Why is Anti-Communism still a Slur?

It might go back to the efforts of a New York Times reporter, as this article from Tradition in Action reports.

An excerpt.

Red Famine, the latest book by Soviet/Russian expert Anne Applebaum, skillfully combines the hard facts and numbers of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s terror famine of 1932-1933 (Holodomor in Ukrainian) with personal accounts of those caught up in the tragedy. The result is a moving, well-documented account of one of the worst crimes against humanity in Contemporary History. Applebaum addresses the vexed question of using the term “genocide” to describe the terror famine and demonstrates the connection between Ukraine’s struggle for independence from Soviet Russia to Stalin’s implementation of famine as a political tool. The author’s research is impressive, but, unfortunately, she fails to fully explain the actions of one of the most despicable figures in the story of the terror famine – The New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty. This is significant because Duranty’s influence is still felt today.

Stalin demanded secrecy for his calculated savagery in Ukraine and other areas of the Soviet Union. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics needed the trade and technology benefits which would flow from recognition of the Communist State by the United States and, if the true magnitude of the terror famine became apparent, Stalin’s regime would become an international pariah. There were already various Russian emigré groups working against Soviet interests and verified accounts of the starvation of millions in the USSR (especially in Ukraine) would make any political or economic relations with the U.S. impossible.

Enter Walter Duranty

Duranty, The New York Times correspondent from 1922 to 1936, is described by Applebaum as one who “had no ties to the ideological left, adopting rather the position of a hard-headed and skeptical ‘realist’ trying to listen to both sides of a story.” She then cites a 1935 statement from Duranty comparing the vivisection of animals [done for medical reasons, one presumes] and the fate of the kulaks (successful Ukrainian property owners who were the particular target of Stalin and the terror famine). “It may be objected that the vivisection of living animals is a sad and dreadful thing, and it is true that the lot of kulaks and others who have opposed the Soviet experiment is not a happy one,” but Duranty continued, “in both cases, the suffering inflicted is done with a noble purpose” [p.310].

The “lot of kulaks” and other opponents of Stalin’s tyranny – what Duranty calls the “Soviet experiment” – was, in truth, a blood soaked nightmare of beatings, prison, starvation and execution. The “noble purpose” in Ukraine was to fulfill the Soviet dictator’s demands for complete agricultural collectivazation, the extermination of the kulaks, and the end to Ukrainian culture, language and literature.

Taken across the whole of the USSR, the “noble purpose” was called Stalinism, the peculiar brand of Communism introduced by the Soviet dictator, who advanced both collectivized and industrialized in the Soviet Union through fear, intimidation, brutal imprisonment and murder. Stalin sought to build “Socialism in one country” as opposed to Lenin and Trotsky’s call for world revolution. Stalin did, however, develop a vast network of spies and pro-Soviet cooperators throughout the world (including the U.S.) for the advancement of Stalin’s brand of Communism.

Duranty, an essential part of this effort

Applebaum recognizes Duranty’s bias toward the Soviets and his usefulness “to the regime, which went out of its way to ensure that he lived well in Moscow,” but sees “the primary motivation for Duranty’s flattering coverage of the USSR” as “the attention he won from his reporting.” Applebaum then mentions the unparalleled influence he had in the U.S. with “the men who would become part of Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘Brains Trust'” who “were looking for new economic ideas and had a deep interest in the Soviet experiment…” Duranty, who had won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Soviet Union, traveled to New York in 1932 and met with then-New York governor and presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt. Applebaum states that Roosevelt “peppered” Duranty with questions and the future U.S. President found the encounter with The New York Times foreign correspondent “fascinating.”

uranty was the acknowledged “dean” of Moscow foreign correspondents whose word enjoyed nearly complete acceptance among his colleagues. In America, Duranty’s reputation as an expert in Soviet affairs was unchallenged with the result that Soviet propaganda flowed through Duranty and to the American public with little hindrance. Duranty’s influence extended from the casual newspaper reader to the most powerful individuals in the United States. It was in large part because of Duranty that the most favorable view possible of Stalin and Stalinism dominated the Roosevelt administration. [It might be pointed out that several top advisors and officials in the Roosevelt government were spies for the Soviet Union.]

