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


Saturday, October 30, 2021

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30

by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

PAPAL COLD SHOULDER: Joe Biden is so unpopular that the Catholic leader of the United States is getting a bit of a cold shoulder from Pope Francis - who has decided not to have any live press coverage of their meeting. 

AQUINAS ON THE UNNATURAL LAW: Dr. Scott Hahn gave an excellent presentation on law, the natural law, and the law of sin - or the unnatural law. We highly recommend watching.

LAST RITES DENIED: A Catholic statesmen in the UK was mortally stabbed - by what at first glance seems to be a Salafi extremist - during a local town hall event with his constituents in a church. But in an act more egregious than the assassination itself, the police would not allow a Catholic priest to give him last rites - thus jeopardizing the man's soul in his final moments. Their reasoning? Despite having the assassin in handcuffs, possession of the murder weapon, and multiple witnesses attesting to the attack, the police feared the priest would contaminate the crime scene. One can only suspect an anti-Catholic and/or an anti-conservative bias at play. At least The Guardian is demanding that the reception of last rites be a codified under British law as a right.

NO GODFATHERS ALLOWED: The small Sicilian city of Catania, Italy is banning godfathers for the next three years over the way the selection of godfathers is used to make mafia connections. Is this the best solution? One would think a limit - such as a family member - be temporarily imposed. Nevertheless, the fact that the mafia is effectively destroying the vital role of godfather in the lives of Catholics is a sign that the mafia is still winning this war. A nation steeped in the mafia already has a weakened fraternal life - but bishops who respond in this way are only weakening the Christian bonds of patriarchy and fraternity within the Church as well. 

ANGLICAN BISHOP CONVERTS: Michael Nazir-Ali, a British-Pakistani who was formerly the Anglican bishop of Rochester - and often critical of his church liberal teachings - is crossing the Tiber and coming home to Rome as a Catholic priest. The well-known cleric's conversion is not merely a great boon for the Church, but a sign that the Anglican ordinariate set up by Benedict XVI may pay huge dividends down the road.


II. AMERICAN POLITICS

NOT HYPERBOLE: Biden said this week it is "not hyperbole" to say that Democrat control of Congress - along with his presidency - are all on the line unless they are able to pass some spending bill.

REMAIN IN MEXICO RETURNS: After ending the very successful "Remain in Mexico" under President Trump, Biden has allowed the country to be overrun by migrant hordes and now plans to resume Trump's policy.

FAUCI'S HOUSE OF HORRORS: Dr. Fauci is embroiled in yet another controversy as it was recently discovered the NIH was unnecessarily allowing dogs to be slowly eaten alive "for science". As Jon Stewart reminded us on Colbert's late show, too many scientists are happy to do the abhorrent in the name of science. Sometimes doing so harms more than just dogs. The current pandemic might be proof of this.


III. THE NATIONS

PUTIN ON THE DANGERS OF WOKISM: Vladimir Putin reminds us all that "woke" ideology is not new. It was tried in 1917 Russia and in the decades proceeding followed. It was a disaster in Russia and he warns us to not let it happen here. More from Putin with Dr. Steve Turley commentary can be viewed here.

SUDAN MILITARY COUP: A military coup has overthrown the government in Sudan.

RISING TENSIONS: The US and its NATO allies are ramping up tensions with China and Russia. As the US seems to signal its support for Taiwan's independence, the Taiwanese government opening stated US troops are on the ground on the island. Meanwhile, Turkish drones assisted Ukraine attack a separatist artillery unit and temporarily seize a town. Given Turkey's membership in NATO, this means that NATO forces have actively assisted Ukraine inch closer to war with Russia.


IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

FEMINISTS STERILIZATIONS: An increasing number of young feminists are having themselves sterilized. If demographics is destiny, conservatives with large families are destined to supplant the anti-human Leftists and their self-destructive acts of body mutilation. 

FIRED FOR BEING WHITE: A federal grand jury has awarded a man $10 million after they found his employer - seeking to promote "diversity" - had fired him for being white and replaced him with a black woman and white woman. It's very good to see the courts - and ordinary citizens - apply civil rights laws equally for all citizens and warn employers of what is to come if they apply critical race theory in the workplace. 

