vatican Council were addressed not only to bishops and Catholics, but to all men of good will. Indeed, Pacem in Terris was much more about the harmony and order that is at the root of reality than a plea for "no more war." It opened: "That a marvelous order predominates in the world of living Beings and in the forces of nature is the plain lesson of modern research." Against the ontological conflict and violence inherent in the western ideologies of Marxism and Social Darwinism, the Catholics threw their lot in with the great philosophies and cultures of primordial order and harmony. Love made the Universe. Love called forth man in creation. And in thousands of chapels across the world, mostly women pondered the love of God in the loving hearts of Mary and Jesus. Countering the shadowy ether of practical atheism, the daily and weekly practices of Catholics held up the Body of Christ offered to the Father. Amidst the rubble of the great wars, the sanctuary lamps in parishes across the globe lit up the faces of the faithful reciting  more prayers, kneeling for more confessions, attending more Masses and receiving more Holy Communions. Attention and Piety were centered not upon a thousand different village saints but focused through the Mass and the Rosary on the central reality of Christ in nature and history.  The physical sinews for the theology of Communio were being drawn taut. When the young virgin asked the Supreme Pontiff (the Holy Father) to consecrate all of humanity to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, there were years of pause. Popes had spoken often to fellow bishop-apostles and other times to the whole Catholic faithful. The pope and his priests were used to speaking definitively with effect to a specific target. They repeated the words of Christ in special sacramental settings --"This is my Body", "Go, your sins are forgiven." The pope was careful with his words. Generally the Church invited people as individuals to enter her sacramental life and be consecrated. The Church was one kind of society; the world was another. What should be said to humanity? What could be said to all of mankind? The pope balked at the consecration of humanity. But the realization grew deeper as the Church reflected on her identity as Church. The sons of Adam and the descendants of Noah needed to hear a call from the Ark. Humanity is the Church in potential. In the Vatican Council's reflection on the Church (Lumen Gentium), the term "People of God" was used  at different times to describe three different corporate realities: the Jews, the whole Church, and mankind from the beginning.

Pope Leo XIII did consecrate mankind to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1899. Pope Pius XII consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942, one year before his encyclical on the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ. Henri de Lubac and the Communio theologians would remind us that the Church could not be fully the Body of Christ without embracing her mission as fulfilling the destiny of mankind. The nations apart from the Church were parts of the Body not yet awakened to their identity as members. Uniting ourselves with the Heart of Jesus shapes the whole human race into the eusocial species that we were meant to be from the beginning. This clarity about the Church's message to humanity as a whole emerged in the century that humanity organized a level of technological murder through ideologies and racial empires and nation states which dwarfed the acts of Cain through the previous millennia.

In 1925, Pius XI said that the annual consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart would be done each year on the Feast of Christ the King which he established in that encyclical. The empires of the Romanovs, Hapsburgs, and Ottomans had fallen in WWI. The Papal States had been taken 50 years before that. In Catholic Mexico and Catholic Spain the forces of Communism which had butchered the Orthodox clergy in Russia were now killing the Catholic priests. The war against clerics and the priestly Eucharistic authority of Christ had taken a bloody turn. Yet it was just then the pope established a Sunday every year to reassert the one monarchy that would never fall. The empires deposed their rulers, the mobs killed their priests, and just then the pope reminded us that mankind still had a monarch. The pope crowned the liturgical year with the Kingship of Christ, not simply to announce his regal return in the end times but to reassert the Church's life is meant to build His Kingdom on this earth.  Five decades later,  a new decade of the rosary was dedicated to that truth of building the kingdom of God. Catholics began to hear for the first time that same charge in the Pater Noster- an old prayer they had said all their lives. The Holy Father said every faculty of man -- intellect, will, and body -- owed allegiance to the King. There was no square inch of social life or earthly territory that wasn't His.

A century later our allegiance abides in Christ the King. Christ as the Head of a Body with a beating Heart makes a King's claim on our hearts. The loss of Papal States and the passing of Christian monarchs has actually cleared our field of vision to see how we might better institute Christ's Social Kingship. The Soviet Union is no more but Holy Russia reappears. The Roman Empire has disappeared but Israel is a nation. The Church was torn asunder but Christian nations are on every continent. The world of politics, of war and peace, of poverty and development is not immune to His rule. We dare not say, "the business of the Church is souls; we leave the life of nations in the bloody fangs of Social Darwinists".  How then shall we bring public life in concordance with the rules of love?

Political men must love the Father and love mankind as the Heart of Jesus does. This filial love for the Father invigorates and disciplines our special ardor for our countrymen and nation. Brotherhood under a Father is the public love of priests and bishops forming the living foundation stones for the Church. That is the Apostolic template that Christ loved into existence. Public brotherhoods of protective duty in defined territories under legitimate authorities constitute the form of love that makes the nations. Christ ordered his apostles not to reject the nations but to baptize them. He had been incorporated and instructed about his male duties in the Jewish nation by his father Joseph who came from the House of David (ed:2/2019)
    Losing this Christian fraternal sense of patriotism has been disastrous for American social life. The rejection of color-blind Christian brotherhood as the means and goal of civic life has destroyed our urban black communities. Ignoring the tough purity and work codes of Christian manhood has turned our white working-class neighborhoods into drug ridden spiritual wastelands. Renewing a public Christian code of manhood and brotherhood cuts across the debilitating battle lines of color and class. Forging the Christian alliance of hearts can reverse our cultural disintegration and we can reverse it quickly. We are commanded as men to participate in the public brotherhood of protection and work. This is one of the ordered loves of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His brotherhood of protection and work was the Apostolic Church-a holy nation of priests.  Civic publics are spiritual communal bodies. To build the Kingship of Christ there must be authoritative male bodies in specific cities and countries living out this Christian natural pattern of love. Christ's heart wept for Jerusalem not Damascus. He ordained a band of Galilean working men (not an audience of ladies and gentlemen) into a public corporate body. Kingdoms require knights and they are established in homelands. The feast of the Sacred Heart reminds us that "all you need is love," but it is the structured love of religion, nation, and brotherhood that makes peace on earth.

