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


Saturday, August 27, 2022

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

by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

HOLLYWOOD CONVERSION: Hollywood A-lister, Shia LeBeouf, has converted to Catholicism under interesting circumstances - through portraying St Padre Pio in an upcoming film. We strongly suggest our readers watch his full interview with Bishop Robert Barron on the topic, noting how his experience of fraternity with traditional brothers in preparation for the film played a huge role in his conversion. If the Church prioritized helping men be men as brothers we could evangelize the world - and that's precisely how Jesus did it.

A JUDAS PRIEST IN RED? From a story of inspiration we turn to one of horror. A recent expose from Church Militant reveals the sordid tale of how a California priest admittedly groomed a virgin female (possibly in preparation of a Satanic Mass) and how the newly elevated Cardinal McElroy restored him to ministry knowing what he had admitted. The documentary is a must watch, though viewer discretion is advised.  

UKRAINIAN ANGER AT FRANCIS: The Ukrainians are livid with Pope Francis over his renunciation of the car bombing of Darya Dugina, the daughter of Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin. The bombing was conducted by a Ukrainian SBU intelligence officer and is yet the clearest act of Ukrainian terrorism to date. Francis is growing tired of the pressure that the Zelenksy regime is placing upon him regarding their Russian demonization efforts. For his part, Francis wants to visit Moscow, Donbass, and Kiev on a mission of peace and reconciliation. For Ukraine, however, Francis viewed only as a tool to help them make more war, not peace.

ROSARY HIT PIECE: The Atlantic posted a massive hit piece on the Rosary the men who pray it just in time for the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary. More from Taylor Marshall

ELIJAH FIRED? Did God "fire" Elijah because he killed pagan priests? Dr. Taylor Marshall rejects the proposition of Bishop Barron and explains what the Bible really said about Elijah and the slaughter of the pagan priests.


II. AMERICAN POLITICS

TRUMP RAID SEARCH WARRANT: A heavily redacted version of the search warrant used in the FBI raid of Trump's home has been released. So much has been redacted, however, that little has in fact been revealed. According to lawyer Alan Dershowitz, there's nothing from the redacted warrant from which the AG can indict Trump, while another lawyer, Robert Barnes, argues that settled case law made any raid baseless in the first place. Other lawyers from previous administrations agree with Barnes. What's more, despite his statements he had nothing to do with the raid, documents reveal the White House indeed played a massive role. Recall that Trump was impeached for evening referring to Biden's corruption in a call Ukraine's president - we now have a president actually abusing his power to persecute his chief political rival.

2020 ELECTION CONSPIRACIES: We had more stories out this week that point towards 2020 election conspiracies - even the vocal atheist Sam Harris admitted the truth about 2020 (accidentally of course). Meanwhile Jeff Zuckerberg admitted that the FBI was involved in covering for Joe Biden's scandals by pressuring social media giants to censor the truth. The recent guilty verdicts over the diary of Biden's daughter all but proves the authenticity of the diary itself along with the daughter's claims of inappropriate childhood showers she took with the president and her suspicions of being molested. The media coverup of the Hunter Biden laptop and the diary of Ashley Biden at the behest of deep state actors is damning evidence of election interference - and according to TIPP, 8 in 10 American's agree.

TWITTER WHISTLEBLOWER: Elon Musk's war with Twitter took a turn this week as a Twitter whistleblower seemed to agree with Musk's accusations. The looming court case should be filled with fireworks. 


III. THE NATIONS

UKRAINE CORRUPTION: The Gray Zone recently produced an excellent expose on Ukraine's blatant corruption and mishandling of its war with Russia. Well worth the read.

SHELLING A POWER PLANT: Ukraine wants us to believe that Russia is shelling a nuclear power plant under its own control (which it captured in March 2022). The truth is that Ukraine is doing the shelling in hopes of placing enough international pressure on Russia to see the plant's return to Ukrainian control. There are even pro-Ukrainian articles defending Ukraine's attacks as legal under international law. But rather than regain control of the nuclear power plant, Russia has cut off Ukraine from the plant's energy - energy that amounted to a full 20% of Ukraine's power.

MELTDOWN AVERTED: Even Reuters is admitting that the sanctions on Russia have failed. The Russian economy is looking at a mere 4% contraction of its economy this year as the ruble is the world's best performing currency. Russia energy exports remain strong and local businesses have stepped up to replace departing corporations from the atheist West. And none of this is to mention the fact that JP Morgan and Bank of America are returning to the Russian bond trade. The atheist West is losing.

