Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Catholic Sociobiology -- The Solidarity of Shared Classifications: Emile Durkheim and Mary Douglas


[first published May 31, 2016]


by Dr. David Pence


                       



 Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) was a Jewish French scholar who is considered the Father of Sociology. Mary Douglas (1921-2007) was a Catholic British anthropologist who was one of his most eloquent interpreters.   

Durkheim was not a believer, but he revolutionized the sociology of religion (The Elementary Forms of Religious Life) and is considered the pioneer of  studies concerning the sociology of knowledge (Primitive Classification with Mauss). Dame Douglas was a practicing Catholic all her life, and that allowed her entry into the communal form that both scholars wrote about so well. When asked how she could be both a Catholic and an anthropologist she responded, "Let me start by saying I find that an incredibly ignorant question." Her first important work was Purity and Danger. Though she described it as "obscure, intuitive and ill-prepared," it won her a place in the world of sociology. In that book she explained how all societies (not just the primitives) establish taboos -- which protect a sacred ordering of reality, and threaten danger if the purity codes are transgressed. Her most eloquent work, How Institutions Think, was "a coherent argument about the social control of cognition." She began that work noting "the hostility that greeted Emile Durkheim and Durkheimians when they talked about social groups or institutions as if they were individuals. The very idea of a suprapersonal cognitive system stirs a deep sense of rage. An individual that encompasses thinking humans is considered to be a nasty totalitarian type…" This rage was especially expressed in the influential anti-religious The Authoritarian Personality (1950) by another sociologist, Theodore Adorno.

Both Durkheim and Douglas accepted religion as a fundamental social reality, which organizes the attention structure, and intellectual classifications, which dictate how members of the religion or social group think and act. Douglas was indebted to Durkheim, who she wrote "was convinced that the Benthamite model by which a social order is produced automatically out of the self-interested actions of rational individuals was too limited because it gave no explanation of group solidarity."

Durkheim’s first task in the scientific empiricist intellectual milieu of his time was to convince scholars and thinkers to respect "religion as grounded in the nature of things." His fieldwork was with aboriginal tribes in Australia. His definitions: 
"Religion is a unified system of belief and practices relative to sacred things -- that is to say, things set apart and forbidden -- beliefs and practices which unite into one moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them."   
"Religious beliefs display a common feature: a classification of real or ideal things into two classes -- two domains -- one containing all that is sacred and one containing all that is profane. The sacred and profane are always conceived by the human intellect as separate genera. In the history of human thought, there is no other example of two categories of things as profoundly differentiated, as radically opposed to one another. Sacred things are protected and isolated by prohibitions. Religious beliefs are those representations that express the nature of sacred things and the relations they have with other sacred things or with profane things. Rites are rules of conduct that prescribe how man is to conduct himself with sacred things." 
Above all, Durkheim saw religion as a social reality. If a religion were "morally dense," its classification systems, prohibitions and commandments would be internalized by members of the group. Religious sensibility tied a man to his group and nature in a very particular way. It offered to the individual not just random thoughts and vocabulary words but classifications -- time, space, person, causality, matter and spirit. These classifications are deeply rooted in the nature of things and allow the child born into such a system a clear path to enter into a shared community capable of describing reality. He saw creeds and beliefs as shared representations of reality. He argued that men couldn’t really have a serious meeting of the minds if they do not agree on fundamental categories like space, time, and causality. These categories are not discovered by each man but bequeathed by the social group in the structure of language and religious practice. 

"Society is a reality, sui generis; it has its own characteristics that are either not found in the rest of the universe or are not found there in the same form. The representations that express society therefore have an all-together different content from the purely individual representations and one can be certain in advance that the former add something to the latter. Collective representations are the product of an immense cooperation that extends not only through space but also through time; to make them, a multitude of different minds have associated, intermixed and combined their ideas and feelings; long generations have accumulated their experience and knowledge. A very special intellectuality that is infinitely richer and more complex than that of the individual is distilled in them." 

Mary Douglas wrote of Durkheim:
"He harped always on one theme, the loss of classificatory solidarity. He deplored its irreplaceability and the crisis of individual identity that followed from the absence of strong, supporting, publically shared and privately internalized classifications. He taught that publically standardized ideas (collective representations) constitute social order. He recognized that the hold they have upon the individual varies in strength. Calling it moral density, he tried to measure its strength and to assess the effect of its weakness."  

