RELIGION, NATION, MARRIAGE: THE LOYALTIES OF MEN
PRAY, WORK, STUDY, PROTECT: THE DUTIES OF MEN


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

December 28: The Feast of the Holy Innocents

[first published December 28, 2014]

David Pence writes:


The birth of a baby in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago revealed to chosen witnesses what his mother had kept hidden for nine months, and his Father in heaven had concealed before the foundation of the world. The angels sang hosanna from heaven, three wise rulers knelt to recognize a new kingdom was being established, and all wisdom would be recast in light of the star over the manger. The Jewish shepherds were there to acknowledge their Messiah and keep away the wolves. For whenever innocence and purity show their face in this still-fallen world, the wolves gather to destroy.

The day after Christmas, the Church reminds all whose hearts were warmed by the babe in the manger that Stephen was stoned for attesting to the baby-Savior’s true identity. Three days after Christmas, the Church liturgically remembers the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The three wise kings had bent their knees in homage and conformed their minds in faith. But a proud and ignorant Herod ordered a horrible bloodletting, so the screams of Jewish mothers losing their sons might erase the songs of joyous angels welcoming the Son of God.

Vigilant Joseph was warned in a dream of the danger and led his holy family hundreds of miles across hills and desert to the safety of Egypt. He must have pondered the death of so many sons of his countrymen as he guarded his sacred charges during the flight.

The Church also ponders their deaths on this day, and awards to those Holy Innocents the keys to the kingdom granted to martyred saints. Possibly their deaths and celestial fate may be a lesson for all who have suffered death as an "innocent:" the children at the time of Noah’s flood, the dutiful soldier drowned in the Red Sea, the cremated and tortured prisoners of the tyrants, the villagers buried by molten lava or a raging sea. This day we reflect on how deeply ingrained and inescapable is suffering to the Christian vocation. And, possibly, this day we can also find meaning in those other deaths of innocents -- the child or mother or father who appear on God’s strange and deadly list of patients afflicted by infection or malignancy. May all who experience the mysterious reality of human suffering know the crown of glory bestowed upon the Jewish baby boys who were killed at the births of Moses and of Our Lord.


UPDATE -- From a sermon by Saint Quodvultdeus (a student of Saint Augustine):
"When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come. 
"Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil...  
"How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory."

FINALLY -- on this day, we Americans are mindful of our own slaughter of innocents. In some ways it is more horrible that Rachel, instead of weeping, is the one who brings her babe to be slaughtered for career or convenience. Feminism is a bloody Pharaoh. When the sacred goods and the innocents are defiled, sometimes we must cover our own and flee as did Joseph. Other times we must remember  the Maccabees at Hanukkah and gather our brothers under the Father to stop the evil. For sure, we need a new approach as a profile movement organizing a culture of protection not making one more claim for rights.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

CHRISTMAS: “Mortals, join the mighty chorus / which the morning stars began”

[first published Christmas 2013]


David Pence writes:

On April 30, 1916, Germany and Austria introduced the first Daylight Savings Bill to reduce the evening use of lamplight fuel during the Great War. This resetting of clocks was to better harmonize man’s calculation of time with the physical experience of daylight in the summer months of the Northern Hemisphere.

On December 25th of every year, there is a world-wide resetting of our spatial-temporal and emotional clocks to an axial experience in the story of man. Every nation looks to Bethlehem, and remembers that in the time of Augustus Caesar a new Adam came to light their way. Our calendars pivot from B.C. (before Christ) to A.D. (annos Domini: the years of the Lord.) In the midst of that blessed night the Incarnation of Our Lord, which for months had been hidden in Our Lady, was made manifest to the Jewish shepherds of Israel. Days later the manifestation ('epiphany') would be experienced by the searching men of the Gentiles. It was a day that reordered the palette of human feelings by elevating joy in God’s presence over all the other emotions. The child in a crib reorganized the physical world bending a star toward Bethlehem to signal that all of matter had a new center of gravity.

Let angels and men sing the Good News – that the Creator of heaven and earth has come to pitch his tent among us. Let us rejoice and be glad. Let us never shrink this day that takes a season to celebrate into "all about family." To be sure families congregate to share the joy and awe but this is a cosmic feast day-an event for humanity.   The true Age of Enlightenment is upon us and our calendars proclaim the new beginning.

                                         



UPDATE:

N.T. Wright on the word made flesh.

Chesterton on Christmas from The Everlasting Man.

The Poles share a special bread.

Puritans say a religious no while Victorians say a secular yes-A history of Christmas in America


And finally, from Dale Ahlquist and the American Chesterton Society --


Why is celebrating Christmas an act of defiance?

We should not be surprised that Christmas is controversial. After all, as G.K. Chesterton points out, the word consists of the two most controversial and divisive words in the world: Christ and Mass. And so, in a culture that is increasingly anti-Christian, and especially anti-Catholic, we can expect that celebrating Christmas is going to be counter-cultural.

But we are not celebrating it in order to defy the culture. We are celebrating it because we are happy. We commemorate a joyful event, and we commemorate it joyfully. Of course we will sing and pray and worship. We will also eat and drink and laugh. But the celebration is still an act of defiance. What we are defying, however, is much bigger than our current culture. It goes back much further. It goes back to Pagan times.

“Why, course!” you say. “The pagans didn't like Christianity, and so naturally, celebrating Christmas was an act of defiance against the ancient pagan culture.”

No, that's not what I'm talking about. In fact, Christmas is not an act against the Pagan culture, it is an act very much in keeping with the Pagan culture.

“What?” you ask, slightly startled.

You heard me. Chesterton says it is the one celebration that survives out of all the ancient festivals that once covered the whole earth: “Christmas remains to remind us of those ages, whether Pagan or Christian, when the many acted poetry instead of the few writing it.”

“What?” you ask again, because you have no idea what that means.

I will try to explain, and I will keep quoting Chesterton, who says there is in this old festival something that is both Pagan and Christian: “... that trinity of eating, drinking and praying which to moderns appears irreverent, the holy day which is really a holiday.”

You still seem puzzled, so you ask: “Are you saying Christmas is a Pagan celebration? That the Christians simply borrowed it from the Pagans?”

No, that's not what I'm saying. The Christian meaning of Christmas is certainly not borrowed from anywhere. It is unique. We believe that a virgin gave birth to God Incarnate, that the divine babe was worshipped by angels and shepherds and eastern kings, that he came into the world to save the world from the eternal self-destruction of sin. It was this good news that changed the Pagan world forever. How did it change? It became Christian.

But the celebration of Christmas, a feast that has continued for two thousand years and has spread across the world like light from heaven, has fulfilled a need that men have had for at least the two thousand years that preceded it, that continued through the next millenia after it as the Gospel spread to lands where similar feasts were held in the names of gods who are now no more than footnotes. The feast remained after the Pagan gods were gone. It became the Christmas feast, but the feast itself had an important meaning that also remained even after it was christened.

“Explain,” you say, now losing your patience.