While large areas of Ukraine and other areas of the USSR were sealed off by Soviet authorities, millions starved from confiscation of all edible produce. Duranty not only discounted any news of the terror famine but also successfully blunted reaction to reports from the few correspondents who dared to report the truth about the terror famine. One of these, Malcolm Muggeridge, would later describe Duranty as the “greatest liar of any journalist I have ever met.”

Another British journalist, Gareth Jones, issued a press-release concerning his journey through the devastated Soviet regions, drawing a sharp rebuke from Duranty and a counter-statement from Jones. After the publication of his reports, Jones was banned from the Soviet Union and was later killed while reporting on China. His death was officials described as at the hands of Chinese bandits, as Applebaum relates. There is, however, more to the death of the brave journalist. There is strong evidence that operatives from the Soviet NKVD (later known as the KGB) were angered at Jones’ reports on the terror famine and were responsible for Jones’ death. Jones had also learned of secret Soviet military assistance to Mao Zedong’s communist rebels, and the Soviets may also have wanted to prevent Jones from reporting on overt Soviet intervention in China’s civil war.

Duranty’s loyalty to Stalin and Stalinism was so complete that some later believed that he was actually an agent for Soviet intelligence. American ex-communist Jay Lovestone seems to have held this opinion, as did veteran U.S. journalist Joseph Alsop. Whether in the direct pay of the Soviets or as simply a pro-Soviet lackey, Duranty was instrumental during his career in frustrating an accurate understanding of the Soviet Union and its intentions. His loyalty to Stalin was complete, even to the point of writing an obituary for the Soviet dictator in 1953….

During his rule, Stalin’s version of Communism was dominant in the world, from the rural collectives in the USSR to the literary set in New York and for many actors and writers in Hollywood. Duranty hid what he could of Stalin’s horrors, and what he could not hide he lied about. Duranty made possible the existence of a credible pro-Communist/pro-Stalinist movement in the U.S. during the 1930s and 1940s, the effect of which remains strong in intellectual quarters today, and even in the general society. The term “anti-Communism” now rates on the same level as a Woody Allen punchline.

Duranty would be gratified.

Retrieved January 16, 2018 from http://www.traditioninaction.org/bkreviews/A_064_Red.htm

Catholicism, Buddhism, and Mysticism

Good article—an interview with a book’s author on the subject—about this from Catholic World Report.

An excerpt.

CWR: Mindfulness, as you noted, draws on Buddhist ideas. What are the key problems with this approach? In what ways are Catholicism and Buddhism incompatible?

Susan Brinkmann: As Dr. Anthony E. Clark says in the foreword of the book, the direction one drives a car determines the place one arrives at, and our spiritual practice is no different. “When one understands well the intentions of Christian prayer and mindfulness, it is clear that, at their root, they point in contrasting directions,” he writes.

Many Catholics believe Buddhism is not really a religion because it doesn’t involve the worship of a god. It’s more of a philosophy or system of ethics, they say, and is harmless. However, upon closer inspection, we quickly realize that this is just one of many diverging philosophies that make Catholicism and Buddhism completely incompatible.

For example, on the most basic level, Buddhists do not believe in the existence of the soul. They believe people who think they have a soul are rooted in ignorance and in a desire to please one’s “self” and that we become truly enlightened only after we come to the realization that there is no such thing as a soul. Christians not only believe in the existence of the soul, but that the soul can achieve eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Christians believe suffering brings us closer to God and unites us with our Suffering Lord. Buddhists believe suffering is something to be escaped from.

Christ teaches that He is the “Way, the truth and the life,” (John 14:6), but the Buddha teaches that every person must find their own path to enlightenment.

Both faiths teach love but the Christian agape love is personal, individual and free-willed. The Buddhist teaches karuna, an impersonal feeling of compassion. The best way to understand what a stark difference this makes between the two faiths is found in the Buddhist story of the saint who gave his cloak to a beggar. The Christian gives his cloak to the beggar because of Christ’s love for the beggar. The Buddhist gives his cloak to the beggar because it’s the enlightened thing to do. In other words, the Buddhist’s concern is not for the welfare of the beggar, as is the Christian, but for the liberation of the giver from the burden of self.

