Sunday, June 22, 2014

Reflection for Corpus Christi

"Jesus' bread discourse, on one hand, points the main movement of the Incarnation and of the Paschal journey toward the sacrament, in which Incarnation and Easter are permanently present, but conversely, this has the effect of integrating the sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, into the larger context of God's descent to us and for us. On one hand, then, the Eucharist emphatically moves right to the center of Christian existence; here God does indeed give us the manna that humanity is waiting for, the true "bread of heaven" -- the nourishment we can most deeply live upon as human beings. At the same time, however, the Eucharist is revealed as man's unceasing great encounter with God, in which the Lord gives himself as "flesh," so that in him, and by participating in his way, we may become "spirit." Just as he was transformed through the Cross into a new manner of bodiliness and of being-human pervaded by God's own being, so too for us this food must become an opening out of our existence, a passing through the Cross, and an anticipation of the new life in God and with God."

--Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth--Part One: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (Doubleday, 2007, pp. 269--270)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

America's Back-Door Enemy and the Situation in Iraq

In a few days, on June 23, I will mark the fifth anniversary of the release of my first book, America's Back-Door Enemy. I would like to thank all those who have purchased and read it (or listened to it) over these past five years. I've been thinking that this book is getting a bit obsolete by now, but then the news headlines about the situation in Iraq jumped out at me and showed me that I was wrong: the book is just as relevant now as when it was first published, and we need to heed the lessons it contains as we discuss and form opinions regarding US foreign policy toward Iraq.

As Iraq descends ever deeper into violence and chaos, as "Islamic" radicals take over the country, as Christians continue to flee in droves, and as the country continues sliding ever closer to full-fledged civil war, it seems that everyone is criticizing President Obama's foreign policy, and I won't deny that there is plenty of room for criticism there. But it seems that no one is daring to criticize or call into question President Bush's foreign policy, which is what got us into the current mess. Make no mistake: it was the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 that set the stage for what we are seeing happen now in that ancient and historic country.

As I point out in the book, Pope (now Saint) John Paul II, along with Catholic bishops in both the US and Iraq, warned that a military invasion of Iraq would have unacceptable consequences for the civilian population of that country and for the stability of the whole region. Specifically, Saint John Paul predicted that a war with Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power would lead to a mass exodus of Christians from the country; would leave a power vacuum to be filled by violent "Islamic" fundamentalists; would lead to civil war; and would destabilize the entire Middle East. I am not justifying or excusing any of the atrocities that the dictator Saddam Hussein committed against his own people. I am simply saying that leaving him in power would have been the lesser of two evils, and pointing out that our Pope and bishops had good reasons for opposing the alternative of war which the Bush administration unfortunately carried out. What they predicted is exactly what is happening now. Iraq is falling apart. The whole Middle East is collapsing. Millions of people have lost their homes and are now living in refugee camps in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere, largely ignored and forgotten by the world outside, while terrorists and guerillas and armies plot death and destruction with impunity. Our invasion of Iraq was supposed to bring freedom and democracy and security to the country; instead, it has opened the door to anarchy, tyranny, and civil war.

In America's Back-Door Enemy, I unveil the real reasons for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, which had nothing to do with either freedom or democracy and everything to do with war profiteering for US defense manufacturers, control of Iraq's vast oil reserves, and the development of the Greater Israel so ardently desired by Israel's radical Zionist minority. As I demonstrate clearly in the book, these Zionist extremists are the "back-door enemy" secretly manipulating US and Israeli foreign policy and taking advantage of "Islamic" terrorist violence to advance their own wicked agenda. War in the Middle East is a key method of advancing this agenda. As Pope Francis has pointed out, when a war is being concocted, we should ask ourselves: Who is going to profit from this? We hear constantly about "Islamic" terrorists and their evil plans, and I am not here to downplay the horror and evil of the violence they perpetrate. But few people are aware of the existence and activity of radical Zionists, who are more subtle, more sophisticated, much more powerful, and far more dangerous than their "Islamic" counterparts. My book is a real eye-opener in this respect.