No, I respond. I will have Chesterton explain: “Christmas occurs in the winter. It is the element not merely of contrast, but actually of antagonism. It preserves everything that was best in the merely primitive or pagan view of such ceremonies or such banquets. If we are carousing, at least we are warriors carousing. We hang above us, as it were, the shields and battle-axes with which we must do battle with the giants of the snow and hail. All comfort must be based on discomfort. Man chooses when he wishes to be most joyful the very moment when the whole material universe is most sad. It is this contradiction and mystical defiance which gives a quality of manliness and reality to the old winter feasts which is not characteristic of the sunny felicities of the Earthly Paradise.”

A feast in the middle of winter is defiant of the winter. A fire blazing indoors is defiant of the cold world outside. It is a bold act of faith to have such when the circumstances are completely against it. It represented hope on the part of Pagans. It represents fulfillment on the part of the Christians, for Christ has come. And it is fitting that Christ should come in our “bleak midwinter.” He is the light that comes into a dark world. He is the hope that comes in the middle of despair. The lonely world has been crying out for him. And he has come. His name is Emmanuel. God is with us.

The darkness has not overcome the light. The brute cold has not quenched the flame. So of course we celebrate. And the celebration itself has warmed the whole world. Even the newly-polished pagans and the half-hearted heathens of the modern world, who avoid Christ, cannot help celebrating with the Christians at Christ's birth. They want to join the winter feast rather than pretend to prefer the cold. Christmas is lovable, and they know it. Love and joy come to you, and to you a wassail, too.

                                                     

Saturday, December 18, 2021

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

by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

EU IDEOLOGICAL COLONIZATION: The European Union can't help but impose the sexual revolution on the Christian nations of eastern Europe. It's top court has ruled that Bulgaria must accept immigrating homosexual "parents" and their "children" into the nation. The European "rights" body has told Hungary that it's ban on homosexual propaganda in schools is yet another "rights" violation. Poland has lost billions of EU cash because it dares argue that its national judiciary should be independent of EU courts. All this is what Pope Francis calls "ideological colonization." The atheistic nations of western Europe are colonizing once more, but this time they are colonizing eastern Europe - not with troops or settlers but with their radical ideology. Viktor Orban of Hungary understands this. When will Poland, Bulgaria, and the nations of the Bucharest Nine alliance wake up and see that they have a clear enemy to resist - and that enemy is not Vladimir Putin.

NO CLARITY ON HOMOSEXUALITY: As one Catholic diocese in Michigan has announced it cannot dispense sacraments to unrepentant homosexuals, the Vatican apologized for temporarily removing a link to a pro-gay advance website from its own website. Where's the clarity in Church practice concerning homosexuality? 

POPE FRANCIS TURNS 85: Pope Francis has reached the age of 85 - the same age as Benedict XVI was when he retired. Though Francis appears to running strong, how much longer can he hold up as Pope?


II. AMERICAN POLITICS

BIDEN'S ENERGY WAR: The cost of energy is skyrocketing in America, yet few remember Biden's own admission during the 2020 campaign that he planned to destroy the US energy sector. And that's exactly what he's doing. In less than one year he's driven up energy prices by shutting down the Keystone Oil pipeline as he considers closing another, he's pushed for high costs on oil and gas companies, and banned fracking on public lands. We're not suprirsed to hear that US shale producers are venting frustrations at Biden's destructive energy 

LOSING HISPANIC VOTERS: Panic can only be sinking in among Democrats as they lose support from Hispanics nationwide. It appears that ethnic demography may not work in their favor after all. More from Dr. Steve Turley

ECONOMIC WOES: The US economy is in shambles. In an effort to boost a recovering economy last winter, Biden pushed more money into the system and drove up inflation. We're now seeing inflation hit points unseen in four decades. How will the Democrats fix it? Print and spend more money than ever before. 


III. THE NATIONS

PUTIN'S DIPLOMACY: Putin is a serious leader intent who understands that the United States and its allies would see his nation reduced to third world status at best or, at worst, partitioned and destroyed.  In some ways Putin is a microcosm of Russia's reemergence, having himself gone from moonlighting as a taxi driver to now the nation's powerful leader. And as a man who is used to playing weak hands, he's masterfully playing his much stronger hands. In recent weeks, he personally went to India to strike major deals with with Hindu nation, held a summit with Xi Jinping, made further diplomatic moves in the Mideast, and is now making demands on the US and its allies concerning NATO. The US and its allies, however, still act as though it was the 1990s when they had all the power. The skillful actions of Russian and Chinese leaders have undermined the status quo for good and its time America and its allies wake up to the new reality on the ground.

GERMAN POLITICS: As we mention last week, Germany has a new leader - the liberal Olaf Scholz. Scholz has in his first days in office overseen a delay in the approval of the Nordstream 2 pipeline (sending energy prices through the roof) while pledging support for Ukraine as a Russian gas transit state, encouraged more immigration to Germany, and is allowing German students to be bullied and shamed over their vaccination status. The only work being done in the German legislature, was a rearrangement of seating so that center-left party didn't have to sit next to a conservative party. We expect little from the new German regime.

BRITISH POLITICS: Boris Johnson might soon be out of a job following a shocking conservative loss in an off-year election. This comes amid reports of Johnson's staff joking about a Christmas party they held as the rest of the nation was in lock-down. The prime minister is also reportedly suffering from drinking problems - which reminds us of another national leader named Boris. Aside from Brexit, Johnson has done little to forward a conservative agenda in Great Britain. He's locked down the nation amid the pandemic, thus upending its fragile economy following Brexit. He's failed to protect its borders from immigrants crossing the channel while sending support to "protect" Ukraine's borders. He's angered the Russians and Chinese - while annoying Washington - by sending military vessels into Russian and Chinese waters. He's even overseen a UK contribution to the war on Christmas. We're not surprised to hear that he may soon be facing a vote of no confidence in the UK parliament. Time may be running out for Mr. Johnson.

THE RISE OF CHINESE NATIONALISM: An excellent short video on traditional Confucian nationalism emerging in China from Dr. Steve Turley.


IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

NASA SHIFTS FROM SPACE: Anyone who remembers the space race, studied the history of NASA, or watched movies like Apollo 13 can't help but have an enduring respect for NASA. Yet gone are the days when the men of NASA took man to the moon. What has NASA become? What is it up to now? According to one new outlet, NASA will spend more time focusing on climate change than space. How the might have fallen.

VIGILANTES NEEDED: The drug war in Mexico continues to rage - and a new force is rising to resist the cartels: armed vigilantes. One town in Mexico received 500 such men, armed and ready to protect it from the cartels. Far from "vigilante justice," this act of protective fraternity is an image of republicanism at its finest. When armed men of their nation rise up as a patriarchal fraternity to protect it, only good can come.

NO JUSTICE FROM CRIMINAL JUSTICE? "Catch and release" no longer refers to illegal immigrants apprehended and let go. The phrase can now be said about lefist DA's running most of America's cities. The alleged Waukesha killer, Darrell Brooks, was released on $1000 bail after it was said he attempted to commit vehicular homicide, only to plow through a crowd of innocents during a Christmas parade. We've now heard about a New York man who committed armed robbery, but was released by the DA and promptly found a new victim shortly thereafter. And let us not forget the Antifa member who used a weapon to attack the office of a conservative state legislator, who not only was released by the DA but given his weapon back. All this comes as liberal judges throw the book at pathetic, groveling January 6 rioters. It seems as though the more contrition the rioters show, the longer their sentences are. It's high time these DA's are held accountable and the hypocrisy in our justice system ends. 