"END OF ABUNDANCE": As Russia fairs far better than expected, Europe continues to crumble. European leaders have issued some of the darkest statements yet. According to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, "the next 5 to 10 winters will be difficult" "...we must be transparent: the coming months will be difficult, the coming winters will be difficult" (note he said "winters" in the plural). Meanwhile French President Macron said: "What we are currently living through is a kind of major tipping point or a great upheaval … we are living the end of what could have seemed an era of abundance … the end of the abundance of products of technologies that seemed always available … the end of the abundance of land and materials including water."


IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

PRO-LIFE RUSSIA AND CHINA: Both Russia and China are now doing what they can to curb abortion and promote larger families. In Russia, a $16,000 award and title are going to women who have at least ten children. Meanwhile China is discouraging abortions to increase its population.

WEEPING BEFORE CONFUCIUS: It's long been said that China is atheist when in fact it is heavily promoting a return to traditional Confucianism. One young woman was recently seen weeping before a statue of Confucius over her failure in a school exam. Those who think the story is really about pressuring the young in education, the fact remains that this girl is an example of China's return to its ancient piety.

CALIFORNIA ABORTION LIMITS: Placing limits on abortion is actually a winning issue. Even 79% of likely California voters agree that some limitations should be placed on the demonic practice. Only 13% believed it should be legal up to the point of birth. And this is yet another reason why the fall of Roe will play a small role in the upcoming midterms.

"BE A REAL HO": Do you think child protective services have your kid's best interest in mind? Think again. One such employee was recently caught trying to coax a child into child prostitution

Thursday, August 25, 2022

August 25: Saint Louis - Authority and the Ruler

by David Pence

"Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee and I have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou shouldest  have no power against me  unless it were given thee from above."
On the same day Jesus rendered unto Ceasar what was his, He perfectly obeyed the authority of His Father. He conquered death in an act of authority over nature that reorganized the biological sphere under a new King. The alpha male of the human species having been born of a perfect Virgin drew a brotherhood of priests unto himself and conferred upon them the authority to maintain His Presence on earth. He made them a special band under a particular leader and ordained that communal hierarchical form of authority for public governance. The Kingdom of God was at hand. The victory of Christ is not a rebellion but a great act of authority and restoration of  proper rule. The great commission was a command to imbibe the new spiritual authority of the apostles in some way with the already existing authority of the civic rulers. The supernatural spiritual organism of the apostolic church was to transform the nations-kingdoms, republics, tribes and cities into a new level of accord.  "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth  has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.' "
                   
King Louis IX of France
There is no personality so absent in contemporary Christian life as the ruler and man of authority. We have been blessed with priests and prophets. We have been cursed by charlatans and weaklings. We hunger for the Kings. Their absence is always a disaster for the weak and the poor. Saint Louis was a king who fought in the Crusades, cared constantly and publicly for the poor of his kingdom, and was a man of deep prayer and many fasts. Here is his beautiful instructive letter to his son that Catholics pray in the Office of Readings every year on his feast day. (A Review of Before Church and State:Social Order in the Sacramental Order of Louis IX)

It is a fundamental obligation of Christian men to rule our civic communities as well as our passions and households. How men participate in civic rule can entail faithful loyalty to a good king or taking up arms as a minuteman in a republic. The servant ruler does not mean that a ruler or citizen soldier relinquishes his sword against external enemies or internal criminals. It means the acts of the ruling authority are done for the good of the community, not the aggrandizement of the ruler. The Shepherd is not a nursemaid. Community without authority recalls the decadent Israel "when every man did as he pleased." Acts of authority are not limited to proclaiming doctrine by churchmen or laws by civil rulers. The actual body -- civic and ecclesial -- must be shaped, pruned, and ruled by the ruling authority. Men are called and promoted. Other men are released. Some men are punished and shamed. Rulers inspire loyalty that shapes men into communal bodies capable of great acts of protection and love.

Saint Louis (b. 1214) did not become a saint by laying down his sword or neglecting the punitive duties of his office. Men obeyed him and some men rightly feared him. Saint Louis, pray for us that God will once again give us men such as thee.
                                                                                   
     
UPDATE:  "We know from Louis’s biographers that 'From the beginning when he came to hold his realm and knew himself of discernment, he began to build churches and many religious houses …' Most celebrated was the Sainte-Chapelle, his royal chapel on the Île de la Cité in Paris."

While on crusade in North Africa, Louis died from sickness in 1270 - four years before the death of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Monday, August 22, 2022

August 22: QUEENSHIP OF MARY - Ruling from the Inside

[first published August 22, 2014]


by David Pence



Keeping sacred time with the Church means that the central events are always prepared for by a season -- Lent for Easter and Advent for Christmas. It also means that solemn feast days are never allowed to come and go with one rising and setting of the Sun. The great solemnities are celebrated as Octaves. Eight days has an ancient meaning as a unit of time signifying a new creation. So, eight days after we celebrated the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven... we are still contemplating her place in her new home as we celebrate her Queenship. A man who desires to love God our Father as a son and build brotherhood in the priesthood, city, and nation can never spend too much time contemplating the perfection of the feminine in Our Lady. These sacral sexual roles depend on each other and are clarified by contrast, complement, and communal context.

