Monday, September 15, 2014

Map on Monday: The Communal Loyalties that Rule Most of the World


In our opening Map on Monday post, we presented the civilizational map of Samuel Huntington. This week we examine the map printed with Dr. David Pence's editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The map (click to enlarge) is more focused than Huntington's. The multicolored key reveals the great religious identities underlying the conflicts between nations in current events. What is the gist of Professor Huntington's argument (that Dr. Pence further extends)? As the bi-polar world order of the Cold War came to an end, man's far deeper religious loyalties emerged to shape the geopolitical order in much of the world.

The most revealing combination of nations constitute the awakening Orthodox -- Russia, Greece, Serbia, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria. In north Africa, the Mideast, and central Asia, Sunni Islam is dominant. Israel and Iran are displayed as two minority religious islands in a Sunni sea, the former Jewish and the latter Shia Muslim. Off the map to the southeast are the nations comprising  a third of the world's population: Hindu India and Confucian-Buddhist China.

Most nations of  Europe are colored as Catholics or Protestants. They are also outlined in red and described as "the secular West" by the Star Tribune. Dr. Pence actually refers to this area as the "atheist West." Secular is a designation of time differentiated from Eternal. Secular does not mean atheist. Every nation is secular insofar as it operates in a historical era (the Latin word saeculum refers to the length of a man's general lifespan). Nations are brotherhoods of men so they are spiritual realities, but some nations, like some men, conceive of  themselves as beings without God. They are  the atheist nations. They are defined not by men sharing military duty but by individuals navigating a boundless godless sea of time and space -- the Modern West.

There are Christian nations in Europe which we do not place within the atheist boundaries. These include the Catholic nations of Ireland, Hungary, and Poland. Although the Church hierarchy in Ireland has been deeply corrupted, Catholic communal roots still run deep. Her island status has kept Ireland distinct but not immune from the increasingly atheist zeitgeist of the continent. Poland, too, is tempted by the EU/NATO alliance but we attribute this more to Poland's historical memory of Russia than their grasping a modern Western identity. Hungary is much more robust in emerging as a Catholic nation. The land of Saint Stephen -- which also had been crushed by Soviet tanks -- has welcomed the awakening Orthodox Russia as a fellow Christian brother confronting the confusions of the West.

Understanding the religious loyalties that shape nations is no longer simply a religious matter. It is a geopolitical necessity.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, September 13

Religion and Geopolitics Review this week includes:
An article at the Washington Post's website describes what could be the unraveling of the United Kingdom, with Scotland voting on September 18 whether or not to seek independence. The article explains that the liberal-led Scottish independence movement under the Labour Party would take enough liberal representatives with them that it would leave Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party with a 37-seat majority. With this majority, Cameron could press forward with Great Britain's exit from the European Union.

As the United Kingdom distances itself from the European Union, the United States  presses ahead with plans to further integrate Ukraine into the European Union. This move by the US, however, is seen as the latest misstep in what Patrick Smith at the Fiscal Times ranks "among the worst of its numerous foreign-policy errors." In an article on Obama's foreign policy in Ukraine, Smith argues that President Obama's State Department, under Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, went forward with the coup in Ukraine despite the European-backed deal to hold a special Ukrainian presidential election last May.

Although tensions are on the rise between the United States and Russia, Hungarian-Russian relations have never been better. Hungary, whose new constitution explicitly speaks of the Christian faith in Hungary while rejecting the communist era and abortion, is beginning to reawaken as a Christian nation. As Hungary seeks to abandon the radical individualism of the liberal atheist West, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is now eyeing the illiberal political model used in "Singapore, China, India, Turkey, [and] Russia." Seeing Russia as its closest Christian ally, Hungary and Russia have begun deepening their ties.