BIG TECH PUNISHES TRUTH-TELLERS: According to Twitter, those who say that the vaccine does not prevent transmission of the coronavirus will be punished. We somehow doubt, however, that Twitter will be punishing the CDC, the NIH, or Dr. Fauci, all of whom say exactly what Twitter is now banning.

CHRIS WALLACE LEAVES FOXNEWS: Good riddance to the Trump-hating Chris Wallace, who leaves FoxNews and heads to... CNN. Wallace follows Jonah Goldberg and Chris Hayes as yet the most recent neocon, Never Trumper to leave the network. The best news is that the departure of neocons from FoxNews points to the emerging dominance of Tucker Carlson, the best voice on cable news today. 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

December 12: Queen of Mexico, Our Lady of the Americas

[first published on December 12, 2014]


by David Pence


On October 12th of that seminal year of 1492, Cristóbal Colón named the land he sighted on the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar after her son: San Salvador. Thirty years later (1519-1521) Hernando Cortez would defeat Montezuma and the Aztec Empire, establishing the new Spain and eventually the nation of Mexico. Ten years later (1532-33) his second cousin, Francisco Pizarro, would defeat Emperor Atahualpa of the Incas in Peru. These military victories would set the groundwork for the Spanish nations of South and Central America.

In the same era another event would lay the "true spiritual foundation of America -- and of all the nations of the Americas -- North and South." The apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Nahuatl convert Juan Diego (December 1531) would synthesize the indigenous natives and Spanish warriors into a single La Raza. She appeared as an Aztecan beauty and told Juan Diego’s uncle (whom she healed) that her name would be Santa Maria de Guadalupe. This was the same name as the black Madonna of Castile – an inspiration to the Catholic warriors who established the nation of Spain through the Reconquista against the Muslims. That centuries-long war ended in 1492 just as Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon) planted the Christian vine in the Americas. She said she would be “the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind.” She was both of the natives and of the Spaniards, and she left Castilian roses and the name of a river in Spain to accompany her beautiful native countenance. (The Spanish Guadalupe and the meaning of the Crescent)

As Catholics gather in ever growing numbers on this American feast day, let us honor Mary and her Son by deepening our public bonds of religion and  national citizenship. Our Lady of Guadalupe integrated cultures in her very person and provided a path to the syncretistic national identities of 8 million converted Aztec Indians and the evangelizing Catholic conquistadors.  Gathering to acknowledge her loving motherhood, hundreds of miles north and half a millenium later, may our liturgical actions forge the new personalities of Catholic nation men who belong to the supernatural organic community of the Eucharistic Church as well as the covenanted civic brotherhoods of our respective nations.

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who called her appearance “the spiritual foundation of the Americas,” has written a little masterpiece on immigration.  He categorizes immigration reform as a religious project, for America is a spiritual adventure. It is here in America that Chesterton says a “cosmic commonwealth” is being formed by “molding many peoples into the visible image of the citizen.” Archbishop Gomez, unlike all too many immigration proponents, sees a restoration of the idea of citizenship and an integrating Americanization as the necessary spiritual alternative to the "anarchy of diversity" and the destructive bias of "our elites" against "the ideals of citizenship and integration around a common national identity."

On this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Catholics across the Americas will unite as brothers and sisters under our common mother. On other days our civic task will be to reestablish the distinct religious national brotherhoods of the United States and Mexico, which have been so frayed and torn in this age of atheism. May we mend our sacred flags and meet our complementary destinies as Christian nations acting in history to fulfill God’s Providence. We must ask the Queen to bring forth new Cristeros. Authoritative masculine civic personalities will be the blessed "peacemakers who will be called the sons of God.”  A strong Catholic Mexican leader must regain control over outlaw provinces and diabolic criminal networks. A renewed Christian America will be led by men reasserting the police power of  states to once again outlaw those federally sanctioned abominations that would make an Aztec blush.  May Our Lady of Guadalupe provide the spiritual ground where brother nations can stand in fraternity to do the Will of Our Father.


                                                           

Saturday, December 11, 2021

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

by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

FRANCIS DEFENDS CHRISTMAS: Pope Francis called out the secularists in the European Union who are attempting to remove "Christmas" from the season's vocabulary. He cited his term, "ideological colonization" - the idea that secularists are the new colonizers - and called the war on Christmas "anachronistic" because it's been done many times in the past (Which is the same argument Vladimir Putin made against "progressivism" in terms of race and sexuality. What we're trying now, the Soviets tried - and failed - in the past.). Francis was also very strong in how he considers the nations within the European Union. He rejects uniformity between the nations, the destruction of national sovereignty, and an EU that can force its policies top-down on member nations. Here are his full remarks on the subject: 
"You refer to the European Union document on Christmas... this is an anachronism. In history many, many dictatorships have tried to do so. Think of Napoleon: from there... Think of the Nazi dictatorship, the communist one... it is a fashion of a watered-down secularism, distilled water... But this is something that throughout hasn’t worked.
"But this makes me think of something, talking about the European Union, which I believe is necessary: the European Union must take in hand the ideals of the founding fathers, which were ideals of unity, of greatness, and be careful not to take the path of ideological colonisation. This could end up dividing the countries and [causing] the European Union to fail. The European Union must respect each country as it is structured within, the variety of countries, and not want to make them uniform. I don't think it will do that, it wasn't its intention, but be careful, because sometimes they come, and they throw projects like this one out there and they don't know what to do; I don't know what comes to mind... No, each country has its own peculiarity, but each country is open to the others. The European Union: its sovereignty, the sovereignty of brothers in a unity that respects the individuality of each country. And be careful not to be vehicles of ideological colonisation. That is why [the issue] of Christmas is an anachronism."
JUDAISM AND HINDUISM: If you haven't watched, don't miss out on the livestreams over at Religion, Sex, & Politics from our very own A. Joseph Lynch. The past two weeks Lynch hosted a livestream on Judaism and another on Hinduism. The presentations are part of a series that not only examine the major religions of the world, but also place these religions within the context of geopolitics and the plan of divine providence.

NOTRE DAME DISASTER? France plans to "modernize" the historic church, which was brought to near ruin in a fire in 2019. Taylor Marshall weighs in.


II. AMERICAN POLITICS

WAR ON CHRISTIAN RUSSIA: In a short interview with retired Colonel Doug MacGregor, Tucker Carlson asks another question no one else will: Is the American-led efforts to defeat Russia based on the fact that Russia today has returned to its historic Christian roots?

TRUMP FOR SPEAKER? While unlikely, if Rep. Matt Gaetz gets it his way he'd see Donald Trump elected as Speaker of the House after the GOP reclaims its control next year. And yes, it's possible for this to happen even if Trump doesn't run for a House seat. It's a long shot, but we'd welcome it if there were prospects for the impeachment of Biden and Harris.