Ordered masculine love is the way to peace. It is the antidote to murder and war. It is not to be trifled with. Masculine love is not erotic -- that is fake news. Incest destroys the family unit. Homosexuality destroys the public nature of civic and ecclesial brotherhoods. Its kiss is no more innocent than the kiss of Judas. Masculine love is a public brotherhood of fathers defined by laws and lands. It is high and noble. It allows us to meet the Russians and Chinese and Iranians as brothers in their own neighboring communities with their own customs and rules of law and leadership.

When a Cain picks up his weapon, the brotherhood moves to stop him. But when an Esau sets up his separate territory, Jacob respects his brother's border. Pope Francis says the high calling of politics is to establish fraternity. Civic fraternity is meant to rule, to exercise authority. The Sixties are over. The centuries of revolution are over. It is time to accept the duties of adulthood, the exercise of authority, and the public ordered love of territorial fraternity.

The Sacred Heart gives a physical form to the greatest of all loves -- the love of Christ for the Father and the love of Christ for humanity through his particular loves for His mother and His apostolic brothers.  The Church enters into this love through a very definite form: the Eucharistic Liturgy. All of the devotions of the Hearts, Fatima, and Divine Mercy have led to a deeper Eucharistic sensibility. Masculine brotherhood and male-female love also have defined physical forms within which they are expressed. The nation and marriage are these forms of covenant love. The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Kingship of Our Lord are deeply entwined. All of humanity is being drawn into a kind of force-field defined by the Trinitarian template of ordered love. Public territorial boundaries of nations for men are foreshadowed by the territorial divisions of the diocesan Church. The paired love of man and woman in the unity of marriage is a sacrament of Christ and His Church. The wide encompassing waters of mercy that wash all of mankind come by way of a narrow wound in his side. The widest of loves are possible only if we conform to the limiting liberation of the fundamental resonating communal forms of ordered love.

John Eudes (1601-1680) a saint priest of France fostered devotion to the Sacred Hearts but never emphasized that above all "Jesus loves you." Fr. Eudes knew that above all ( and this cannot be repeated too often) Jesus loves His Father. Putting on Christ means putting on His loves and while that includes each of us, only the moderns think it starts there.  Eudes emphasized that putting on the heart of Jesus is "considering that the Lord Jesus  Christ is your true head and that you are a member of His body...He desires that whatever is in Him may live and rule in you, as the head lives and rules in the body...(let) these words be fulfilled in you: Glorify God and bear him in your body, that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in you.. He earnestly desires that you serve and glorify the Father by using all your faculties as if they were His." The good priest also grounded this devotion in the sacramental life of the church and 300 years before the present Catechism, he explained the sacraments of initiation: "These great gifts in the follower of Christ originate from Baptism. They are increased and strengthened through Confirmation and by making good use of other graces that are given by God. Through the Holy Eucharist, they are brought to perfection."

The forms of Christ's love are not restricted to the sacraments but are most manifest in them. Every man does not have to be baptized and confirmed as a Catholic for the Christian template of love to order the bonds of mankind. Christ has established forms of order. Conforming the "holy things" of matter and person in the sacraments exerts a field effect in cultures shaped by Christianity. The Catholic plan for politics is not a Catholic monarch in every country, though we have a special fondness for a good Catholic king. The bishops at the Second Vatican Council asked the leaders of the world to see them as a template. Their interracial brotherhood under the Fatherhood of God was a sign of how the nations could be. The Council Fathers established a sacral formation within which the great Spirit movement of Pentecostalism could be made incarnate.  The Marxists were wrong that class conflict was the driving force of human history. The capitalists and Darwinists were wrong that the nations, races, and men must be in perpetual conflict. Nations can be fraternities and live in fraternity. Man is meant for community. Men are meant to be brothers, as surely as man and woman are meant to be spouses. National flags are not above the altar, but they are found in churches, because the flags of nations are as fundamental signs of love and loyalty as the wedding bands of spouses.

Large groups of men in armed agreement should not evoke an image of Nazis. Large groups of men in armed agreement describes the form of love and loyalty that defeated the Nazis. It was religious men in arms and the nations at war which ended the brutal rule of scientific socialists. It was Catholic movements like the Cristeros and Catholic leaders like Franco, de Gaulle, Kennedy, and Diem who played their roles as armed Catholic nation-men in the fight against the atheist ideologies of their century. May a hundred such men and a hundred such nations emerge in this century to work in harmony with the Church in pursuit of peace. The nations are not meant to war with one another, but sometimes only a just war will bring a true peace. We must make peace with one another. Our only permanent enemy is the Devil.
The devotions to the Sacred Heart deepen our sensibility of being one with humanity in the Body of Christ. In the soul, in the parish, and in the the celebration of the Mass, the acts of personal piety link us in our common humanity united in the Heart and Body of Christ. (ed:2019 When we love in the same order that Christ loved we carry out the anthropological imperative of mimetic desire which Rene Girard discusses. We desire what Christ desires--He is a good man to mimic).   The Eucharist sends us out to incorporate the rest of humanity into this deep bond which is our common ultimate destiny. On the way to that perfection of the Mystical Body, we form the other fundamental societies and love covenants that radiate out from the core love. They are shaped by a field effect from the electromagnetic bonds of Trinitarian and sacramental life. Civic and marital bonds feed back by providing a culture for the present age that allows the ecclesial culture of eternity to be expressed in worship. The loves we live out in the rhythms of daily, weekly, and yearly Catholic Eucharistic culture are stronger, more truthful, and more full of joy than the disintegrating self-absorption of the modern west and the hateful violence of the jihadists. From our simple parish cultures of prayer and praise let us build the Kingdom of God. Let our hearts burn with the love of the Father and the bond of brotherhood in the priesthood. Let our love for the interiority of the Virgin and the practical kindness of the Mother lead us to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.  Let our love of God be made manifest in the unified hearts of our marriages and domestic life. Let our love of God be manifest in our love of countrymen and reverence for our flag. Let our nation seek fraternity with the other nations reflecting the Heart of Christ for all mankind. Let our loves be His loves. He taught us His loves on the cross. Above all,  He loved His Father and obeyed His Will unto death. He loved His Blessed Mother and His priestly brotherhood. He looked down from the Cross and bequeathed them to each other. He loved the poor and outcast of humanity at the periphery. He looked to His side and promised Paradise to the repentant thief. He loved his country, telling the women of Jerusalem to save their tears for the beloved city of his countrymen. He too had wept for the city to be leveled a few decades after  the King of the Jews (as Pilate authoritatively inscribed) was lifted up.  Let us unite ourselves in the loves of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as we build the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