Our Lady lived the Trinitarian roles of the woman. She is the daughter of the Father, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the Mother of Jesus. She humbly obeyed her Father. For all His life, she kept hold of her Son wrapped in swaddling at Bethlehem and draped in burial clothes at Gethsemane. Her perfect virginity established a perpetual barrier to the evil of sin while making her permeable to her Spouse: the Holy Spirit. She was "guarded by the angels, prefigured by the patriarchs, and promised by the prophets."

Feminism is the reigning atheist ideology of our day set against the person of Our Lady, as surely as the Dragon was set against her in Revelation. Wherever the confusing mist of feminism infiltrates the mind, statues of our Lady are put in the closet. Wherever feminist language is spoken, her songs are left unsung. Wherever she is photo-shopped into a picture of the Last Supper, the picture of her suffering heart is pulled from the wall as too gruesome. The "feminist implant" of atheist thinking has replaced the armed atheism of Marxism. This is a more devastating lie. Seven demons have filled the house that was swept clear of one. Wherever feminism reigns, Our Lady is dethroned.
 
It is hard for gentlemen to oppose even counterfeit femininity. But we must reject this anti-Marian heresy for the sake of women around the world. The white feminists of the West squandered the moral capital of the Christian interracial movement by twisting the just claims to be colorblind with the less virtuous desire to be sexually confused. The face-to-face sisterhood of Mary visiting Elizabeth was always too small a love for them. Thus they conjure the delusion that the coalition of selfish white female careerists in university, church, and government jobs is a worldwide sisterhood rivaling the masculine protective fraternity of priesthood and nations. Those who kill patriarchy multiply the widows and orphans, and at some point the dark skin of those victims will scream for justice against this racist trickery. Mary did not seek to be an apostle. She is a Queen. As Pope Francis said about women cardinals: "I don’t know where this idea sprang from. Women in the Church must be valued, not ‘clericalised.’ Whoever thinks of women as cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism."

It is an ancient tradition that after Christ’s death, the apostles hid Mary. The Roman soldiers and Jewish high priests could never lay a hand on her. Had they tried, the sword of Peter would not have stayed sheathed. Twenty centuries later the Church with her feast days, prayers, and contemplations tells the whole world who our Lady is and where she is. She is safe now, so the Apostolic Church can publicly proclaim what John and the apostles once held in secret, and the Catholic faithful affirmed in the glorious mysteries of the rosary. The Dragon and the violent world were too dominant for the apostles to speak too loudly and too clearly of her too soon. For it is always an imprudent risk to reveal a feminine beauty in an evil world if one cannot protect her from attack. But, now, let us rejoice and be glad.

Look up on this feast day and see the blue sky with white clouds in the daytime sun. Those are reflections of the Queen’s garments in Heaven. The Virgin Mother is safe up there in the midst of the Trinity, so the Church can now illuminate the world by explaining the nature of her rule. She is queen of the interior life. She rules in the vast expanse of the inner chambers opened by prayer and contemplation. The feminine rules from the inside. There is amidst the Trinity of masculine persons a feminine interior -- a whole, a beauty that is never spoken but is integral to God. That timeless feminine reality precedes Mary who is a creature. Mary is not the fourth person of the Trinity, nor is she the incarnation of the Holy Spirit. She is queen because she humbled herself before the Father. The whole world is at her feet because she opened a virgin’s heart to the wind of the Holy Spirit. In conforming herself to the will of the Father, she exercised the interior freedom of a soul in love. When men follow our mother in such acts of interior surrender we shall regain our stature as lords of creation. Only then will we fulfill the original mission of our species: to rule the Earth in his Name.

                                       


UPDATE: See the Assumption of Mary. And our review of Hildebrand’s classic study of purity and virginity in Catholic culture.

Monday, August 15, 2022

August 15 -- THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION: Femininity Shatters the Glass Ceiling

[first published August 15, 2014]


by David Pence


"By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly declaration of glory.”                (Pope Pius XII, November 1, 1950)

When Christ asked Peter who the apostles thought he was, Peter made the first infallible papal statement. He said, “Thou art the Son of the living God.” Christ made it clear it was not personal insight which allowed this Petrine testimony without error. “Not flesh and Blood but my Father in heaven” had allowed Peter to proclaim this central truth of our Faith for the brethren. And so again, 2000 years later, Pius XII did not wake up one November morning in 1950 and introduce to the flock a novel teaching he and some cardinals had been concocting about Our Lady. He stated what the praying Church had known devotionally for centuries. The pope, though, with a singular voice spoke the Truth from Rome as Peter had spoken for all the apostles at Caesarea Philippi.