                                                   

Durkheim turned the empiricist individualistic thinking on its head with his short book Suicide. He did a methodological study of that horrible, most individualistic, act and interpreted it in terms of loss of social cohesion. It was a pioneering work in sociology in terms of studying and interpreting a particular social phenomenon in terms of societal context. He found Protestants more than Catholics, men more than women, the unmarried more than married as likely to commit suicide. He also discussed what he called 'anomic suicide' affecting people who have lost their place in the social order during times of upheaval. The breakdown of religious adherence, national identity, and a defined role in the division of labor could all exacerbate the anomic’s confusion and loss of social place. Historical eras in which social changes led to a loss of social solidarity, clear identities, and status would have more suicides. 

In Durkheim’s work there is an abiding respect for the collective social systems transmitted through time, which have allowed generations to survive and reproduce. He respected the rabbis of his ancestors with all their prohibitions more than the pompous university student ready to explain away the collective consciousness in an arrogant display of individualism. But Durkheim is no Rudolf Otto (The Idea of the Holy). He does not acknowledge the numinous experience of the Holy, which created that fundamental category of the sacred. He knew something was real in religious ritual, but contended it was the shared emotional experience which solidified group solidarity. This is what Arab Muslims call Asabiyyah -- the group feeling of social cohesion. While Durkheim did not don his kippah (skullcap) in submission to G-d, he recognized the power of Asabiyyah and he knew it was more than the sum of individuals in congregation. His recognition of "classificatory solidarity" certainly influenced the work of Philip Rieff who lamented the Freudian therapeutic personality replacing the internalized character of the religiously sanctioned soul. Durkheim has articulated a more convincing set of arguments for both the Christian religion and American nation than most theologians and political theorists. He has recognized the "suprapersonal cognitive system" though he could not see the Divine Persons at its heart. Let us heed his wisdom. 

(NEXT WEEK: A conclusion on Mary Douglas)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, December 3

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


I. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

CHICAGO CARDINAL BRINGS DEMOCRATIC PARTY FOR HIS INDUCTION IN ROME: When Jorge Bergoglio was given Roman honors he told his fellow Argentinians to stay home, save the plane money, and give it to the poor. Our bet is that the city of Chicago, State of Illinois, and Supreme Court of Illinois may have picked up the bills of this 'who’s who' in the Illinois Democratic Party who came to Rome with Chicago’s Cardinal Cupich:
"Hundreds of people from Chicago traveled to Rome for the consistory and were present for the prayer service at St. Bartholomew. They included Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke and her husband, Alderman Ed Burke; U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin; and Gov. Bruce Rauner."
THE POPE AND ABORTION: A sin and crime. The Catholic Thing continues its cranky view of all things from our Holy Father. The Catholic Thing is best when it runs articles from men of a different era (such as the Fulton Sheen column below). Like Catholic World Report, Crisis, Ross Douthat of the New York Times and Rod Dreher of The American Conservative, they have become an anti-papal bullhorn for "conservative intellectuals." It is an interesting and highly related fact that to a man they missed the Trump phenomenon as well. Brad Miner misses the point on Pope Francis and abortion.

ARCHBISHOP FULTON SHEEN ON MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN: From The Catholic Thing.

KEEPING SACRED TIME: An argument for 3pm, April 3, 33 AD. We take no position, but pass on the argument.


II. PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

LEAVING OUT GOD - THREE PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATIONS OF A DAY OF THANKSGIVING: Washington and Lincoln thank God, Obama says we should thank each other. Chicago Muslims give 5,000 turkeys to poor. It is mindful of the acts of patriotism and charity that Catholics did to show we are Americans. Beautiful.

TRUMP, TRADE AND TARIFFS: Buchanan argues that a VAT (value added tax) is the defining step of an Economic Nationalism that works.

THE ALT RIGHT: In the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of being tied to the 'alt right' which she described as racist. The same charges are now amplified by the same media against Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist. His information platform, Breitbart News, is accused of being a megaphone for white nationalism and anti-Semitism. Mr Bannon had answered he is an economic nationalist, not a white nationalist. He has been an ardent supporter of Israel throughout his public life, though he probably thinks a lot of secularized American Jews and their "whiny children" are part of the elite he is trying to build a movement to oppose. The alt right is a large grab bag of mostly young males and some academics who have created, through internet media, an alternative to neoconservatives and Republicans and libertarians as the definers of the "right."

