Saturday, February 27, 2021

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

by A. Joseph Lynch


SARAH'S RETIREMENT: Last week we looked a list of Vatican curial officials who have reached retirement age. One of them was Cardinal Sarah, prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship. Sarah, who was appointed by Pope Francis, turned in his letter of resignation upon reaching the age of 75 last summer and Pope Francis has accepted. It remains to be seen who will succeed Sarah, but we hope it will not be the liberal Archbishop Roche.

THE LIMITS OF SCOTT HAHN: Check out the new video from Religion, Sex, and Politics regarding an interview with Scott Hahn on his new book about politics. Clearly while Dr. Hahn sees the family as the model for civic life, this video argues for an anthropology of accord.

HOUSE OF ONE: Berlin is set to begin construction on a multimillion dollar worship building designed to allow Christians, Jews, and Muslims to hold their own worship while also having a dedicated space for inter-religious dialogue. While worshipping separately, the idea of Christians, Jews, and Muslims seeing each other engage religion and allowing them a space for face-to-face discourse is a good thing indeed.


INTEL ON CROWN PRINCE: This week a US intelligence report concerning the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was declassified and implicated the Saudi crown prince, who owned the planes the killers used to locate Khashoggi, in the murder. Yet despite the revelation, Biden plans no sanctions on the murderous crown prince or on Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are responsible for more terror than any other Mideast state. It's time they be held accountable.

: The fate of Syria may be determined by the construction of two conflicting pipelines (see map above) that must pass through the nation in order to reach Europe. The US-backed Qatar-Turkey pipeline and the Russia-backed Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline places the war-ravaged nation of Syria in the middle of yet another geopolitical conflict. If Assad refuses to allow the Qatar pipeline through it's country, what steps might the US take to ensure its completion? Is anyone surprised Biden bombed Shiites in Syria this week? 

NATIONS VS. BIG TECH: The nations of India and Australia are moving against the monopoly of Big Tech and we expect more to follow. Analysis from Steve Turley.


MADE IN A LAB? A new study released from the University of Hamburg argues that the coronavirus originated not from a Wuhan wet market bur rather from a Wuhan lab. Read more here.

KROGER AND WAGES: The grocery store chain Kroger has now temporarily closed four stores on the west coast, two in California and now two in Seattle. The problem? Political demands to give hazard pay during the pandemic. While many stores can't afford to close, corporations like Kroger can easily shutter a few doors to avoid paying their employees. What looked good on paper only ends up being another Democrat tax on small and local businesses. 

BE LESS WHITE: Coca-Cola is in hot water after hosting diversity trainings that asked employees to "be less white." Let us be clear: the "anti-racism" that is festering in our institutions is itself racist. It promotes attacking certain races in order to prop up others. The fact is that the statement "be less [race x]" will always be racist, regardless what race is inserted as "race x". Check out comedian Ryan Long's take on the racism of anti-racism in this tongue-in-cheek video

ANTI-RACISM IN SF: After an Asian man was brutally killed in San Francisco, so called "anti-racists" held a rally do denounce white nationalism. The suspect arrested for the murder, Antoine Watson, is black

"EQUALITY" ACT PASSES HOUSE: The so-called "Equality" Act - which seeks to impose the Sexual Left on all institutions, even religious - has passed the House. The National Review has written a scathing take on the legislation. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20

by A. Joseph Lynch


FRANCIS TO OVERTAKE BENEDICT: On Tuesday the pontificate of Pope Francis will officially be longer than that of Pope Benedict. Francis, who expected a short pontificate, continues to serve with no end in sight. Some suspect he is waiting for the death of Benedict to step down. There can only be so many Popes and ex-Popes roaming the Vatican after all.

A VENERABLE VATICAN: The National Catholic Register provides an interesting list of Vatican cardinals who have exceeded or are approaching retirement age. While Taylor Marshall has gotten conspiratorial regarding future appointments, we do expect a large turnover in leadership in the months ahead. For now we know who to keep an eye on and what roles in the Vatican will being seeing a change in leadership.

SCANDAL IN DETROIT: It appears a priest has been silenced for outing the leading music director for the Archdiocese of Detroit. More from Church Militant.

GREGORY ON "ILL-TIMED" LETTER: Cardinal Gregory of Washington D.C. agrees with Cardinal Cupich of Chicago that the USCCB statement critical of Joe Biden was "ill-timed." And perhaps it was. As Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco and Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas become increasingly critical of liberal Democrat policy, one wonders why it took so long. It's easy to complain now. The faithful needed to hear the clear voice of their shepherds months and months ago.