MOVIE "SHOOT": Alec Baldwin killed the cinematographer and wounded the director of his new film, Rust, in an accidental shooting on set. Though an accident, it is entirely possible Baldwin will be charged, not only because he was the shooter, but also because his role as producer leaves him liable for safety on set. What is going under reported is that the armorer - who is in charge of set weaponry - is an inexperienced 24-year old woman (who allegedly on a previous film handed an unchecked gun to an 11 year old). Under her watch, no fewer that three gun misfires have taken place on the set of Rust

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23

by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE: We invites our readers to watch the newest livestream class from Religion, Sex, and Politics entitled Understanding the Bible. The one hour class provides excellent information on the nature of divine revelation, the biblical narrative, and how to interpret the Bible.

MILITARY ARCHBISHOP ON MANDATES: Archbishop Broglio, who shepherds Catholics in the US military, has declared conscience rights of Catholics in the ranks who now face off against the Biden-imposed vaccine mandate. This comes as Biden is not only threatening nearly half of the military still unvaccinated, but is also threatening unvaccinated SEALS - perhaps America's healthiest men - with a lawsuit to repay the costs of their training.

TURKSON DEFENDS BIDEN: We were no fans of Cardinal Peter's Turkson's seeming campaign for the papacy back in 2013. His defense of "Catholic" Joe Biden on Holy Communion makes us all the more weary of this African cardinal.


II. AMERICAN POLITICS

SHARED ACCOUNT: Hunter and Joe shared a bank account which could leave Joe holding the bag for any criminal actions Hunter might have taken with the assistance of that bank account. What are the odds this will be investigated by Congress once the Republicans sweep into power next year?

#FREEDOMFLU: Corporations like Southwest Airlines are coming under increasing pressure as workers apparently call in sick over vaccine mandates, effectively costing the company millions of dollars. Some on the left are calling this, perhaps the most peaceful of peaceful protests, domestic terrorism. For its part, Southwest has caved to the #freedomflu and abandoned plans to put unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave.

INSANITY IN CHICAGO: Almost half of the Chicago PD are unvaccinated and at risk of losing their jobs. Leftist mayor, Lori Lightfoot, is doing what leftists do - calling them insurrectionists. She is also abusing the emergency support service by requesting suburban police ready themselves to step in as she considers wiping out half of her police force. Some argue the vaccine mandates are doing exactly what defund-the-police movement failed to do.

DEFENDING TAIWAN: According to a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, the US cannot defend Taiwan from China, and it knows it. Yet bumbling Biden continues to make gaffe after gaffe regarding US commitment to the island. It's good to know that China is not taking American belligerence seriously as they know they will have total dominance of the Taiwan Straits should an invasion of Taiwan ever take place. At this point, how can anyone take Biden seriously on any major issue?

FUNDING GAIN-OF-FUNCTION: The NIH has changed its story on coronavirus gain-of-function research. It turns out it did fund this form of biological weaponry and Dr. Fauci lied to Congress.


III. THE NATIONS

THE EU STRIKES BACK: The globalists in the EU have struck a series of blows against conservative populist-nationalists in eastern Europe. First the the center-right chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, resigned amid a corruption scandal, then the conservative leadership in the Czech Republic fell from power in national elections. Poland is in a struggle with the EU to retain national sovereignty over its own lands. The sights are now on Hungarian president, Viktor Orban, who faces re-election challenges next year

GEORGIA EX-PRESIDENT ARRESTED: While the weapons manufacturer turned-Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, continues to press Russia's red line by "leaving the door open" for Georgia to enter NATO, the globalists in the EU and America are stoking revolution in the small nation on Russia's southern border. The Russia-hating, Georgian ex-present, Mikheil Saakashvili, who was in exile after warrants were issued for his arrest, mysteriously returned to Georgia and was immediately arrested. The time was everything. He arrived just ahead of national municipal elections in hopes of stirring unrest. While the party in power narrowly won the elections, the party of Saakashvili is rejecting the results. Political chaos in Georgia makes the tiny nation one-step closer to collapse and political reorientation away from Russia.

MAPING WORLD CONFLICTS: Where are the world's current conflicts taking place? See this map to find out.

SILVER TRADE VISUALIZED: Silver is not only a precious metal in its own right, it's used in electronics and the renewable energy industry in addition to jewelry. We invite our readers to examine this chart that visualizes the silver trade.

WHICH NATION IS BEING SERIOUS? American military and political leaders were "stunned" to learn of China's new hypersonic missile tests. Their response? Slap the four stars of a full admiral on a man who identifies as woman - with no previous military career - then declare "she" was the first "woman" to be a four star admiral in the US Public Health Service. Which nation is being serious about using its military to pursue its best interests?


IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

SUPERMAN GOES WOKE: The full scale, woke, SJW assault on America's superheroes continues as DC Comics announced that Superman will be bi-sexual. They followed this up by replacing "the American way" from his motto with "a better tomorrow," while rebranding the "motto" as a "mission statement". Our superheroes remind us of who we are, what we are called to be, and against whom we must fight. As such, these cultural heroes must be attacked and repurposed by the leftist cultural coup.

BORIS JOHNSON THE PRIDE FLAG: Boris Johnson's government is taking a stand against the new transgender-BLM version of the gay pride flag. No he's not banning the "pride" flag. He wants to fly the "traditional" pride flag. Because "conservatives" will conserve whatever liberals imposed on the world twenty years past.

NAVY ENGINEER, WIFE, ACCUSED OF ESPIONAGE: The Maryland couple are under arrest for attempting to sell our nuclear secrets. A BLM sign can be seen outside their home's doorway. 

TRANS RAPE IN VIRGINIA: As Virginia prepares for its gubernatorial elections next month, reports are emerging of a Loudon County school district covered up for a transgender boy who assaulted - and allegedly even raped - school girls in the girls' bathroom, to which he has complete unfettered access because he "identifies" as a girl. We hope Virginia wakes up to the next level of sexual chaos being imposed on us by the left.

"SPOOKY" IS A RACIST NOW, TOO? Scotland's National Theater has declared "spooky" a racist word. It joins the long list of words, objects, and actions that fall under what we would call racial pareidolia - seeing racism when it isn't really there.

Friday, October 15, 2021

October 15: Memorial of St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor

[first published October 15, 2014]

 "Lord you have told us that you live forever in the hearts of the chaste. By the prayers of the virgin, Teresa, help us to live by your grace and remain a temple of your Holy Spirit."
               (Morning prayer from the Common of Virgins)


                                                     


Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) was born in the same Spanish era that sent  Columbus across an ocean to plant the  Christian cross in the Americas. Praying the Church's office of this day prepares our minds to understand the feminine and the sacral character of that other land to explore: the interior life. The Church's teaching on the romance of monogamy is always set against the deeper truths of interiority and virginal fruitfulness which are lived out in the lives of virgin saints and the present practices of religious sisters. Teresa was a Carmelite.


An excerpt from the writings of Saint Teresa:

If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight.

Many, many times I have perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we wish his Sovereign Majesty to reveal to us great and hidden mysteries. A person should desire no other path, even if he is at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example.

What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and embedded in his heart...



From a 1948 column by Dorothy Day in the Catholic Worker paper:

St. Teresa of Avila has a great deal to say of women's ailments. "The first thing we have to do," she writes firmly in The Way of Perfection, "and that at once, is to rid ourselves of love for this body of ours -- and some of us pamper our natures so much that this will cause us no little labor, while others are so concerned about their health that the trouble these things give us (this is especially so of poor nuns, but it applies to others as well), is amazing. Some of us, however, seem to think that we embraced the religious life for no other reason than to keep ourselves alive and each nun does all she can to that end. In this house, as a matter of fact, there is very little chance for us to act on such a principle, but I should be sorry if we even wanted to. Resolve, sisters, that it is to die for Christ, and not to practice self indulgence for Christ, that you have come here. The devil tells us that self indulgence is necessary if we are to carry out and keep the Rule of our Order, and so many of us, forsooth, try to keep our Rule by looking after our health, that we die without having kept it for as long as a month -- perhaps even for a day . . ."

Newman writes that the greatest tragedy is that so few of us have even begun to live, when we die. Not even to make a beginning! 
St. Teresa goes on, "No one need be afraid of our committing excesses here, by any chance -- for as soon as we do any penances our confessors begin to fear that we shall kill ourselves with them . . ."

                                                     


"Virgins show forth the beauty of God’s grace. They are the image of God that reflects the holiness of the Lord; they are the more illustrious members of Christ’s flock. They are the glory of mother church and manifest her fruitfulness. The more numerous her virgins are, the greater is her joy." 
          (From a sermon by St Cyprian, bishop and martyr)




UPDATE: On the celebration of her 500th birthday.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Feast of October 12th—Mary, Columbus, Catholic America, and the Cosmic Race


(first published on October 12, 2012)



The practice of turning specific national days of remembrance into long family weekends by observing the nearest Monday domesticates the public liturgy of civic life. It also diminishes other ties that may resonate with the date itself. October 12 is one such day.  The 12th of October is the most important Marian feast day of Spain. Our Lady of the Pillar appeared to St. James there in the earliest evangelization of the Iberian peninsula. It is the only reported apparition of Our Lady before her assumption into heaven. [James returned to Judea, where he was executed in the year 44 -- the first Apostle to be martyred].