There is a strong strain of white racism in parts of the alt right. They are hardly nationalists, seeing themselves as more tied to their racial cousins in the West and Europe than dark-skinned Americans as fellow citizens. The man who invented the term is Richard Spencer who gives his own history here, and is rather dishonest in not addressing race in this clip. Here he has a discussion with evolutionary psychologist Kevin MacDonald about the origins of the white race. MacDonald is an interesting academic who is truly a child of Darwin. He is not a nationalist in any way and sees the ties of white Americans to Europeans as central to "our ethnic interests." MacDonald sees national identities as an impediment to racial identity. This is exactly the Hitler position who saw restrictive national boundaries as outmoded because they hemmed in the race. Jared Taylor is not the godfather of the alt right, but he is the godfather of racial realism. The article is a very honest interview with him in which he defines his movement and does not claim in any way a link to Mr Trump. Two homosexuals who are often cited are Jack Donovan who writes powerfully about masculinity and the Way of Men despite his proclivities; and Milo Yiannopoulos, a more flaming figure who sees his duty as skewering feminism on college campuses. He is not even an American, so nationalism is not quite his cause but he is proudly "gay" and is occasionally funny. Thus he has a place in the peculiar seating charts at the table of American discourse. They are part of the alt right which is much more focused on the sexual disorder of the feminist left than on racial matters.

The best article describing the alt right before these paragraphs was at Breitbart in March 2016. The article was much better journalism than anything we have seen in the last few weeks from the mainstream media. While Breitbart reported and explained, the mainstream settled for wide brush accusations of racism.

There is a real tradition of "white nationalism" in America. Gerald L.K. Smith (1898-1976) was an American Protestant clergyman aligned with Louisiana’s Huey Long and his Share the Wealth program. After Long’s assassination (1935), Smith founded the anti-Semitic white supremacist Christian Nationalist Crusade. Here is an 18-minute radio speech defining his movement. We believe that neither the Cross nor the Flag should be left to such men. Recognizing their arguments is not "giving the white racists a platform." At AOA, we have argued that Christianity and nationalism are both communal antidotes to racism. Here is our hour-long podcast on a historical approach to Christian nationalism.


The lesson to learn here is that Christian American men must define our own identity by being public men as American protectors and Christian brothers. A national identity is TERRITORIAL, NOT RACIAL. We are fellow nationalists with the black men of Georgia, not the white dudes of Davos, Switzerland.  As we wrote during the presidential campaign, "A trumpet for the brotherhood of Americans is not a dog whistle to racists." The mainstream press is hunting for voters who elected Trump. It shouldn’t surprise us that first they turn their spotlight on a few racists to prove their original suppositions. There is no doubt almost all of these white guys voted for Trump. They would love to present themselves as the intellectual and emotional drivers of his movement. But they aren’t.


III. THE R&G WORLD ROUND-UP

A WASHINGTON INSIDER MAKES THE CASE FOR SAUDI ARABIA: Bruce Reidel on the Saudis contemplate Trump after losing their Bush and Clinton allies. This article shows to me the deep continuing loyalty to the Saudis in the foreign policy think-tank world.

THE SAUDI LOBBY AT IT AGAIN
Safe from the voters, Senators McCain and Graham seek to gut the 9/11 bill. Another McCain-Saudi connection.

FROM THE LEFT - A CONFERENCE TO END THE US-SAUDI ALLIANCE: An alliance of Code Pink, Nation magazine, and assorted leftist and pacifist groups will be True Allies in any movement to confront and change the US policy of befriending the largest sponsor of worldwide jihad in the Mideast.

THE MOST INTERESTING CANDIDATE IN FRANCE IS NOT LE PEN: A Catholic Nationalist.

CASTRO IS DEAD - KENNEDY WAS KILLED LONG AGO: The best article I have ever read on the Kennedy assassination by James Piereson. And the other man of the law killed that day. A historical take on Castro and a take-down of Canada’s prime minister. A reflection on Castro that should put his canonization on hold.