MANDATES ON HOLD: Biden's push to force vaccine mandates at businesses across the country has come under fierce attack from the courts. And now two Democrat in the Senate - Tester and Manchin - voted with Republicans to overturn Biden's mandate. And as Dr. Fauci says that the term "fully vaccinated" will soon be redefined to include boosters, the tide may soon be turn against the growing powers of the government as American's reject the overreach.


III. THE NATIONS

PUTIN-BIDEN SUMMIT: Despite neocons and neoliberals playing Chicken Little regarding Russia, Russia poses no threat to Ukraine. Its troops are stationed over a hundred miles away from the Ukrainian border and will only activate in response to a Ukrainian attack on the Donbas or if the US/NATO involves its troops or weapons in Ukraine. In the past week we've heard the head of NATO reject NATO involvement in Ukraine and as a result of the Putin-Biden virtual summit Biden has announced that US troop deployment to Ukraine is "not on the table." What's more, Putin brilliantly took advantage of the summit, called for by Biden, to demand a treaty that will limit NATO expansion eastward and the "Findlandization" of Ukraine. Putin and Russia clearly came out on top this week.

NEW GERMAN CHANCELLOR: The era of Merkel's Germany has ended. And with Olaf Scholz, the new Chancellor of Germany, it appears the nation is leaning further left. The NY Times asks if Scholz can advance the left across Europe.

"DEMOCRACY" SUMMIT - A RESPONSE: The US hosted a so-called democracy summit aimed at currying favor with some nations while snubbing others. China and Russia - which both practice some form of democracy - issued a joint response to the summit. It's well worth the read.


IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION UNSAFE? One wonders why more Americans have died from the coronavirus under Biden's watch than under Trump's, especially when Biden has had multiple vaccines available throughout 2021. We believe the sheer amount of pressure to vaccinate, the total lack of vaccine and virus transparency, and media censorship have all contributed to "vaccine hesitancy." The latest act of censorship comes once again from Twitter, which has flagged the American Medical Association website as "unsafe" after it posted vaccine research that our big tech overlords didn't like. So much for "trust the science".

FACILITATING MURDER: John Chisholm, Milwaukee's far-left Soros-backed district attorney, had previously let alleged mass-murderer Darrell Brooks out of jail on $1000 bail after alleged attempted vehicular homicide. Why such a low bail? Thank the philosophy of critical race theory. Back in 2007, Chisholm admitted his philosophy would lead to deaths: “Is there going to be an individual I divert, or I put into treatment program, who’s going to go out and kill somebody? You bet. Guaranteed. It’s guaranteed to happen. It does not invalidate the overall approach.” And after two parents were charged because their son committed murder, can we see some charges on Mr. Chisholm? 

MEDIA HYPOCRISY REVEALED: We all know the mainstream media exists to protect the political establishment and their allies. This is just as much true of FoxNews on the right as it is for CNN on the left. The left, however, has taken some major beatings as Chris Cuomo was fired from CNN (a scandal which might see the downfall of Jeff Zucker, the head of CNN). And now with the guilty verdict of Jussie Smollett - who faked a hate crime to help his career - is further revealing the leftwing media as it did everything it could to give credence to his lies, particularly because they played into their anti-Trump narrative. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Dec 8th -- IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: She who is the greatest instrument of the Holy Spirit

[first published December 8, 2013]



In a pure act of mercy and grace God called Mary into existence free of original sin  to be the new Eve. This truth was long held by Christians, but formally acknowledged by Pope Pius IX in 1854.

Amidst these years of too many corrupted churchmen, it is no coincidence that the two infallibly declared papal dogmas of the last two centuries  define the spotless beginning and the incorruptible end of Mary’s life when she shattered the ultimate glass ceiling. These truths remind us that at her core the Apostolic Church is Marian, and she hath not sinned. It is a singular gift to the Catholic imagination that we have a feminine beauty to inspire our poems, our songs, and our prayers. Her ever-pure life cleanses the mind that contemplates her. Our understanding of Mary is a school in which we learn to understand our own human nature. For those of us who love her, humans are never by nature either neutered or depraved.


"Mary Immaculate, star of the morning,
  Chosen before the creation began,
Chosen to bring in the light of thy dawning,
  Woe to the serpent and rescue to man.

Here, in this world of both shadow and sadness
  Veiling thy splendour, thy course hast thou run:
Now thou art throned in all glory and gladness,
  Crowned by the hand of thy Saviour and Son.

Sinners, we worship thy sinless perfection;
  Fallen and weak, for thy pity we plead:
Grant us the shield of thy sov’reign protection,
  Measure thine aid by the depth of our need.

Bend from thy throne at the voice of our crying,
  Bend to this earth which thy footsteps have trod:
Stretch out thine arms to us, living and dying,
  Mary Immaculate, Mother of God."
                                                     



                       

On this feast of the Immaculate Conception, here is part of a prayer by Saint Maximilian Kolbe:
O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you…
For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
V. Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin. 
R. Give me strength against your enemies.
Amen.

                                             
Father Kolbe organized his spiritual Militia in fealty to her who "cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array" (Song 6:9).



The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception  was recently crowned with its finally completed Dome of the Trinity. The Immaculate Conception is the patronal feast of the American Church. Ponder this prayer that Pope Francis wrote to the Immaculata:

"O Mary, our mother,
today the People of God feast in hailing you as Immaculate,
preserved forever from the contagion of sin.
Receive the homage I offer you in the name of the Church
that is in Rome and across the whole world.

To know that you, who are our Mother, are totally free from sin
gives us great comfort.
To know that, over you, evil has no power, renews our hope and strength
in the daily struggle that we must undertake
against the threats of the evil one.

But in this fight we're not alone, we are not orphans, because Jesus,
before dying on the cross,
gave you to us as our Mother.
We, then, while being sinners, are your children,
sons and daughters of the Immaculate one,
called to that holiness which shines in you from the beginning by God's grace.

Enlivened by this hope,
we today seek your motherly protection for us,
for our families, for this city, for the entire world.
May the power of God's love, which preserved you from original sin,
through your intercession, free all humanity from every spiritual and material slavery,
and make victorious, in our hearts and in events, the design of the salvation of God.

Make it so for us, your children, that grace might prevail over pride
and that we might become merciful
as our heavenly Father is merciful.
In this time that leads us to the feast of the Birthday of Jesus,
teach us to go against the current:
to strip ourselves, to lower ourselves, to give of ourselves;
to listen, to be quiet, to focus away from ourselves,
so to make space for the beauty of God, the source of true joy.

O our Immaculate Mother, pray for us!"



UPDATE -- It is on this day in 2015 that the Holy Father is instituting a Year of Mercy:
"I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: 'Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (cf. Lk 6:36).' "

Friday, December 3, 2021

December 3: Saint Francis Xavier--Completing the Body of Christ in the East

Francis Xavier was among the original companions of Ignatius Loyola. They had a different view of male fellowship in their beginning. Instead of  "small group accountability self help sessions" or even worse the affectionate perversions of spousal friendships, the 16th century brothers in Christ took the globe and divided it among themselves for the Kingdom. Xavier was sent to the East.

