Tuesday, January 28, 2020

January 28: St Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Scholar

[first published January 28, 2015]

by David Pence

The "scientific revolution" was a centuries-long project of dividing man from the primary powers of his intellect to synthesize, categorize, and know as a sacral being in terms of a sacred whole. The modern scientist came to think very much of himself and very little of man. Hundreds of years before that egotistical destabilizing fragmentation, a great Dominican saint rose in Italy to do just the opposite.  Thomas Aquinas was educated by the greatest natural philosopher (student of physical and biological sciences) of his time: Albert the Great. He benefited from the rediscovery of Greek texts of Aristotle and thus learned the metaphysics, ethics, politics, and categories of the Greeks. He knew the Bible intimately and prodigiously. His New Testament commentary, verse by verse, is a compilation of the Church Fathers' commentary as well.

His purity was no small part of his clear vision; and his humility no incidental in his ability to properly categorize. He was called the 'angelic doctor' because the towering intellectual understood the metaphysical necessity and scriptural testimony of those spiritual beings who so embarrass the modern Catholic PhD. Above all, he knew how to pray first -- and write and formulate from that posture. The best biography of Aquinas is G.K. Chesterton's The Dumb Ox.

The online site Universalis, which provides the prayers of the Daily Office in a usable everyday form, also provides a short bio of saints of the day. Below is their excellent synopsis.

To honor St. Thomas, consider going to Universalis and joining the worldwide church in one or more of her daily prayers. It will aid your struggle for holiness and make you smarter as well.

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)             
"He was born of a noble family in southern Italy, and was educated by the Benedictines. In the normal course of events he would have joined that order and taken up a position suitable to his rank; but he decided to become a Dominican instead. His family were so scandalized by this disreputable plan that they kidnapped him and kept him prisoner for over a year; but he was more obstinate than they were, and he had his way at last. 
"He studied in Paris and in Cologne under the philosopher Saint Albert the Great. It was a time of philosophical ferment. The writings of Aristotle, the greatest philosopher of the ancient world, had been newly rediscovered, and were becoming available to people in the West for the first time in a thousand years. Many feared that Aristotelianism was flatly contradictory to Christianity, and the teaching of Aristotle was banned in many universities at this time – the fact that Aristotle’s works were coming to the West from mostly Muslim sources did nothing to help matters. 
"Into this chaos Thomas brought simple, straightforward sense. Truth cannot contradict truth: if Aristotle (the infallible pagan philosopher) appears to contradict Christianity (which we know by faith to be true), then either Aristotle is wrong or the contradiction is in fact illusory. And so Thomas studied, and taught, and argued, and eventually the simple, common-sense philosophy that he worked out brought an end to the controversy. Out of his work came many writings on philosophy and theology, including the Summa Theologiae, a standard textbook for many centuries and still an irreplaceable resource today. Out of his depth of learning came, also, the dazzling poetry of the liturgy for Corpus Christi. And out of his sanctity came the day when, celebrating Mass, he had a vision that, he said, made all his writings seem like so much straw; and he wrote no more. 
"Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to inspire us, like St Thomas, to love God with our minds as well as our hearts; and if we come across a fact or a teaching that seems to us to contradict our faith, let us not reject it but investigate it: for the truth that it contains can never contradict the truth that is God."

UPDATE: Don't miss this short video on Aquinas' central teaching on nature and grace, by Taylor Marshall; and another on the reasons why Catholic men in every generation should love the Italian saint (who's buried in the southwest of France).
Tomb of Thomas

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, JANUARY 25

by A. Joseph Lynch


The impeachment trial of President Trump has begun in the U.S. Senate. The proceedings opened in a debate over how the trial would be conducted, with Democrat demanding additional witnesses be subpoenaed. The Democrats appeared to forget that the Senate is the jury, not a wing of the prosecution. The very request was itself further evidence of impeachment's lack of evidence. Some suspected the demand was meant to test the waters of GOP senatorial support for the president. If just a small handful of GOP senators broke ranks impeachment could take a wrong turn for the president. In the end, McConnell's plan was approved without losing a GOP single vote. Trump's efforts to secure the Senate in 2018 is paying off.

This week we've heard from the prosecution. Adam Schiff has led the way, boring both senators and Americans alike with suppositions and conjecture but with no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of President Trump. Yet while Americans - and news networks like CBS - could pull the plug and watch something more meaningful, senators have been forced into long days and longer nights listening to Democrats' conspiracy theories. Take these doozies from Schiff:
"...the president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won."
Does anyone remember when it was said that Trump wouldn't accept the legitimacy of U.S. elections? It turns out that one side wouldn't accept the results and would spin conspiracy theories in an attempt to overturn the election. In fact, they've gone so far as to use their conspiracy theories to impeach a sitting president while claiming U.S. elections are no longer legitimate. How is this helping the nation?

But Schiff continues:
"...the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don't have to fight Russia here."
Neoconservatives like Senator Mitt Romney feel precisely the same way and here we at AoA can agree with Obama's response to such hogwash: "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back."

This impeachment is not about presidential misconduct. Trump has not been accused of any "high crimes and misdemeanors" nor any statutory crime whatsoever. Tucker Carlson reminds us that this impeachment is all about disagreement in foreign policy. The globalist Left and the neocon Right are aligned in this regard. The globalist Left wants to continue exporting abortion and sodomy while breaking down national borders. The neocon Right, in its continued wars of imperial hegemony, also rejects national borders and national sovereignty while eagerly warring with any nation that would defy American global dominance. Democrats hoped that there were enough neocons like Mitt Romney left in the Senate to topple Trump and his "America First" foreign policy.

Perhaps sensing GOP votes would not be forthcoming, Schiff dropped a final zinger that alienated even the most moderate of GOP senators:
“CBS News reported last night that a Trump confidant said that key senators were warned, 'Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.' I don't know if that's true."
"I don't know if that's true" is how Schiff should end every sentence. One report offered this description of what happened next: After that remark, the generally respectful mood in the Senate immediately changed. Republicans across their side of the chamber groaned, gasped and said, “That's not true.” One of those key moderate Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, looked directly at Schiff, shook her head and said, “Not true." 

Whatever good will the Democrats hoped to gain from the moderates across the aisle has been cast aside. Congressional Democrats have been unmasked and Trump now stands to win, first in the Senate and later in November at the ballot box.


FROM THE DEPTHS OF OUR HEARTS: Cardinal Sarah is giving a strong defense of Benedict's collaboration on their forthcoming book From the Depths of our Hearts. Although the Vatican has demanded Benedict's name be removed as a co-author, Ignatius Press has announced it will publish the book on priestly celibacy as is. The big question AoA has regards the selection of topic. The liturgical acumen of Benedict and Sarah is unmatched. Why are they writing on celibacy?

BISHOPS INVESTIGATING BISHOPS: Episcopal controversy in New York. More from Church Militant.