NEW SERBIAN PATRIARCH: The Serbian Orthodox Church Church has elected Patriarch Porfirije to succeed Patriarch Irinej, who passed away in November at the age of 90. Serbia is a nation that is 85% Orthdox and it has stron ties to Orthodox Russia. Learn more about Patriarch Porfirije and his election here.


TRUMP ACQUITTED: The faux trial of President Trump has ended in the president's acquittal. This was not unexpected. During the trial, Democrats used doctored images, falsely framed videos, and even false statements. It seven Republican senators who voted Trump guilty have been revealed as the RINOs they are and we look forward to the end of their political careers in two, four, or six years from now. Meanwhile swamp creatures like Mitch McConnel voted to acquit but still hope criminal charges might befall the innocent president. He was quickly blasted by President Trump for his words. And in the House, fallout from impeachment has hit close to home for Trump-hating GOP Representative Kinzinger, whose family disowned him for his vote to impeach. His political career is over. Going forward, Trump and his base need to make sure none of the Trump-hating RINOS retain their offices in the elections to come.

TAYLOR VS. CHENEY: The recent stripping of Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments is an attack on democracy itself. She was not punished for an act she took in Congress but for words she spoke before she was elected. Given that Democrats sought to convict a president no longer in office after the fact while punishing Greene for actions taken before her election, it seems as though there are no more limitations on attacking political leaders on partisan rather than legal grounds. And if Greene can be punished for her words, can't Rep. Alcee Hastings lose his committee assignments for being impeached after accepting bribes as a judge? More from election lawyer Robert Barnes. Meanwhile the secret vote to allow Liz Cheney to keep her party position in the House is a sign much house cleaning is needed in the GOP caucus.

PRESIDENT HARRIS? Biden has only been in power for a few short weeks but it has been noted that Harris has begun taking his calls with world leaders. Sadly this comes as no surprise. How long before Biden leaves office? And who's more likely to run for President in 2024: Biden or Trump?

RUSH LIMBAUGH (1951-2021): Rush Limbaugh, the voice of American conservatism for decades, has died from lung cancer. More from Dr. Steve Turley.

CUOMO COVER-UP: Democrats in New York are turning their backs on Governor Cuomo after his nursing home coronavirus scandal is spreading to his fellow Democrats. And only months ago there were Democrats hoping he would be a late entry to the presidential race.


EU FALLING APART? Over the past decade the EU has suffered body blow after body blow. The coronavirus has only added to the EU's problems. Although the high death count and the draconian lockdowns have taken their toll, EU regulations have slowed the release of vaccines while nations who produce the vaccines are finding themselves standing in line to acquire them from EU bureaucrats. Because of this there is a new drive for national independence from the EU in France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden.

LAVROV ON TRUMP TRIAL: Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, called the Democrat sham trial of President Trump a "farce" and had nothing but good words to say about Trump. Lavrov, who wrote an excellent article on the history of Russia's place in the world, rightly sees liberal imperialism, especially through their arm in Big Tech, as a danger to Russia and the world.

BIG TECH VS. THE NATIONS: During a political struggle with Australia over lost news business revenues, Facebook escalated the situation by banning all news-related posts (be they from news companies or from individual users). The ban also included emergency announcements from fire, police, hospitals, etc. Some Australian politicians compared the actions of Facebook to acts what would would considered an act of war had they been done by a foreign nation. This latest power grab from Big Tech is just another sign it has become too powerful. 


MEDIA PAYING FOR CRIME? Media companies paid Antifa radical John Sullivan over $70,000 for videos he recorded while he stormed the US Capitol and called for the building to be destroyed. Sullivan has been charged for his role in the riot, yet that did not stop the liberal media from seeking him out for his "coverage" of the events.

MINNEAPOLIS FUNDS POLICE: Less than six months ago the Minneapolis police were telling citizens to obey criminals and prepare to be robbed. Now the city council, which had unanimously voted to disband the city police, has restored their funding

PERSON AND IDENTITY: A new Catholic resource is available online to combat the error of gender ideology. Visit the website for the Person and Identity Project or watch their trailer.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ash Wednesday: a few thoughts on Inquisitions and Penitentiaries

[first published March 3, 2014]
An interview with Dr. David Pence:

We've come round to another Ash Wednesday. Do you remember how Father Neuhaus [the late founder of First Things magazine] referred to the American bishops' response to sexual abuse as "The Long Lent of 2002"?