A men's group feeling accountable:--Ignatius Loyola, Francis Xavier, Peter Faber

 In India he wrote:

"Many people hereabouts are not becoming Christian for one reason: because there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going around to the Universities of Europe , especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: "What a tragedy; how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you."   

After his work in India, roughly five centuries ago, Francis Xavier stepped ashore the southern port city of Kagoshima.  The Gospel had arrived in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Francis was enchanted by the people: “It seems to me that we shall never find…another race to equal the Japanese.”

From a letter that the Basque saint wrote to his fellow Jesuits back in Europe:
“The Japanese doctrines teach absolutely nothing concerning the creation of the world, of the sun, the moon, the stars, the heavens, the earth, sea, and the rest, and do not believe that they have any origin but themselves. The people were greatly astonished on hearing it said that there is one sole Author and common Father of souls, by whom they were created. This astonishment was caused by the fact that in their religious traditions there is nowhere any mention of a Creator of the universe. If there existed one single First Cause of all things, surely, they said, the Chinese, from whom they derive their religion, must have known it. For the Japanese give the Chinese the pre-eminence in wisdom and prudence in everything relating either to religion or to political government. They asked us a multitude of questions concerning this First Cause of all things; whether He were good or bad, whether the same First Cause were the origin of good and of evil. We replied that there exists one only First Cause, and He supremely good, without any admixture of evil.”

The Japanese who did come to embrace the fullness of the Faith were remarkable in never flinching at the “cost of discipleship.”      Our review of the chilling novel of Japanese Christianity, The Silence.   The unique view of Singapore's  Rev. Dr. Simon Chan on Christianity and evangelizing Asia-  Grassroots Asian Theology         Our Review.

                                             


The definitive authority on the interplay of Catholicism and Japanese national culture  is Professor Kevin Doak. Our review of Japan's Holy War by Walter  Skya on the sacral nature of Japanese Shintoism.

Pope Francis has a very Jesuit approach to the great eastern nations including China. He is not betraying the Church in China.  Just as the Church must breathe with both lungs and reconcile with Eastern Orthodoxy so the Body of Christ is incomplete without humanity's elder brother of China, and the other great civilizational nations of the East--  Japan, Vietnam, and Korea.  There is no better feast day to look seriously at true reconciliation of our nation with these great civilizational national cultures.  There are all sorts of candidates running for the American Presidency stoking enmity with Russia, Iran or China.  If there is enough hatred and fear, Americans might think we need the pugnacious leadership of a Niki Haley or Marco Rubio  to protect us from these perils. On this feast day let us remember the  Jesuit missionaries and especially Francis, the missionary of the East, who sought to draw men into Christian fraternity not Darwinian war.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Nov 30: Saint Andrew and the 2,000 Byzantine monks on the Holy Mountain

[first published November 30, 2016]


MOUNT ATHOS in northeastern Greece is one of the powerhouses of prayer that keeps our tired old world going -- because sturdy men of faith submit their hearts to God.

On this feast day of the Holy Apostle Andrew, it is right that we deepen our understanding of our Christian brothers in Greece and Russia. East and West, the bonds of a praying brotherhood define the monastic and Apostolic Church. But in the heart of this all-male environment where even the animals must be male, there is a special presence and she is decidedly feminine.

"There are 20 monasteries on Mount Athos of which 17 are Greek, one Russian, one Serbian, and one Bulgarian. There are also twelve Skites (similar to monasteries but much smaller), a large number of Kellia (large farm houses), Kalyves (smaller houses), Kathismata (small houses for a single monk) and Hesychasteria (hermitages or caves in desolate cliff faces, for the most austere hermits)."

             
                                   



                                                   


From the parish bulletin of a Russian Orthodox church in Minneapolis:
Last October, Fr. Andrew and I visited Mt. Athos, affectionately known as the Garden of the Theotokos. As we experienced this beautiful place where God’s glory seems to radiate from everything, we were made aware of her presence. When we spoke to the monks in that holy place, they would refer to her and say things like: "Whatever the holy Mother wants." They live in humble submissiveness to her and understand the value of her intercessory prayers and guidance. We met an older monk on one of the remote walking paths by his hut (it was very old and abandoned-looking), who explained to us that he had lived 30 years alone with the Mother of God in "her garden." 

Sit back and enjoy one of the finest segments that has ever appeared on "60 Minutes."

               




UPDATE: Here is a short video of one of President Putin's visits to Mount Athos. He was joined by the Patriarch of Moscow.


Let us praise Andrew, the herald of God, / the namesake of courage, / the first-called of the Savior’s disciples / and the brother of Peter. / 
As he once called to his brother, he now cries out to us: / "Come, for we have found the One whom the world desires!"


Sunday, November 28, 2021

ADVENT and the three comings of Christ

(first published December 1, 2013; edited 2017)

by Dr. David Pence



The Church year begins today as we enter into the Advent season to prepare for the Coming of Christ in History, in Mystery, and in Majesty.

First we recall the long period of history before He came to Mary at the Annunciation and was born in Bethlehem the first Christmas night. We reflect on the setting aside of Israel and the setting aside of Mary – the perfect temple who is a template for our souls. But the significance of Christ's entrance into history cannot be confined to the short time humans have been on earth. His coming is the cosmic culmination of matter itself.  The Incarnation of Christ is the epicenter of natural history, in that physical matter now has a new interpersonal center of gravity in Christ and His Queen Mother. The great mass of the physical universe dissipates into space while the tiny earth is set aside for life. The garden is set aside for man, the Israelites for Mary, and Mary for Christ.  His life and death will form the center of human history as he makes holy the forms of interpersonal communion that will be the foundation stones of a Living Temple. He establishes his holy priesthood. His sacred brethren will man the Ark of the Church and lead the hunt to separate the Evil One from the communion of the living. Christ has come in history. 

The separative and unification acts which characterized His coming in history are continued in the liturgy. The Holy Spirit draws mankind into the Trinity by incorporation in the Body of the Son. The Apostolic Church fishes for men dispersed at sea and reconstitutes mankind through Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. This present-day coming of Jesus is fully experienced only in the sacramental life of the Church. His Real Presence is still with us here on earth. We are not just with Him but becoming Him through the Eucharist. Being in the state of grace secures us to an ark of angels and saints amidst the floodwaters about us. The unspeakable intensity of this Eucharistic incorporation has always made Catholics less likely to discuss our day-to-day "personal relationship with Christ".  Theosis  or becoming a member of the Mystical Body of Christ through sanctifying grace seem better ways to express this sacramental reality. Christ comes today in mystery.  
                               

Christ has established His Kingdom on earth and is reorganizing all social relations around the Eucharistic priesthood, the sacrament of marriage, and the covenants of the nations. He is moving history to its culmination when He will return amidst his angels and the Church to fully restore His kingship by uniting the submitting nations and dispersing the Evil One from the earth. We are not waiting for our individual souls to go to heaven. We are working to draw humanity into the Body of Christ. That is truly the Opus Dei which Christians share. Led by the Holy Spirit, we conspire to make humanity fit to be the Body of our returning Head. This is the one true world wide conspiracy. We have put on the Heart of Christ and are building the Kingdom on earth to be consummated in the fitting time of the Lord. Our mission is to be sure at that time of the final separation and expulsion, the Devil gets as few of our people as possible. Christ is coming in majesty.  