Some are now calling for a limited US military intervention in Iraq to take out the "Islamic" extremists and restore some measure of order in the country. My position as of this writing is firmly non-interventionist. For one thing, I do not believe that it is our job to police the world or to go about spreading freedom and democracy by force of arms, but rather that we should set a good example here in our own country for other nations to admire and imitate. Our nation's Founders established America as a "City on a Hill," not as a world empire or conqueror. The duty of our military is and should be to defend our own coastlines and borders from foreign aggression. I agree with Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan on this issue. For another thing, the US has been taking military action against Iraq on and off for years now, from the Persian Gulf War of 1991 to the low-level bombing raids of the late 1990s to the 2003 war, which really only just petered out a few years ago. What has all this war accomplished, for our country or for Iraq? Very little good and a great deal of harm. Additional warfare will not resolve Iraq's problems. Third, a US invasion of Iraq without the approval of the United Nations would constitute an act of aggression, just as the 2003 invasion did. For all its grave problems, Iraq is still a sovereign nation, and we should respect that sovereignty by leaving it alone and not barging our way in uninvited. Fourth, the previous wholesale US military occupation of Iraq failed to destroy "Islamic" terrorist groups and bring order and stability to the nation; on the contrary, terrorism rates under US occupation exploded far beyond what they had ever been under Saddam Hussein. It's a key principle of my book that war does not end terrorism; history bears this out time and time again.

Furthermore, the Iraqi Catholic bishops, who are more familiar with the complex situation in their own country than we are--subjected as we are to many false and misleading news reports--are opposed to any new US invasion of their country because it would only exacerbate the situation. There is great danger that a limited "surgical" strike such as currently proposed by President Obama will not stop at that but will grow into a lengthy full-fledged war involving hundreds of thousands of American troops, just as limited US involvement in Vietnam in the early 1960s grew and grew into a protracted and ultimately fruitless conflict that claimed many lives. Let us learn something from what history teaches us in this regard. Finally, I oppose any US military action in Iraq due to the influence of Pope Francis, who rallied the Church and the world to pray for peace in Syria and the Middle East last year. As the subsequent turn of events proved, prayer is powerful enough to change the course of history. What we need right now is not more warfare, even of the limited kind. What we need is prayer and fasting for the conversion of sinners and peace in the world. Iraq needs more prayer, not more bombs.

If you haven't yet read my book America's Back-Door Enemy, I would encourage you to do so. It is still available in print, audio book and e-book from Tate Publishing as well as various online bookstores. Laying aside partisan politics and ideology, it offers a frank and honest discussion of post-9/11 US foreign policy from a solid Catholic perspective--a discussion that is much needed as the possibility of yet another US military intervention in the Middle East looms on the horizon.

Mary Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Archbishop Cordileone Fights the Good Fight

Some politicians, notably Catholic dissident Representative Nancy Pelosi, and some very vocal extremist homosexual activist groups have launched a vicious attack on Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, protesting his announced decision to participate in and speak at a rally preceding the second annual March for Marriage organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is being held tomorrow in Washington, D.C. Archbishop Cordileone has responded with an excellent letter addressed to his detractors, in which he defends his public defense of traditional marriage. Here are a few excerpts from this letter, followed by my comments:

"I appreciate your affirmation of my Church’s teaching—not unique to our religion, but a truth accessible to anyone of good will—on the intrinsic human dignity of all people, irrespective of their stage and condition in life. That principle requires us to respect and protect each and every member of the human family, from the precious child in the womb to the frail elderly person nearing death. It also requires me, as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing. I must do that in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. That is what I will be doing on June 19th."

