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


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, MARCH 26

THE WEEKLY BRIEF
BY A. JOSEPH LYNCH

WAR IN UKRAINE IN VIDEO
A CONSECRATION OF RUSSIA?
THE DENAZIFICATION OF RUSSIA
DID UKRAINE WANT WAR WITH RUSSIA?
AN AMERICAN MERCENARY'S PERSPECTIVE
IS UKRAINE TURNING ITS KIDS INTO NEO-NAZIS

We continue our coverage of Ukraine this week with more videos from Religion, Sex, and Politics. Please feel free to watch the videos below to learn more about the events of the week.

Our first video examines Pope Francis' ill-considered consecration of Russia to the immaculate heart of Mary. Thought the Vatican holds this was done in relation to Fatima in 1984, traditional Catholics argue wrongly that this consecration is the "real" one. 



Our second video explains why Russia speaks of the "denazification" of Ukraine and the history behind the neo-Nazi movement in the country.



In our third video we examine the possibility that - according to Ukrainian leaders - Ukraine might have sought war with Russia. 


Our last two videos this week involve shocking footage from a US mercenary who fled Ukraine as a "trap" for foreign soldiers along with video clips pertaining to the neo-Nazi movement in Ukraine.

 

Friday, March 25, 2022

March 25: LADY DAY

[First published in 2015]

Some questions for Dr. David Pence on this Feast of the Annunciation:

If we had lived in England during the period between the 12th and 18th centuries, we'd be celebrating today as the beginning of the New Year, right? 
                                   
Yes, here we are, exactly nine months before Christmas. This is the day that Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit -- and the Word was made flesh.

Jesus Christ who has always existed as the Son of God is now, with the Virgin's "fiat," incarnated. He is begotten, not made. The human species has been welded to a Divine Person in the Trinity. The species now has an incarnated Head-a center of meaning and gravity that integrates humans in a Body that will incorporate us  forever in an interpersonal relationship of love.


Creation -- and specifically, the human species -- had reached its epitome!  (It will take about eight weeks for Baby Jesu in the womb to become half an inch in size.)

We need to have some rough figures in our head. Matter (the protons, neutrons, and electrons in all atoms) was created almost 14 billion years ago. The first life on earth—the first bacterial cell was imprinted by the Holy Spirit about 4 billion years ago.

The first parents of the human species were probably created around 150,000 years ago. But it is 2000 years ago that the fulcrum event of humanity occurred. This is the true Enlightenment: when God's plan becomes incarnate in a person. The Head takes form and the rest of history is us filling in His Body.  


Where is our species heading?

Our biological destiny is not to eventually produce some new successful mutant that will evolve into a higher form of life. Quite the contrary.

Our highest male and female forms have already appeared and the task before us is to now conform to them more perfectly. At the Annunciation the feminine form was so receptive, so attentive to the Spirit, so submissive to the will of God that her own flesh was incarnated by the Spirit begetting the Son. All of us, as males and females, are trying to bring our souls to that level of responsiveness to the Spirit and submission to the Father so we can play our roles.
                                     




You say that humans are a 'eusocial' species. What does that mean, and what does it have to do with Christianity?

Actually it has a lot  to do with the Body of Christ, the nature of the Eucharist, the meaning of the Church, and the analogical reality between the Trinity and the destiny of the human species. First, I must apologize that I have been unsuccessful in communicating this biological truth which is so clear to me in my head, but which I always fall short at explaining in print or during our conversations.

"Eusocial organism" is a descriptive term from sociobiology, which is the study of the social structure of animals. It's a kind of subset of the larger term ecology. You know how fish swim in schools and wolves run in packs with certain social roles. Well, there is a group of insects called eusocial insects in which the ties of sociobiology go way beyond the pack and herd structures of other animals. The eusocial insects tend to act as a single organism. Reproduction is highly restricted and (wonder of wonders) what distinguishes one sex from the other is not the presence of a sex chromosome (like the 'y' chromosome distinguishes human males from females), but one gender comes from fertilized eggs and the other are "virgin births." Unfertilized eggs become, for instance, male bees. The perfection of bees occurs in how they function as a single organism. The perfection of  human beings will be realized in how we participate as eusocial members of the Body of Christ.

Our alpha male whom we worship is of a virgin birth (parthenogenesis in biology). Our most basic sacrament binds us together by eating the flesh that makes us one Body. We are still persons but we are incorporated persons. In ecology there is another term called symbiosis: organisms living together in some deeply interrelated union. Let me just say these biological phenomena are deeply suggestive of the Trinity, and the interpersonal destiny of human beings in the Body of Christ.

On this feast day of the Incarnation we are celebrating the "engraftment" of the human species into the Second Person of the Trinity. It is true that God comes into the womb of the Virgin and develops, but this is just as Christ comes into us now as the food of the Eucharist. We are emerging as the eusocial organism which the human species was destined to be from the beginning. There are all sorts of physical lessons written in the book of nature which help us see how man's nature is so much more "plastic" (capable of being conformed) than the angels. Lucifer, to his great consternation, recognized what great things the Almighty had planned for His lowly ones.


What's the connection between the Greeks achieving their independence from the Turks, and the feast day we're celebrating?

Ever since the sack of Constantinople in 1453 (marking the demise of the Byzantine Empire's thousand-year run), Greece had been under the thumb of Muslim rule.

On this day in 1821, however, the war of Greek independence against the Ottoman Turks began when Bishop Germanos raised the flag of revolution over a monastery -- and 'Freedom or death' became the motto. The struggle took years but when all seemed lost, the British and the French and the Russians came to the aid of the Greeks. Finally in 1829, Greece became an independent state; and March 25th is their high holy celebration each year.