So let us begin our Advent – the little Lent in which we set aside some part of ourselves to better attend these three comings.

                                               

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27

by A. Joseph Lynch

R&G ROUND UP

TERROR IN WISCONSIN: Darrell Brooks, Jr. has been arrested for using his SUV to plow through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The suburb of Milwaukee had fallen prey to the far left takeover of the justice system as Brooks was out on a mere $1000 bail after allegedly attempting to run his girlfriend over with the same SUV he used to murder at least seven people in the parade. Brooks, a BLM supporter and amateur rapper, sung about being a terrorist and seemed to call for violence against white people. He may also be a sex offender and child sex trafficker. Although the local authorities resist calling Brooks' act of mass murder an act of terrorism, it's not hard for a citizen with common sense to disagree. Even a BLM activist has pointed out that Brooks' actions might be the beginning of "the revolution" - but what revolution? The war on working class whites? The creation of a new black nationalist nation? Brooks should be the living proof of the dangers of ethnic/racial nationalism in America and the BLM movement that pushes it.

BIDEN'S CABINET DISASTER: Although Biden receives his fair share of criticism, the level of incompetence among his cabinet members and closest officials is something of a marvel. Buttigieg is too busy calling America's infrastructure racist to fix America's commercial transportation system. The Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, has no idea how much energy America uses. Merrick Garland, the US Attorney General, is eager to weaponize the DOJ against concerned parents and investigative journalists. The head of the joint chiefs, General Mark Milley, embraces woke ideology while seeming to admit to back channeling with a potential US adversary. Jake Sullivan, Biden's National Security Advisor, appears to be caught up in the "Russiagate" affair. And last - but certainly not least - Biden's own VP, Kamala Harris, holds the record for the least popular VP in decades with a shocking 28% approval. If his goal was to surround himself with imbeciles, then bravo Joe Biden, you succeeded.

US OIL RELEASE: Biden has pushed forward with the release of some 50 million barrels of oil after he failed to gain much traction with other nations to do the same. It's been reported that 50 million barrels of oil will only support 2.5 days of America's oil usage. Meanwhile OPEC has threatened to cut production by whatever amount is released by the US and those nations cooperating with the US. In the end, Biden has helped to deplete our strategic oil reserves, angered OPEC, and made no impact on the energy crisis.

MORE COVID DEATHS IN 2021 THAN IN 2020: Despite the vaccine rollout that began in January, more Americans have died from the coronavirus in 2021 than died in 2020. One might wonder what good a vaccine mandate will really do, not only given these numbers, but also when one considers the emerging omicron variant spreading outwards from Africa.

FOXNEWS RESIGNATIONS: Trump-hating Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes have resigned from FoxNews over an upcoming Tucker Carlson special on the January 6 Capitol Riot. Carlson continues to be FoxNews' best host and investigative journalist. We applaud the resignations and look forward to the upcoming special.

Father and Sons Defending the Sacred: The Real Hanukkah Lesson for Christians

by David Pence

Hanukkah begins this evening. It will end in eight days. It is not "the Jewish Christmas." Several hundred years before Christ, the Greeks, the very cosmopolitan educated Greeks, ruled over Palestine. When Antiochus had become the ruler he sought a uniformity of customs and loyalty. Circumcision -- that sign between Abraham and G-d that all the males would shed their own blood to be united as a people in Covenant with the Almighty -- was banned. The sacred precincts of the temple were defiled. Women who had their sons circumcised "were publicly paraded with their babies hanging at their breasts and then thrown from the top of the city wall."

                             

"... the Gentiles filled the temple with debauchery and revelry; they amused themselves with prostitutes and had intercourse with women even in the sacred court. They brought into the temple things that were forbidden, so the altar was covered with abominable offerings prohibited by the law." Most defilements were done by consenting adults and there were plenty of Jewish collaborators. "There was great mourning for Israel. Virgins and young men languished and the beauty of the women was disfigured. Her sanctuary was desolate as a desert. She became a stranger to her own offspring. Her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths to shame, her honor to contempt. Her dishonor was as great as her glory had been and her joy was turned into mourning."

Against this sexual perversity so deeply linked with the defilement of sacral things, Mattathias and his five sons withdrew from the over-educated Greeks who scoffed at their ancient purity codes and rituals of divine worship. Before they organized to fight, the patriarch and the brothers "tore their garments, put on sackcloth and mourned bitterly." They knew the evil that had befallen their fellow Israelites followed their infidelity to G-d. They also knew they must organize to fight. They had seen a group of Israelites come before the Greeks and "refuse to profane the sabbath. Then the enemy attacked them and they did not retaliate... and they died with their wives and their children and their cattle to the number of a thousand persons." Mattathias resolved: "If we all do as our kinsmen have done and do not fight the Gentiles for our lives and our traditions they will soon destroy us from the earth. Let us fight against anyone who attacks us on the sabbath so that we may not all die as our kinsmen died in the hiding places." Mattathias and his men tore down the pagan altars. They also forcibly circumcised any uncircumcised boys they found in the territory of Israel." They stitched back together the only bond capable of ridding the land of abominations. They conscripted their state anew to guard the sacred of old.      
                
Sculpture of Mattathias by Boris Schatz (d. 1932)


"When the time came for Mattathias to die, he said to his sons, 'Arrogance and scorn have now grown strong, it is a time of disaster and violent anger. Therefore, my sons, be zealous for the law and give your lives for the covenant of our fathers." He appointed his son Simeon because of his wisdom to be "like a father to them," and appointed his son Judas (called Maccabeus, the 'hammer') to be "the leader of your army and direct the war against the nations." His sons and the men they gathered around them defeated the Greeks. They tore down the defiled altar and built a new one with uncut stones. They repaired the sanctuary and purified the courts. On the anniversary of the day the Gentiles had defiled the temple they reconsecrated the sacred precinct with song and acts of worship. For eight days they celebrated the dedication, and then "Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days…"

There are many tales of noble martyrs who refused to profane the commands of the Lord before the Maccabees restored a civic order in consonance with G-d's decrees. In the Book of Maccabees the most notable was the mother and her seven sons who refused to defile themselves by eating pork. The holy mother watched her sons be tortured and killed and urged them one after another to persist in courage. Then "her womanly heart with manly courage" was pierced as well. In the Babylonian Talmud there is the story of the miracle of the oil in which one day's supply lasted for eight.  When the Church recounts this re-dedication of the temple in her late November liturgy she couples the reading from Maccabees with the Gospel of Jesus cleansing the temple. Two centuries after the Maccabees, the Jewish convert from Tarsus asked Christians, "Do you not know that you are a temple of the  Holy Spirit?"

For eight days let us Christians look for the lights of the candles shining forth from Jewish homes. They are not lit for the use of the household, but to give glory to G-d by reminding all who see them that the sacred practices of a culture can only be protected if there are fathers and sons who will covenant together under God to fight for them.
                             