The Pope in a few terse words described the perfection of matter -- the most perfect blossom of the tree of Jesse.  She was Immaculate -- conceived without sin. She is the Mother of God -- the locus of the Incarnation where God came into flesh to draw human flesh into his Body. She is ever Virgin -- an intact virgin not entered by man nor torn asunder by birth. And yet in the unity and holiness which the intactness of virginity represents there is a permeability to the Spirit which brings forth the Son. This moment in history of uncorrupted feminine flesh reminds all men of our original nature in Eden and of our present capacity for perfection. This Marian perfection of matter was never allowed to be corrupted by death. In this modern era when the corrupted mist of the world seems omnipresent, the Church reminds us that purity is possible. The person separated from Evil can bear Christ on earth and will be drawn into Him where he sits at the right hand of the Father. Purity on earth is possible and the spiritual ordering of the flesh leads to Eternal life. Humans are not evolving to some higher form; perfection comes from imitating a form who was already here in a specific time and place. Let us sing of Mary.
                                         

Of heaven there is less to say. How will she reign where her son is the King and the King has a Father? She might be drawn to some inner chamber where the feminine holds the three masculine persons of the Trinity in One.  C.S. Lewis described heaven as going higher and higher and deeper and deeper. Mary is not a Queen on a throne; she is the Queen of those depths. There is some inner chamber of the hidden God which we never name with a pronoun… but if we did it would be feminine. For the feminine is interiority.

There is an intact interior that separates God from all creation. This radical separation is the meaning of HOLY. Mary and the consecrated virgins of the Church seek not crowns for their heads, but an interior milieu where their hearts can come to final rest and ponder anew. Come, let us sing of Mary -- who on this day turns our eyes to Heaven where she abides with her Son. Let us admire from a distance the beauty of the Church’s consecrated virgins who keep us vigilant for our returning King by waiting for Him as their Bridegroom.

"Neither the tomb, nor death could hold the Theotokos,
Who is constant in prayer and our firm hope in her intercessions.
For being the Mother of Life,
She was translated to life by the One who dwelt in her virginal womb."



UPDATE: Take notice of what Christ is holding [click on the image above]: a small child clothed in white representing the soul of the Virgin Mary.
Taylor Marshall on the traditional teaching of the Church.

It is a good feast to remember  Dietrich von Hildebrand’s classic reflection on purity and virginity in Catholic culture. 

Here is an August 15th sermon by Monsignor Ronald Knox (d. 1957). A 2017 sermon by Fr Stravinskas.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

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

by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

CARDINAL SINS IN MUMBAI: Church Militant has done it again. This time they've revealed damning evidence against the cardinal archbishop of Mumbai, India. Their follow up video revealed even more. It would appear we might soon see the fall of one Indian bishop along with the Indian cardinal who tried to help cover for him.

DOLAN 2.0: Phoenix is home to the nation's fifth largest city - making its episcopal leadership all the more important. For years it has been led by the brotherhood-building Bishop Olmstead. Sadly his successor - another Dolan - seems to be nothing like the great Olmstead. Church Militant reports on the troubled history of Bishop Dolan - and his support for homosexuality, the anti-brotherhood. 

FRANCIS-KIRILL UPDATE: It appears that a meeting between Francis and Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow, is back on. This week Pope Francis met with Bishop Anthony, who in June succeeded Bishop Hilarion as second only to Kirill himself. The two met to discuss the upcoming meeting between the Pope and Patriarch and we are very eager to see these two brother bishops meet in the weeks ahead.

OCIA, NOT RCIA: In a story from late last year that we at AoA sadly missed, the Church in the US has updated the name of the old RCIA to more closely match the official Latin. "Rite" has now been replaced with "Order" - we're sure many people will be confused, yet we're happy to see the American Church's fidelity to the its mother tongue.  


II. AMERICAN POLITICS

TRUMP UNDER SEIGE: Trump's Florida home was raided by the FBI in a clearly partisan witch hunt against the presumed GOP nominee in the 2024 presidential race. The raid was entirely unjustified as the documents seized had been previously declassified by the president. What's more, the raid violated policy surrounding the procurement of documentation. There were many other legal steps in the process - filing an injunction, sending subpoenas - that would come long before any kind of FBI raid. In the end, we believe this helps Trump as even Democrats must be aware that this raid was clearly partisan in nature, hoping to find a way to keep Trump out of the White House in 2024. More reporting on this from ZeroHedge.