WOMAN IN VATICAN'S STATE DEPARTMENT: Pope Francis has named the first woman to be a manager within the Vatican's Secretariat of State. We will not over react to the decision as some in the more conservative Catholic media might. Francis' act was neither a bow to feminism nor women's empowerment. It was rather based in seeing women as "peace-makers, mediators and healers" and finding a way within the Church to express the feminine genius. Contrary to the conservatives and the liberals, Francis is much more in tune with anthropology than ideology in his decision making.

CHRISTOPHER TOLKIEN DIES: The son of the famed Catholic fantasy novelist has died at age 95. Though not as religious as his father, Christopher played a pivotal role in promoting his father's Catholic fantasy world. Without him we might not have had the masterpiece movie trilogy based on The Lord of the Rings nor an upcoming $1 billion Amazon TV series.

JACK VAN IMPE DIES: The controversial apocalyptic televangelist was 88.

AARON RODGERS ON LOSING FAITH: In a recent interview, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers described his journey away from religion and how it was a trendy Christian pastor named Rob Bell who helped him leave Christianity.


SOLEIMANI FALL OUT: In the aftermath of the Soleimani assassination by the Trump Administration, we're relieved to see the tensions easing. Things were perhaps most dangerous following an Iranian rocket attack that wounded US soldiers after the Trump warning that he would bomb 52 cultural and religious sites in Iran if Iran attacked again. Trump thankfully pulled back from his threat, a threat that we at AoA (and Boris Johnson) highly disagreed with. Fall out from the killing, however, remains. Iran's foreign minister was denied a visa to enter the US en route to the UN where he would have rightfully blasted the unnecessary assassination. Netanyahu, who undoubted pushed Trump for the strike, has declared the US solely responsible for the strike thus leaving the US holding the bag. Iran has backed out of the nuclear deal, no longer committing to limit uranium enrichment. It's only a matter of time before Iran goes nuclear. Only a war could stop it, but The National Interest warns of what war with Iran will bring. Ex-marine officer Gil Barndollar of Catholic University of America's Center for the Study of Statesmanship argues that killing Iran's conqueror of ISIS and most popular public not only alienates us from Iran's citizens but it does nothing to defeat a Wahhabi threat four times larger in numbers today than on 9/11. We continue to argue that Trump must make the same pivot on Iran as he is trying to make with Russia. Neither Iran nor Russia is an existential threat - both are great civilizational powers we must forge agreements with, not fight.

CHRISTIANITY TODAY EDITOR OUT: Mark Galli, the Christianity Today editor who has called for Trump's removal from office, is retiring. Although he says he decided to retire in October, the backlash against him and the evangelical magazine founded by Billy Graham in 1956 made retirement a foregone conclusion.

VOICES OF SWING VOTERS: Traditionally Democrat voters are looking for reasons not to vote for Trump, but the reasons are far and few between.

MORE FAKE NEWS: CNN analyst and former Clinton press secretary was caught fabricating a conversation he claimed he overheard between two Republican senators. No wonder trust in the media continues to plummet.

MORE WAPO HYPERBOLE: Godwin's law states that when one party in a debate makes a comparison to Hitler the debate has ended and whoever made the comparison loses. Neoconservative "Never Trumper" and WaPo columnist Max Boot - who had said ISIS leader al-Baghdadi was "courageous" in the suicide that included his wife and children - is at it again. This time he's coming dangerously close to breaking Godwin's law. In both a recent tweet and in a WaPo column, Boot declared: "Nixon was guilty of abusing his authority, but he didn’t subordinate foreign policy to personal interests. Other presidents – from Jackson’s Trail of Tears to FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans – trampled our values, but they had a public purpose."  In other words, Trump's America First foreign policy is worse than the Trail of Tears (which killed 4,000 Cherokee indians) and the American interment of over 100,000 Japanese Americans - and if we replace "internment" with "concentration" camp, Godwin's law might have been broken. To use another adage, comparing Trump's foreign policy to such evil, while tacitly saying the evils had public benefits, is "jumping the shark."

A quick note on Max Boot: Boot describes himself as "socially liberal: I am pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-abortion rights, pro-immigration. I am fiscally conservative... pro-environment... pro-free trade... [and] strong on defense: I think we need to beef up our military to cope with multiple enemies." By enemies we're sure he means Russia and China, not the Wahhabi terrorists who actually crash our planes and topple our skyscrapers. Boot represents what the Democrats are becoming: the party of the wealthy elites, the feminists, the homosexuals, the environmentalists, the globalists, and the destroyers of national borders and national identities. It is the new amalgamation of the very worst parts of the old Democrat and Republican parties. Democrats will never win back the rust belt on such a platform.

SANCTUARY CRACK DOWN: Is ICE finally cracking down on sanctuary cities? ICE is starting to bring city officials to court with one ICE official warning: "They can show up to court with a toothbrush because they might not be going home that night. Because they could be jailed for failure to comply with a lawful order from a judge. That’s the route we’re going.”

AMERICA'S BORDER WALL IS MEXICO: While Trump secures the southern border, his pressure on Mexico is working. Mexico was stormed this by another caravan of Guatemalans. This time Mexico halted their advance and is currently flying and busing them back to Guatemala.


MARCH FOR LIFE: President Trump has become the first US President to attend and make an address at the March for Life. Watch his speech here. A former abortionist shares her horrific story.

APOCALYPSE POSTPONED: Where biblical fundamentalists like to predict the date of the Second Coming, environmental fundamentalists like to predict the world's demise from global warming (and 1 in 10 couples refuse to have children due to climate change). Glacier National Park even posted signs stating that the glaciers would be melted away by 2020. It's 2020 and the glaciers are still intact. The signs have now been removed.

KATHY BATES ON "ME TOO": Kathy Bates has chimed in on the "Me Too" movement, stating an obvious truth: "In my day, if you went up to a guy’s hotel room, you knew exactly why you were going..."

HALLMARK CEO OUT: Heads are rolling at Hallmark following a controversial and outrageous lesbian-themed commercial ran during the Christmas season on the family-friendly cable channel. Hallmark's CEO has been sent packing.

Monday, January 20, 2020

In remembrance of Martin Luther King: Sacred Selma is no bridge to Sodom

[first published March 17, 2015]

{Jan 21, 2019 Addendum--Student statement on fabricated racism event at pro-life march by students from Catholic Boys School-a white teen guilty of looking an old fraud in the eye. Looking eye to eye is the Latin root of the word RESPECT}

by David Pence
One of the themes preached at Brown Chapel Church in Selma, on the day before the 50-year commemoration of 'Bloody Sunday,' was how the liberated Israelites forgot their true destination and were soon worshiping false gods in the wilderness.