Another problem I have seen stems from erroneous interpretations of Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions. This document says that we are permitted to adopt what is good from other religions because it believes that other religions “often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.” What is often overlooked, however, is that a reflection of a ray is not truth that is directly from the source, but only a reflection of the source that is found in the Catholic faith.

This is why prominent theologians such as Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, warned that the poorly-catechized Christian should not engage in any kind of interreligious dialogue because this is only for doctrinally equipped Christians.

And in regard to incorporating eastern meditation techniques into Christian prayer, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger teaches in A Letter to the Bishops on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation that we can adopt what is good from other religions “so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements are never obscured.” Herein lies the problem. Buddhist meditation techniques such as mindfulness, by their very nature, are diametrically opposed to the Christian conception of prayer, which is “the raising of one’s heart and mind to God.” Buddhist meditation focuses on the self, while Christian meditation focuses on God.

In lieu of all of the above, St. John Paul II issues a well-founded warning in Crossing the Threshold of Faith that because the Buddhist and the Catholic have an essentially different way of perceiving the world, the Christian who wants to embrace ideas originating in Eastern religions needs to “know one’s own spiritual heritage well” before deciding whether or not to set the Faith aside.

Retrieved January 10, 2018 from http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/01/07/catholicism-and-mindfulness-compatible-practices-or-contrary-spiritualities/

 

Jerusalem & Globalism

An outstanding article from First Things about the connection.

An excerpt.

Today’s world seems to be a scramble of disconnected data points, but there’s coherence in the chaos. The most penetrating analyses focus on the West’s loss of confidence in globalization. That framework doesn’t explain everything, but it explains a lot.

It explains Trump, the polygonal backlash against the EU, the anxious resentments of the alienated young and the forgotten middle and working classes, hostility to refugees and immigrants, and frustrations with political correctness and enforced diversity.

We can deepen the analysis with a glance at an actual apocalypse, the book of Revelation. Chapter 18 describes the lamentation of kings and merchants over the fall of a great trading city called “Babylon.”

Revelation 18 isn’t a prophecy about globalization. It’s not, as many believe, about the fall of the Roman Empire. Rather, it portrays the collapse of the world order that ancient Jews believed centered on Jerusalem and its temple.

We know Babylon is Jerusalem because John tells us that the “great city” is where the Lord was crucified (Rev. 11). We know the city is Jerusalem because Babylon is a harlot, and in the Old Testament Jerusalem is almost invariably the harlot city. Babylon is even dressed like one of Israel’s high priests, with a gilded, jeweled robe and an inscription on her forehead (Rev. 17).

Revelation 18 ends with: “in her was found the blood of the prophets and of saints and of all who had been slain on the land” (v. 24). From our twenty-first-century perch, that sounds like ancient Rome, but the description actually proves that Babylon is Jerusalem. When John wrote, the Romans had barely shed a drop of Christian blood. According to Jesus, Jerusalem is the city that kills prophets (Matt. 23:35).

Literally, the city is first-century Jerusalem, but the city is called Babylon, equivalent to Babel. John prophesies the fall of an ancient world, but he also (secundum tropologiam) describes the fate of the “Babel project” that has fascinated humanity for millennia.

“Babel” often functions as a symbol for statist tyranny, but that’s only part of the story. The original Babel wasn’t merely a political aspiration. It was a religious dream. As James Jordan has noted, the men of Babel set out to build a city and a tower, a civic order centered on a sacred temple-tower to connect heaven and earth (Gen. 11).

In Revelation, Babylon rides a Roman beast, and together they represent the union of the two halves of ancient humanity, Jew and Gentile. Babylon relies on the brute force of a sea beast to trample opposition and the slick punditry of a land beast to cover her tracks (Rev. 13). Babylon is at the center of a world-system. When the harlot city collapses, the system falls, and great is the fall of it.

Revelation gives insight into contemporary history in several ways. It unveils the distorted Christian inspiration behind globalism. The vision of a global city saved by commerce is a counterfeit gospel that gathers a counterfeit church, but it’s hardly even thinkable without the real gospel.