CORPUS CHRISTI: Lessons from Nature and History

First published Thursday June 19, 2014

Dr. Pence writes on this feast day, the Thursday after Trinity Sunday (a holy day of obligation in the universal Church; and a national holiday in countries such as Brazil, Portugal, and Poland) --

The feast of Corpus Christi seldom inspires dialogue with Protestants. This is unfortunate, for much more than theological formulations of justification and faith, it is the sacral priesthood’s irreplaceable role in forgiving sins and bringing the Eucharist to the faithful that divides Catholic and Protestant.  The consecrated Apostolic Priesthood and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist are indivisible truths. The faithful Protestant with a Bible in his hand, a heart for his Savior, and the name of Jesus on his lips cannot fathom that liturgical actions of the sacramental priesthood are an indispensable means to proximity with Christ. The personal faith of the Reformers has trumped the priestly works of the Papists.

In the same way as Andrew did with Peter, Catholics run to our brothers saying: “We see the Messiah. Come and be with Him; come and be with us.” We know that believing Protestants want to hear us, but it is a hard saying. They want to be close to Christ. They say He is their personal friend and Savior, and they mean it. But especially during Corpus Christi processions and Eucharistic Adoration hours, the Catholics seem so radically different.

Catholics kneel and say with Thomas, “My Lord and my God” – expressing the awe and veneration owed to the God who made heaven and earth. We join the centurion in saying that we are not worthy that Christ should enter under our roof. In the Holy Communion that immediately follows, He enters under our roof and our souls are healed in an act of incorporation beyond any act of friendship.
   from "Last Communion of Saint Jerome" by Botticelli

Why don’t Catholics display the continued unrelieved intensity of a “personal relationship with Christ”?  Because we live in a different sort of emotional universe.  At times we do not dare the familiarity of friendship, as we take off our sandals with Joshua and “fall down and worship.” Other times we know the communion of theosis for which friendship is too sparse a term.  We admire the intensity of our Evangelical friends, but we should neither envy nor imitate the one-dimensional emphasis on friendship that compensates for centuries apart from the Eucharistic presence. Receiving the Lord in the Eucharist introduces a kind of interpersonal consummation, which generates an abiding peace.  This rhythmic liturgical experience of Presence is less excitable than the enthusiasm of college friends; but like marriage, it is a deeper communion.

Corpus Christi invokes an irresistible lesson from the Book of Nature as well.  Bacteria were the first forms of physical life created 3.8 billion years ago. Bacteria live as single cells or in colonies. They consist of prokaryotic cells, which have no nuclei and multiple coverings – a membrane, a cell wall, and a capsule. Around 2 billion years ago, one of the great transformations in life-forms occurred as certain bacteria lost some of their external coverings (the capsules) and merged with other bacteria to form something new: eukaryotic cells. This type of cell was larger and had a nucleus. Most importantly, the new cells had fewer coverings, and the membranes of their cells were capable of much more complex social interaction with other cells. These cells would develop over time with a capacity to “incorporate” into multi-cellular organisms.

These new eukaryotic cells would become the multi-cellular organisms of the protist, fungal, plant and animal kingdoms.
[The protist kingdom is that of amoeba and algae; the ‘silly putty’ of the biological world, or the living goo from which emerges the more defined forms of plants and animals].


I have always pictured this event as the best biological analogy to the capacity of persons with spiritual souls to be incorporated in the Body of Christ. There is something about shedding an outer self to allow a deeper bonding in a new multidimensional organism that resonates. The sacraments of Initiation and Holy Orders seal our souls with indelible characters that configure us in a radically transformed mode of living. The feast of Corpus Christi calls us to consider this truth: that Christ is fully present in the Eucharist and being incorporated in Him (and participating in His Sonship) is the way members of our species are going to live forever in the Father’s household.  

UPDATE:  From a letter of J.R.R. Tolkien to his son (November 1, 1963) --
"But for me, that Church of which the Pope is its acknowledged head on earth has as its chief claim that it is the one which has (and still does) ever defended the Blessed Sacrament and given it most honor and put it as Christ clearly intended in prime place.  'Feed my sheep' was His last charge to St. Peter… It was against this that the West European revolt (or the Reformation) was really launched – 'the monstrous fable of the Mass' – and faith/works a mere red herring."

"Oculi omnium in te spirant, Domine:
 et tu das illis escam in tempore opportune."