In the spring of 1965, local Negro Christians led a procession across the Alabama River in response to the shooting of a black Baptist deacon, Jimmie Lee Jackson, two weeks earlier. The purpose of the march was to link the shooting to the need for black voting rights in the state. The destination was Montgomery, the capital 50 miles away. When the marchers left the city limits and crossed the Pettus Bridge they came under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff and state patrol. The sheriff, Jim Clark, had called all white males over 21 to be deputized as a county posse. The state troopers were George Wallace’s men, and eager to strike a blow for a segregated "Heart of Dixie." Several national TV camera crews recorded the onslaught. A nation still capable of moral outrage was shocked.

It was several days later that Reverend Martin Luther King and ministers from across the land came for the second Selma march. They only went to the end of the bridge, obeying a federal injunction against completing the march to Montgomery. After kneeling in prayer where the violence had occurred, they then turned around. Some of the younger black activists criticized King and dubbed that day "Turnaround Tuesday." It wasn't a compliment.

The third march (Mar 21-25,1965) two weeks later was allowed and protected by federal military policemen, army troops, and a federalized Alabama national guard. They completed the march to the state capitol in Montgomery four days later. This time, preachers from all over the country and famous entertainers were in the crowd to hear Reverend King's "How Long, Not Long" speech. He praised "white Americans who cherish their democratic traditions over ugly customs and privileges of generations to come forth boldly to join hands with us." He gave a history lesson on Jesus and Jim Crow:
If it may be said of the slavery era that the white man took the world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of the Reconstruction era that the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. (Yes, sir) He gave him Jim Crow. (Uh huh) And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, (Yes, sir) he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man. (Right sir) And he ate Jim Crow. (Uh huh) And when his undernourished children cried out for the necessities that his low wages could not provide, he showed them the Jim Crow signs on the buses and in the stores, on the streets and in the public buildings. (Yes, sir) And his children, too, learned to feed upon Jim Crow, (Speak) their last outpost of psychological oblivion. (Yes, sir)
He explained the many contorted forms of segregation that it took to divide a Christian nation by color:
 They segregated southern money from the poor whites; they segregated southern mores from the rich whites; (Yes, sir) they segregated southern churches from Christianity (Yes, sir); they segregated southern minds from honest thinking; (Yes, sir) and they segregated the Negro from everything. (Yes, sir).  
But for this Christian movement the cry of "no justice, no peace" was not a threat of violence but the continued soul-power of love restoring men to brotherhood:
"And so I plead with you this afternoon as we go ahead: remain committed to nonviolence. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding. We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man."
Finally he reminded us that persistence in protest does not come from the defiant wills of clenched fists, but the open hearts of men who trust in God:

"How long will justice be crucified, (Speak) and truth bear it?" (Yes, sir)I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, (Yes, sir) however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, (No sir) because "truth crushed to earth will rise again." (Yes, sir)How long? Not long, (Yes, sir) because "no lie can live forever." (Yes, sir)How long? Not long, (All right. How long) because "you shall reap what you sow." (Yes, sir)How long? (How long?) Not long: (Not long)Truth forever on the scaffold, (Speak)Wrong forever on the throne, (Yes, sir)Yet that scaffold sways the future, (Yes, sirAnd, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above his own.How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. (Yes, sir)How long? Not long, (Not long) because:Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; (Yes, sir)"
Reverend King called President Johnson's speech, given ten days earlier on the Voting Rights Act, "an address that will live in history as one of the most passionate pleas for human rights ever made by a president of our nation"; and he noted it was given by a "president born in the South."

After his speech to a joint session of Congress, LBJ ordered that protection be provided to the Selma marchers. He challenged an attentive, wary, sparsely applauding legislature:
"The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. For with a country as with a person, 'What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' "
The Voting Act became law on August 8, 1965.

John Lewis, congressman from Georgia, was one of the few men who spoke at the 50-year commemoration who also marched on Bloody Sunday. In his short and stirring speech before President Obama’s address, Lewis quoted LBJ's opening words to Congress: "At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama."

Johnson said in the same Selma-inspired speech: "I want to be the president who helped to end hatred among his fellow men and who promoted love among the people of all races, all regions, and all parties." John Lewis began his talk not addressing the dignitaries, not even the president. He said, "Beloved brothers and sisters." He said we are here to "renew the soul of America." The movement was about love -- and John Lewis still remembered. It was about love of God and love of neighbor. It was not about black men yelling 'racist' at white men, but calling them brothers and calling them to love as Christ had commanded us. It always began in churches; and there was a lot of spiritual healing and calling on Jesus to grant courage. It was about redeeming love; and we cannot properly remember this day without remembering that building the spiritual bond of civic charity was driven by the redeeming suffering love of the Gospel.  

Lewis remembered: "We walked down that sidewalk over there. With a kind of military discipline, we were so peaceful, so quiet." Listen to the voice of Lewis, listen to his plea, and the spiritual echo of that day will come clear. Only their prayer time in a church when they were not so quiet had armed them for what would come next. It was not "their will against the will of the policemen," as the president said. For when Israel fights its enemies depending only on itself -- on its own will -- it always loses. These men and women knew they were following the will of God, and that is why eventually as Lewis said, "they knew the truth would win out." It was not their will that triumphed that day. Someone else was writing in His own hand, turning the soul-force of unrequited suffering into Victory.

Rev King flanked (at far L) by Rev Abernathy and (far R) by John Lewis

It was shortly after Selma that a lot of chosen people forgot, again, where they were marching and Who was directing their march. Five months later the first great urban burning and looting riot would occur in Watts, California. That looked a lot more like the revelry at the Golden Calf, than the redeeming march through the parted waters of the Red Sea. Younger men turned the movement for Christian brotherhood into something very different -- black power, color identity, hatred, and a glorification not of redemptive suffering but redemptive violence. The Christian themes of following God’s will and reuniting a beloved community in the brotherhood of men under the Fatherhood of God gave way to color consciousness, sexual licentiousness, envy, greed, and wrath. “Soul” which once meant that spiritual principle of human life, which was instantly recognizable by men of every color, was turned on its head and came to be shorthand for “Black.” The jutting of the chin, the militant posture on college campuses, and the celebration of the criminal inside the confines of black ghettos had replaced the open hearts and hands seeking love.

The devil loves to tear apart. He is a divider and a liar from the beginning. He loves to come disguised as an angel of light, fighting for liberation but still peddling his same old chains of slavery.
And just what the racists had predicted started to happen. All the moral capital of the innocent, beaten by lawmen, was set aside. The march for freedom was perverted into a license for revelry -- just like the pagan erotic cult at the foot of Mount Sinai that had so angered Moses. The higher morality of love over law became the immorality of disrespect for authority and the law. "The Man" became the enemy. Another kind of male became the Superfly. Then, the greatest metaphysical error in American political history insured that the movement among men for the equality of public brotherhood was hijacked by the protest of middle-class white women against the sexual order of marriage and familial duty. This was coupled with a wild sexual rut among the males, again masquerading as a freedom train. The women said they would not be mothers and clamored for abortion, while the men said they would not be soldiers and ran from their protective duties. So many times during this forty years of wandering, the devious cults of "self" came cloaked in the sacred cloth of Selma.
"The Adoration of the Golden Calf" by Nicolas Poussin (1634)

White feminists were quite content that black men were into separatism. Back then, black men did not treat the analysis of the white chick with the obeisance we see now. The feminists left the black man his urban streets and the prisons. She and her soft white male allies took the universities, churches, and public service unions. Later, a crass calculation of everybody against the white male (down with patriarchy!) would lead to the diversity racket of electoral majorities and cottage industries in big cities, universities, and the world of non-profits. As Eric Hoffer said, "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."