MARTIN SCORSESE AND HIS NEW FILM "SILENCE”: Excellent review by Paul Elie. Watch the trailer.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday BookReview: From the Soul of a Bishop to the Soul of our Nation


[first published December 26, 2014]



by Dr. David Pence


The Archbishop of Los Angeles, José Gómez, has dedicated this 116-page book "to an immigrant’s son and the first pope from the New World." Immigration and the Next America: Renewing the Soul of Our Nation is written in a very different voice than most public policy and philosophical works of Catholic clerical and lay intellectuals. As a generalization, conservatives tend to favor philosophical arguments while liberals employ sociology. This bishop speaks of the sovereignty of God and the destiny of nations. In his first chapter he takes a highly unusual approach in favor of immigration by arguing not for more porous borders and a more humanistic sense of personal identity; but for a deeper commitment to a thicker, more spiritual understanding of duty and national citizenship. He argues there can be no real immigration reform without a renewed and religiously grounded understanding of American citizenship. He does not want the immigrant to be a non-harassed free agent. He wants him to be integrated into a real civic fraternity bound by a sense of duty to the common spiritual mission of a renewed nation. That, really, is a different argument.
                     

Many of the reviewers of this book seem to pat the archbishop on the head, and bemoan that he wasn’t quite up to the tough specifics of policy reform. They missed the central deep currents of the book. In his second chapter ("The Greater America") he introduces us to Californian historian Herbert Bolton. Bolton believed the only way to understand the meaning of our nation was to consider U.S. history in light of the "larger historical unities and interrelations of the Americas." For Archbishop Gómez, if we look at "the greater America" we will see "America in light of the Christian mission to the Americas, from the top of what is now Canada to the ends of South America and across to the Caribbean. America is actually the historical product of at least three different 'missions' – the first ones of the Spanish and French Catholics, and the later settlements of the Puritans from England… It is the place where the main branches of European Christianity have met. Americans are both children of the Protestant Reformation which prevailed in England and children of the Catholic renewal or Counter Reformation which was centered in Spain and Rome... America was born from the Christian mission. This is not an article of faith or a pious wish. It is a historical fact. This nation was discovered as part of the great commission that Jesus Christ gave to his Church: to proclaim his Gospel "to every nation."

Bishop Gómez writes and thinks more like Saint Augustine and Catholic historian Christopher Dawson than any American prelate I have ever read. He understands that nations have corporate lives which play as large a part in salvation history as the struggles of one man’s soul. He quotes Augustine, "God can never be believed to have left the kingdoms of men, their dominations and their servitudes outside the laws of his Providence." He grants that his modern reader may not believe that America can only be understood in terms of God’s plan for history. But he correctly insists that the men who wrote "in the course of human events" and of "the laws of nature and Nature’s God" had entrusted their covenant of nation-building to "the protection of Divine Providence."
                       

The archbishop has a high view of the American Dream. He agrees with G.K. Chesteron that America is a "spiritual adventure" because "alone among the nations in history America has been engaged in a historic struggle to build a ‘cosmic commonwealth’ by molding many peoples into the visible image of the citizen." Immigration reform is part "of an even more comprehensive reform, a project for American renewal, aimed at forming a a new national identity and civic culture…We will need to seek a new 'patriotic grace' to develop a unity worthy of our missionary and immigrant heritage. It must be based on our founders’ dream of America as one nation of equality and freedom under God." Unlike so many Catholic intellectuals, Archbishop Gómez does not think civic understanding begins with a celebration of the dignity or rights of the individual. He quotes the German Lutheran martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer who had lived in New York during the 1930's: "American democracy is not founded upon the emancipated man but, quite the contrary, upon the Kingdom of God and the limitation of the earthly powers by the sovereignty of God." This is a crucial distinction in understanding the kind of Biblical and God-soaked language which animated the interracial brotherhood movement of the 1960's (see Stone of Hope, by David Chappell, on how that prophetic religious movement transcended the language of rationalistic liberalism.) That same language will be needed for a true renewal of America and a solution to the immigration dilemma. His emphasis corrects the strategic mistake of both the pro-life movement and much of the neoconservative political project. They ground political discussion in "the dignity of the person" which easily morphs into the reigning ideology of "the autonomy of the individual."