(The eyes of all look towards you in hope, O Lord:
 and you give them their food in due season.)

"Ecce Panis Angelorum, factus cibus viatorum."

(Behold this bread of Angels
Which hath become food for us on our pilgrimage.)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: Saturday, June 22

by A. Joseph Lynch


Not long after President Trump had said he wanted to withdraw from Syria, an air-launched chemical attack struck innocent Syrian civilizations. Assad was blamed and Trump forced to launch airstrikes of his own. We recently reported that leaked documents reveal the gas canisters were manually placed, not dropped from the air. A false flag attack in Syria almost led American to war.

Trump recently stated that he seeks no regime change in Iran or war with the nation. His comments were made on May 27 after meeting with Japanese prime minister, Abe, who agreed to deliver a written message from Trump to Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei. On June 13, while Abe was delivering Trump's message, two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, one of which owned by Japan. Iran was quickly blamed by the "blog" in Washington. Reports from the crews of the tankers have not matched those being reported from the US intelligence community. Despite being attacked, we are glad to see that Abe has not jumped to the same conclusions. Other officials and analysts are also skeptical. Tucker Carlson has privately encouraged Trump to avoid war with Iran.

We fear the forces who worked to draw us deeper into Syria are working again to cause war between the US and Iran. This would be a disaster.

We are encouraged that, thus far, the president has labeled the so-called Iranian attacks, "very minor." and cancelled a planned attack. Despite re-stating the Trump's desire to avoid war, Bolton and Pompeo are pressing Trump for war with Pompeo now pushing a ludicrous assertion that Shia Iran is connected to the virulently anti-Shia al Qaeda. This follows the Trump's great April 8 mistake of declaring Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps - which has bravely fought ISIS for years - a terrorist organization. On Thursday morning it was announced that Iran shot down an American drone over its airspace, though the "intelligence community" claims it was over international waters. We pray that Trump, despite his pre-election problematic position on Iran, holds steady against the Washington "blob" and pressure from Israel and Saudi Arabia to plunge the US into yet another war in the region.


TICE ON PENCE: Doug Tice of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes of his relationship with the late Dr. David Pence, the intellectual power house behind AoA. The article also includes a re-print of Dr. Pence's 2004 article, Antiwar activists who got it wrong. Some excerpts from Tice:
David was never stingy with his insights and understandings. Over the 20 or so years I knew him, he invariably arrived at our lunch or dinner rendezvous armed with an “agenda” scrawled on wrinkled paper, setting forth a formidable array of social, political, philosophical, religious and journalistic issues on which he had something to share.

The overall message almost always turned out to have something to do with my imperiled salvation and his crusade to help me at last fulfill the unrealized potential he saw in me as a voice of Truth. I shall dearly miss his tutorials and admonishments.
FRANCIS TO NUNCIOS - SHOW FILIAL PIETY: Pope Francis told around one hundred nuncios that it is impossible for them to do their jobs while criticizing him behind his back. We at AoA call this "showing filial piety" to the Holy Father. Just ahead of this statement, ViganĂ² told The Washington Post that "Pope Francis doing close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse..." Tell that to McCarrick. The truth of the matter is that it was under the previous pontificates that the abuse ballooned and that Pope Francis has been the one to actually remove red hats and laicize those in higher offices. Much work needs to be done, but Pope Francis cannot bring conservatives into his inner circle until they prove their trustworthiness. Just as the nuncios cannot do their job while blogging and secretly criticizing the Holy Father, so the conservative bishops and cardinals cannot help drain the Church's swamp while lobbing dubias at him.

JORDAN PETERSON - PRAGER INTERVIEW: Last month Dennis Prager interviewed Jordan Peterson at the Prager Summit. They discussed a wide array of topics. Some area of interest include:
On the tragic view of life: They opened by discussing the nature of the good and the tragic view of life. Peterson mentions the age old idea of "journeying to the darkest abyss to free the spirit of your father." He says that suffering, even the suffering of new challenging life experiences, draws out of us our full potential: "We know now from a biological perspective that if you put yourself in new situations that new genes turn on in your nervous system that code for new proteins that produce new neurological structures, and so you can't even be what you are fully biologically unless you expose yourself to everything you can expose yourself to as you journey through life. The old idea of a pilgrimage was predicated on that idea." We don't know if he has made the connection, but this is precisely what Christ does in the Paschal Mystery - He obeyed the Father in death, then journeyed to Hell to rescue His holy human forefathers, including Adam, in Hell. In doing so, Christ's resurrection reveals what man's nature is capable of. In this sense, the Incarnation is not enough. Contrary to liberal theologians who stress the Incarnation alone and the conservatives who stress Calvary and sin too much, it turns out that through the Incarnation and the cross, Christ's obedient death, descent into Hell, the rescue of the father, and the resurrection work together to draw out of man's nature his full potential.

On belief in God: Peterson connects belief to action. "If you were capable of believing it would be a transfiguring event... God only knows what you would be if you believed... Well I try to act like I believe, but I'd never claim that I manage it, because it's a lot to manage properly and you have to be careful about claiming to manage things that you can't manage." In another place he says that sometimes you have to act something out in order to believe it. He says here that he acts as though there is a God. We hope his acts lead to belief. Dennis Prager would have done well to suggest Peterson stop taking God's name in vain - that's the first thing one must do if he truly is to act as though God exists. In response to his statement that "God only knows what you would be if you believed..." we'd encourage Peterson to study the lives of the saints, because that is precisely what you would be if you believed.