Yes, the good archbishop is simply doing his job to teach and consistently defend the full truth of what God has revealed and what the Catholic Church teaches about the human person and the Creator's institution of marriage. Whether people accept or reject certain divinely revealed truths is irrelevant. The fullness of the truth must and always will be proclaimed by the Catholic Church. Those who accept the fullness of that truth belong to the Catholic Church; those who claim to be Catholic while rejecting one or more Church teachings are heretics. Human fashions and opinions are subject to change, but God's truth doesn't change. And how dare Nancy Pelosi, who claims to be Catholic, attack her own archbishop as an intolerant, anti-gay bigot for publicly defending the truth of what the Church teaches regarding the sacred institution of marriage! Archbishop Cordileone addresses this latter point as follows:

"The March for Marriage is not “anti-LGBT” (as some have described it); it is not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage March. The latter does not imply the former. Rather, it affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union. This is precisely the vision promoted by Pope Francis, who recently said, “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother.” Rest assured that if the point of this event were to single out a group of individuals and target them for hatred, I most certainly would not be there."

Right on. Part of the tired old mainstream media spin is to cast pro-life and pro-marriage Americans as wild-eyed, hateful, bigoted attackers of those who are pro-abortion or in favor of legally equating same-sex unions with traditional marriage. This highly inaccurate portrayal is in fact more descriptive of pro-abortion extremists and homosexual activists. On the contrary, the overwheling majority of pro-life and pro-marriage Americans are people of good will who love and respect their enemies and who are doing their fellow men and women a great service by defending basic human rights and institutions that come from our Creator and form the foundations of our society and civilization. Yes, we must reaffirm the basic right of children to grow up in a traditional family, with a Mom and Dad. Defending that right is in no way an attack on homosexual persons.

"It gives me assurance that we share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric. It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction. In fact, for those who support the conjugal understanding of marriage, the attacks have not stopped at rhetoric. Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence."

The archbishop points out here that those, like him, who defend traditional marriage are increasingly under attack for doing so. In other words, most of the unjust bigotry and intolerance are coming from homosexual activists, not from defenders of traditional marriage. He also alludes to the crucial fact that marriage as the union of a man and a woman is not just Catholic teaching, but a fundamental principle of the natural law that has been recognized by all human societies throughout world history. Traditional marriage is God's design, engraved on the human heart; it is and always has been the basic building block of society. When people who espouse it can be unjustly attacked with impunity for doing so, something is seriously wrong with that society.

In closing, Archbishop Cordileone requests that his attackers get to know him before passing judgment on him:

"Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings. I myself am willing to meet personally with any of you not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other....When all is said and done, then, there is only one thing that I would ask of you more than anything else: before you judge us, get to know us."

Good advice. But will Nancy Pelosi and her homosexual friends take it? I hope so. Let's pray for them.

I commend Archbishop Cordileone for his courteous, thoughtful, and well-reasoned response to his handful of vocal critics. His uncompromising defense of Catholic teaching and the natural law regarding the holy institution of marriage is refreshing. At a time when corruption is rampant in American politics and business, thank God that at least we have many fine bishops like Cordileone who are not afraid to teach and defend the truth about the human person and society against the despicable attacks of godless radical secularists, some of whom masquerade as Catholics and who are traitors to Christ and His Church. If America manages to survive the current onslaught of radical secularism, much of the credit will be due to the Catholic Church and to her faithful shepherds, including Pope Francis and Archbishop Cordileone. Let's keep them also in our prayers, that they remain faithful to Christ and His Church and continue fighting the good fight.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Quote of the Day

“The corrupt politicians, the corrupt businessmen and the corrupt clergy, are to be found everywhere – and we have to tell the truth: corruption is precisely the sin that the person with authority – whether political, economic or ecclesiastical – over others has most readily at hand. We are all tempted to corruption. It is a ‘handy’ sin, for, when one has authority, one feels powerful, one feels almost like God...