By recognizing that globalism is a faith, we can understand the ferocious tenacity of its defenders. People cling to idols even after they’ve been shattered. Every morning, Philistine priests pick up the shards of Dagon and pile him back in place for another day’s worship (1 Sam. 4–6).

In 1989, Russia and Eastern Europe woke up from one of the twentieth century’s global dreams. Twenty years later, that dream’s chief competitor is fraying. The West’s disorientation and dismay are like that of a committed Russian communist circa 1991. But believers shouldn’t be surprised. Babels always fall.

Retrieved December 30, 2017 from https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/12/things-fall-apart

Lenin and Communism, Still Relevant

The wishful thinking of the uninformed that Communism died when the Soviet Union did, are really missing the boat, as this story from the New York Times reports.

An excerpt.

The October Revolution, organized by Vladimir Lenin exactly a century ago, is still relevant today in ways that would have seemed unimaginable when Soviet Communism collapsed.

Marxist-Leninism (albeit in the unique capitalist-Maoist form) still propels China, the world’s surging hyperpower, even as that same ideology ruins Cuba and Venezuela. Meanwhile, North Korea, a dystopian Leninist monarchy with nuclear weapons, terrifies the world. Even more surprisingly, Communism is experiencing a resurrection in democratic Britain: Jeremy Corbyn, that quasi-Leninist comfortingly disguised as cuddly grey-beard, is the most extreme politician ever to lead one of Britain’s two main parties, and he is inching toward power.

But Lenin’s tactics, too, are resurgent. He was a sophisticated genius of merciless zero-sum gain, expressed by his phrase “Kto kovo?” — literally, “Who, whom?” asking the question who controls whom and, more important, who kills whom. President Trump is some ways the personification of a new Bolshevism of the right where the ends justify the means and acceptable tactics include lies and smears, and the exploitation of what Lenin called useful idiots. It’s no coincidence that President Trump’s chief campaign strategist, Steve Bannon, once boasted “I am a Leninist.”

One hundred years later, as its events continue to reverberate and inspire, October 1917 looms epic, mythic, mesmerizing. Its effects were so enormous that it seems impossible that it might not have happened the way it did.

And yet it nearly didn’t.

There was nothing inevitable about the Bolshevik revolution. By 1917, the Romanov monarchy was decaying quickly, but its emperors may have saved themselves had they not missed repeated chances to reform. The other absolute monarchies of Europe — the Ottomans, the Habsburgs — fell because they were defeated in World War I. Would the Romanovs have fallen, too, if they had survived just one more year to share in the victory of November 1918?

By 1913, the czar’s secret police had dispersed and vanquished the opposition. Just before the fall of the czar, Lenin reflected to his wife that revolution “won’t happen in our lifetime.” Ultimately, it was a spontaneous, disorganized popular uprising and a crisis of military loyalty that forced Nicholas’s abdication. When that moment arrived, Lenin was in Zurich, Trotsky in New York and Stalin in Siberia.

Lenin initially thought it was “a hoax.” He was lucky that Germany inserted him like a bacillus (via the so-called sealed train) to take Russia out of the war. Back in Petrograd, Lenin, aided by fellow-radicals Trotsky and Stalin, had to overpower erring Bolshevik comrades, who proposed cooperation with the provisional government, and force them to agree to his plan for a coup. The government should have found and killed him but it failed to do so. He succeeded.

Even the “storming” of the Winter Palace — restaged in a 1920 propaganda spectacular as a people’s triumph — was no storming at all. Lenin rages as it took days to seize the main buildings of the government, while the palace itself was taken by climbing through unlocked windows, undefended except for adolescent cadets — followed by a bacchanalia, with drunk Bolsheviks slurping the czar’s Château d’Yquem 1847 out of the gutters.

October might have heralded a short-lived interim, like so many other failed revolutions of that era. Any coordinated attack by White armies, the other side in the Russian civil war, or any intervention by Western forces would have swept the Bolsheviks away. It all depended on Lenin. He was very nearly overthrown in a coup by rebellious coalition partners but he made his own luck, though, by a combination of ideological passion, ruthless pragmatism, unchecked bloodletting and the will to establish a dictatorship. And sometimes, he just got plain lucky: On Aug. 30, 1918, he was shot while addressing a crowd of workers at a factory in Moscow. He survived by inches.