The American bishops and their fraternity of priests never had a long Lent or any Lent at all! Lent is confession of sins, repentance, reparation, and reform. There has been no real confessing of sins nor repentance nor judgment and punishment of any group of bishops or priests inflicted by churchmen on churchmen. Newspapers have exposed and courts have punished, but the Church herself has not acted to purify the priesthood by her own standards.
Eastern State Penitentiary, one of the prisons visited by Tocqueville in 1831

You contend that Church leaders have to use ecclesial institutions to punish priests who have offended. Why does it seem that nowadays if an evil priest hasn't been convicted in a criminal court, we shower him with "disability pay" and other perks?

Reform in a hierarchical Church comes from the Pope and bishops, but each in his own place. Diocesan reform will be initiated by a particular bishop who has a critical mass of priests with him ready to truly purify an existing diocesan prebytery. The reform of bishops will require another mechanism, but it will be more local and synodal than papal. Just like we need model saints who inspire all of us, bishops need a model bishop to clean not the whole world but a particular diocese. A bishop who wants to lead the bishops of his nation and the Church must put his net down right where he is -- and reform his local presbytery. The diocese will be the locus of the deepest reform.

All reform will start with a true aggressive investigation and assessment of priests. This can be carried out by a well-known Catholic instrument: the Promoter of Justice. This man must look much more like Eliot Ness searching for the trails of crime than an ACLU lawyer insisting on Miranda rights. This is what once was called an INQUISITION. An aggressive questioning in pursuit of real justice for the Church which means unfaithful, sacrilegious, and immoral priests are pursued, confronted, judged, and punished. Professor Mirus does a good job of explaining this in a recent column.

Offenses against the Creed, the Sacramental/Liturgical Order, and Morality are the standards by which bishops must purify the priesthood. These are sections of our Catechism. No court of law will uphold these standards. No secular newspaper will be outraged at a breach of these duties. The Church has a legal system and a demanding code of conduct. Pope Benedict, in an interview in 2010, talked about the role of punishment in church governance:
"The Archbishop of Dublin told me something very interesting about that. He said that ecclesiastical penal law functioned until the late 1950’s. Admittedly it was not perfect -- there is much to criticize about it -- but nevertheless it was applied. After the mid sixties, however, it was simply not applied anymore. The prevailing mentality was that the Church must not be a Church of laws but rather a Church of love; she must not punish. Thus the awareness that punishment can be an act of love ceased to exist. This led to an odd darkening of the mind, even in very good people. 
Today we have to learn all over again that love for the sinner and love for the person who has been harmed are correctly balanced if I punish the sinner in the form that is possible and appropriate. In this respect there was in the past a change of mentality, in which the law and the need for punishment were obscured. Ultimately this also narrowed the concept of love, which in fact is not just being nice and courteous, but is found in the truth. And another component of the truth is that I must punish the one who has sinned against real love."

A description of the liturgical rite of by which a bishop was degraded of his office.  Benedict XIV promulgated this ritual in 1862)

Explain your notion of how we provide for these priests according to canon law, while having them live a life of penance. And what is this about donning a distinctive cowl?

We hear that canon law requires that the local diocese must "provide" for all priests. "It's simply justice," they say. Well, fine... let's be serious. Get a building, and provide housing and simple food while requiring prayer and labor. They should wear a distinctive garb showing they are penitents, and special markers if they are sexual predators. This is meant as punishment. It is meant as reparation -- and if a priest will not comply -- then his disobedience is grounds for laicization. Criminal priests are exploiting their clerical state and playing on the interests of their superiors in preserving an employment entitlement program. The idea that these guys are on a voucher system which we owe them, is a sham perpetuated by clerics who see the priesthood as lifetime employment. This is how the previous vicar general, Fr. McDonough, sounds in most of his pronouncements on these questions -- he was an unholy blend of urban ward-heeler, union steward, and defense attorney.

No reform in any diocese could bolster the worldwide church more than instituting a real place of penance and public acknowledgement of betrayal by predator priests. This reform must be enacted by a local bishop; it cannot be a papal reform. The pope knows what we all know.  Local bishops must govern; and to govern is to punish when crimes are committed. Abbotts too. A place like St John’s Abbey [in Collegeville, Minnesota] should immediately require a clear and distinctive garb for all monks under restriction. St Benedict in his original Rule provided a multitude of ways to distinguish monks following the Rule and those being disciplined.