In 1492, the Genoan explorer Christopher Columbus sailed west under the sponsorship of Spanish monarchs to find a route to the Indies unobstructed by Muslim threats. The Moors (North African and Spanish Muslims) had just been expelled from Spain after centuries of war.  Columbus had told his seamen after two months at sea if they did not see land by the feast of Our Lady of Pillar, they would turn back.

On October 11, 1492, an island in the present day Bahamas was sighted. They set foot on land the next day.



In Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and many other countries of Hispanic America, October 12 is celebrated as Dies de Raza: “the day of the race.”  This term was used by a Mexican philosopher, Antonio Caso, in 1918 to celebrate the mixture of Spanish and indigenous cultures to shape “the Mexican mestizo race.”  Caso wrote eloquently against the Darwinian notion of survival of fittest and scientific empiricism as the only way to knowledge. He included his philosophical life as an apostle of intuition and love as the highest human expression.  In more recent years the American  mixing of bloods has been given a more malignant interpretation. Venezuela under President Hugo Chavez, in 2002, changed the day to the Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance). The noble savage and purity of Indian blood prevails!

Christopher Dawson said, “The Catholic and Protestant worlds have been divided from one another by centuries of war and power politics… nowhere is this state of things more striking than in America, where the English Protestant North and the Spanish Catholic South formed two completely different worlds which had no mental contact with one another.”

October 12 is a perfect  day to celebrate how we Americans are going to bridge that gap under the inspiration of Our Lady of the Pillar – and Our Lady of Guadalupe who reappeared 1500 years later in a different dress to show us the next steps on the same path. For sure it is a great day to celebrate the unmitigated blessing of bringing the good news of Christianity to the Americas. On October 12, Columbus the bearer of Christ had a great REUNION with long lost relatives mutually  descendant from Adam and Eve. The Reunion of humanity will occur when we recognize the  Fatherhood of God and the Kingship of Christ, Head of the  Church, and alpha male of the human race(species).



UPDATE: Walter Russell Mead does a good job of explaining the Catholic fraternal origins of Columbus Day in America.

Our review of a book on Columbus by Samuel Eliot Morison.

2017 update: In light of Catalonia vote for independence from Spain this year's October 12 National Day celebration(for the nation of Spain) took on a renewed vigor. Unfortunately the real binding force of Spain-the Catholic religion-is still underplayed in secularist Spain.  One third of the clerical killings during the Red Terror of the Spanish Civil War occurred in Catalonia.

2108 Update:
The most famous philosopher of La Raza is Jose Vasconcelos (1882-1959).  He wrote The Cosmic Race ( La Raza Cosmica) in 1925.  He sees the spiritual role of the Americas to be the grounds where all the races are reconciled through intermarriage in a new spiritual "cosmic race". He contrasts this with the Anglo Saxon approach of trying to create a separate utilitarian superior race forever.  He thought Hitler understood race and spirituality better than the technocratic and soulless British and Western allies. He has been tarred as a Nazi by many modern critics.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the feminine face of racial reconciliation as a unique mark of the Americas.  The dark skinned virgin reminds us that the Church like the Americas is the place of racial reconciliation under God.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9

by A. Joseph Lynch

R&G NEWS ROUND UP

MAKING MASS MEANINGFUL: This week the Religion, Sex, & Politics YouTube channel hosted its first livestream class entitled Making Mass Meaningful. We invite our readers to watch the presentation and join the channel for the next class on Thursday, October 21 at 7 PM (central time) featuring a presentation about Sacred Scripture.

FRENCH SEX ABUSE REPORT: A new, 2,500+ page report from France has revealed that some 330,000 French youth - 80% of whom were underage boys - were sexually abused by more than 3,000 Catholic priests and by church employees since 1950. It is another stunning revelation of homosexual pederasty within the Church's hierarchy that must be dealt with or risk the total collapse of (what's left of) the Church in Western Europe.