Retrieved December 17, 2017 from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/opinion/russian-revolution-october.html?rref=

Time of the Rosary

This article from Crisis Magazine reminds us of what an important time Christmas is in relation to the Rosary.

An excerpt.

In this season of the Church calendar the Rosary should loom large for every Catholic. Nativity imagery will abound at all churches depicting the birth of Christ in the manger. But the importance of Mary within the story of the incarnation of Christ is something that is deeply important which is, of course, captured through the Rosary (as well as in Nativity imagery).

That Mary is included in the Creed is no little coincidence. Neither is it that all the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary are directly related with Mary in some fashion. From time to time even the professors at Yale stumble upon a carnal of truth. One of my very Protestant professors once lamented in class that by “getting rid of Mary” Protestants have been in search for a female model of faith ever since and have yet to find one. How true!

Prayer is one of the core essences of Christian life. The Mass is really a long and joyful prayer, and Catholics, most of all, should be aware of this fact. It is not just communion with God—although it most certainly is that—it is also a participatory prayer of praise. But in our age of disorder, the “dictatorship of noise,” and consumerist ethos, as David Bentley Hart once said, “prayer is the one thing you should not do in a truly good consumerist culture.” Prayer, after all, is a call to order. It is a call to dialogue. It is a call to the transcendent—to fix oneself, and one’s mind, to things other the hectic fury of day-to-day life.

To be made for joy and praise is to recognize where that joy emanates from, and where one’s right praise (orthodoxy) should be directed. “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph… And he came to her and said, ‘Hail O favored one, the Lord is with you.’” And how did the blessed Mother respond to the news? “May it be done unto me according to thy word!” Truly a woman of faith for any Catholic to emulate.

The Rosary, with all of its parts, captures the very spirit of the Catholic faith through the Apostle’s Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and Fatima Prayer, notwithstanding to call to mediate on the various mysteries of the day. Prayer is not just a call to order in a chaotic and disorderly world, it is a call to participate with God. And who better to be at the center as a model of participation than Mary herself? She was a vessel chosen by God to be sure, but her immediate compliance to God’s will stands in stark contrast to so many of the other great Biblical figures.

Retrieved December 15, 2017 from http://www.crisismagazine.com/2017/joy-and-the-rosary

Faithful Doves of Bombarral

A wonderful story from Tradition in Action of the doves who accompanied the statute of Fatima.

An excerpt.

In 1946, Portugal was celebrating the third centenary of the dedication of Our Lady as patroness of Portugal under the title of the Immaculate Conception.

The statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the Cova da Iria was chosen to preside over the ceremonies, which would begin in Fatima on November 23, 1946. Then the statue, carried on a platform on the shoulders of priests and laymen, would travel through the country until reaching the Cathedral of Lisbon. There, on December 8, feast of the Immaculate Conception, the consecration of Portugal to this great patroness would be renewed.

What happened en route in the city of Bombarral, located about 40 miles north of Lisbon, was an extraordinary event that has come to be known as the Miracle of the Doves.

As a tribute to Our Lady, five doves were released as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima passed in procession through the streets of Bombarral on December 1. Large crowds were singing hymns to Our Lady and hardly noticed the release.

Then, something remarkable happened. Three of the doves, instead of flying upwards and away, flew to the statue and alighted at Our Lady’s feet. There they remained, despite a few attempts of hand clapping and arm waving to chase them off.

Sentinels of Our Lady

During the days that followed, as the statue moved from one town to another on its way to Lisbon, the doves remained at the base of the statue like faithful white sentinels of Our Lady. One witness wrote: “The noise and cries of the crowd, the singing of hymns, the bursting of festive fireworks, the lights at night, the heat of the sun or heavy rain of some days, the movement of the statue on its flower-covered stand as it entered various churches, the prayer vigils and night ceremonies that took place – nothing made the doves abandon the touching image of Our Lady.” (1)

Despite every distraction, the doves remained. Occasionally they took to air and encircled the statue, as if to prove to disbelievers in the crowds that they were not tied down. Throughout the journey the three doves of Bombarral remained at Our Lady’s feet, refusing all food or drink. Even the secular press took note, narrating the extraordinary fact in the daily papers; the story was picked up by newspapers throughout Europe and the United States.