When you think of the Greek nation, it is fine to remember Pericles and the polis of Athens and Sparta. However, it is the height of ancestral impiety and religious amnesia to forget that the blood and arms that set the Greek nation free came in the name of Christ, not Socrates!




"Through the bottomless mercy of our God,
  one born on high will visit us
to give light to those who walk in darkness..."
              (Gospel of St Luke, chapter 1)




UPDATE: Take a look at this article on the Orthodox patriarch, and how the Russian believers celebrate the feast in Moscow's Cathedral of the Annunciation.

It will be a great American tragedy if we insist on blinding ourselves to the common Christian ties we have with the better and deeper part of Mother Russia.



A line from Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop:
"A life need not be cold, or devoid of grace in the worldly sense, if it were filled by Her who was all the graces; Virgin-daughter, Virgin-mother, girl of the people and Queen of Heaven: le rêve suprême de la chair  [the highest ideal of the flesh]."

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Solemnity of Saint Joseph: Husband, Protector, and Patriarch of Israel

[originally published March 19, 2015]
                     

On March 19, 2013, the pontificate of Francis (the first non-European to sit in the Chair of Peter in 13 centuries) was inaugurated.  In his homily he accepted as his mission that of St. Joseph--to be custos: the protector. 

It is inspiring to read of his trust in Joseph, who taught our Lord what manliness and fatherhood looked like:
"... I would like to tell you something very personal. I like St Joseph very much. He is a strong man of silence. On my desk I have a statue of St Joseph sleeping. While sleeping he looks after the Church. Yes, he can do it! We know that. When I have a problem or a difficulty, I write on a piece of paper and I put it under his statue so he can dream about it. This means: please pray to St Joseph for this problem."
Pope Francis went on to say: “In the Gospels, St. Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness... [Exercising the role of protector as St. Joseph did] means doing so discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand... [The bishop of Rome] must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked St. Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people."

Joseph was the last patriarch of the Old Testament. He was the head of the household of the Lord. He is strong, virile, chaste and silent. He was the living link to King David and Bethlehem. He taught his son to love his country and he incorporated him in the Covenant rituals  of his countrymen.  He repeated the journey of the Israelites in and out of Egypt. He handed his son over on the eight day for the circumcision and naming. He took him to the temple on the 40th day and ransomed him from the death of the first born.  He saved the Virgin Mother and the Baby Savior from the murderer. He taught Our Lord the manual skills of the carpenter craftsman. He brought him to Jerusalem for the public feasts(and we are not sure he was as upset as Mary that Jesus stayed back to do some temple teaching at our Lord's own unique bar mitzvah).  Joseph is the patron of afternoon naps and a good night's sleep because that is when the angels gave him his orders. He is the patron of a good death because he was in the presence of Mary and Jesus when he died. God did not tempt him by keeping him alive for the Crucifixion of his son. We don't know what he might have done. He was not perfect. He would not have run away.       


UPDATE: Two other holy men who had a deep devotion to Joseph the Worker: Pope John XXIII (see his prayer); and Josemaría Escrivá (d. 1975), the Spaniard who founded Opus Dei. In 1955, Pope Pius XII responded to the Communist celebration of Mayday as International Workers Day by Christianizing labor with a May 1 Feast Day celebrating the carpenter craftsman - St Joseph the Worker. The Communist-Socialist holiday was in remembrance of the Chicago Haymarket Massacre in May, 1886.  

Father Escrivá wrote: "I don't agree with the traditional picture of St Joseph as an old man... I see him as a strong young man, perhaps a few years older than our Lady, but in the prime of his life and work."

                           
                                  

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, MARCH 12

THE WEEKLY BRIEF
BY A. JOSEPH LYNCH

WAR IN UKRAINE IN VIDEO
CIVILIZATIONAL CONFLICT (EXTENDED)
THE RUSSIAN WAY OF WAR
THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PERSPECTIVE

We continue our coverage of Ukraine this week with more videos from Religion, Sex, and Politics. Please feel free to watch the videos below to learn more about the events of the week.

Our first video is an extended take on the battle over Ukraine as a civilizational conflict.




Our second video explains why Russia's military strategy is so different from what we see in the way the US wages war.



UPDATE: Our third video regards the perspective of the Russian Orthodox Church on the conflict.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, MARCH 5

THE WEEKLY BRIEF
BY A. JOSEPH LYNCH

WAR IN UKRAINE IN VIDEO
CIVILIZATIONAL CONFLICT 
OVERVIEW OF THE WAR
MAPPING THE WAR ON THE GROUND

Anthropology of Accord is hard at work tracking the ongoing war in Ukraine in hopes of providing you both with good coverage and also with the information you need to understand the conflict. This week we recommend you watch some of the video content we've produced at Religion, Sex, and Politics. Please feel free to watch the videos below to learn more about the events of the week.


Our first video explains the conflict within the intellectual framework put forward by Samuel Huntington in 1996. This war, we argue, is part of the clash of civilizations. Thus while the atheist West characterizes the war in terms of ideology, we with Huntington see the war itself as a conflict within the Orthodox world on the one hand while at the same time being a point of contact and conflict between Orthodox Russia and the atheist West. Ukraine, in other words, sits along a civilizational fault line - and we are now witnessing an earthquake after years of pressure building underneath. The video below also provides some necessary historical context for the events of recent days. All very worth watching.



Our second video examines the war itself. It focuses on the events that led to the war, how Russia is strategically and politically carrying out the war, and what responses we've seen in the world since the war's outbreak.



And finally we have a short map video that explains Russia's strategy on the ground, the military progress it's made, and what we could expect to see in the days ahead.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

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."

(ADDENDUM AUGUST 2018
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.