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


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

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.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

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.

                                         



UPDATE:

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 24, 2022

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24

CHRISTMAS EVE NEWS ROUND UP
by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

VATICAN MISFIRES ON PRIESTS: This week was an utter disaster at the Vatican regarding its scandalous mishandlings of two priests. The first is the botched laicization of the former Fr. Frank Pavone, accused of "blasphemy" on social media and "disobedience" towards his bishop. While a case can be made in terms of blasphemy, very little evidence has been given to describe Pavone's alleged disobedience. Pavone has publicly apologized for his blasphemous statements and sought to remedy them in Confession. Yet that did not prevent his laicization. A particularly dreadful piece came out this week from the National Catholic Register by Fr. Raymond de Souza that was borderline calumnious, accusing Pavone of "going rogue" and being gravely disobedient without offering a single shred of evidence to back it up. Meanwhile de Souza went to bat in defense of "Fr." Marko Ivan Rupnik, a Slovenian Jesuit who is an alleged serial sexual predator. "Father Rupnik," de Souza writes, "should he be repentant and willing to do penance for his sins and crimes, has a place not only in the Church but also in the priesthood." Yet de Souza won't say the same about Pavone even though Pavone was repentant and willing to do penance for his (largely unsubstantiated) "crimes"? To be clear, we are not Pavone hardliners by any stretch of the imagination, yet the Vatican's punishment of Pavone clearly does not fit the alleged crimes, while Rupnik has been given quite the light touch. In the end, we suspect Pavone's pro-life advocacy had some role in the matter, yet it was his public condemnation of the Democrats - key financial supporters of the Church - along with his support of Trump - who is hated by the establishment wings of conservative and liberal politicians and clerics alike - that ultimately did him in.

NO CHURCH ON CHRISTMAS: This comes as some surprise to us at AoA, but apparently many Protestant churches do not hold Christmas services. Why? Because Christmas to them is about family time and gifts - not worshipping God. Once again we find a religious-civic holiday morph into a domestic-commercial holiday. But what happens when Christmas falls on a Sunday, the day that Protestants emphasize church worship? It seems the answer is - shockingly to us - cancel services.   

UKRAINE ARRESTS CATHOLIC PRIEST: A Catholic priest in Ukraine has been arrested. His crime? Questioning Kiev's narrative on the Bucha "massacre". When the  Kiev regime won't grant religious liberty to the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, don't think for a moment that it won't persecute Catholics, too.

MR ZELENKSY GOES TO WASHINGTON: Zelensky was treated like royalty in his trip to Washington this week. He gave a speech to Congress - and we were very glad to learn that more than half of House Republicans did not attend. It's clear Zelensky's mission was to beg the US for as much funding as possible before the GOP takes control of the House next month. We're sad to say Ukraine will be getting another $40+ billion in US funding, but we're hopeful this number will fall off a cliff in the new Congress. Perhaps instead of listening to Zelensky, Congress can listen to Kissinger.

KARI LAKE BOMBSHELLS: Our confidence in US elections has never been lower, yet we were stunningly surprised that Kari Lake, Arizona's GOP candidate for governor, not only is getting her day in court, but also dropped some major bombshells. It appears there is clear evidence of election shenanigans, and we remain hopeful - if skeptical - that this latest stolen election may be remedied. 

RUSSIA DIDN'T DO IT: In another stunning bombshell. the Washington Post has all but admitted that Russia didn't blow up the Nord Stream pipelines. The question is, when will we wake up and point out the obvious: the US and its allies did. And when will Germany step up and hold us responsible?

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Father and Sons Defending the Sacred: The Real Hanukkah Lesson for Christians

by David Pence

Hanukkah begins this evening. It will end in eight days. It is not "the Jewish Christmas." Several hundred years before Christ, the Greeks, the very cosmopolitan educated Greeks, ruled over Palestine. When Antiochus had become the ruler he sought a uniformity of customs and loyalty. Circumcision -- that sign between Abraham and G-d that all the males would shed their own blood to be united as a people in Covenant with the Almighty -- was banned. The sacred precincts of the temple were defiled. Women who had their sons circumcised "were publicly paraded with their babies hanging at their breasts and then thrown from the top of the city wall."

                             

"... the Gentiles filled the temple with debauchery and revelry; they amused themselves with prostitutes and had intercourse with women even in the sacred court. They brought into the temple things that were forbidden, so the altar was covered with abominable offerings prohibited by the law." Most defilements were done by consenting adults and there were plenty of Jewish collaborators. "There was great mourning for Israel. Virgins and young men languished and the beauty of the women was disfigured. Her sanctuary was desolate as a desert. She became a stranger to her own offspring. Her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths to shame, her honor to contempt. Her dishonor was as great as her glory had been and her joy was turned into mourning."