The statue arrived at Lisbon on December 5, the platform triumphantly carried by Third Order Carmelites. The streets were packed with many thousands of faithful devotees as well as curious onlookers eager to witness what was already being called “the miracle of the doves.” None was disappointed. The doves did not abandon their post of honor at the foot of the statue even as it entered the brightly lit Church of Our Lady of Fatima for the final celebrations of the Marian centennial. Throughout the day Masses and night vigils of December 5 and 6, the doves remained perched at the feet of the statue.

In the evening of December 7, the statue was conveyed in a noisy and excited candle-lit procession to the Cathedral. Fireworks exploded, bands played, flowers were tossed to Our Lady. The doves, flapping their wings occasionally to keep their balance, faithfully kept their place at the statue’s feet.

The doves suddenly fly

When the image finally reached the Cathedral at 1 a.m. on December 8, feast of the Immaculate Conception, one of the doves flew to the top of the tower and remained there for almost an hour and, then, resumed its post at Our Lady’s feet. Throughout the night, the church filled to capacity, the doves remained, quiet and still.

It was the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, Manuel Cerejeira, who offered the feast day Mass and made the re-consecration of Portugal to the Immaculate Conception. During that Mass the crowds witnessed another incredible episode in the history of the three doves. At the ringing of bells for the Consecration of the Sacred Host just before the elevation, there was a sudden fluttering of wings. An eyewitness, Canon J. G. de Oliveira, made this report:

“To the utter amazement of all, two of the doves suddenly flew … after two weeks of refusing food or drink and of remaining at the feet of the statue … One sped straight to the Gospel side of the altar, and the other to the Epistle side! There, as the Bishop straightened to raise the Consecrated Host, they alighted and folded their wings – one on each side – as though in adoration!

“As the Mass progressed, the two doves remained there to the bewilderment of the celebrants and servers and the stupefied congregation. But, this was still not the climax.

“The third dove had not left the statue. Suddenly, at the moment of Communion, the third dove flew up and perched on top of the statue’s golden crown, placed there by the Cardinal Legate, who personally represented the Holy Father the previous May 13 at Fatima. As the celebrant turned and held up Our Lord, saying ‘Ecce Agnus Dei’ (“Behold the Lamb of God”), it spread its white wings and held them open!” (2)

That evening, the statue was carried in ceremony to a decorated frigate for its transport across the River Tagus to be honored in the courtyard of the Seminary of Almada. The three doves, indifferent to the fireworks, noise of engines and whistle blasts from the hundreds of accompanying boats, remained at Our Lady’s feet. (3)

On the journey back to Fatima, the doves would fly away, only to be replaced by three others who took up their posts. And so they remained with Our Lady until her return to Fatima on Christmas Eve.

Retrieved December 10, 2017 from http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/h153_Bombarral.htm

Church Attacks Herself

The institutional Church has done a lot of damage, and some of it is outlined in this article from Fatima Perspectives.

An excerpt.

For more than half a century, the Catholic Church has been plagued by a widespread collapse of faith and discipline rivalling the Arian crisis in length. But unlike the Arian crisis, this still ongoing crisis has not been provoked by a single explicit heresy but rather by a swarm of novelties in the liturgical and pastoral realm that have opened the way to the spread of numerous heresies throughout the Church even while the Church’s authentic teaching avoids any official “repeal.”

Monsignor Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, describes the process thus: “A foreign way of thinking has entered into the Catholic world, stirring up confusion, seducing many souls, and disorienting the faithful. There is a ‘spirit of self-demolition’ that pervades modernism…”

There are three primary vehicles for the penetration of this foreign way of thinking into the Church:

First, a new rite of Mass, devised by committee, that has resulted in what Cardinal Ratzinger admitted is “the collapse of the liturgy.”

Second, an obsession with “dialogue” to the exclusion of the Church’s mission as the sole repository of revealed truth, the Mother and Teacher of all humanity.