SWISS GUARDSMEN RETREAT: The vaccine insanity plaguing the Vatican is claiming victims among the Swiss Guard, the warrior men willing to lay down their lives in order to protect the Pope. At least three guardsmen have been forced to resign - perhaps the first to do so in centuries, if ever - because, given their health and high survival probability, they refuse to take the experimental COVID vaccines. It's a tragic moment for the Swiss Guard that could be used to press forward with certain plans to add women to its ranks.

SERRA STATUE INSTITUTIONALLY TOPPLED: The statue of Junipero Serra, the Catholic saint who evangelized and served the native populations of the west, was toppled first by anti-Christian rioters and has now been institutionally toppled by Newsom and his far-Left Democrat allies in California's statehouse. And replacing it will be a statue to the Indians with no mention of the charitable services rendered to them by great men like St. Junipero Serra. The saint has been doubly desecrated. God help California.  

JORDAN-SYRIA NORMALIZATION: Relations appear to be on the mend between Jordan and Syria after their leaders shared a phone call for the first time in over a decade. The two countries are moving forward with normalization and it appears it is the next step towards the war's end. Turkey is under pressure to make peace as well. Rumors are swirling that the Turks may give back Idlib province to Syria, return Syrian refugees, and sponsor global Syrian reconstruction efforts... in return for the Syrian government clamping down on Syrian Kurds. Time will tell, but with the 2023 elections nearing the horizon, Erdogan is hard pressed to end the war that Assad has clearly won.

DUTERTE RETIRES: Rodrigo Duterte will not be running for vice president after all. Instead, he surprised the world by announcing his retirement from politics. Despite indicating his daughter would run in his place, it appears she will keep her sights set on running for mayor of Davao (the Philippines third largest city). While we're glad to hear she will not run for president, we wonder what is to come of Duterte and the path forward he set for his nation.

PORTLAND FD GETS BULLETPROOF VESTS: Firefighters in bulletproof vests. This is what you get when a city cancels its police while its civic leaders abdicate all authority to govern. 

PHILLY OUT OF CONTROL: In another out-of-control city, Philadelphia police could only look on as street racers ran donuts around their squad car - and even danced on top of it - outside of city hall. 

CITY AS ESCHATON AND SACRAMENT: Considering the Christian theology surrounding the city, the current chaos in the cities is truly demonic. Be it Revelation's depiction of the holy city come down from heaven or St. Augustine's City of God, the city is a central image in Christian theology. In order to reflect on this reality, we invite readers to listen to a talk from the Thomistic Institute entitled The City As Eschaton And Sacrament.

ARE PARENTS DOMESTIC TERRORISTS? Attorney General Garland is seeking prosecute (and persecute) parents and teachers who question the propaganda being imposed on school children via public education. This comes as thousands of parents demand an end to masking and the teaching of (racist) critical race theory. Garland may have a vested interest in the battle, however, as his family is in the business of selling critical race theory materials to schools.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

October 7: The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

The Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary in commemoration of the victory of Christian forces at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. The call to arms against the Ottoman Muslim Turks was sounded by a Dominican Pope: Pius V. It was largely Catholic city-states and military orders who answered his call. They were led by Don Juan of Austria. The events are memorialized in G.K. Chesterton's poem on Lepanto.

Rather than act as the military commander, Pope Pius V called on laymen to do their protective duties as holders of the civic sword. The Pope led Rome and the Christian world in prayers -- notably the beautiful reflection on the life of Christ known as the Rosary

The Church dedicates this day not to the men of the sword, but to Our Lady of the Rosary. This is not a day to  forget the men of the sword, but to keep the sword under religious discipline. There is great significance in tying devotion to Our Lady with the martial vigor of statesmen-warriors. It is a feast day reminding us and celebrating the Christian order of chivalry.

The lessons for men today should be obvious. The duty of clergymen to lead us in the sacrifice of prayer must often be matched by the duty of laymen to lead us in the sacrifice of protective wars.


Video Update: Spanish-speaking Catholics deepen our sense of history in reminding us that before Lepanto there was the centuries-long battle to evict the Muslim Moors from Spain (completed 1492 just before Columbus discovered the New World). From Lepanto came Miguel de Cervantes who would write the great Spanish classic, Don Quixote. Here is an excellent short video on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the historic battle:



UPDATE: There are two other events which we commemorate as victories of Christian men in arms against Islamic invasion. The first is the Battle of Tours in 732 (a century after the death of Muhammad) in which the Muslim forces were stopped in France by Charles "The Hammer" Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne.

And the other is the Battle of Vienna in 1683, which ended the threat posed by the Ottoman Turks. The Polish king, John Sobieski, was hailed by pope and common folk as the savior of Christendom.