JOB NUMBERS COOKED? The US has entered a recessions yet the job numbers report this week appeared in stark contradiction to the state of the economy. ZeroHedge explains why the numbers released this week just don't add up.

MAGA WINS IN PRIMARIES: Donald Trump and the MAGA movement were big winners this week as primary voters took to the polls to nominate numerous Trump-backed candidates. Arizona witnessed the victories of Blake Masters, who will likely defeat Mark Kelly to be the state's next Senator, while anchorwoman Kari Lake came back to beat an establishment candidate and should go on to be the next state governor. Both are strong Trump supporters that will play a pivotal role in 2024. Three Trump-hating "RINOS" who chose to impeach the president also faced voters. One lost, one won, and one is still too close to call

KANSAS PRO-LIFE DISASTER: Tuesday was a tough day for the pro-life cause in Kansas. The state Republican party put forward a poorly written constitutional amendment that would have granted the state legislature the power to control state law on abortion. The amendment sadly went down in flames - losing by around 18 percentage points. Although some RINOs in Washington want to run away from the pro-life cause, we should remember that a similar amendment in Louisiana passed just two years ago, winning by an overwhelming 62% to 38%! The fight continues. 

DESANTIS WAR ON WOKE: We ardently look forward to a Trump-DeSantis ticket in 2024, especially considering DeSantis will be put in charge of draining the swamp in domestic politics - a job he appears born for. Just this week he fired a Soros-backed state attorney for being unwilling to uphold anti-woke laws duly passed by the legislature and signed by DeSantis. Florida has a warrior for a governor and we hope to see this warrior as the future vice president in 2025.

SENATE NATO DISASTER: We have long held that the US Senate - which is supposed to be the more deliberate of the two houses of Congress - is as radical as it can get when it comes to US foreign policy. This week 95 senators voted to expand NATO to Finland and Sweden, while only one senator - Josh Hawley - voted against it. And even Hawley rejected the move not because he wants peace among the nations, but because he wants World War III with China rather than Russia. Rand Paul voted present. We fear that even after 2024 there will be few breaks on the pro-war US Senate.


III. THE NATIONS

PELOSI DESTROYES THE PEACE: Nancy Pelosi went to Taiwan last week, sparking fears of a war with China. The week before that Blinken attempted to push Kosovo into war with Serbia. Why is the Biden regime pushing for war, war, war? One could argue the Ukraine war was meant to be a distraction from the humiliatingly defeat in Afghanistan. A war in Kosovo might distract Russia from Ukraine - and if that failed we could have a war with China to distract us from the looming humiliation in Ukraine. The Guardian of all outlets warns us that we are flirting with disaster. And we also suggest this report from Larry Johnson, a former intelligence officer.

UKRAINE ACCUSED OF WAR CRIMES: Amnesty International is officially accusing Ukraine of using civilian buildings - with civilians still inside - as firing positions against Russian and Donbas forces during the war. This comes after last month's UN investigation that found that Ukraine failed to evacuate civilians from a nursing home it used as a defensive position in Donbas. The sad reality is that Ukraine has used human shields throughout the war - a clear war crime. Sadly it's just one of many. In related news, CBS pointed out that just 30% of resources headed to Ukraine made it to the right place - the rest was off to the black market or hidden bank accounts. Within a day - and without a doubt under pressure from government officials - CBS withdrew its findings. What's more, Amnesty International actually apologized for any "distress and anger" its findings might have brought Ukraine and its supports. You can't make this stuff up.

UKRAINE'S NEWEST WAR CRIMES: It appears Ukraine, with the assistance of US targeting, murdered its own Azov Battalion POWs in Donetsk in order to prevent them from a trial that would be embarrassing to the Ukraine. Killing them will also act as a warning to other Ukrainian soldiers contemplating surrender. It's yet another heinous war crime committed by the Zelensky regime - and likely with the full assistance of the Americans. Elsewhere in Donbas, Ukraine has dropped thousands of illegal petal mines on the city of Donetsk, leading to the targeted deaths of civilians. The move helped slow down a Russian advance on the edge of the city, yet a tactical delay is no excuse to commit war crimes. And none of this is to mention the near constant Ukrainian shelling of Europe's largest nuclear power plant.



IV. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

ALTAR OF CHILD SACRIFICE: The abortion cause is in reality a death cult. Case in point: a woman has created an instructional video on the creation of an altar upon which one would place the aborted remains of her baby after conducting at at-home abortion. She claims abortion celebrates women's fertility and the altar makes the abortion sacred. What she doesn't understand - or too possessed to realize - that killing a baby is the opposite of fertility and the use of an altar for child sacrifice is not sacred but rather its opposite - an act of desecration. 