Against this sexual perversity so deeply linked with the defilement of sacral things, Mattathias and his five sons withdrew from the over-educated Greeks who scoffed at their ancient purity codes and rituals of divine worship. Before they organized to fight, the patriarch and the brothers "tore their garments, put on sackcloth and mourned bitterly." They knew the evil that had befallen their fellow Israelites followed their infidelity to G-d. They also knew they must organize to fight. They had seen a group of Israelites come before the Greeks and "refuse to profane the sabbath. Then the enemy attacked them and they did not retaliate... and they died with their wives and their children and their cattle to the number of a thousand persons." Mattathias resolved: "If we all do as our kinsmen have done and do not fight the Gentiles for our lives and our traditions they will soon destroy us from the earth. Let us fight against anyone who attacks us on the sabbath so that we may not all die as our kinsmen died in the hiding places." Mattathias and his men tore down the pagan altars. They also forcibly circumcised any uncircumcised boys they found in the territory of Israel." They stitched back together the only bond capable of ridding the land of abominations. They conscripted their state anew to guard the sacred of old.      
                
Sculpture of Mattathias by Boris Schatz (d. 1932)


"When the time came for Mattathias to die, he said to his sons, 'Arrogance and scorn have now grown strong, it is a time of disaster and violent anger. Therefore, my sons, be zealous for the law and give your lives for the covenant of our fathers." He appointed his son Simeon because of his wisdom to be "like a father to them," and appointed his son Judas (called Maccabeus, the 'hammer') to be "the leader of your army and direct the war against the nations." His sons and the men they gathered around them defeated the Greeks. They tore down the defiled altar and built a new one with uncut stones. They repaired the sanctuary and purified the courts. On the anniversary of the day the Gentiles had defiled the temple they reconsecrated the sacred precinct with song and acts of worship. For eight days they celebrated the dedication, and then "Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days…"

There are many tales of noble martyrs who refused to profane the commands of the Lord before the Maccabees restored a civic order in consonance with G-d's decrees. In the Book of Maccabees the most notable was the mother and her seven sons who refused to defile themselves by eating pork. The holy mother watched her sons be tortured and killed and urged them one after another to persist in courage. Then "her womanly heart with manly courage" was pierced as well. In the Babylonian Talmud there is the story of the miracle of the oil in which one day's supply lasted for eight.  When the Church recounts this re-dedication of the temple in her late November liturgy she couples the reading from Maccabees with the Gospel of Jesus cleansing the temple. Two centuries after the Maccabees, the Jewish convert from Tarsus asked Christians, "Do you not know that you are a temple of the  Holy Spirit?"

For eight days let us Christians look for the lights of the candles shining forth from Jewish homes. They are not lit for the use of the household, but to give glory to G-d by reminding all who see them that the sacred practices of a culture can only be protected if there are fathers and sons who will covenant together under God to fight for them.
                             
Hanukkah candles in Jerusalem

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Religion, Nations, and Geopolitical Review: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17

by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

COMMUNION WAIVER: Taylor Marshall lambasts a California parish that will force communicants to sign a legal waiver to receive Communion kneeling for fear it could cause bodily injury. Could the better solution simply be to give communicants options by placing out a kneeler for those who want to kneel? This isn't rocket science. 

MURDERED PRIEST? Church Militant's most recent Spotlight story questions the mysterious death of an Albany whistleblower priest who died as he was uncovering massive homosexual predation within the Diocese of Albany. 

SPONSORING PERSECUTION: Pope Francis is calling on Catholics to spend less at Christmas so that they can donate the difference to Ukraine. Of course Francis sadly fails to mention that the Ukrainian government is in the middle of an all-out religious persecution of the historic Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We think it's a safe bet for Catholics to find better organizations to donate to.


II. AMERICAN POLITICS 

GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP ON TWITTER: In yet the latest stunning revelation out of Twitter, it has been revealed that the social media platform gave the government an all-access portal through which it exercised censorship in violation of the First Amendment. We can be all but certain a similar arrangement has been made at Google and Facebook. It's time for an investigation and serious reforms.

JOBS DISCREPANCY: It's being reported that there is a serious discrepancy in the official reported job numbers. Taking this discrepancy into account, it appears that the current numbers are off by over 1 million employees.

US UKRAINE ESCALATION: It appears that the US will begin sending Ukraine its advanced air defense platform known as the Patriot system. Given that these systems will require NATO crews, this marks a significant escalation in the conflict between Christian Russia and the atheist West.


III. THE NATIONS

BAKHMUT DEATH TRAP: Despite insisting that the city of Bakhmut in Donbas is strategically worthless, Ukraine continues to send thousands of troops there to die. This is even being picked up by the mainstream media while General Wesley Clark calls Bakhmut a "fire trap" for Ukrainian soldiers. Ukraine might be suffering from a bad case of the sunk cost fallacy.

ZALUZHNYI'S ADMISSIONS: General Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine's military head, has made some stunning admissions in a recent interview with the neocon, Russia-hating Economist. First, he admitted of the 700,000 Ukraine has in uniform, only 200,000 are actually trained for combat. Second, he admitted he need's more weapons than most first rate nations have if he is to turn the tide of combat. Third, he admitted that without this support, Ukraine will lose the war. Those are some damning admissions.


III. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

GOING TO THE DOGS: It appears as though many men in the US military are showing their "pride" by wearing bondage dog masks and exposing themselves while in uniform. This abhorrent, degenerate, and unbecoming behavior should not be tolerated, but in today's religion of woke, we find it highly unlikely that anything of consequence will be done about it.

JAILED OVER PRONOUNS: Irish teacher, Enoch Burke, has been in prison since September for refusing to use the preferred pronouns of a student. The judge refuses to let him out for Christmas and is holding him captive until his trial in February unless he recants. The West is truly becoming a totalitarian atheist nightmare. 

MEN CAN'T BE LESBIANS: In another case of trans totalitarian hysteria, a filmmaker in Norway faces three years in prison for stating that men cannot be lesbians. Are we not yet circling the drain?

Monday, December 12, 2022

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 10, 2022

R&G Review 12-10-22

by A. Joseph Lynch

I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

VATICAN AND CHINA: Is there a breakdown in the China-Vatican deal? The Vatican says China isn't following the agreement.

BELGIUM DISASTER: Belgium might be small, but it is at the very heart of the atheist West and its two largest institutions, the EU and NATO - both of which are located in Belgium's capital of Brussels. A new report from the nation's bishops reveals the toll that the militant atheist West is having on the once Catholic nations. In the past year, a disastrously meager 2.5% of the nation's Catholics attended Mass. Meanwhile churches saw an astonishing 300% increase in "unbaptism" requests (i.e. those requesting their names be removed from baptismal registries). The faith in Europe is broken, yet nations like Germany want to lead the way forward for the global Church. We hope Francis disregards them all and continues his focus on the global south.


II. AMERICAN POLITICS 

SENATE LOSSES: Football legend Herschel Walker has lost his senate race in Georgia. The loss came as the state GOP managed to block early voting... in red counties. The GOP needs to recognize that ballot harvesting and early voting is now key to winning elections. Taking to court to shoot themselves in the foot is not going to win them seats in Congress. That said, they may have an opportunity with Senator Sinema leaving the Democrats to become an independent. Not only might this lead to a pick up in 2024, but should Joe Manchin defect as well the Democrats will have been dealt a serious blow in the US Senate.

THE TWITTER FILES: Elon Musk is doing an excellent job in uncovering the partisan corruption at Twitter. The first batch of the "Twitter Files" reveals Twitter's role in helping Joe Biden in 2020.

US SPENDING IN UKRAINE: To put things in perspective, the US has has now spent more money on Ukraine than it spent to win the US Civil War ($90 billion from 1860-65 versus $105 billion in the past six months). Comparing this with more modern times, in just a matter of months the US has spent a little more than a tenth of what it spent in Afghanistan over a period of twenty years. Given the newest spending measures taken by Congress, which are not factored in here, it is highly likely that the Ukraine war has already become the nation's seventh most expensive war of all time - coming in behind only the world wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. And we're not even active belligerents to the conflict. Or are we?


III. THE NATIONS

MERKEL'S CONFESSION: Angela Merkel has now admitted what ex-Ukrainian leader Poroshenko had stated months ago - the Minsk Agreements were never about making peace. They were only there to make time for Ukraine to arm up and resume its war with pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists in eastern Ukraine. "The 2014 Minsk agreement was an attempt to give time to Ukraine. It also used this time to become stronger as can be seen today." Russia was betrayed from the start. The West is losing all credibility with nations outside its imperial holdings. 

GLOBALISTS REMOVED ABE? The late great Japanese leader, Shinzo Abe, might have been the kind of nationalist leader that the world's globalists did not want to see return. South Front argued last summer that Abe might have been done in by a globalist cabal. It's certainly a possibility.

UKRAINE'S "HARD REALITY": The media slowly but surely is recognizing Ukraine's terrible position (the NYTimes has done so as well). Russia's geographic proximity to Ukraine, combined with its military production capability, places Ukraine at a severe disadvantage (see this excellent interview from The New Atlas for more).  


III. CULTURE OF LIFE, CULTURE OF PROTECTION

WHERE ARE THE MEN? Seven million men have left the work force. Another article sees men working together at sea as one answer to the "male malaise". In short, men need fraternity - time alone to work and protect with other men. As more women enter a mixed work place environment, we can expect to see more men drop out in search for fraternity elsewhere.

TESTOSTERONE TOXIN: Director James Cameron - the once vaunted male action movie writer/director - now considers testosterone a toxin. We suspect this alone will help us decide to take a pass on his newest woke film: Avatar 2.

SUICIDE, NOT HEALTHCARE: We're hearing shocking stories out of Canada as a number of physically disabled people are having their healthcare requests met with state offers of medical assisted suicide. Sadly the horror show to our north is likely to make its way south sometime soon.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

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.
Amen.

                                             
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).' "

Saturday, December 3, 2022

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.