On the Devil: "To the degree that I became a religious person, it wasn't as if I discovered God. It was more like I discovered Satan and discovered the Devil and certainly believed that very powerfully... it seems to me that if there's a great darkness, there has to be a great light. And the first part of that is true beyond any hope of refutation, and the second seems to be a logical necessity in the light of the first." As a psychologist, Peterson constantly deals with fallen nature, and this constant encounter with the darkness has played a key role in his path towards faith. He mentions that those who naively think there is no evil are precisely the ones more susceptible to PTSD when they encounter true malevolence. 

On Catholicism and Sanity: After quoting Chesterton's famous line that those who stop believing start believing in anything, Peterson says: "I think that Catholicism [is] the sanest people can get. Broadly speaking, we need a narrative metaphysic to hold us together and it has to be predicated on something that is transcendent and absolute. And if you lose that you fall for something else. Or you'll fall for nothing, which is no better." Whether or not Peterson personally believes it yet, Catholicism provides that narrative. Folks like Peterson are hungry for truth - we as Catholics must be better at communicating it by telling our story.

On the sovereignty of the individual: One area of concern in Peterson is his overemphasis on the sovereignty of the individual, what he calls the West's greatest discovery and the "most fundamental truth". When he combines this with the dangers of identity politics, Peterson becomes quite critical of group identity. In the interview he points out the problem of identity politics and free speech, rejecting the notion that one speaks not for himself but for his group. We understand that his profession has led him to focus on the individual in front of him, but we believe he risks throwing the baby out with the bathwater, rejecting religious and national identity along with the rest. We at AoA do not reject "identity politics" - only those counterfeit identity politics of the Left.
ROSICA RESIGNS: Fr. Rosica, founder and CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, has resigned after multiple cases of plagiarism in his work. He and his foundation support the sexual Left and are among the many left-leaning Catholic publications.

FR. PAUL SULLINS: Fr. Paul Sullins of the Ruth Institute is the author behind the November 2018 study of homosexuality in the priesthood and its relation to the sex abuse crisis. The report is titled "Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Related to Homosexual Priests?" Fr. Sullins identified a .98 correlation between (1.0 is a perfect correlation) between the rising numbers of homosexuals in the priesthood and the rise of  abuse of sexually mature young males. He has given a couple recent interviews on Church Militant of note. His best interview is a panel interview where he goes through his research. In it he notes old adage that "correlation is not causation" - but notes that all other proposed "causes" of the sexual abuse (like celibacy) demonstrate no statistical correlation with the abuse. He also notes that this abuse was not pedophilia as only 4% of the abuse cases were prepubescent. His other interview is less inspiring. In it he reveals he is a convert from Anglicanism, received a dispensation to be a married priest, and was both associates with, and ordained by, Cardinal McCarrick. He thinks that McCarrick should be treated with mercy and compassion, that the ex-cardinal is elderly and does not understand why what he did was so egregious. In speaking of how "exceptions" are built into canon law and church governance (citing his own ordination as a married man and even the bishop having the ability to ordain homosexuals on a case-by-case basis), he explains that, "...we [the Church] are not set up as an institution for policing and scrutiny and punishment, we are really set up for mercy and grace and bringing people toward God... I have a lot more hope in the secular authorities to do this." This is very in keeping with the scholar-priest personality. If a man can't punish, or thinks mercy trumps punishment, he as inadmissible to ordination as the homosexual. Help from police and attorneys general are needed, but they cannot be a cop out for ordained men who can't stomach expelling Judas priests. Not every crime an ordained man commits will be criminal in the eyes of the secular law, but very criminal in canon law - and it will take ordained men with chests to expel them.


KEEP AMERICA GREAT: President Trump kicks off his re-election campaign in Florida with a campaign new motto. Watch his speech. Dr. Steve Turley offers his analysis of of the kick off and Trump rallies in general.

THE CROSS STANDS: In a 7-2 vote - only Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented - the liberals and conservatives on the Supreme Court voted to allow 40-foot tall, cross-shaped WWI memorial on public land to remain standing. In the opinion of the court, taking down the cross so long after it was placed would be tantamount to an attack on religion, which would violate the First Amendment. The ruling will help protect other pre-existing religiously-themed monuments but it remains to be seen if how the ruling would impact future monuments.

TRUMP-MEXICO IMMIGRATION DEAL: The Mexican government has released information on its agreement with Trump on asylum-seeking migrants. The deal looks very much like a safe third country policy.


MANDATORY MILITIAS? Paul Brian of American Conservative considers re-establishing a mandatory male militia system. Unlike the National Guard, which can be federalized for foreign wars, this system would be entirely limited to home duty, offering time-strapped family men of various social and ethnic backgrounds an opportunity for protective brotherhood on the local level. His catch is the mandatory aspect of the militia, with many conscientious objectors naturally wanting to opt out. We would suggest that such a system be mandatory for all gun-owning males. A true reading of the second amendment allows men to bear arms for the sake of civic protection. If a man wants a gun, he must be part of a militia. We doubt many conscientious objectors have a fully stocked gun safe at home.

BLACK REPARATIONS: Proponents of "restorative justice" have brought slavery reparations for the black community to Congress on Wednesday, June 19. The date is known as "Juneteenth" and it commemorates the abolition that took place in on that date in 1865. We at AoA are not opposed to making reparations for the injustices done to blacks - but we must be clear regarding the cause of the injustice. The poor conditions of the inner city were not caused by slavery or by social injustices committed on freed blacks between 1865-1965. The damage was done by the sexual revolutionaries who co-opted the Civil Rights Movement, destroyed black families, and put black men in prison. In the name of "liberty" (in reality, sexual licence), black homes - which were more stable than white homes in 1960 - began to crumble. The black marriage rate plunged from 96% in 1950 to around 60% in 2012, and 72% of black children today are born to unwed mothers. Children raised in single-parent homes are twice as likely to drop out of school, 25%-50% more likely to experience behavioral problems, 2-3 times more likely to require psychiatric care, and nine times more likely to commit criminal offenses. Let the reparations be made - but let it be done by the revolutionaries who betrayed MLK and the authentic Civil Rights Movement. Though couched in more partisan language, NFL legend, and African American, Burgess Owens made a similar argument in his testimony.