MORE TRANS MAYHEM: A biological male was issued an assault citation after manhandling another cheerleader - allegedly choking a 17-year-old female teammate - because she didn't support his transgender lifestyle. Meanwhile in Germany, citizens are allowed to legally swap genders once each year. Elsewhere in Europe, the UK's only "gender clinic" for minors has been shut down over safety issues (though we could have told you the place wasn't fit for children much, much sooner!) And last but not least, the man alleged to be Bret Kavanaugh's suspected assassin turns out to be... a transgender "woman" - you can't make this stud up. 

NY HUCKSTER PASTOR: Attacks on clergy corruption are largely lobbed at well-off white men, but in New York a black, Protestant pastor is coming under fire as he and his wife were robbed during a church service, with the thieves walking off with more than $1 million worth of jewelry! Given the vast sums of disposable income this "pastor" has at his disposal, we weren't surprised to hear he's being sued by a congregant for stealing! 

Monday, August 8, 2022

August 8 - MEMORIAL OF SAINT DOMINIC: Teacher and Priest

[first published August 8, 2014]

                             

Dominic (pictured meeting with Francis of Assisi early in the 13th century) gathered a fraternity of preachers and teachers. He recognized that heresies could only be countered by knowledge of the Real Truth and delivery of this Truth by holy preachers. Thus the Dominican motto: VERITAS.

What was particularly lacking in Saint Dominic's day was articulate and intelligent doctrinal preaching. The whole reason of being for the Dominicans was spreading the Good News of our Lord.
(A good summary of his life and an explanation of why Dominicans celebrate another feast day for their founder.)

I came across a sermon by a Polish preacher in which he described Dominic as "God's athlete" for his implacable struggle against the Dragon who tries to deceive us and deliver us to eternal darkness. He mentioned three ways that the Spanish saint did this:
  • as is shown by the painting (below) by Blessed Fra Angelico – St. Dominic eagerly adored the cross as the venue where Christ defeated death;
  • through the preaching of the Word of truth and life for the conversion of others, St. Dominic tied up the demon by the Word of God, giving to the seekers the light of the true Gospel;
  • as one of the Dominican legends says, when Satan visited one of the first convents, he got scared of the 'capitular' – the place where brothers confess their faults; the life rooted in humility, the awareness of the fact of how much a person needs the Savior, this is the moment when Satan loses.
                                               
                                         
"A man who governs his passions is master of his world. We must either command them or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil."                                (St. Dominic, d. 1221)

Fra Angelico (d. 1455) was one of the countless simple  souls whose spiritual gaze became more luminous through their association with the Dominicans. Pope John Paul II beatified the Florentine painter, naming him the patron of Catholic artists. Here is his free rendition of the Transfiguration of the Lord, with the inclusion of the Virgin Mary and Saint Dominic on either side:

                                 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

AUGUST 6 -- Feast of the Transfiguration: "We were eyewitnesses of His majesty on the sacred mountain"

[first published August 6, 2014]

"Send forth your light and your truth...
  let them lead me up your holy mountain,
  up to your sanctuary.
 I shall go in to the altar of God,
  to the God of my gladness and joy."
              (Psalm 43)
                               

Our Lord climbed Mount Tabor with Peter, James, and John -- and revealed his glory as he spoke with Moses and Elijah. As someone has said: we can be transfigured by the love of God or we can be disfigured by the love of sin!

"... and it is indeed appropriate that the greatest God-seers of the Old Testament should be present at the glorification of the Lord in His New Testament, seeing for the first time His humanity, even as the disciples were seeing for the first time His Divinity."

This article explains more of the meaning of the Greek icon above.

["Although the event celebrated in the Feast occurred in the month of February, forty days before the Crucifixion, the Feast was early transferred to August because its full glory and joy could not be fittingly celebrated amid the sorrow and repentance of Great Lent. The sixth day of August was chosen as being forty days before the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14th, old style), when Christ’s Passion is again remembered."]

Saint Helena (the emperor Constantine's mother, pictured) erected a church on Mount Tabor in honor of the Transfiguration, 'the excellence of His hidden dignity.'
                          

"On the mountain wast Thou transfigured, O Christ God, and Thy disciples beheld Thy glory as far as they could see it; so that when they would behold Thee crucified, they would understand that Thy suffering was voluntary, and would proclaim to the world that Thou art truly the Radiance of the Father."

"In the spirit, the angel took me to the top of an enormous high mountain and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven. The city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it."    (Apocalypse 21)

One of our writers spent time in the Holy Land and took the photo below of the Church of the Transfiguration, which sits atop Mt. Tabor just south of Galilee. The church itself has two altars: the lower for daily use and the upper to which no stairs ascend. The latter altar has been reserved for the Second Coming. Also noteworthy is the fact that Mt. Tabor overlooks the Valley of Armageddon - the location of the final battle between the heavenly army and the forces of Satan.