Monday, October 4, 2021

October 4: Feast of Saint Francis

From an essay by Samuel Gregg:


"Franciscan peace is not something saccharine. Hardly! That is not the real Saint Francis! Nor is it a kind of pantheistic harmony with forces of the cosmos. That is not Franciscan either! It is not Franciscan, but a notion that some people have invented!"
These words were not articulated by a representative of the Texas oil industry. They were spoken in a homily given by Pope Francis himself during a much-publicized visit to Assisi in October 2013. Moreover, after emphasizing how Saint Francis [d. 1226] underscored man’s need to respect the natural world and “help it grow, to become more beautiful and more like what God created it to be,” the Pope added: “above all, Saint Francis witnesses to respect for everyone, he testifies that each of us is called to protect our neighbor, that the human person is at the center of creation, at the place where God—our creator—willed that we should be.”

Such ideas about Saint Francis don’t fit well with some portrayals of the medieval hermit and friar that have emerged in recent decades. Many of these have been developed...to exploit Francis for numerous contemporary religious and political agendas, ranging from pacifism to radical environmentalism. Franco Zefferelli’s well-known 1972 film "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" presented the saint, for example, as a type of winsome eccentric who was all about shattering conventionality. In his 1982 book Francis of Assisi: A Model of Human Liberation, the liberation theologian Leonardo Boff portrayed Francis as one who, conceptually speaking, would help us move away from a world dominated by “the bourgeois class that has directed our history for the past five hundred years"...

The text to which I always turn whenever claims about Francis of Assisi are made is Augustine Thompson O.P’s meticulously researched Francis of Assisi: A New Biography (2012). The real strength of this biography is the way it rigorously analyzes the documentary record and sources and shifts out what is reliable from that which is hearsay and legend.

So what are some aspects of Saint Francis’s life detailed in Thompson’s book that will surprise many? One is that although he sought radical detachment from the world, Francis believed that he and his followers should engage in manual labor in order to procure necessities like food. Begging was always a secondary alternative (29). Another is that Francis thought that the Church’s sacramental life required careful preparation, use of the finest sacred vessels (32), and proper vestments (62). This is consistent with Francis’s conviction that one’s most direct contact with God was in the Mass, “not in nature or even in service to the poor” (61). While Francis is rightly called a peacemaker and one who loved the poor, Thompson stresses the saint’s “absolute lack of any program of legal or social reforms” (37). The word “poverty” itself appears rarely in Francis’s own writing (246). It seems Francis also thought that it was absolute rather than relative poverty which “always had a claim on compassion” (40).

When it came to Catholic dogma and doctrine, Francis was no proto-dissenter. He was, as Thompson puts it, “fiercely orthodox” (41), even insisting in later life that friars guilty of liturgical abuses or dogmatic deviations should be remanded to higher church authorities (135-136). Hence it shouldn’t surprise us that Francis’s famous conversation in Egypt in 1219 with Sultan al-Kamil and his advisors wasn’t an exercise in interfaith pleasantries. While Francis certainly did not mock Islam, the saint politely told his Muslim interlocutors that he was there to explicate the truth of the Christian faith and save the sultan’s soul (66-70). Nothing more, nothing less.

by Bernardo Strozzi (d. 1644)

Francis is of course especially remembered by Christians and others for his love of nature, so much so that another saint, John Paul II, proclaimed him the patron saint of “those who promote ecology”... Francis’s deep affinity with nature and animals was underscored by those who knew him. The killing of animals or seeing them suffer upset him deeply (56). In this regard and many others, Francis didn’t see the natural world and animals as things to be feared or treated solely as resources for use (57).

Unlike many other medieval religious reformers, however, Francis rejected abstinence from meat and wasn’t a vegetarian. Nor was there a trace of pantheism in Francis’s conception of nature (56). Francis’s references and allusions to nature in his writings, preaching, and instruction were overwhelmingly drawn from the scriptures rather than the environment itself (55). More generally, Francis saw the beauty in nature and the animal world as something that should lead to worship and praise of God (58)—not things to be invested with god-like qualities. G.K. Chesterton’s 1923 popular biography of Francis makes a similar point: though he loved nature, Francis never worshipped nature itself. Francis’s relationship to nature, Thompson observes, shouldn’t be romanticized. The saint even viewed vermin and mice, for example, as “agents of the devil” (225).