Black men who wanted to progress in public office drank the feminist Kool-Aid in public speeches and policy, if not in their personal lives. Religious institutions rejected the patriarchy of the Lord's Prayer for the gender obfuscation of inclusion. The widows begged for husbands and the orphans for fathers -- and in the name of civil rights we gave them sexual anarchy, making more spiritual widows and orphans than ever before in our history. Under the rubric of diversity, a coalition was struck of rights and reparation, the black power movement, the feminists, and finally the homosexuals. The party of city immigrants and working men turned into an umbrella for diversity. God was exiled, the beloved community abandoned, and idols erected by a coalition of the oppressed.

The faith-healing, Scripture reading, and Gospel singing that broke the back of racism were sent to the back of the bus. It could be resurrected when needed for nostalgia, but it could no longer be taken seriously as a spiritual organizing principle. It was not a worship of the mighty God, though He still could be evoked for the closing of speeches. It was a celebration of "us," of the humanistic pride that turned worship of God into a celebration of congregations. The people celebrate themselves, savoring the wounds of their parents while rejecting their wisdom. This communal celebration of self had happened long ago. The people set out to make a name for themselves and forgot God. They built a tower at Babel.

The ordered relationship of sexual fidelity in marriage, the purity in thought and speech toward the sacred goods of God’s name and the marriage act -- these ordered relationships became the enemy of the new freedom divorced from freedom’s Author. And that public form of Christian love -- fraternal brotherhood among adult men -- now became the love "that dare not speak its name." It became a mantra of militant black men that they did not seek to love or to be loved by the white man. Brotherhood was for wimps, and soon the wimps would rule in a way no American man of fifty years ago could ever imagine.

The integrated body politic, the black and white males in a posse for justice who would protect the widows and orphans of every color -- that dream became a joke. The marriage of a black man and white woman or a white man and black woman -- that sacred bond was now allowed. But in a bizarre twist that could only come from the twisted Father of Lies, this natural love has now become a rallying flag to honor the unnatural. Those who marched at Selma would wonder at a president who diluted their blood with such acts of sexual sacrilege. All of us who were in the movement, we exchanged our glorious God for a grass-eating bull. Elections indeed were won, a coalition with those serving other gods was struck…but what doth it profit?
Bloody Sunday in Selma

There are many more female black faces in high places, and yet so many more male black faces in jail. Every third pregnancy by a black female is aborted -- five times the rate of white women. There are black males in elected offices, but all must worship at the altar of feminism to be admitted to the club.

In his speech at Selma, President Obama broke open the moral capital of the Selma "bank account" and distributed blank checks to the sexual pretenders. It had been his honest claim as a black man to that social capital which helped him defeat an entitled feminist for the presidency in 2008. But any honest assessment of Mr. Obama reveals he has done much more for the sexual revolutionaries than for interracial brotherhood among men. He said he would be Joshua, but the feminist brain chip is the paradigm most deeply implanted in his heart. The sense of solidarity with the men of his country or the men of other cultures who rule by the traditional male forms of patriarchy and fraternity is not part of the moral grammar of this mother's son. He considers patriarchy an evil, and masculine fraternity as fun for the playground but oppressive in religion and politics.

The billy clubs and tear gas of Sheriff Clark could crack open a man's head and break up a marching crowd, but they could never touch the movement's soul. But now the blood of the martyrs has been polluted at an altar to a foreign god in the wilderness. Our souls no longer rest in the Lord. The shame of our president is that his speech at Selma was a sacrilege against a sacred space. The president, whom so many of us voted for as an act of racial reconciliation, once again used his pulpit to preach not the saving grace of brotherhood but the enslaving confusion of the sexual revolution.

The Christian movement brings us back to the original promise of the country and the truth of Scripture. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Real peace comes from deeper and broader bonds. The tenor of the Christian movement, even in its dreams, was a return to some order that lay at the heart of our nature as creatures of God with human souls. It was a check written long ago which we had come to cash. We were not looking for endless change, and more and more categories of the oppressed that might be released from social obligations and rules of decorum. We were seeking something old -- that men might live like brothers, that a man and woman might marry and raise their family in peace, that elders would be called Mister and Missus.

Selma was a place in history where the fate of a nation was hinged. It still is such a place.  As President Johnson said:
"There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem. And we are met here tonight as Americans -- not as Democrats or Republicans -- we are met here as Americans to solve that problem."
President Johnson

Every crucial speech from that era reminds us this was a Christian movement of brotherhood that was deeply resonant with the initial Christian movement that formed the colonies and towns of America’s Protestant seaboard.

We cannot leave the interpretation of this day to the mistaken notion that sexual disorder is Selma's fruit. The bridge from Selma led to Montgomery, not Sodom. Montgomery was the city where the Reverends King and Abernathy first joined as ministers to unite the Negro community as Christians, and renew the whole city as a "Beloved Community" of fellow citizens. Sodom was destroyed; Montgomery was to be renewed. Selma was a spiritual movement that galvanized white and black people across the country. That’s why, within two weeks of Bloody Sunday, armed American white men protected the marchers from their persecutors. That’s why five months later a Voting Rights Act could be passed. If we can unite ourselves again under God and sing His praises loudly, then we can renew a brotherhood of fathers to socialize all our young men -- black, white and Hispanic -- into the Christian form of masculine love that is citizenship.

This spiritual renewal of the American soul is how the South will rise again. Let us be renewed in the public Biblical faith and Christian love of Selma. It is the road to the New Jerusalem which will shine with the glory of God when He comes to dwell amidst His people. Let us not ignore the living Lord or surely we shall be chastised; and the blood drawn at Selma will lose its sacred power "to renew the soul of America."

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, JANUARY 18

by A. Joseph Lynch


David Lynch (left). Dr. David Pence with our daughter, Eliana. 

A few hours after the posting of last week's R&G came the birth of my son. In honor of Dr. David Pence, mentor, friend, and driving force behind this blog, my wife and I named our son David. He came during a Kansas City snow storm and was delivered in the hospital elevator. When our two year old daughter saw him for the first time she thought he was baby Jesus. We are proud - if also sleepy - parents. With Dr. Pence as his namesake, little David has a great deal to live up to. 

Needless to say, due to the events of the week the R&G this weekend will be a bit limited. We appreciate your prayers as we give thanks for our son and thanks for the gift of Dr. David Pence.