Hungary and Russia are not the only ones looking at the "progressive" West with suspicion. Conservative  journalist and author Pat Buchanan has written on nationalism as a far greater ally than NATO (the armed wing of the atheist West). The rising tide of nationalism, Buchanan argues, will be a countervailing power on the European Union, Russia, and any imperial ambitions in China.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Map on Monday: Ten Most Populous Muslim Nations


The above map (click to enlarge) displays the ten most populous Muslim nations in the world. Surprisingly enough, there is only one Mideast Arab nation highlighted on this map - Egypt - and this nation is ranked only #6 on the list. In fact, the top five Muslim nations (Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria) are not even located in the Mideast. While the vast majority of Muslim nations are Sunni Muslim, Iran (ranked #7) stands apart as the one Shiite nation on this map. Turkey (ranked #8) sits astride Europe and the Mideast -- but given its status as ethnically Turkic, Turkey stands apart from the ethnically Arab Sunni nations to its south.

Maps such as this should help us begin to dispel the myth of Islam as predominantly Arab and Mideastern.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Map on Monday: Invasion of Poland

Today marks the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Catholic Poland in 1939 and the beginning of World War II. Not long after, the Marxist Soviet Union invaded from the east. Here is a map of the twin invasions and ultimate partition of Poland:


As the map shows, Poland was only the most recent nation conquered by the Nazis. They had already taken Austria in March 1938 and began seizing Czechoslovakia later that fall.

The partition of Poland between the Nazis and the Soviets was itself part of a larger non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia. This pact with the Soviets gave the Nazis the opportunity to turn its military westward for the conquest of France. By the autumn of 1940, the Nazis had done in one year what the Germans had failed to do in all the years of World War I.

As one article points out, Poland would suffer a harsh fate during the war and the later Communist occupation. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said: "Poland was crucified between two thieves: the Nazis and the Soviets."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Map on Monday: Religious Civilizations of Samuel Huntington

In his 1996 work entitled Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, the political scientist Samuel Huntington proposed the following world map structured primarily by religious loyalties:


Huntington argued that from the bi-polar world order of the Cold War, a civilizational world order would emerge built on the foundations of religion. One clear example of this may be seen in the Islamic civilization (spreading across north Africa, through the Mideast, and on to Indonesia). Others are found in the Hindu nation of India and the emerging Orthodox civilization binding together much of the old Soviet Union.

Civilizational fault lines  divide one civilization from another. Huntington uses the term fault line here because he argues that civilizational conflict will often occur geographically where one civilization meets another. It is precisely along such a boundary that one civilization clashes with another and where local conflict may easily widen to other parts of the same fault line. Huntington applied this concept to the conflict in Yugoslavia where Orthodox, Catholic, and Muslim civilizations met and the first post-Cold War European conflict broke out. We may also consider the current conflict in Ukraine in terms of Huntington's civilizational thesis.

Sometimes a civilizational fault line runs through a nation. In this case, one part of a country belongs to a civilization that the other part does not. This was exactly the situation with the nation of Sudan, which was divided into a Muslim north and a Christian south. Huntington's map above -- though made in the 1990s -- accurately predicted the 2011 emergence of South Sudan as a separate nation from the Muslim-dominated northern Sudan.

The late professor's map, however, is not without its issues. Perhaps the gravest problem is Huntington's insistence in defining western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, etc. as the non-religious secular West. Thus after treating the world in largely religious terms, Huntington fails to apply the same treatment to western Europe and those nations who have deep colonial-immigrant ties to western Europe. This is certainly a comment on the world view linking Harvard Square to European bureaucrats.

We would paint most of Europe as atheist. We would link Britain, Australia, and Canada as English-speaking atheist. We would color America as Christian -- understanding that she can be tempted into the two atheist camps. Latin America is made up of Catholic nations who are less seduced now by the Marxist siren, but falling for the atheism of the sexual revolutionaries and globalized bureaucrats. Africa below the northern Muslim belt should be painted as Christian and ethnic. We would mark Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Croatia, and Ireland as Catholic nations. We will publish our variant of this map at a later date.

Despite its limitations, Samuel Huntington's conception of the world -- and that map inspired by it -- should be familiar to all those who look at the globe and seek to better understand the nations.

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22 -- QUEENSHIP OF MARY: The Feminine Shattering of the Glass Ceiling

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. So 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 held too much ground 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. 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.
                                       

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 15 -- THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION: Purity on Earth and the Feminine in Heaven

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, though she suffered it. 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."