The Church did not sin. Men sinned, and individual men should do penance -- not Holy Mother Church, who Herself has been besmirched.

"Christ among the Doctors of the Law" (Paolo Caliari, 16th century)

What is your reaction to the comments of Fr. Kevin McDonough in this recent news story at MN Public Radio? How could the vicar general thoroughly delude himself that a pastor -- arrested separately for trolling for young men in a public park and in a bookstore -- posed no danger to the boys in his parish?

Father McDonough throughout his career has run interference for the huge homosexual subculture in the St Paul Seminary system and the local priesthood. This most notably included his homosexual priest brother who was teaching seminarians “the gift of gay celibacy” decades ago. It is an axiom in the Catholic gay subculture that homosexuals are no threat as pedophiles. (It was a corollary that they made better priests because of their sensitivity and non-interest in football, war, or any male group effort to organize the protective use of force). That is why McDonough remains so adamant to this day that "there was no evidence Curtis Wehmeyer was a threat to children." For Father McDonough, stubbornly not "outing" the homosexual proclivities of a predator took precedence over protecting young males.

The corrupting role of an influential secretive "gay subculture" in a priesthood -- whose most fundamental oath is tied to a purity code -- is the story that the vicar general kept hidden for decades, and that our secular newspapers still can't quite figure out how to tell. The Church will properly practice Lent when a bishop takes his priests behind closed doors as individuals and as a group, and institutes a program of priestly purification which must include aggressive questioning (call that the Inquisition) and just punishment for the sins of omission and commission which have corrupted the fraternity (call that the Penitentiary). We could call that a good Catholic Lent.

If a Catholic is completely fed up with the decadent rot of the Petrine face of the Church -- almost tempted to flee -- how should he fight that?  

He must focus on that reality of the Church which has never sinned. The Marian Church is still pure. The Church herself has been defaced and dragged through the mud, but still she is holy. Churchmen have sinned, not the Church. Ponder the heart of Mother Church. Do what the devout women did during the 1970s: they kept alive the adoration of the Eucharist while trendy seminarians ridiculed the “wafer worshipers." The spotless Church and her corrupted priesthood has the Eucharist; and we must eat to live.

The Church has the Spirit, and He will reform the Church. The Ark has a noxious stench, and a lot of the present crew are cowards or worse, but we can’t jump the Ark. It was built at too high a price. Look outside before you jump; the Flood waters are even worse.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13

by A. Joseph Lynch


MARSHALL ON ST. PAUL: Taylor Marshall recently launched a new video series on St. Paul and the Letter to the Galatians. It feels like old-school Marshall, teaching the faithful solid theology packed with scripture. Well worth checking out.

EUCHARIST PEZ DISPENSER: The coronavirus provides ever new ideas for those seeking to desecrate the Eucharist. Now for sale is a Eucharist "pez dispenser" which allows Communion distribution to be touchless through trigger drop mechanism. The only thing more appalling than the idea of such a contraption is the fact that it's actually on the market for sale.

THE LIMITS OF SCOTT HAHN: We invite our readers to check out the preview for an upcoming Religion, Sex, and Politics channel video on Scott Hahn and his theological/political limitations.

WINNING ON THE MERITS: A recent study of President Trump's election cases revealed that around half of the cases were rejected without examining the merits of the case, but in the court rulings in which the merits were examined, Trump won 2/3 of the cases. Imagine if every case had been heard on the merits. 

GOP RETIREMENTS: Senators Shelby (AL), Portman (OH), Toomey (PA), and Burr (NC), none of which supported the President on January 6, are seeking reelection. This is certainly an opportunity for President Trump to reshape the GOP in the Senate. If not, 70% of Republicans are willing to join Trump in a new third party.

BIDEN BLOCKED: A federal judge has ruled against Biden's plan to block deportations. As Biden settles in, we expect Trump-appointed judges to step up and begin making rulings against him. And with the Senate tied down in a sham trial, what exactly will Biden accomplish in his first 100 days?