In assembling his argument for the American Creed, the archbishop battles no straw man but dissects the identity narrative of the late, and very influential, Samuel Huntington of Harvard. Huntington’s students include Francis Fukyama and Fareed Zakaria, while his books include the seminal description of multipolar world order after the bipolarity of the Cold War (Clash of Civilizations.)

The archbishop charitably dissects the professor's book on American identity (Who are We?) in which Huntington rooted American identity in the English language, the Anglo-Saxon legal traditions, and Protestantism. Both Huntington’s work and the Gómez critique are important to read in understanding this debate. (It is a curious aside that the historically literate and culturally nuanced Catholic political thinker Pat Buchanan seems much more the Boston Brahmin than an urban Irish Catholic in this conflict.)

Archbishop Gómez is clear that "in order to insure the dream, we will have to challenge the secularist, multiculturalist, and relativist consensus that in recent years has taken hold among elite thinkers and opinion shapers in our universities, cultural centers, and government." America has gone astray, he says, "embarking on an uncharted path -- trying to live without God." Immigration reform is essentially a religious project, in the original sense of the word -- religion as what binds us to ultimate things and connects us to one another.

Archbishop Gómez has written a book which he continues to say is about much more than immigration reform. He contends that the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in December 1531, "is the true spiritual foundation of America – and of all the nations of the Americas, North and South.” His book is a profound meditation on race as well as American citizenship and immigration. That is another conversation which we cannot have if we do not include God. Is it possible that forging interracial brotherhood under God may become what he means by the "deeper human ties and sense of duty" needed for citizenship? Is this not the missing language in the Ferguson (Missouri) and New York City interracial debates of December 2014? The full integration of black men in the citizen duties of urban protection led by local policemen might be another fruit of "renewing the soul of our nation." Understanding the shared political ('polis' = member of a city) identity and protective duty between police officers and black males is a religious notion of male citizenship. It is just the kind of elevated religious/political category that the archbishop has championed. He is carrying out his apostolic commission to baptize the nations.

The appearance of the Lady 500 years ago in the middle of the Americas came in an era of horrific blood sacrifice and interracial wars. She came as a woman of mixed heritage, a mestizo. She came to lift us up. The message of this book is to listen to her, and follow her Son, to deepen our social bonds through religious citizenship. Many roses will follow.

The message of this review is that Los Angeles has a new and very different bishop. We should listen to him as well.
                                                         

Thursday, December 1, 2016

CHRISTIAN REALISM -- The Armed Darwin: Hitler as Realist


[first published June 9, 2016]


by Dr. David Pence



                                                




Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale did a great service in beginning his book Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning with an intellectual history of Hitler’s thought taken from a careful reading of Mein Kampf and study in the original German of his speeches. Here is a good synopsis which I will borrow from in this short essay.

Our emphasis which is not Snyder’s will be on the atheistic pedigree of Darwin, Hitler, and so-called realism in present day American foreign policy.

Adolph Hitler took Darwin seriously. Darwin’s book was called The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Hitler’s book was called My Struggle - Mein Kampf.



Hitler was not really a nationalist. He used the German nation-state as a vehicle for his master Aryan race which he sometimes called the Germanic race. He was a true globalist -- a global thinker who made the link of biology and human sociology that has eluded the more timid evolutionary biologists and sociobiologists of our own era. He understood that a man who loved his race and could lead them must secure a living space which could feed the whole population and provide for growth. He loved his race and his speeches were successful because he could communicate what the Arabs call 'Asabiyyah' – group feeling. Men will die for this elementary sensibility at the heart of religion and patriotism; and they followed Hitler, a man who could evoke that feeling. He perverted a real love that exists among men in groups.

From Timothy Snyder (NY Review of Books) on Hitler's worldview:
"Nothing can be known about the future, thought Hitler, except the limits of our planet: 'the surface area of a precisely measured space.' Ecology was scarcity, and existence meant a struggle for land. The immutable structure of life was the division of animals into species, condemned to 'inner seclusion' and an endless fight to the death. Human races, Hitler was convinced, were like species. The highest races were still evolving from the lower, which meant that interbreeding was possible but sinful. Races should behave like species, like mating with like and seeking to kill unlike. This for Hitler was a law, the law of racial struggle, as certain as the law of gravity. The struggle could never end, and it had no certain outcome. A race could triumph and flourish and could also be starved and extinguished."