Third, “ecumenism,” which abuses the Bride of Christ by attempting to lower her to the level of humanly founded organizations rife with doctrinal and moral corruption, with the result that those outside the Church remain confirmed in their errors while innumerable Catholics absorb the same errors in a kind of thermal equilibrium with the world to which, so we are told, the Church has been “opened” since Vatican II.

Regarding “ecumenism” in particular, it is no exaggeration to say that it has descended into outright ecclesial madness, as we see in the above photograph, which depicts the Vicar of Christ embracing a bogus female “bishop,” one Antje Jackelen, who calls herself the Lutheran “Archbishop” of Uppsala and “primate” of the “Church” of Sweden. By this one scandalous gesture alone, which took place during his visit to Lund, Sweden to “commemorate” the Protestant rebellion as if it were a happy event, Francis confirmed this woman in her diabolical delusion that she is some sort of successor of the Apostles, capable of receiving Holy Orders, and that her “church,” which condones contraception, abortion and sodomy, along with numerous heresies, has a valid commission from God.

And now that same “church” has “voted to adopt a controversial new handbook which says masculine references to God, such as ‘He’ and ‘Lord’ should be scrapped so as to be more ‘inclusive.’” At the same time, a prominent homosexual minister of that “church,” hailed as “the world’s first Lesbian bishop,” has proposed to remove all Christian symbols from her church building, while marking the direction of Mecca inside for the convenience of Muslims, essentially converting the edifice into a mosque.

Retrieved December 9, 2017 from http://www.fatimaperspectives.com/ef/perspective1120.asp

Jerusalem, Capital of Israel

That has been a fact for millennia and it is good the United States finally recognized it, and this article from First Things about it is excellent.

An excerpt.

Jerusalem was last a recognized capital city exactly 830 years ago, when in 1187 the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem surrendered the city to Saladin. The conqueror did not make the city his capital, and neither did any of the Muslim Arab, Mameluke, and Ottoman rulers who followed him. (Nor did a short-lived Crusader restoration, ruled from Acre.) Indeed, for centuries no ruler or state saw fit to declare the city a capital. No one that is, until 1948—when, despite near-universal condemnation, the newly established, fledgling, and fragile Jewish state, in the midst of a desperate war for survival against seven Arab armies, and barely hanging on to the western part of the city, declared Jerusalem its capital.

 

Why is it that the most famous city in the world, sacred to so many, was time and again shunned as a capital, even by the Palestinian-majority Jordanian kingdom that ruled its eastern parts from 1948 to 1967? Why is it that the 1947 UN resolution dividing the British Mandate territories into a Jewish and an Arab state saw fit to carve out Jerusalem expressly as a city to be under a “special international regime”—and most nations, including the US, have refused ever since to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the city? Why did this attitude persist even after 1967, when Israel reunited the city and opened it, for the first time in its history, to free religious worship for all? Why was it that out of all capital cities in the world, good, bad, or ugly, only Jerusalem was denied recognition?

Because Jerusalem is much more than a city—it is also a powerful idea. It instills hope and fear. For many across the world, it is a symbol of redemption, but a celestial and spiritual redemption; for many others, it is a foreboding shadow, casting doubts about the purported trajectory of history from past darkness to future enlightenment. To all of these, the historic role of earthly Jerusalem has concluded, and having long been superseded, it now should, like Athens or Rome in their turn, be only a tourist’s or pilgrim’s destination.

But not so to the Jewish nation, for which even during eighteen centuries of exile, Jerusalem never became a thing of the past. It is present in virtually every daily and festive prayer, as well as in the declaration concluding every Jewish wedding: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning; Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy” (Psalm 137). It is the place toward which all Jewish synagogues and graves around the world are oriented, and the namesake for the modern Jewish national movement, Zionism. Jerusalem has always remained so much at the heart of Jewish life and identity, that they cannot really be separated from each other. That is because Jerusalem is both the symbol and the actual place, assigned for that distinctive Jewish idea, of a redemption that will be spiritual as well as social and political, taking place within this world.