HOW DID HE DIE? While we are daily bombarded in the news with the "fact" that five people were killed in the Capitol Riots of January 6, details on the deaths are scant. It appears that all but one was died of natural causes. The police officer, Brian Sicknick, is said to have died from being hit with a fire extinguisher - but it appears he exchanged text messages with family after the riot and that he really died from a stroke. To this day we are still awaiting autopsy results.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6

by A. Joseph Lynch


VATICAN II IS THE MAGISTERIUM: Pope Francis made the following statement in an address to Italy’s National Catechetical Office: "The Council is the Magisterium of the Church. Either you are with the Church and therefore you follow the Council, and if you don't follow the Council or you interpret it in your own way, as you desire, you do not stand with the Church.” While conservatives, as usual, are quick to apply a liberal interpretation to Francis in order to denounce and question him, the Pope is absolutely right. Vatican II is magisterial. Indeed, the new Catechism of the Catholic Church could be titled The Catechism of Vatican II. Rather than condemn the pope and the council, conservatives should be using the Pope's words to attack liberals who "interpret [the council] in [their] own way" and therefore "do not stand with the Church." Sadly conservatives would rather attack the pope than defend the authentic teaching of Vatican II.

HAHN ON POLITICAL ORDER: Scott Hahn has released a new book - It is Right and Just - in which he dabbles in political theory and church-state relations. In a recent video interview he gave a very solid defense of religion but was incredibly weak in terms of his political thought. Hahn's focus on the family rather than on male-bonds leaves his suggestions wanting. The nation is not the family writ large.

BIDEN AND THE BISHOPS: As the Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas and head of the bishop's pro-life initiatives says Biden's soul is in jeopardy, the Archbishop of D.C. plans to give Biden and his ilk Holy Communion. Meanwhile Cardinal Cupich has attacked a statement from USCCB president, Archbishop Jose Gomez, critical of Biden's love of abortion. The divided episcopate has, of course, no one to blame but itself. They gladly took billions of dollars from the government during the lockdowns, and an untold amount of Democrat-earmarked federal money to assist its social work. Can a group of men so divided take a tough and clear stance on elections given all this?


TRUMP AND US POLITICS IN 2021: The newest video from Religion, Sex, and Politics, examines the role of President Trump in US politics and argues for his political resurrection in the months ahead.

TIME ADMITS THE TRUTH: For all intents and purposes, the new article from Time all but admitted a conspiracy to steal the election from President Trump. What is amazing about the article is how reframing conspiracy with upbeat euphemisms somehow negates the robbery that took place in weeks both before and after the election.

AOC OUT: Despite her theatrics regarding the events of January 6 at the Capitol, it turns out that Cortez wasn't at the US Capitol when things went down and the times she gave regarding the events do not match the publicly known facts. Is anyone surprised?


BIDEN AND YEMEN: In a very good move, Biden has ended the US involvement in the Saudi genocide of Yemini Houthis and removed the terrorist label placed on the rebels. At the same time, the US will focus on what is most important: fighting AQAP and other Salafi terror groups in Yemen. All great moves President Trump should have made, but better late than never.

BIDEN AN EUROPE: As Biden pulls back in Yemen, he's all speed ahead for a conflict with Russia. He has cancelled the Trump troop reduction in Germany and said he has no qualms raising the cost on Russia. No good can come from this dangerous - and unnecessary - saber rattling. 

SPUTNIK V: As America rolls out its vaccines, Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine has been found to be 92% effective and is perhaps the world's first widely used vaccine.   


GAME STOP STOCKS: If you didn't catch the news last week, investors on Reddit used the platform to organize the purchase of stocks from companies that hedge funds had "bet" against. The result was a massive transfer of wealth from the hedge funds to the people. Of course, corporate and party elites were set on stopping the little guy from beating them at their own game (while having no qualms about questionable trading at Senator Feinstein's house). It remains to be seen what will happen next, but the crazy trading on Wall Street is a sign that the populist movement continues to grow.

JEN AND "LADYG": There are relatively few policy positions AoA shares with press secretary Jen Psaki, but we love her new name for Lindsey Graham: LadyG. We're all but certain Graham's homosexuality is an open secret in D.C. yet were it publicly recognized he would never be reelected in South Carolina. Not surprisingly conservative media, otherwise critical intolerance from the sexual Left, is happy to apply the term "homophobic" to Psaki.

STATES STRIKING BACK: As the Left continues to attack America's heritage through classroom indoctrination while big tech censors and cancels conservative thought, the states are beginning to strike back. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has declared war on big tech, threatening huge fines for censoring conservatives. North Dakota seems ready to follow suit. Meanwhile conservative controlled states will examine how American history is taught in hopes of curbing the anti-American sentiments so common in classrooms over the past twenty years. But it's not all partisan. Liberal Tulsi Gabbard recently released a statement that called big tech, Adam Schiff, and John Brennan "domestic enemies" - a bold move that even few conservatives are willing to make.