THE COST OF WHITE WOMEN IN CONGRESS: The graphs below show the parallels between the increased rate of incarceration and the increased rate of women in Congress. Nearly half of the prison rate is black (and most of blacks imprisoned are men) while of the 309 women ever elected to Congress (both the House and the Senate), nearly 75% of them have been white women. We must ask ourselves: Was sending 227 white women to Congress worth all the costs of the sexual revolution?

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day: Before there was time or space or matter, there was Fatherhood

Thank you, God. Thank you, Dad.


Originally posted June 17, 2018 by Dr. David Pence


Originally published June 15, 2014; additive edits June 11, 2017 by Dr. David Pence

"When we speak of the Trinity, we must do so with caution and modesty, for, as St. Augustine saith, nowhere else are more dangerous errors made, or is research more difficult, or discovery more fruitful."    
                    (Saint Thomas Aquinas)

The coming of Jesus announced a Messiah for the Jews, proclaimed a new Kingdom amidst the nations, dethroned the Enemy Prince, and revealed the mystery we contemplate on this day -- that the God-made-man is one Person in a Trinity.

"Even our God is a community," said G.K. Chesterton. Humans will overcome death only by entering into this triune God as sons of the Father, incorporated into the Body of the Son. The Spirit will bind us properly if we humbly let Him act… and He acts through the sacramental Church. He indelibly conforms our souls into Christ's Body through Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. The Trinity, marriage and the family, Holy Orders and the Church – these are the communions we know as Catholics.

Our proposal here at Anthropology of Accord is that the Communio theology which takes its origin from the metaphysical reality we celebrate today must be further developed as the theological and anthropological principle of the public life of the Church and nations. The three persons of the Trinity are revealed to us in the masculine forms of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A serious theology will ponder and learn from the masculine apostolic priesthood and the male covenantal nature of the prototype nation: Israel. The Communio nature of the Eucharistic church and marriage are enriching themes of the last century. They have their champions and journals and institutes. Masculine public communio is a bit underdeveloped. Ubiquitous, fundamental, and yet (for fear of embarrassment) unmentioned.

The communal bond of men in nations is the natural polity which ensures the freedom of those more sacred bonds of Church and marriage. In different places and times in history the masculine public polity might have been fellow tribesmen and a warrior chief, or the Emperor and his subjects, or the 'polis' and its citizens. But, today, from Singapore to Germany, from Canada to China, from Brazil to Poland, and from Egypt to the Philippines, the natural bond of men in public communal work and protection has developed in the form of territorial nations. The Scriptural template of this masculine national form is the ritual of circumcision and the forging of one nation under a Law from the twelve tribes of Israel. The nation was built on a forgiving act of brotherly reconciliation. It is deeply tied to the possession of a common land. It is ordered by a common law. Leaders rise as prophets, priests or rulers to keep the communal body in concordance with God. It is our hope that Catholic theologians and philosophers would spend some fraction of their attention on history and the relationships of the natural armed authorities, which constitute public life and the legitimate State.

Possibly the next three graduate students who request to study the Theology of the Body might be reassigned to a project studying how Singapore got to be the polity it is today. We could call it the "theology of the corporate body" if that would make this ancient study of the natural polity more palatable. It was such men making civic agreement and the peace of 'Tranquillitas Ordinis' whom Christ had in mind when He said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

Marriage is an important but not all-embracing covenant. Neither the Church nor the nations are families writ large. Christ did not found His church on a sacral marriage, nor was the bond of sacred honor which forged America the union between George and Martha Washington! Both the Catholic Church  and the American nation are founded on sacral covenanted brotherhoods of adult men.  Religious and political public life are both defined by public communal and masculine loves which include the apostolic priesthood and the particular territorial loves of men for their fatherland. Christ wept over Jerusalem, not Antioch. More than 2000 years have passed and Jerusalem once again is guarded by a nation called Israel. Christ never ordered the apostolic Church to move beyond the nation. He said, "Baptize the nations." Those of us who believe the Trinity is the fundamental form of love and life can no longer ignore in our religious discourse the public form of communion -- the life of nations -- that God promised Abraham 4000 years ago.

The 20th-century Catholic thinker who best navigated in the waters of Christianity and the formation of political cultures in history was Christopher Dawson:

The most articulate explanation of the dilemma of present-day Catholic political thought, scissored between the sacral relations of marriage and the Church, has been presented by Russell Hittinger.

On Trinity Sunday let us pay heed to the nature of our communal bonds – all of which in their proper order give glory to that greatest of bonds – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

UPDATE: Here is an earlier review of Christopher Dawson’s Judgment of the Nations.

And a fascinating address given by Professor Hittinger on the troubled interaction of nations and theology.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: Saturday June 15

by A. Joseph Lynch


Sons - both by birth and in spirit - assist in the burial of Dr. David Pence (June 10, 2019)

This past weekend we mourned the loss and celebrated the life of Dr. David Pence. At his wake on Friday, each of his children shared their fond memories and the many lessons they learned from their father. His son, Cain, reflected on how often his father told him about being at the right hand of the father, and how in his father's last moments Cain was literally there at his father's right hand. Dr. Pence would have been proud. Others, such as myself, shared as well. We heard from men who Dr. Pence campaigned with on 9/11, the "women of Jerusalem" who Dr. Pence both taught and learned from during many months of catechism classes, and the beautiful women religious who sung for Dr. Pence through the early hours of June 4 until his death at 3:55 AM.