Hitler did not see the Jews as a race. They were not like the Slavs -- an obvious race meant for work and to be dominated. They were not like the Japanese -- a superior race who were welcome to their sphere of influence in the East. The Jews were something else -- a kind of intellectual, maybe even spiritual, pestilence that infected other races so they did not think clearly about reality. Reality is biology. Reality is nature. Man is an animal who lives socially as a race. There is no loyalty to the species as a whole—that is a universalizing idea of a group who have no soil of their own. That is the Jewish infection.

There is struggle. There is war. Darwin is right, and whoever figures that out will do best. There are no guarantees. The Germans have not been elected to be superior. When they cooperate as a race, when they care for one another across class lines, they will flourish as a people. If they are limited in their vision by lack of leadership they will become bourgeois shopkeepers and lose out to a more martial race that knows how to act as a military force. There are limited resources and a finite amount of land for food. The men who recognize this and organize themselves into fighting units that can take and defend that land will survive. The race that cannot will perish, or be enslaved. The woman is meant for the home, for beauty and refinement. The men are meant to protect women and the homeland. Men will do this if they can act as one by following the right leader. This is biology, and if one looks carefully, it is history. But the great universalizers in the name of religion and now Bolshevism tell a story of the human species and not the race. They are infecting the mind with ideologies that tear man from his animal racial nature of blood and soil.

The Jews, unlike most tribes, said their God created all humanity. The Jews spoke of the Noahidic Law -- the natural law which all men could know and obey. The last of the Noahidic laws was that men must live by law in communities. Hitler saw the idea of  law, even the idea of the State, as a false ideal obscuring the deeper loyalty to the race. Such ideas were attractive to slaves and less successful races. Such ideas were useful at times to superior races but they were subordinate notions. When Hitler saw the Jew on the cross, he saw a slave’s religion. To Hitler, Saint Paul spreading the universalized Judaism of Christianity was just an earlier version of Trotsky pushing international socialism.

The other Jewish notion that men should live in bounded territorial nations and be a "light unto the nations" was again to Hitler utterly unnatural. Any notion of a universal loyalty to all humans was unnatural. The race must go where it must go.  There were no boundaries or walls between neighbors. That would erect a limit and like the crowd building at Babel, the race has no limit. There was no God to trust for manna in the desert. The bread was where the soil produced grain. Ukraine, not France, was the real target of the racist establishing his habitat. He needed to mollify the western front; it was in the east where he would conquer and abide.

Hitler was no more a nationalist than Lenin was. Each took the available national machinery and loyalties of his country. Lenin used Russia to carry out the ideas of Marx and Hitler used Germany to carry out the ideas of Darwin. Both men rejected the religious truth that man is a created being bound to other men by a shared humanity and common Creator. Both would eventually face nations and men of God who saw things differently. The joy today is that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany are gone, and the nations of Russia and Germany seek to find their proper place among the nations. The shame is that the United States in its foreign policy seeks to surround the strongest emerging nations in an endless war of all against all. Marx is really dead but Darwin reigns everywhere.

This social Darwinism masquerades as hard-headed realism. Charles Krauthammer, the resident atheist conservative intellectual at Fox News, recently explained:
"For realists, generally conservative, history is an endless cycle of clashing power politics. The same patterns repeat. Only the names and places change. The best we can do in our own time is to defend ourselves, managing instability and avoiding catastrophe. But expect nothing permanent, no essential alteration in the course of human affairs… For realists, Sovereign nations remain in incessant pursuit of power and self-interest. The pursuit can be carried out more or less wisely. But nothing fundamentally changes."

This is naked social Darwinism and it should not be called "realism" by any man who knows history. To propose the religious goal of fraternity amidst territorially defined nations is considered "idealist." To attest we have a common destiny as men to love God and one another is scorned as hopelessly naive. The Christian realist is no pacifist. He sees arms as the last and limited option in the deeper mission to follow the will of God, to thwart the lies of the devil, and to protect and feed humanity. The way we do this is by first caring for the communities we have been given as fatherlands -- our respective nations. It is through the bonds of citizenship in the nation that men act in this dangerous world. Jesus came for all, but it was Jerusalem he wept over. This is the Biblical synthesis of the local nation and universal humanity that Hitler so despised. We cannot serve humanity if we do not have a strong and just nation. This Biblical synthesis is despised by the modern who does not understand the souls of nations. Men will die for the national bond, but we make no God of this bond because our God is Lord of all the nations. (There goes that Jewish tendency to universalize. But what can we do?  God picked the Jews to carry His Name and demonstrate His Divine plan for history, we didn’t.)
                       