Hanukkah candles in Jerusalem

Thursday, November 25, 2021

THANKSGIVING: Don’t call it Turkey Day

[first published November 22, 2012]

David Pence writes:

Thanksgiving Day is an embarrassing holiday for the atheists. Whom should one thank?

Nonbelievers first turned this day of formal national prayer into a rekindling of an earlier bliss betwixt Pilgrims and Indians. A little rewriting, and secularists turned the feast into a memorial of Pilgrim settlers thanking the native-born Americans for their ecological wisdom that allowed us a full table and survival through the winters. As usual, the guilt-ridden white folk reminded us of something true but missed the real story. There were formal acts of prayerful thanksgiving before we became a nation but unfortunately for the Protestant imagination the first such acts were in that old liturgical  form of the Catholic Mass.

The Pilgrim parable was soon debunked by Indian activists who reminded the well-meaning storytellers that the only gifts white men gave Indians were smallpox blankets. "Who wants to celebrate that, white man?"

Instead of returning to the first Congress or Washington or Lincoln to get the holy day back on track as a civic duty of a repentant nation to a Sovereign God, our adaptable consumer culture had a new answer. Let the appetites be sacralized! There was a surge to elevate not "Whom We Thank" but "What We Eat." Turkey Day was proclaimed!

No more messy cross-cultural narratives. Instead of asking that our sins be forgiven and as a nation we bow to God, a turkey was pardoned and the whole affair was consummated in a next-day orgy of shopping called Black Friday. That spin-off Feast Day is demanding a vigil service of its own, which may drive the whole embarrassment of public thanksgiving to God  back in the memory hole where school prayer now abides.
               

Contrast our evolving celebration of  Black Friday Eve with George Washington’s understanding of Thanksgiving Day in the first sentence of his 1789 Proclamation:
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to recognize the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor…” 
Contrast Turkey Day with the content of his prayer:
“And also that we may unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions -- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually…” 
This is a day as a nation we are supposed to perform a religious duty -- to ask forgiveness and give thanks to a Divine Ruler who governs not only the lives of men, but the public communal forms of men: the nations. That is what Congress requested Washington to declare; and that is what this national day of prayer for forgiveness and thanksgiving is still meant to be. Let us assemble in our houses of worship, at community kitchens, and at our family tables but remember we are acting as members of the larger national political community.  Let us ask God forgiveness for turning away from Him and allowing these sacred goods to be defiled: His holy Name, our sacred flag, our national brotherhood, the institution of marriage, the protective love of mother for child, and the sacred virginity and innocence of our young. In Lincoln's words: "with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience...we fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and union."




UPDATE: Be sure to check out Andrew Lynch's essay.

The Thanksgiving proclamation of our First Continental Congress.
 A reminder from "War on the Rocks" that Thanksgiving is a holiday forged in national wars.
  Lincoln declared the last Thursday of every November as a national holiday at the bequest of Sara Josepha Hale, editor of the popular magazine, Godey's Lady's Book. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

NOVEMBER 22 -- The Maturation of Christian Manhood: John Kennedy and the Spiritual Destiny of Nations

[first published 11/22/13]

Dr. David Pence writes:

"A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket." 
         (Charles Peguy)


A half-century ago, on the feast of Saint Cecilia, an armed atheist assassinated the first Catholic President of Christian America. It was a well-aimed blast. Those ringing shots of death silenced the voice of an elected Knight who was calling his nation and other nations into an articulate and armed defense of the ordered liberty that is the hallmark of Christian civilization. 
                                       

John Kennedy was a masculine liberal. He went forth to lead the land he loved, knowing that establishing a just political order amidst the nations was an assignment that God had given the laymen of the Church that claimed him since infancy. Deep in his heart, in his mind, and in his soul he understood that our shared identity as Americans was built on a band of brothers who had fulfilled a sacred obligation. When he spoke, the timbre of his voice called men into that band of brothers. Women cheered that such a bond would protect them.

When he spoke in 1960 to the Houston Ministerial Association on the religious question, he turned their eyes outward to the atheist menace that threatened Protestant and Catholic alike in our shared nation under God. He reminded them there was a military oath that secured religious liberty in the dangerous world of tyrants and the mass armies of paganism. That same military oath drew together Catholic and Protestant men at the Alamo. Only the record of their last names would attest their ancestral faiths, for "there was no religious test at the Alamo." It was this brotherhood of battle that Washington had hoped would leaven the national feelings of affection among Americans. It was such bonds that Lincoln proposed as the sinews of a new nation baptized in the bloodshed of Gettysburg. It was such bonds that the patriarch Abraham marked in that first shedding of male blood to forge a public. All nations were blessed in Him when he fathered the masculine covenant that sustains every nation.

On that day in Houston, Kennedy reminded the religious men of duty who gathered to hear him that he, his fallen brother, and they were bound by a common civic duty. He offered himself to fill the office, which would govern the military brotherhood, which secured their liberty as ministers to fulfill their religious obligations to God. He ended his oration reminding his listeners that the presidency was an oath, and he had taken oaths before -- "so help me God."

A decade before his speech to the Protestant ministers, Kennedy explained his understanding of the person, national loyalty and the Kingdom of God to students and faculty at Notre Dame.  

“You have been taught that each individual has an immortal soul, composed of an intellect which can know the truth and a will which is free.  Because of this every Catholic must believe in the essential dignity of the human personality on which any democracy must rest… A Catholic’s dual allegiance to the Kingdom of God on the one hand prohibits unquestioning obedience to the state on the other hand as an organic unit.”

Five months before his assassination, Kennedy demonstrated his providential view of the role of nations in the destiny of mankind during his visit to Ireland.

                                                 

“For the Ireland of 1963, one of the youngest of nations and the oldest of civilizations, has discovered that the achievement of nationhood is not an end but a beginning. In the years since independence, you have undergone a new and peaceful revolution, an economic and industrial revolution, transforming the face of this land while still holding to the old spiritual and cultural values…

"Self-determination can no longer mean isolation. No nation, large or small, can be indifferent to the fate of others, near or far. Modern economics, weaponry and communications have made us realize more than ever that we are one human family and this one planet is our home.

" 'The world is large,' wrote John Boyle O'Reilly.
'The world is large when its weary leagues two loving hearts divide,
But the world is small when your enemy is loose on the other side.'

"The world is even smaller today, though… across the gulfs and barriers that now divide us, we must remember that there are no permanent enemies. Hostility today is a fact, but it is not a ruling law. The supreme reality of our time is our indivisibility as children of God and our common vulnerability on this planet.

"Some may say that all this means little to Ireland... It may be asked, how can a nation as small as Ireland play much of a role on the world stage?

"I would remind those who ask that question, including those in other small countries, of the words of one of the great orators of the English language:
'All the world owes much to the little five feet high nations. The greatest art of the world was the work of little nations. The most enduring literature of the world came from little nations. The heroic deeds that thrill humanity through generations were the deeds of little nations fighting for their freedom. And oh, yes, the salvation of mankind came through a little nation.' "


John Kennedy as a Catholic man of the Irish tribe integrated the male citizenship of powerful and accomplished Anglo-Saxon Protestant America. He furthered this integrative work by proposing immigration reform no longer linked to racial ancestry quotas. He, slowly but then surely, argued the case for racial integration. Like Eisenhower before him, he sent federal troops to save black students from the fury of the huge popular protest movements against integration. The first cries of “power to the people” against authority in the 1960s were white mobs opposing integration.