“Think of the hospitals without medicine, the patients who did not receive care, the children without education. They are the modern Naboths, who pay the price for the corruption of the haughty. And who pays the price for the corruption of a prelate? The children pay, who cannot make the sign of the cross, who do not know the catechism, who are not cared for. The sick who are not visited, the imprisoned, who receive no spiritual attention. The poor pay. Corruption is paid by the poor: the materially poor and the spiritually poor."

--Pope Francis

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Quote of the Day

“When the Lord wants to give us a mission, wants to give us a task, He prepares us. He prepares us to do it well, as he prepared Elijah. And the most important part of this is not that he has encountered the Lord: no, no, this is well enough. What is important is the whole journey by which we arrive at the mission the Lord entrusts to us. And this is the difference between the apostolic mission given us by the Lord, and a common task: ‘Ah, you have to complete this task, you have to do this or that…’ a human duty, honest, good… [But] when the Lord gives a mission, He always has us enter into a process, a process of purification, a process of discernment, a process of obedience, a process of prayer."

--Pope Francis

Friday, June 13, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Great News, and Lots of It!

As it turns out (and as I suspected), the victory of Tea Party candidate Joni Ernst, who won the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate in Iowa early this month, was just the tip of the iceberg. Tea Party candidates are now sweeping primary elections all over the country, against the odds and despite the machinations of corrupt establishment politicians. In Mississippi, for example, Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel received 1,386 more votes than longtime incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran, although the latter is well funded by Washington special interest groups and outspent McDaniel ten to one. Since he received less than 50 percent of the vote, McDaniel is now headed to a runoff election against Cochran on June 24. (Pray to Saint John the Baptist that he wins!) Tea Party candidates also won primaries in other states: Ben Sasse in Nebraska, Alex Mooney in West Virginia, Tim Scott in South Carolina. Tea Party candidates swept Texas, including John Ratcliffe who defeated Republican incumbent Ralph Hall in a runoff election (the first time in twenty years this happened). Even more dramatically, here in Virginia, Tea Party candidate David Brat soundly defeated Republican establishment favorite and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor--although Cantor had outspent Brat twenty-five to one on his campaign!

This is just the beginning of the Tea Party revolution of 2014 here in the United States. The American people are fed up with their corrupt establishment politicians in both the major parties, and they want good solid, trustworthy, religious, moral, pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Constitution candidates who truly represent their interests, not the interests of a select few. They are decisively rejecting career politicians who merely pretend to represent their interests while actually working to advance the interests of the giant abortion, GMO, junk food, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, insurance, and other industries, and all the while padding their own pockets. It's about time we started putting these corrupt politicians in their places! The twin grip of Big Government and Big Business on American politics and the economy is starting to slip. We the people have begun to take back our nation! We are winning! We Tea Partyers are finally in a position to take command of our national politics, for the glory of God and the good of our beloved country. With the help of Almighty God and Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the United States, we can and will reclaim the proper governance of our nation.

The only legitimate government authority comes from God and in fact belongs to the whole people, as Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Robert Bellarmine wrote. Thus, we the people have the right and the duty to establish our own government, and any government that is not responsible to the people (assuming a religious and moral people) is not legitimate. As Saint Augustine wrote, in the absence of justice, what is government but a band of robbers? That's a fit description of the Obama administration and most of the Democratic governors currently in office. With the upcoming general elections, we have the opportunity to restore some measure of good, honest, responsible, religious, moral, and constitutional government to Washington, D.C. and to our state governorships. Keep praying for our country, and be sure to Vote Tea Party!

Power to the people!