This is Christian realism. We should not be so meek in offering it as an alternative to Mr. Darwin’s worldview. Hitler showed us Darwin armed. Our American Darwinists prefer killing from high in the sky with their bombings of Belgrade, Libya, and Yemen. They surround Russia and China as if we are perpetual foes, and they engage our Mideast enemies by man-less drones. They cannot terminate a war or really initiate a durable peace because they have no end in mind. In the name of modernity they rebel against Divine Providence, which has always been the guiding quest in American foreign policy. Let us seek to do the Will of our God who is just and merciful, for there are better ways to wage war and there are much better ways to make peace.



ADDENDUM: On April 20th (Hitler's birthday) in 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold -- two high school seniors at Columbine in Colorado -- killed 13 fellow students and injured 24 others. Klebold was considered depressive and suicidal, with Eric Harris the "psychopathic mastermind." This is the shirt worn on the day of the mass slaughter.


Conducting foreign policy as Social Darwinists is a prescription for perpetual war. Raising children as evolutionary materialists is a soul-killing betrayal of the young by their elders. It leaves the weak without protection, and the strong without purpose.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The 2,000 Byzantine monks on the Holy Mountain


MOUNT ATHOS in northeastern Greece is one of the powerhouses of prayer that keeps our tired old world going -- because sturdy men of faith submit their hearts to God.

On this feast day of the Holy Apostle Andrew, it's appropriate that we deepen our understanding of our Christian brothers in Greece and Russia.

"There are 20 monasteries on Mount Athos of which 17 are Greek, one Russian, one Serbian, and one Bulgarian. There are also twelve Skites (similar to monasteries but much smaller), a large number of Kellia (large farm houses), Kalyves (smaller houses), Kathismata (small houses for a single monk) and Hesychasteria (hermitages or caves in desolate cliff faces, for the most austere hermits)."

               
                                   



                                                   


From the parish bulletin of a Russian Orthodox church in Minneapolis:
Last October, Fr. Andrew and I visited Mt. Athos, affectionately known as the Garden of the Theotokos. As we experienced this beautiful place where God’s glory seems to radiate from everything, we were made aware of her presence. When we spoke to the monks in that holy place, they would refer to her and say things like: "Whatever the holy Mother wants." They live in humble submissiveness to her and understand the value of her intercessory prayers and guidance. We met an older monk on one of the remote walking paths by his hut (it was very old and abandoned-looking), who explained to us that he had lived 30 years alone with the Mother of God in "her garden." 

Sit back and enjoy one of the finest segments that has ever appeared on "60 Minutes."

               




UPDATE: Here is a short video of one of President Putin's visits to Mount Athos. He was joined by the Patriarch of Moscow.


Let us praise Andrew, the herald of God, / the namesake of courage, / the first-called of the Savior’s disciples / and the brother of Peter. / As he once called to his brother, he now cries out to us: / "Come, for we have found the One whom the world desires!"


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Catholic Sociobiology: APOSTOLIC FRATERNITY, MARIAN FEMININITY


"The differences between man and woman are not of the order of opposition or subordination, but rather of communion and generation, which is why the human person, male and female, can be said to be made in the image and likeness of God... The complementarity of man and woman – the summit of divine creation – is being questioned by what is called ‘gender ideology’ in the name of a society that is freer and more just... This is a sin against God as Creator."      (Pope Francis)
                                                                       
Catholic Sociobiology recognizes that human social organization is built upon sacralizing the different male and female realities in the order of creation. All three of the last popes have reflected on this complementary reality in marriage. We add to these reflections an argument that God has perfected masculinity in the Apostolic fraternity of the all-male priesthood, and femininity in the fruitful virginity of Our Blessed Mother. Below you will find links to our video series dedicated to these forms of communio. Another permanent link to these videos can be found at the top right sidebar of Anthropology of Accord.

The Apostolic Fraternity of the All-Male Priesthood

Marian Femininity Video Series