NANCY'S PENS: Were the impeachment articles delayed because a late January impeachment trial would take Sanders, Warren, and Klobuchar off the campaign trail ahead of the Iowa caucuses? Or were they perhaps delayed so that Nancy Pelosi's commemorative pens could be produced and presented on a silver platter?

IMPARTIAL JURORS? Donald Trump was impeached because it was thought improper for him to have anything to do with an investigation that could hurt a political rival (i.e. Joe Biden via Hunter in Ukraine). Yet Senators Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar both seek to displace Trump in the White House and are jurors in a trial that could remove him. Where are the calls for their recusal?

BERNIE THE SEXIST? CNN has been blasted for its debate questions surrounding Warren's claim that Sanders didn't believe a woman could be elected president. Immediately after Sanders denied Warren's claim, Warren was asked what she thought when Sanders did what she claimed he did. The question disregarded Sanders' denial and assumed he did what he denied doing.

What Bernie should have said and what Trump would have said.

WHY LIBERALISM FAILED: Patrick Deneen gives an excellent talk about his book, Why Liberalism Failed. Deneen argues that liberalism (both in conservative free market economics and in liberal big government programs) depersonalizes economics and politics, ultimately alienating a nation's citizenry. Fukuyama, a key defender of liberal democracy, may disagree but the depersonalizing forces of liberalism could be a major factor to the loss of social capital in many "western" nations. See our AoA book review of Deneen's book.

BENEDICT'S NAME REMOVED: Pope Benedict XVI's name has been removed from an upcoming book co-authored by Cardinal Sarah. The book is being branded as anti-Pope Francis we are told Benedict requested his name's removal as a result. The press is spinning the story as Sarah manipulating Francis, but the reverse could be just as true. Vatican insiders didn't like the book, so they pressed for Benedict's name removal. Benedict's chapter on priestly celibacy, however, will remain.

UNDERMINING THE GOSPEL: Cardinal Marx of Germany has declared: "Wherever someone spreads fear - of hell or whatever - the Gospel cannot have any effect." The Gospel is being undermined, but not by the proclamation of Hell's existence. Let us not forget that Jesus preached more about Hell than anyone else in the New Testament - and He used gave Hell many colorful and horrific images for the mind to contemplate.

FEMALE ORDINATION DEFEATED...: the laity, not the bishop. The fact that Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond, VA was content to allow a woman's ordination in a Catholic parish church is telling. It is all too clear that his "ecumenical" move was no defense of the patriarchal brotherhood that is Holy Orders. A full defense of the male character of Holy Orders must begin with the cultivation of a deep-rooted sense of brotherhood within the ranks of deacons, priests, and bishops. Until then, expect to see more bishops giving tacit approval of women's ordination.

STAR WARS FEMINISM: The original plot plans for Stat Wars Episode 9 were leaked this week, revealing the key role planned for the late Carrie Fisher. Her death required a bigger role for Luke Skywalker yet Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy, intent on destroying the patriarchal story of the Skywalkers, went ahead with killing off Luke in Episode 8. This led to the Episode 9 writer-director to quit and the JJ Abram's recent mess of Episode 9, The Rise of Skywalker. In the end, the woke feminist agenda won and Star Wars suffered.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST: the Theophany of God and the Baptism of Christ

(first published January 12, 2014)

David Pence writes:  

                  "... the Sun of righteousness washing in the Jordan,
                                fire immersed in water..."

The Sunday after Epiphany, the Church celebrates the Baptism of Christ. It marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of Christ’s public life and “Ordinary Time.” In an older calendar, the Epiphany was celebrated as an eight-day feast. The coming of the Wise Men, the first miracle at Cana, and the most important manifestation – the theophany at Christ’s baptism – were all considered epiphanies which explained the true identity of Jesus Christ.  In the Orthodox Churches, the “twelve days of Christmas” are the feast days observed from the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem to his Baptism in the Jordan which is called the feast of the Theophany.

The Baptism of Christ is not merely about God and water, or God and nature, or even God and man’s salvation. This is not just an event of Divine Economy – God’s relation to creation. At the Baptism of Christ, something happened quite unexpected. The Baptism is THEOPHANY – the “appearance of God” – and for the first time Jesus is revealed as Son of God; and God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

For a moment let us forget about ourselves. Let us even forget about the sacramental order of saving our souls.  Let us contemplate what was revealed here about the reality that preceded the creation of heaven and earth. Let us think of God before Satan rebelled and man fell.

Who could imagine this? God is three in one. There is a reality called personhood, which can be united in love, as many in one. On this day, in the Father’s voice, we are definitively told that Jesus is God. We are shown “the Spirit of God descending on Him like a dove.” This is how the Christmas season ends: with a lesson about the identity of Jesus as Divine, and the nature of God as an interpersonal love relationship that constitutes the ultimate reality.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. 

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

"Today the nature of the waters is sanctified,
The Jordan bursts forth and turns back the flood of its streams,
Seeing the Master wash Himself.
To the voice of one crying in the wilderness, 
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
You came, O Lord, taking the form of a servant, 
Asking for baptism though you have no sin. 
The waters saw You and were afraid. 
The Forerunner began to tremble and cried out, saying: 
How shall the lampstand illumine the Light? 
How shall the servant lay hands upon the Master? 
Sanctify both me and the waters, O Savior, 
Who takes away the sins of the world."

  (Orthodox hymn for Theophany)

The baptism of Jesus


Pence writes:

"It was at the Jordan River that Joshua commanded the priests to precede with the Ark of the Covenant, followed by the sons of Israel who – now properly ordered behind the Ark – could enter the Promised Land.

"When Christ emerged from that same river, he was enclosed not by the Ark but revealed in the first manifestation of the Trinity. His Father’s voice proclaimed Him; and the hovering Spirit anointed Him. On this day, the entry of all men to the Promised Land was made possible.

"All the sons of men who would be baptized in the new Adam could now be incorporated in Son-ship with the triune God. Christ’s Baptism washed away Satan, the world, and the flesh – and revealed the sacramental strategy for incorporation in the new Adam.

"The just angels marveled in awe at the new-found glory of man, while Lucifer resentfully plotted a meeting in the desert."

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, JANUARY 11

by A. Joseph Lynch


SPAIN'S MARRIAGE PREP: Noting that it takes a man seven years in seminary to become a priest, Spain's sky-high divorce rate has led the nation's bishop to create a multi-year marriage preparation process.

MCCARRICK MISSING: He's not in Kansas anymore, Toto. More from Church Militant.

NO CRIMINAL SECRETS: Buffulo's interim bishop has said that "criminality is not entitled to secrecy." While certainly true, we must hold the ordained to higher standards than criminality. There are certain acts - some that are not illegal - that "divorces [the priest] from the fraternal communion of priests."


TRUMP'S NEW ALLY: Trump is coming to the defense of Jeff Van Drew, the New Jersey Democrat who switched parties after the impeachment farce in the House. Trump, who values loyalty, will campaign for Van Drew in New Jersey this month. This act proves Trump's own loyalty and should be seen as an olive branch to other moderate Democrats.