Friday, August 5, 2022

August 5: Dedication of Basilica of Mary -- Celebrating Virgin and Mother

Alice von Hildebrand (1923-1922)

Some people consider you a Christian feminist. How do you understand feminism?

To distinguish myself clearly from Simone de Beauvoir's powerful and poisonous book, The Second Sex, I would not call myself a Christian feminist but a champion of femininity. The sublime beauty of the female mission as virgin, wife or mother has been so degraded that I felt a calling to shed light on "the privilege of being a woman," which is also the title of one of my books.

Of all creatures mentioned in Genesis, Eve is the only one whose body is taken from the body of a person; even Adam's body was taken from the "slime of the earth." She is declared by Adam to be the "mother of the living." He is not called the "father of the living." When Eve gives birth to Cain, she ecstatically says: I have brought a child into the world with God's help. Adam, the biological father, is not mentioned. Eve proclaims that the child's soul—which is made to God's image and likeness—is placed by God himself into her body. God, so to speak, "touches" the female body and in so doing gives it a note of sacredness.

The duel which takes place between the Woman and the Serpent, not between "the strong sex" and the Serpent, hints at the crucial role of women in the economy of redemption. The most perfect of all creatures, queen of the Angels, is a woman—not a man. It is high time that women should humbly acknowledge that they are privileged to be women.

Marian Femininity--A video talk

The Feminine Breaking of the Glass Ceiling : The Assumption of Mary


                 Pope Francis visits Basilica of St. Mary Major to begin his papacy

Thursday, August 4, 2022

AUGUST 4 MEMORIAL OF ST. JOHN VIANNEY: Priest, Parish, and Practicing Catholics

[first published August 4, 2014]


by David Pence


John Vianney (1786-1859) is the patron saint of parish priests. He worked in a French town of less than 500 souls called Ars, and is often called the Cure of Ars. [It is about 90 miles west of Geneva, Switzerland].

'Cure' in French means priest. The Webster word history is instructive. The old Latin word 'cura' meant "the care given to someone, often medical." Christians expropriated the word to mean "the care of souls." The Latin root passed into French, and then English, with this spiritual meaning as cure in French meaning priest and curate in English meaning "one who takes care of souls, a member of the clergy." This word history reminds us that cultures can sacralize language as well as debase it. What a culture does to the words it receives, depends on what kind of life the people are living in that culture.

Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney was no star in his seminary studies. Thank God his superiors recognized his great soul garbed with a modest mind. He received his earliest sacraments in the underground French Church, avoided Napoleon’s draft to fight the disastrous war against Spain, and was ordained in 1815. His piety, prayer, and penance made his parish a gravitational center for Catholic renewal in post-revolutionary France. He knew the basics. God had become man in Christ; the priest had become sacred in ordination; and the souls of his parishioners would be sanctified only through prayer and penance.

The humble priest provides for us an antidote to living public life "as if God doesn’t exist." The French priest had a cure for practical atheism. He built his life on prayer. He centralized the tabernacle’s sacred space in gesture and building to proclaim Jesus present. He saw men as souls. In his celebration of the Mass, he directed all present to the reality of the Triune God. In the confessional he did not turn his head from the hold of Satan on unresolved penitents. He chastised those who repeatedly failed to "amend my life."
                     

The local parish is still today the physical and communal form of Christ’s Presence shining through the sulfurous mist of practical atheism. The priest is a watchman for the city of God whenever he mounts the walls of the confessional to beat back Satan assaulting the people. The Catholic life is a daily, weekly, and annual set of practices organizing a community of prayer around a sacred space and Personage. The priest prays the daily office of Church in communion with the worldwide apostolic priesthood, and puts on the mind of Christ for his local flock by this practice. Keeping Catholic time draws the local face-to-face body into the Universal Church, and the day-to-day calendar into the timeline of the Divine Drama. The antidotes to the foggy atmosphere of practical atheism are the tabernacle lights of countless parochial sacred hills where men worship the Father. As Jesus promised the woman at the well, there shall come a time when worship is no longer restricted to the mountains of Jerusalem and Samaria. That time has been achieved through the coming of the Spirit in the sacramental Church. Let us rejoice and be glad!