It is because of the nature of this deep and abiding connection that the description of Jerusalem as a city “sacred to the three monotheistic religions” can never do justice to the place it holds in Judaism. It certainly had an important role in the birth of Christianity and Islam; it holds a prominent place in their historic memory. But the role of Jerusalem to Jewish identity is different. It was possibly best described by John Selden, the eminent seventeenth-century English legal and political thinker as well as the greatest of Christian Hebraists, in his last published work, the massive treatise De Synedriis, on the judicial and political assemblies of the ancient Hebrews. Selden contested the prevailing view that Jews, long exiled and dispersed, were no longer a nation. He instead insisted that as long as the Jews adhered to their traditional laws, as part of their expectation to be restored eventually as a nation to their land and their city—not the heavenly city but the actual terrestrial Jerusalem—they indeed remained a nation.

Retrieved December 9, 2017 from https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/12/jerusalem-above-our-chiefest-joy

Hopeful Sign From Wichita

Great article from Fatima Perspectives about a stronghold of the faith in America’s heartland.

An excerpt.

Phil Lawler has written a couple of articles that deserve wider attention. The gist of the pieces is that by a remarkable “coincidence” no fewer than five seminarians ordained for the diocese of Wichita, Kansas (three of whom attended seminary there) have been made bishops of various American sees since 1998: Archbishop-elect Paul Coakley; Bishop James Conley; Bishop Ronald Gilmore, who retired, to be replaced by the fourth, Bishop John Brungardt; and, most recently, Bishop Shawn McKnight. Gilmore is a native of the diocese and the others are natives of nearby Midwestern dioceses.

Lawler notes that Wichita is a relatively small city of less than 1 million, “where Catholics form a distinct minority (a bit over 100,000), and the local diocese has only one bishop with no auxiliaries.” Thus retired Bishop Gilmore once asked jokingly: “Is there something in the soil, in the water, in the air?”

Clearly, something mysterious is at work here, and Lawler thinks he knows what it is: four of the five (Coakely, Conley, Gilmore and Brunghart) participated in, and were arrested during, the “Summer of Mercy” campaign conducted by Operation Recuse in Wichita in 1991. As Lawler describes the event:

“Hundreds of activists drove or flew to Kansas; thousands of local pro-lifers joined in the effort. Day after day, scores of pro-lifers blocked the entry to the abortion clinic run by the late George Tiller, risking arrest in an effort to save unborn babies from destruction. Over the course of an intensive 6-week campaign, before a stern federal injunction brought an end to the daily clinic blockades, more than 2,700 people were arrested — including all four of the future bishops! Then-Bishop Eugene Gerber said that he was ‘completely in solidarity’ with those risking arrest.”

Four of the five bishops (all but McKnight) were appointed by John Paul II or Benedict XVI (who appointed Conley). Those appointments are reflective of what the ultra-progressive ecclesial commentator Massimo Faggioli lamented as “thirty years of episcopal appointments under John Paul II and Benedict XVI, which recast the US episcopate in the image of the ‘cultural warrior’,” which these four certainly were back in 1991. These appointments have produced what Faggioli views as an unfortunate “climate” in America which has fostered opposition by Catholics he characterizes as “cyber-bullies” to the campaign by Francis to retreat from the culture war in favor of “social justice” issues that mesh rather well with the platform of the Democrat Party.

But what about the fifth bishop, Shawn McKnight, appointed by Pope Francis? Lawler notes that he was a seminarian back in 1991, and he suggests that McKnight may well have participated in the “Summer of Mercy.” This much, however, is certain: the little Diocese of Wichita is, by today’s standards, a veritable engine of vocations, producing not only five bishops but more ordinations per capita than any other diocese in the country, including ten ordinations just this week.

There can be only one explanation for this, in my view, and a priest quoted by Lawler provides it: “[S]eminarian candidates flock to dioceses that are good. Wichita has been one of these dioceses.” But let us say: relatively good in comparison with the widely decadent liberal wreck of the Catholic ecclesial establishment in America. Hence, for example, it is no surprise that the unlawfully suppressed traditional Latin Mass was reintroduced in that Diocese twenty-five years ago.

Retrieved December 8, 2017 from http://www.fatimaperspectives.com/oc/perspective1119.asp