CENTER-RIGHT AMERICA: A report last February from Gallup revealed conservatives greatly outnumbered liberals in 19 states. Gallup's new data regarding 2019 shows the US has remained a center-right nation.

GOOD ECONOMIC NEWS: You know the economy is running like gangbusters when Taco Bell plans to start giving six-figure salaries to store managers and 24 hours of paid sick leave to all its store employees. With historically low unemployment, companies like Taco Bell must give better benefits in order to keep employees.

IRAQ - TIME TO LEAVE: From Pat Buchanan.


COVINGTON SETTLED: CNN has settled with Covington Catholic student, Nick Sandmann. FoxNEWS calls it a win for the little guy, but what impact will a sealed settlement have on the Fake News industry?

REGRET AT CHICK-FIL-A: Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-fil-A, must have thought Left-wing attacks on his company would end after he turned his company's back on charitable giving to Christian organizations. It didn't. Leftists will continue fighting the company until they embrace the radical Left - such as giving to radical organizations. Cathy now regrets his decision.

HOLLYWOOD SLAMMED: Comedian Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globe awards this week. In his opening monologue he had the following to say about Hollywood and politics: "...if you do win an award tonight, don't use it as a platform to make a political speech. You're in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg." He might have added that it is precisely these partisan speeches that has tanked award show viewership...

SMOLLETT UPDATE: Kim Foxx, the Cook County state's attorney who attempted to let Jussie Smollett off the hook, is now using tax payer dollars to lawyer up. Smollett was accused of faking an racist assault by Trump supporters. We now learn that a judge has ordered Google to turn over Smollett's email records and data to a special prosecutor. Is justice finally at hand?

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Feast of the Epiphany and the true Age of Enlightenment

[first published January 6, 2016]

by David Pence


Epiphany means 'manifestation.' The Christmas season is a series of liturgical celebrations of different events in the life of Christ that manifest who He is, and why calendars all over the world begin their numbering of the years based on His coming. The naming of Jesus and his circumcision complete the Christmas Octave (Jan 1st); the twelve days of Christmas end with the “Christmas for the Gentiles” and the coming of the Magi (kings or wise men) on Jan 6th or the Sunday nearby. For centuries this day was associated with the coming of the Magi, the Baptism of Our Lord and his first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana. All of these were manifestations of the unique event that was celebrated at Christmas. The celebration of Epiphany ends with the manifestation of the Trinity revealed at Christ's baptism by John in the river Jordan. A few other traditions extend the season the full 40 days to his Presentation in the Temple as the first-born Jewish son on Candlemas Day (Feb 2nd).

At the feast of the Epiphany he does not transfigure himself, nor do we hear the voice of God or songs of angels. The scene at the epiphany is three kings representing the monarchs and nations of the world bowing to the King of Kings; and acknowledging that from this birth forth, the destiny of nations would be determined in relation to the new King. Not only human history but all of physical nature is reconfigured to the alpha male of humanity -- the Lord of nature and perfecting head of our species. The star pointing the wise men to his person shows that a new law of personal gravity is in effect that will allow Peter to walk on water, and the human species to escape the sure death awaiting any planet tied to the finite life cycle of a medium-size star. The Star of Bethlehem foreshadows the domination and reorganization of nature that the God of eternal life promises. On this 12th day of Christmas let us promise, with the wise men, that we will always teach the truth of nature and the physical sciences, as well as the meaning of history and the story of nations in light of God -- who made Himself fully known during the true age of Enlightenment: Our Lord’s earthly lifespan 2000 years ago--the axis mundi.


"The wise men, seeing him, so fair,
Bow low before him, and with prayer
Their treasured eastern gifts unfold
Of incense, myrrh, and royal gold.

The fragrant incense which they bring,
The gold, proclaim him God and King;
The bitter spicy dust of myrrh
Foreshadows his new sepulchre.

All glory, Lord, to thee we pay
For thine Epiphany today;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete."

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, JANUARY 4

by A. Joseph Lynch
& Commentary of Dr. David Pence


The assassination of Iranian Quds commander, Qassem Soleimani, was a victory for the neoconservatives in the Trump White House and for the Salafist Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, not for America. The neocons have taken us one step closer to war. The Saudis, who espouse the same brand of extremism as ISIS, are rejoicing.

But what as America gained?

Have we taken steps to build bridges with Iran? Certainly not. To use a poker analogy, a week's worth of upping the ante seems to have left both poker players too "pot committed" to lay down their hands. The assassination of Soleimani may be an "all in" push of the American chips - and how can Iran not but push in theirs, for how can Iran not respond after such an attack on a senior Iranian official who some see as second only to the Ayatollah? What would America do if Iran assassinated Vice President Pence or General Mark A. Milley, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and highest officer in the US military? Would such an attack not be considered an act of war? The assassination of Soleimani all but guarantees future bridge burning - not bridge building - between the US and Iran.

Have we strengthened our relationship with Iraq, a nation for which we've sacrificed thousands of soldiers and spent countless dollars? No. The Iraqi parliament, fearful of becoming home to an all out proxy war between Iran and the US, is poised to eject the US military from its borders. And rightly so. Iraq not only sees that Iran will always be its neighbor while the US will come and (eventually) go, Iraq, like Iran, is a majority Shia nation and will always have much closer ties to Iran as a consequence.

Has leadership of Quds force been eliminated? Esmail Qaani, Soleimani's deputy of over twenty years, has stepped into his shoes. Qaani is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war of the 80s, and has extensive experience managing the fight against ISIS in Syria and the Wahabbis in Yemen. And this brings us the great strategic blunder behind the assassination. It once again reveals our failure to understand the religious civilizations that drive the foreign policies of "non-Western" (i.e. non-atheistic) nations.

As Dr. David Pence wrote all the way back in 2016:
We have defined our true enemy as those who hold the Salafist-jihadi ideology contending for the soul of Sunni Islam... It is responsible for more than 95 percent of terrorist acts against the US... We must work to deepen our cooperation with the Shiite states of Iraq and Iran. We must join with Russia to help broker a peace between Israel and Iran. The Shia have been the major victims of the Salafist Sunni religious persecution. This cannot be trivialized as "sectarian violence" or shrugged off as a thousand-year theological disagreement.

One of the great sources of confusion in American foreign policy has been the de facto alliance of the Saudi royal family and Israel against Iran and all other manifestations of Shia Islam in the Mideast. A large faction in Israel sees Iran as the chief enemy and ISIS almost a welcome distraction and co belligerent against the Shia governments. This is diametrically opposed to the US position. We must learn geography and religion to understand the limits and providential design of territorial nations and religious communities.
It's time for us to finally rethink our foreign policy by taking God and the religious loyalties that bind men together in nations and religious civilizations. Only then can American play its providential role in the structure of world affairs.