No one should be stunned by any of this. Saint Francis of Assisi was, after all, a Catholic. He therefore accepted the Jewish and Christian insight that not only is the Creator the Lord of his creation, but that the summit of his created world is man. Awareness of this basic truth, according to Saint Ignatius of Loyola—the founder of the Jesuit order to which Pope Francis belongs—is central to growing closer to God. In his 'Spiritual Exercises,' Ignatius identifies the “fundamental principle” for overcoming self as knowing that:
"Man has been created to praise, reverence and serve our Lord God, thereby saving his soul. Everything else on earth has been created for man’s sake, to help him achieve the purpose for which he has been created. So it follows that man has to use them as far as they help and abstain from them where they hinder his purpose."
Neither Ignatius of Loyola nor Francis of Assisi treated the created world as a rosy abstraction. Appreciating and respecting the environment didn’t mean disdaining everything else—including human beings, human work, and human creativity—or forgetting that, as the Church Father, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, once wrote: “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

However much legend and mythology has blurred the real Francis of Assisi over time, the genuine drama of his life and the forces he unleashed in medieval Europe mean that he’s perhaps fated to have any number of ideological programs thrust upon him. In the end, however, we should remember that while Francis of Assisi continues to have many things to say to everyone today, at the core of all those things is the Catholic vision of God, man and the world.

One can safely say that, for Saint Francis himself, any other interpretation would be impossible.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2

by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

RELIGION, SEX, & POLITICS LIVESTREAMS: Our YouTube channel will begin weekly educational livestreams on Thursday's at 7 PM, beginning with a special event on October 7 entitled Making Mass Meaningful. Visit the channel, subscribe, and ring the bell to be notified when we go live.

IS GOD A "THEY"? The Jesuits are at it again. With transgender nonsense all the rage, it comes as no surprise that some are making renewed calls for gender-neutral pronouns for God. Yet God is "He" because gendered language is based in reality. One of the two most fundamental realities in the Christian faith is that "God became man" in Jesus. Not merely "man" in the generic sense, but a man in the gendered sense. To deny the maleness of Christ or the use of gendered male pronouns for God is heresy - and it stems in large part to the gender confusion so rampant today. Indeed, a further defense of gendered language for God is a key strategy we can use to reject the gender confusion of our times. 

ITALIAN PRIEST ARRESTED: Further clerical filth within the Church has been revealed as an Italian priest is arrested for selling date rape drugs at gay parties, and stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the Church for his gay lifestyle. Yet had it not been for the crimes, would this priest's open homosexual acts - which include throwing lavish gay parties at his home - have been revealed? We hear time and time again from Catholics that "we all knew" about a particular cleric's homosexual lifestyle, but when will Catholic laity step up, get word out, and see these clerics removed long before they get into the kinds of criminal behavior we're seeing? The clerical pedophilia scandal may be in the rear window, yet the homosexual sex scandals are clearly still ahead of us.

THE VATICAN COVID CONNIPTION: Despite teaching that the dignity of the human person requires that no one be compelled to take the vaccine, the Vatican is now not only requiring visitors to be vaccinated but will no longer pay unvaccinated employees their salaries. What happened to all that talk about the "dignity of the human person" and paying just wages? But are these so-called "green passes" really necessary to ward off the pandemic? According to Israel's Minister of Health caught over a hot mic, no: 'There is no medical or epidemiological justification for the COVID passport, it is only intended to pressure the unvaccinated to vaccinate."

"APOSTLES" OF NY "CATHOLIC" GOVERNOR: The new "Catholic" governor of New York says that those who are not vaccinated are not following God's will and that she needs "apostles" to preach the good news of the vaccine. At what point do vaccine enthusiasts form their own cult? Indeed, the band Kaiser Chiefs seemed to run their own evangelical-style worship service for the new cult at a recent concert. Words like "clean" associated with the vaxxed and "unclean" with those who are not, connote religious language which can easily be weaponized by the godless - be it COVID hysterics today or Nazis in the past - to criminalize, dehumanize, and even eradicate those deemed "unclean".


II. AMERICAN POLITICS

MARINE JAILED, MILLEY FREE: An outspoken critic of America's military leadership has been jailed for demanding accountability over the botched Afghan withdrawal. So far this man is the only person facing any repercussions over Afghanistan. The marine commander tried to resign his commission in protest only to be arrested. Meanwhile, in testimony before Congress, General Milley argued he couldn't have resigned in protest last summer because our thirteen soldiers who died during the bungled withdrawal couldn't resign. Did he ever stop to think that had he and other top military brass resigned last summer then maybe these Americans - and later Afghani civilians he bombed - would still be alive? And after defending his - perhaps treasonous - backchannel communications with the Chinese, when will Milley be put in the brig?