The priest is not a community organizer urging his parishioners to do public service projects or postcard-campaigns to lobby the civil authorities. He mans an ark and pulls us into a sacred space where we are set apart from the corrupting flood-waters of the world. Once in the ark, man can finally see reality with his head above the waters. He has been saved and is enlightened. He understands his purpose because, finally, he stands and kneels where he is fully oriented in space and time to the Divine Person. The parish priest directs hearts to God and cleanses souls of sin. He leads us in prayer, integrates us in the sacramental order of the Church, and teaches us the pillars of the faith -- which explain Nature, History, and Person in the light of Christ. The practicing Catholic becomes a new personality. These new Christian personalities shaped by communal liturgy and prayer will feed the hungry, heal the sick, enlighten the ignorant, protect the widows and orphans, and shelter the immigrant. The men will build cities and nations while the women will build homes, schools, and hospitals. The men will be apostolic in their communal public character, and the women will be virginal in their interior lives and maternal in their care of others. Catholic practice shapes Catholic personalities, and that practice is as tactile as it is local.

Seek first the things above and all else will follow. Holy priests make holy men and holy women. There is only one kind of village that explains the Cosmos -- the parish at prayer. The local parish has never been the end game of the careerist. But it remains the locus of prayer and penance where practicing Catholics muster in the formations which proclaim the Sacramental Presence of Christ in those golden tabernacles, and herald the Final Coming of our Lord and King just over the horizon.

From the Catechetical Instructions by St. John Mary Vianney: 
Man has a noble task: that of prayer and love. To pray and to love, that is the happiness of man on earth. 
Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When the heart is pure and united with God it is consoled and filled with sweetness; it is dazzled by a marvellous light. In this intimate union God and the soul are like two pieces of wax moulded into one; they cannot any more be separated. It is a very wonderful thing, this union of God with his insignificant creature, a happiness passing all understanding... 
Our prayer is an incense that is delightful to God... My children, your hearts are small, but prayer enlarges them and renders them capable of loving God... In a prayer well made, troubles vanish like snow under the rays of the sun.


May Saint John Vianney guide many parishes and their local priests into a prayerful weekly rhythm of the Catholic sacramental order: Baptism, Confession, and the Eucharist.

                                       
"I will show you the way to heaven!"
                                                                                                           

Monday, August 1, 2022

I. THE US AND ITS ALLIES ARE LOSING
    • Key takeaways: US foreign policy blunders have driven Russia and China together and they will act to displace US global supremacy. India is also moving into Russia's orbit. Most people in the world live in nations that do not support sanctions on Russia. Energy sanctions on Russia have backfired, causing an energy crisis in Europe.
    • "Regardless of who wins the Ukrainian war, the United States will be the strategic loser. Russia will build closer relations with China and other countries on the Eurasian continent, including India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states. It will turn irrevocably away from European democracies and Washington. Just as President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger played the “China card” to isolate the Soviet Union during the Cold War, presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will play their cards in a bid to contain U.S. global leadership."
    • "Since the Ukraine invasion, Russia has become China’s top oil provider, replacing Saudi Arabia... The Chinese will likely be able to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel shipments from the Middle East which must pass through vulnerable naval choke points such as the Malacca Straits."
    • "Before invading Ukraine, India bought almost no oil from Russia. Now it is importing over 760,000 barrels a day. Increases in Russian fossil fuel sales to India will be detrimental to efforts by the United States, Australia, and Japan to continue to draw Delhi into a closer orbit with democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific region."
    • "Two-thirds of the global population live in countries that have refrained from denouncing Russia. Even neighboring Mexico refused to condemn Russia or join economic sanctions."
    • "The West’s energy sanctions have to an extent backfired, causing inflationary and supply disruptions so severe that Brussels now is struggling to cope with the economic consequences... While the West complains that Russia weaponized its oil and gas exports, the reality is that it was Brussels and Washington that first raised the energy sword when they announced their intent to cut back Russian fossil fuel purchases immediately after the Ukraine invasion."
    • "The United States is no longer the world’s sole dominant power. More burden sharing in the U.S. alliance system will have to happen sooner or later to deal with the reality of an increasingly multipolar world."




  • Have Western Sanctions Against Russia Failed? (The National Interest, 8/19/22)
    • Key takeaways: Russia's GDP contraction is far smaller than projected with the ruble not turning to "rubble". Western products are still for sale in Russia while major countries refuse to join in the sanctions war. Meanwhile Russia energy sales are skyrocketing, not shrinking.
    • "Russia’s economy shrank by 4 percent year-on-year over the second quarter... the ruble became one of the world’s strongest performing currencies this year."
    • "From Levi’s jeans to Apple iPhones, numerous common and luxury products continue to be available for purchase in Russia’s metropolitan centers despite the fact that these manufacturers are no longer directly supplying Russian markets. Such goods typically arrive in Russia by way of unauthorized imports..."
    • "...the fact [is] that the world’s great economic powers have not only refused to join the Washington-led sanctions regime but continue to deepen their trade and financial ties with Moscow."
    • "Russian earnings from energy exports skyrocketed following the West’s sanctions barrage earlier this year."