UNHOLY PAYMENTS: A new report reveals that the defrocked McCarrick used archdiocesan funds to give payments to senior clerics, including those charged with his investigation. St. John Paul II received $90,000 from McCarrick while Pope Benedict XVI was given almost $300,000 - roughly half of the approximately $600,000 McCarrick used in his payments.

OFF THE LIST: Hundred of accused priests have been left off the Church's list of credibly accused priests. One example includes a priest who was left off even after having been declared a sex offender registry. Once again, strong state authority provides a needed counterweight when evil, corrupt, or squishy males are ascendant within the hierarchy.

HOLY BOMBS AWAY: An unorthodox way to give an orthodox blessing: holy water from a crop duster.

SPLIT COMING SOON? The gay agenda may soon lead to denominational divorce within the Methodist community.


MOST ADMIRED MAN: Despite the  impeachment vote in the House, President Trump's polls continue to rise and now ties former President Obama for America's most admired man.

IMPEACHING LINCOLN: An op-ed from ex-Governor, Democrat, and inmate, Rod Blagojevich.

DECLINING CANDIDATES: Julian Castro has given up on his 2020 presidential aspirations while Marianne Williamson hangs on by a thread after laying off her national campaign staff. Meanwhile Biden has declared he favors the elimination of jobs in favor of fighting climate change, telling coal miners to "learn to code." Biden is echoing what Hillary Clinton called her worst mistake when she said: “We're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

BLUE STATES DOWN: 2020 census projections show traditionally blue states like California, New York, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania all losing a US House seat while red states like Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, and Montana pick up one to three seats. In its impact on the electoral college, a look back on the 2016 election with the new numbers reveals that President Trump would have won by five votes even without winning Pennsylvania or Michigan.


TWILIGHT OF THE ELITES: James Delingpole lists a series of events from the past decade which explain why the 2010s will go down as "...the Twilight of the Elites. From Brexit to the U.S. presidential election, from Bolsonaro in Brazil to the people’s revolutions that swept Europe, the arrogant, corrupt and complacent political establishments of the old order fought desperately to uphold their rotten hegemony only to be crushed, schooled and humiliated to the point of near-irrelevance..."

MAPPING IRAN & THE SHIA: In light of the current tensions with Iran, we recommend a reading refresher regarding the geography of Iran (four times larger than California) and Shia Islam.

EUROPEAN EMPIRE: Guy Verhofstadt, former Prime Minister of Belgium, argued against Brexit by claiming it was in Britain's interest to absorbed into a European empire able to compete with a brave new world of empires: "The world of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation states or countries. It is a world order that is based on empires. China, is not a nation, it’s a civilisation. India… is not a nation… The US is also an empire, more than a nation… And then finally the Russian federation."  Mr. Verhofstadt clearly doesn't understand the difference between a nation, a civilization, and and empire. He has betrayed his own nation to what he hopes will become a European empire with its own army. We believe history will hold Brexit simply the most recent act of British defiance against imperial dreams of European states.

POLAND-PUTIN SPAT: The Poles continue to vent anger towards Russia - this time over the origins of World War II. Truth be told, Putin is absolutely right to place blame on the 1938 Munich Conference while European Parliament wrongly blamed the 1939 non-aggression pact between the Nazis the and Soviets.


A GOOD MAN WITH A GUN: A Texas gun law - criticized by Joe Biden - allowed a good man with a gun to engage a kill a would-be mass shooter at a church in Texas. The two men who were killed were church security volunteers. The man who killed the shooter was gun instructor, Jack Wilson. All three men are heroes, saving an untold number of lives. We later learned that the indigent killer had been helped by the church in the past, but was angry he didn't receive more.

VIRGINIA INCREASES PRISON BUDGET: anticipation of jailing gun owners.

STAR WARS FEMINIST FLOP: President of Lucasfilm and head of all things Star Wars, Kathleen Kennedy, declared the Force is Female. She assembled an all-female writers room for Star Wars under Disney. Her decisions split the fan base as Star Wars was catered to feminists who praised the new films but were not interested buying movie tickets to see the films or purchase action figures of the new feminist characters (like Rose Tico). The "Skywalker Saga" has now come to an end by irreparably disgracing the previous films while being sure to include two women kissing in the end (a scene edited out in Singapore).

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

JANUARY 1 -- Consecrating Masculine Fraternity: the formalized covenant of circumcision

[first published New Year's Day 2015]

Dr. David Pence writes:

"When eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Christ, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived."

On New Year’s Day we celebrate a Divine resolution to reorder the public life of humanity and the material cosmos. The old order of the cyclic movements of stars and planets – that ends in the burning out of the stars and the dissipation of matter in an expanding universe – demonstrates how the Laws of Matter alone lead to death. But as Christ's blood is shed publicly for the first time, the spiritual message of an angel is no longer hidden in the womb of Mary. The young male is incorporated into the public covenant of Jewish brotherhood under God. He is not just Christ, the Anointed, the Messiah of Israel. He is named Jesus: "He who saves," the Deliverer, the one who rescues. His mother will be known as Theotokos ('God-bearer'). We will come to see that this Messiah to the Jews is named Jesus, not because He will free Israel from the Romans but because He will save mankind from death and the Dragon.

The human species has been recalled to our original mission to live forever in communion with God, who created the visible and invisible world. Most of the material world and many angels of the immaterial world are being cast out into oblivion and isolation, but humanity is meant to be drawn into the eternal life of communion and interpersonal love with the Trinity. A new Adam is named this day and will conform His will to the Father – as the first Adam failed to do. Part of his flesh is discarded as a prelude to the discarding of the old man by every Christian in the sacrament of Baptism.  The first patriarch’s failure to accept the rule of the Father led to the murder of brother by brother. Because Adam failed as a son, he could not rule as a father; and the fraternity of his sons was replaced by fratricide. The great communal strength that Adam would have known as the father of sons in brotherly harmony was never to be. The new Adam, however, paints us a vivid picture of the fraternal bonds he forges, beginning with his circumcision and naming. He has allowed His blood to be shed, and has been incorporated in a Chosen People set aside as a holy nation to be a blessing to all the nations. He will show us the missionary nature of patriarchal fraternity – the miraculous incorporation that the love of Father, Son, and brothers has instituted for all humanity.

On New Year’s Day we remember Christ submitting to a religious ceremony for males, which binds them in a common duty to shed blood for the group defined by this Covenant with God. Forty days after His birth, Jesus alongside other firstborn males will be presented to God in the Temple of Jerusalem. The male covenant engenders a great communal strength that can tempt men to violent acts of domination. That is why numbering the able-bodied warriors was often depicted as an act of pride. The male covenant is necessary for survival, but it must always be subordinate to the will of God.

"God said to Abraham... This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you."