BIDEN AGENDA IN SHAMBLES: Democrats have passed legislation that will keep the government funded into December - yet in doing so have lost leverage over the "progressive" wing of their party. Because of this, demands are being made from the far left that both the $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill AND the $3.5 trillion social spending bill be passed. Standing in their way are rock solid "no" votes from senators Manchin and Sinema (who is coming under massive pressure from Arizona Democrats to cave). As it stands, it looks like nothing will be moving forward anytime soon... and the clock is ticking down on an October 18 default on the national debt. More from Dr. Steve Turley

ARIZONA AUDIT REPORT: Last Friday afternoon the company auditing the 2020 election in Arizona's Maricopa County released the results of its work. That morning, however, the media spin machine began releasing reports that the recount portion of the work only found that Biden won... by more votes than the official tally. What wasn't reported were all the inconsistencies discovered in the actual audit. These inconsistencies include: 
  • 23,344 mail-in ballots voted from a prior address
  • 9,041 more ballots returned by voters than received
  • 17,322 duplicates of early voting ballot return envelopes
  • Voters potentially voted in multiple counties
  • Allegations of deletions by Maricopa County voting officials
  • 86,391 voters have no identity match
The results of the Arizona Audit have even led one Trump-hating British commentator to admit: Trump was right, the election was rigged. More on this from Dr. Steve Turley.

HUNTER'S LATOP FILES AUTHENTICATED: Investigative reporter, Glenn Greenwald, recounts how the Hunter Biden laptop story - 2020's "October surprise" - was suppressed by the CIA, the media, and big tech in order to cover for Joe Biden and his drug-addict, money-hungry son Hunter. The New York Post - the nation's oldest newspaper - was even locked out of Twitter for a time over its coverage. It turns out that the laptop was neither "hacked" nor was it "Russian disinformation" as we were told. Politico, which big tech and media outlets considers "privileged" enough to publish its stories without censorship, is confirming the laptop emails - including an email about "10 for the Big Guy" and access to high level officials in China (both alleging payouts to Biden for access). A recently leaked email revealed Hunter would, in exchange for $2 million, essentially use his father's influence to release billions of frozen Libyan assets. It was clear a year ago that cover was being given for Hunter and Joe, but why the change in reporting now? Is this part of the pressure campaign on Biden to step down?


III. THE NATIONS

CASPIAN REPORT ON AUKUS: Caspian Report offers its analysis on the AUKUS fiasco that is dividing the "Western" alliance structure.

2021 SCO SUMMIT: While the US is busy alienating its allies, Russia and China have been busy integrating the Asian landmass under their leadership through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization ("SCO"). The recent summit not only saw the involvement of major leaders Xi Jinping, Putin, and Modi, but it also approved the entry of Iran. In doing so, China and Russia hope to alleviate Iran's economic woes and incentivize it to give up on nuclear weapons. As Biden and the the neoliberals/neoconservatives only plan for war, Russia and China are hard at work to create economic prosperity and peace in Asia.

TESTING PROPGANDA: In taking emergency use authorized vaccines, every vaccinated American has become a scientist's guinea pig for testing. But testing experimental drugs isn't the only thing governments have been testing during the pandemic. In Canada, the military used the outbreak as an opportunity to test propaganda on the Canadian people


IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

WARNING ON FOUNDING DOCUMENTS: According the National Archives, documents such as the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence might be "difficult to stomach" and have received a warning label. To be sure, this is one of the multi-pronged attacks on America and its identity. The Left's vision for America requires a revolution, one that would require new founding documents. Warning labels is just one step towards eliminating our founding documents from civics classes (or what's left of civics classes) and further calls to create a "new" America with new founding documents.

DENZEL WASHINGTON ON GOD AND MEN: A good news article reporting on Denzel Washington's recent talk from a Baptist conference called The Better Man Event

GENDER REVOLUTIONARIES MARCH ON: With fewer than 50% of the people voting, the tiny (supposedly Catholic) European country of San Marino has voted to legalize abortion. Meanwhile Switzerland is legalizing gay marriage. Liz Cheney, the Trump-hating neocon daughter of Dick Cheney, now says she was wrong to oppose gay marriage. "The West" continues its downward spiral