Oh, just a footnote: Sensing imminent defeat in battle, that career politician mentioned above, Senator Thad Cochran, has enlisted the help of a Goliath--former New York mayor, Republican establishment crown jewel Michael Bloomberg--who wields a gigantic $2.1 million sword, hoping thereby to defeat that nasty boy David, i.e., Chris McDaniel, in the Mississippi runoff on June 24. The race is pretty close at the moment, and that extra two million dollars just might deliver Cochran the nomination after all. Yes, the corrupt political establishment still might win a battle here and there. But it's losing the war big time. That is plainly evident from the slew of Tea Party victories reported above. The tide is turning in our favor, and will continue to do so. The Tea Party revolution is sweeping America! Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The world tells us that happiness, joy and entertainment are the best things in life. And it looks the other way when there are problems of disease or pain in the family. The world does not want to suffer, it prefers to ignore painful situations, to cover them up. Only the person who sees things as they are, and whose heart mourns, will be happy and will be comforted. Thanks to the consolation of Jesus, not to that of the world."

--Pope Francis

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pentecost Reflection

Pentecost, Duccio di Buoninsegna (1311)
"The Holy Spirit renders the Christian 'wise.' This, however, not in the sense that he has an answer for everything, that he knows everything, but in the sense that he “knows” of God, he knows how God acts, he knows when something is of God and when it is not of God; he has this wisdom which God gives to our hearts. In this sense, the heart of the wise man has the taste and flavor of God. And how important it is that such Christians be in our communities! Everything in them speaks of God and becomes a beautiful and living sign of His presence and His love. And this is something we cannot improvise, which we cannot acquire by ourselves: It is a gift that God gives those who are docile to the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit within us, in our heart; we can listen to Him or not listen to Him. If we listen to the Holy Spirit, He teaches us this way of wisdom, He gives us wisdom which is to see with God’s eyes, to hear with God’s ears, to love with God’s heart, to judge things with God’s judgment. This is the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gives us, and we can all have it, we only need to ask the Holy Spirit for it."

--Pope Francis

Friday, June 6, 2014

Quote of the Day

"It [the Resurrection of Christ] is a historical event that nevertheless bursts open the dimensions of history and transcends it. Perhaps we may draw upon analogical language here, inadequate in many ways, yet still able to open up a path toward understanding: as already anticipated in the first section of this chapter, we could regard the Resurrection as something akin to a radical 'evolutionary leap', in which a new dimension of life emerges, a new dimension of human existence."

--Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth--Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection (Ignatius Press, 2011, pp. 273--274

Thursday, June 5, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Primary Victory in Iowa

Two days ago, Tea Party candidate Joni Ernst won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Iowa. This is an important victory for the Tea Party movement in the United States which highlights the resurgence of this movement despite the attempts of the reigning political establishment to suppress it. It's an indication, albeit an early and a small one, of what is probably going to happen this November when we the American people go to the polls: We're going to take back the Senate!

Fox News and other mainstream media outlets are already admitting that the Ernst campaign could change the balance of power in Washington. Of course, corrupt establishment Republicans and Democrats alike will spread lies, use psychological warfare, spend millions of dollars on advertising, and probably even utilize voter fraud in some close races to try to defeat the Tea Party--all of which they have been doing for the past six years. Granted, some of these tricks may produce the desired result in a few isolated cases as happened in 2010, but on the whole the desperate efforts of establishment politicians to cling to power will fail to hold back the wave of national rebellion now gaining momentum (as they failed to do in 2010). We the American people are fed up with the corrupt Obama administration and its overreaching policies, especially ObamaCare and the HHS mandate. We are going to elect (and re-elect) a slew of Tea Party candidates to state governorships as well as the U.S. House and Senate--citizen statesmen and women of religious faith and moral principle who will strive to return our country to greatness by governing in accordance with the law of God and the Constitution of the United States as the Founders intended. I'm looking forward to the next revolution in American politics, and hoping and praying that the Tea Party reform efforts won't be stymied or derailed by the big corporate lobbyist parasites in Washington who have been corrupting most of our nation's leaders for many years now.

Let's keep supporting all the Tea Party candidates with our prayers, our financial assistance, and our votes. They deserve them. Our nation's future depends on their leadership. And let's also pray for the conversion of our incumbent establishment politicians who continue to put power, money, and prestige ahead of concern for human rights and the common good.

More information and commentary on the historic 2014 elections coming soon!