This fraternal shedding of blood foreshadows the Apostles' priestly participation in the "blood of the New Covenant." Just as the masculine covenant of circumcision will define Israel, so the priestly sharing in the chalice of Christ's blood will define the Apostolic Church. (The sharing of the priestly chalice with the laity was a central liturgical demand of the Protestant Revolution which eventually proposed a Church built on Baptism not Holy Orders.) The Judaic formalization by circumcision  of  shared male protective duty limited by the defined territory of a Promised Land will become the republican template of the nations. The public relationship (res publica) of shared masculine  duty will become the fraternal lattice of classical politics and citizenship.

"It appears clear that contemporary ethical systems remain incapable of producing authentic bonds of fraternity, since a fraternity devoid of reference to a common Father as its ultimate foundation is unable to endure. True brotherhood among people presupposes and demands a transcendent Fatherhood. Based on the recognition of this fatherhood, human fraternity is consolidated: each person becomes a ‘neighbor’ who cares for others."
(POPE FRANCIS -- January 1, 2014 --

The Pope speaks of fraternity in its most generic form: all men and women acting as brothers and sisters under God. That general fellowship, however, has an undeniable masculine foundation in biblical communities. Peter and Andrew, Phillip and Bartholomew are blood brothers in a spiritual brotherhood. These bonds are not set against each other, but reinforce the anthropological nature of male spiritual accord. The high calling of classical citizenship has a similar masculine character. In all classical thought, man as "a political animal" (politicos: a member of a city) refers to a shared form of piety, protective duty, civic friendship, social status, and masculine identity.

Fraternity to be most effective must be formalized. The polis is defined by city walls and social contracts. Nations need their boundaries and constitutions. This formalization of male duty for the group is expressed in Catholic sacramental life through the priesthood and the diocesan character of the Eucharistic bishop and his priests. Fraternity is formalized in civic life by young men being socialized as citizen soldiers, city fathers, state militias, and other masculine covenants to protect a defined territorial group. This public male bond of shared duty and law transcends kinship and the family justice system of blood vendettas. Formalized male socialization systems are foundational to the merit-based and duty-bound "wide radius" social trust systems that Francis Fukuyama explains in his books on Trust and The Origins of Political Order. Both the Pope and Mr. Fukuyama seek a richer deeper social bonding at the heart of political life. Neither one is quite ready in this feminist age to see masculine socialization as the source of that social capital. Shared fraternal duty elevates man's political vocation far above the soulless instrumental state managing the claims of atomistic rights-bearers. Patriarchal fraternities were foundational expressions of the Christian way manifested in those most pivotal institutions of the Christian republic: the monasteries.

The masculine territorial relationship "sacramentalized" in circumcision provides a form that limits the boundless ambitions of empires, utopias, and universalistic ideologies. The personalities of male protectors guard particular lands and cheer for the athletic victories of the local club. There are no Pollyannish laws against bullying, but many well-placed men who do not tolerate the strong exploiting the weak.

Men are meant to live together in communal work and protective groups. Patriarchy and fraternity constituted the original plan of love for Adam and his sons, the prophetic structure for Abraham and the nations, and the fulfillment of the Kingdom found in Christ and the apostles.

The Gospel is meant for all the nations – it is not a creature of "the West." It came out of one nation to all the nations. Jesus the Savior of the world, the Messiah of the Jews, was marked in his manhood as a living part of God’s plan of old. He circumcised the souls of his apostles with the character of the priesthood to ready them to go forth and call back the sons of Adam into one Body. He called men from one territorial region: Galilee. Those men who shared the local ties of a common fishing district would be shaped into a priestly brotherhood for the cosmos. They would be sent out to find men in their tribes and cities and nations; and baptize those natural fraternal ties of land and country into the Universal Church representing our common humanity. In the ancient liturgy of the Church, the priest looked north to proclaim the gospel. The priest directed the good news to the periphery. The apostles were sent to preach to the nations -- Biblically depicted as the 70 grandsons of Noah. The 70 different nations under a common God and descended from a single patriarch is the Biblical blueprint for humanity's public life. We are not trying to eliminate the bonds of the nations, as at Babel; we are trying to baptize them. The oneness of humanity comes from religious incorporation in Christ. The natural form of the nation was consecrated in the circumcision covenant, which marked Israel in a special way. The other Abrahamic nations were blessed as well, but in a different manner. All the nations, though, would be blessed in Israel by adopting an analogical masculine form of communal duty and civic life. Baptizing the nations does not necessarily mean bringing them into the Church, but bringing them into fraternity under God, which allows the Temple of the Church to be built within the walls of a just city.

The Jesus, who was named on this New Year’s Day, had bigger plans for the nations than allowing them to fight it out like so many new Cains and Abels. He called a fraternity of men to drink a blood covenant with Him; and establish a Kingdom set above all the nations, and yet living within each of them. The nations must answer to a transcendent authority. Because both priests and presidents can be corrupted, it is good that there are many nations, and good that there are the two swords of Church and State.


Eight days after we celebrate the birth of Christ, with the joy of this season still reverberating, we honor the shedding of a Son’s blood necessary to establish the new Kingdom. The circumcision of Abraham is no longer necessary for salvation, but the new priestly blood covenant will provide the Baptismal and Eucharistic bond to Christ by which the human species will participate in eternal life.

New Year’s Day is a public setting of our calendar to the Supreme Authority who manifested on this day His Name as Savior. His name carried by the angels was planted in a covenant of fraternity, which was public, masculine, and sacrificial. Such covenants are the heart of our nations and the order of the Eucharistic priesthood of the Church. They mirror the interpersonal unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The new commandment Christ gave to his apostles was to love one another as the Father loved Him, and He had loved them. That is very different and much more profound than loving others "as we love ourselves." True masculine loves are driven outward in a saving mission to all humanity. The love which bound the Father to the Son is the love than binds men together as fellow Christians, and is leaven to the love of fellow citizens.

Because the world is beset by evil, fatherhood needs a faithful son and a band of brothers (fraternity) to effectively exercise authority. The fighting missionary bond of men was the proper formation to strike and defeat the principalities and powers which held the material world in slavery. The word "Israel" derives from STRUGGLE. Men cannot be good fathers unless first they are good sons, as Francis teaches. But it is also true that men cannot be good fathers unless there is a public socializing fraternity which strengthens, teaches, and assists men to safeguard families from the vicissitudes of nature, the marauding of criminals, and the perversity of Satan. No man can guard his house alone. A large group is needed because of the strength of our foes. A large group is needed because of the harshness of winter. A large group is needed because young males look not only to their individual fathers, but social groups of larger spatial-temporal consequence to establish their identity in the world as men. Most of our obstacles in nature and our enemies (seen and unseen) cannot be overcome by a man alone. When the male bond is broken, it is the widows and orphans who weep and the predators who cheer. It is the young males who become lost and disoriented.

On the day our Savior was named, Jesus entered the consecrated communal bond of Israel which He would reconstitute in priestly and political forms. Through His priestly Church and the baptized nations, He builds His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Fraternity is not only the foundation and end of peace – it is the pathway as well.