The funeral on Saturday filled the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Mankato, bringing together so many of Dr. Pence's family, friends, students, and colleagues to pray for our dearly beloved father, friend, teacher, and mentor. We heard the comforting words of the pastor's homily and the magnificent singing of religious sisters at Communion followed soon after by the Ave Maria. It was a beautiful Mass on a beautiful, blue-skied, late-spring day at the end of the Easter season.

After celebrating Pentecost on Sunday, the burial was held in Minneapolis on Monday. I was honored to one of the pallbearers at both the funeral and burial. The burial gathered many of Dr. Pence's Men & Maps group from the Twin Cities, and burial prayer was led by Fr. Howe, who hosted the Men & Maps group at his parish. Like Saturday, we couldn't have had better weather. It was a tearful goodbye that turned to fellowship, work, and laughter, as Dr. Pence's sons invited those gathered to help bury their father. Two shovels went around as we worked. Dr. Pence would have been very proud.

Dr. David Pence, requisite in pace


THE LORD'S PRAYER REVISITED: Pope Francis has approved Italian changes to the Our Father and the Gloria. Italian Catholics will now pray "do not let us fall into temptation" rather than "lead us not..." "Peace on Earth to people beloved by God" replaces "Peace on earth to people of good will." Pope Francis has discussed this particular change to the Our Father in the past, and has even gone so far as to say it should end with the words, "deliver us from the Evil One" (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church for an excellent overview of the Our Father's concluding petitions). This fuller revised ending to the prayer would likely have happened if Pope Francis had made the revisions himself - but the true headline is not that the Pope changed the text but rather he approved changes made by the Italian bishops. This practice stems from the pope's 2017 moto proprio, Magnum Principium ("The Great Principle"), which gave more authority to local bishop's conferences to establish liturgical translations. Pope Francis has been at work to halt the "creeping centralism of previous decades" and restore the collegiality of the early Church as called for by Vatican II. Contrary to the fears of conservatives, local bishops are not given carte blanche access to liturgical change, but are called to translate in keeping with the vernacular and receive Rome's approval thereafter. Believe it or not, this is in keeping with the collegial and synodal structure of the early Church.

FATHER NO MORE: Fr. Jonathan Morris of Fox News fame has announced he is seeking laicization. In his interview with Martha MacCallum, the Legionaries of Christ priest tells us that that he struggled with priestly celibacy and had in the past failed to keep his vows. While he didn't specify the gender of the person he broke his vows with, he assured the audience that nothing so scandalous as the priest abuse crisis headlines took place (other than the scandal of breaking one's vows). He did say that "not being able to marry and have a family" was a driving factor in his decision. This statement reveals the true scandal. The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacramentalization of brotherhood. It expresses fraternal love in its mission-oriented and self-sacrificial character. The fact that our deacons, priests, and bishops so often do not feel the gravitational attraction of patriarchal fraternity is a driving force behind our vocations shortage (this is something to think about as you read about D-Day and the self-sacrificial, mission-oriented national brotherhoods of armed warriors below).


TRUMP IN NORMANDY: President Trump marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day by giving one of his best speeches as president. Excerpts below:
We are gathered here on Freedom’s Altar.  On these shores, on these bluffs, on this day 75 years ago, 10,000 men shed their blood, and thousands sacrificed their lives, for their brothers, for their countries, and for the survival of liberty.

Today, we remember those who fell, and we honor all who fought right here in Normandy.  They won back this ground for civilization.

To more than 170 veterans of the Second World War who join us today: You are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live.  You’re the pride of our nation.  You are the glory of our republic.  And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts... When you were young, these men enlisted their lives in a Great Crusade — one of the greatest of all times.  Their mission is the story of an epic battle and the ferocious, eternal struggle between good and evil.

The battle began in the skies above us.  In those first tense midnight hours, 1,000 aircraft roared overhead with 17,000 Allied airborne troops preparing to leap into the darkness beyond these trees.

Then came dawn.  The enemy who had occupied these heights saw the largest naval armada in the history of the world.  Just a few miles offshore were 7,000 vessels bearing 130,000 warriors.  They were the citizens of free and independent nations, united by their duty to their compatriots and to millions yet unborn.

There were the British, whose nobility and fortitude saw them through the worst of Dunkirk and the London Blitz.  The full violence of Nazi fury was no match for the full grandeur of British pride.  Thank you. There were the Canadians, whose robust sense of honor and loyalty compelled them to take up arms alongside Britain from the very, very beginning.

There were the fighting Poles, the tough Norwegians, and the intrepid Aussies. There were the gallant French commandos, soon to be met by thousands of their brave countrymen ready to write a new chapter in the long history of French valor. And, finally, there were the Americans.  They came from the farms of a vast heartland, the streets of glowing cities, and the forges of mighty industrial towns.  Before the war, many had never ventured beyond their own community.  Now they had come to offer their lives half a world from home.

9,388 young Americans rest beneath the white crosses and Stars of David arrayed on these beautiful grounds.  Each one has been adopted by a French family that thinks of him as their own.  They come from all over France to look after our boys.  They kneel.  They cry.  They pray.  They place flowers.  And they never forget.  Today, America embraces the French people and thanks you for honoring our beloved dead.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

From across the Earth, Americans are drawn to this place as though it were a part of our very soul.  We come not only because of what they did here.  We come because of who they were.

They were young men with their entire lives before them.  They were husbands who said goodbye to their young brides and took their duty as their fate.  They were fathers who would never meet their infant sons and daughters because they had a job to do.  And with God as their witness, they were going to get it done.  They came wave after wave, without question, without hesitation, and without complaint.