Catholic Kennedy had argued that public offices could have no religious test. In his televised address to the nation on civil rights he proposed that America could not fight tyranny abroad if it was not colorblind at home. “We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution… I want to pay tribute to those citizens North and South who have been working in their communities to make life better for all. They are acting not out of a sense of legal duty but out of a sense of human decency. Like our soldiers and sailors in all parts of the world they are meeting freedom's challenge on the firing line, and I salute them for their honor and their courage.”
Always he spoke of honor, courage, and shared duty.

That November when he died had begun with the assassination of two Catholic brothers who were fighting for their Asian nation in the struggle against the armed atheism of state tyrannies. On All Souls Day the president of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu were assassinated in a military coup inflamed by newspaper reporters, and instigated by the new US Ambassador and members of our State Department. The CIA, the US military, and the Catholic Attorney General opposed the killing. President Kennedy mismanaged the rift in his government leading to the killing he called "abhorrent." The Mandate from Heaven was removed from both Catholic Presidents that month of the dead in 1963.

John Kennedy, like King David, marred his public life by sins of infidelity. Like King David he wept at the death of an infant son; and like David, his older son would die hanging between heaven and earth. He paid for his sins against marriage with the deaths of his male heirs. He paid for his betrayal of his Asian Uriah with his own death by the hand of their common atheist foe.

An ancient Roman liturgy, which he attended on Sundays and Days of Obligation, shaped John Kennedy. He knelt to pray and went to auricular confession. He lit candles in churches all over the world for the soul of his brother killed in a naval plane crash over the English Channel. He saw religion as a public duty to the Sovereign of the nations. He saw the nation as a brotherhood of protectors, and he understood an alliance of nations as the agents of History. He had a deep Catholic sense of humanity as one, and a sailor’s view of the earth as a small ship upon the sea of the universe. He knew what Nikita Khrushchev knew and Mao Tse-tung did not appreciate. He knew nuclear war must be prevented. He also knew what both of them knew: that there was a great conflict about how mankind should be organized. He wanted the flourishing of free nations under God. The Communists would use "national fronts" to re-institute the Tower of a Globalist Atheist Babel, which needed no god and would in time dispense of the churches, nations, and families.

A hero like Kennedy has many descendants who claim his name but few men who share his heart. He tried to replace the overwhelming technology of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) with Special Forces of men who would fight on the ground and win the hearts and minds of the new national leaders of Africa, South America, the Mid-east and Asia. He would replace the fleets of nuclear bombers with Green Berets and helicopters for security; and the Peace Corps and water wells for infrastructure and education. Launching unmanned drones inside Muslim nations and bombing the Orthodox cities of Serbia as a substitute for foot soldiers countered his legacy.    

He was no stuttering king in the war against the armed atheists of state tyrannies. Archbishop Philip Hannan, the combat veteran who gave JFK’s funeral homily, built it on Kennedy’s Scriptural syntax. The celibate combat bishop and the biblical fighting liberal are men our nation needs again. Their world was one of embedded un-chosen obligations, marked by protective duties assigned by gender, and priestly piety and purity proclaiming the supernatural order. On this feast of the virgin martyr, whose sweet life made her the patron of music, let us remember the warrior king who made words beat to move the hearts of his countrymen:  
“And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” 
                                                             

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Bending the knee to "Christ the King of Fearful Majesty" as the Church Year ends with the final Drama

[first published November 25, 2011]

"Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice."  (Gospel of St. John)

Dr. Pence writes:

The liturgical year of the Church ends with this feast day to remind us how sacred history will come to its fulfillment with the return of Christ as King. Yes, Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior. He is also the Ruler of Nature, the Lord of History, and the Slayer of the Leviathan.  We know Him in the Eucharist as we are becoming not his friend, but incorporated in His Body. We remember his Incarnational transformation of physical nature at the Annunciation, and we await his triumphant coming again as Head of the Mystical Body incorporating all of humanity in Himself. Catholics are always living within these three comings of Christ. Maybe because the Eucharist is less like friendship and more like incorporation, we don’t emotionally emphasize our "personal relationship with Christ" -- but we look, instead, from the vantage of Holy Communion, both backward and forward to the actions of the Cosmic King.
          The feast of Christ the King was  instituted by Pope Pius IX in 1925 as atheistic movements were persecuting Catholics in Spain and Mexico and the Orthodox in Russia. In his encyclical Quas Primas he asserted the independent authority of the Church in relation to States. He also asserted that political communities were subject to the authority of Christ as well. Christ is King of the whole man and the whole of his social relations. This feast calls Christian men to understand that civic life cannot be divorced from God. As we deepen our bonds in the church we must shape our nations as well in a fraternal international order in consonance with Divine Providence. Establishing the Kingship of Christ is more a matter of ordered loves than creedal assertion. Christ the King and devotion to the Sacred Heart are deeply tied. Pius IX ordered on this day every year that MANKIND be consecrated to the Sacred Heart.  Politics is one of man’s  highest callings when understood as forming fraternal bonds to provide for the civic common good by enforcing justice. Such a city on a hill gives honor to Christ as King and Lord. A man is a sign of Christ when he exercises legitimate authority. This feast is a good day to reflect on this dimension of Christian identity. We are meant to be rulers over ourselves first. The father and mother are to rule over their children. Politically men are called to establish law and order to rule our civic communities and lastly as a human race we are ordered to have dominion over the earth. It is a great threat to both Church and State that the ruler as an integral part of the Christian personality has become so neglected. This is particularly true in the priesthood which is the primary Christian template of a fraternity of ordered love and authority.

Christ shows us not only the face of God, but He has enlightened us to our own true nature as well. Man is by nature a eusocial organism in which all of humanity is united in  an interpersonal union headed by the alpha male. That is our final perfection as creatures truly made in the image of an interpersonal Trinity. On our way to that final union we live in the communal forms of marriage and nations. Christ’s Kingdom on earth is His Father’s Kingdom. Christ is King, but he is a Son as well. We are incorporated in his sonship-filiation. This is what we pray for in the prayer He taught us, that the rule of the Father would be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let us bow to the king and accept the order of patriarchy. A particular concern of Pius IX in declaring this feast was to reassert that modern man is not an emancipated individual but still a subject to the authority of the one true King. Let us contemplate this final feast in the Church calendar, in order to better greet the baby at Christmas and receive His Body in the Eucharist -- remembering that when the trumpet finally sounds, indeed, he will "bestride the narrow world like a Colossus" and Eternal King

                                       


UPDATE -- A stanza from a translation of the 'Te Deum':

"From Thy high celestial home,
 Judge of all, again returning,
 we believe that Thou shalt come
 in the dreaded Doomsday morning;
 when Thy voice shall shake the earth,
 and the startled dead come forth."