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.



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


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?


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. 


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.