More powerful than the strength of American arms was the strength of American hearts. These men ran through the fires of hell moved by a force no weapon could destroy: the fierce patriotism of a free, proud, and sovereign people.  They battled not for control and domination, but for liberty, democracy, and self-rule.

They pressed on for love in home and country — the Main Streets, the schoolyards, the churches and neighbors, the families and communities that gave us men such as these. They were sustained by the confidence that America can do anything because we are a noble nation, with a virtuous people, praying to a righteous God.

The exceptional might came from a truly exceptional spirit.  The abundance of courage came from an abundance of faith.  The great deeds of an Army came from the great depths of their love. As they confronted their fate, the Americans and the Allies placed themselves into the palm of God’s hand.

The blood that they spilled, the tears that they shed, the lives that they gave, the sacrifice that they made, did not just win a battle.  It did not just win a war.  Those who fought here won a future for our nation.  They won the survival of our civilization.  And they showed us the way to love, cherish, and defend our way of life for many centuries to come.
DEALING WITH MEXICO: President Trump's tariff threat against Mexico has been averted. Details are still forthcoming, but the "Never Trump" National Review has given the president credit for a victory that is neither a PR stunt nor merely symbolic. In the deal reached, Mexico is sending another 6,000 men to police its southern border and lifted all restrictions on the Migration Protection Protocols, thus allowing us to return captured asylum-seekers to Mexico while their claims are adjudicated. There is also the possibility of establishing the "safe third country" policy, which would allow asylum-seekers to remain in the first country they entered upon fleeing their home country (in this case, Mexico). This is a huge win for the president, and shows he is able to accomplish his policy initiatives even without support from Congress.


RUSSIAN AIRPORTS RENAMED: Russia continues to reinforce its identity following the defeat of communism. This week the winners of the "Great Names of Russia" contest we announced, and 44 airports are being renamed to recognize the winners - which include names of saints recognized by the Orthodox churches. As communism fades into the past, Christian Russia is re-emerging.

END THE NEO-CONTINENTAL SYSTEM: Theresa May has official stepped down as Prime Minister and we await the selection of her replacement. Leading contender, Boris Johnson, has said as prime minister he will withhold a $50 billion Brexit payment to the EU until a better Brexit deal is reached. The EU has said it will not reopen negotiations ahead of Britain's October 31 exit date. It would do Britain well to see this time as something akin to Napoleon's continental system, which attempted to throttle Britain's economy for remaining outside continental control. One way Britain defeated the system was to form a partnership with Russia, which lead to Napoleon's ill-fated 1812 Russian invasion and his eventual downfall. Britain also worked with Russia in World War II to defeat the Nazi juggernaut. The is simply EU the latest monstrosity to befall the nations of Europe and the free nations of Britain and Russia must work together again for the freedom of their European brethren.


MERYL STREEP REJECTS TOXIC MASCULINITY: The actress who in 2015 rejected the label of feminist has this to say about the exclusive use toxicity on men: “We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity... Women can be pretty [expletive] toxic." We at AoA do not wholly reject the use of "toxic masculinity" but rather pair it with its opposite: consecrated masculinity. That which is not consecrated easily becomes toxic. To understand this in terms of the feminine, we invite our readers to consider reading The Anti-Mary Exposed: Rescuing the Culture from Toxic Femininity by Dr. Carrrie Gress.

TOBIN TWEETS: Bishop Tobin, not Cardinal Tobin, reminded Catholics of Providence, Rhode Island, "that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children." The bishop, however, quickly apologized for offending the "gay community" and offered his hopes for a "safe, positive and productive" gay rally held soon after. More than tweets and walk-backs, what is needed is a clear teaching and manifested culture of protection and life. A living model of chaste, patriarchal fraternity in the Apostolic brotherhoods of deacons, priests, and bishops will do much more good than tweets.

PROSECUTING COWARDICE: Scot Peterson, the officer on duty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has been arrested on eleven criminal charges. Rather than confront shooter Nikolas Cruz, who killed seventeen students and staff, Peterson hid out for 48 minutes in a stairwell. At the time, Peterson was nearing retirement and an $8,700 per month pension. While the Washington Posts worries about criminalizing cowardice, we know that a culture of life is won by a culture of protection and that both rely on honor and shame. Punishing one coward, however, is not enough. It is also important to lift up the brave and create a brotherhood of citizen protectors for our schools and communities. That's what the second amendment is all about.

"PRIDE FLAG" OR SHAME FLAG? We Catholics know the month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, not gay pride. As the sexual Left celebrates "pride month" embassy requests to fly the "pride flag" alongside the US flag have been rejected. Other embassies are shamefully in open revolt, flying the "flag" (which gives "false flag" a new meaning) without permission or lighting up the embassy in rainbow colors. Here the president runs into what Obama called "the blob" - the large number of people within the bureaucracy who can create obstacles to presidential policy. In this case it is the policy of flying flags that represent nations, not ideologies. Marking our flag posts and embassy buildings with the rainbow ideology lifts up - sacralizes - the gay ideology as a central part of our mission to the nations. Those comprising "the blob" are too blind to see how promoting the sacralization of an abomination flies in the face of the world's religions and traditional moralities. Raising the "pride flag" across the globe does nothing but virtue signal to sexual leftists at home while alerting the nations to our cultural imperialist aspirations.

FIRST WOMAN COMMANDS INFANTRY DIVISION: Brigadier General Laura Yeager is set to become the first woman to command a U.S. Army infantry division. She has no previous combat command experience or time in the infantry. One former Marine combat infantry platoon and company commander commented on her appointment by saying: "I see nothing in [her] duty stations or command posts that would possibly qualify her to lead an infantry division... If we are placing PC above the training and readiness of young men... we in serious trouble as a country and a culture."