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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Christian Duty in the Face of Terror


As priest is slaughtered by ISIS at the altar, the West must wake up 

By Father George Rutler

After another devastating ISIS attack in France, this time against a priest in his 80s while he was saying Mass, the answer isn’t just, “Do nothing.” As racism distorts race and sexism corrupts sex — so does pacifism affront peace.

Turning the other cheek is the counsel Christ gave in the instance of an individual when morally insulted: Humility conquers pride. It has nothing to do with self-defense.
Christ warned the apostles, as shepherds, to beware of wolves.
The Catholic Church has always maintained that the defiance of an evil force is not only a right but an obligation. Its Catechism (cf. #2265) cites St. Thomas Aquinas: “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or of the State.”

A father is culpable if he does not protect his family. A bishop has the same duty as a spiritual father of his sons and daughters in the church, just as the civil state has as its first responsibility the maintenance of the “tranquility of order” through self-defense.

Christ warned the apostles, as shepherds, to beware of wolves. This requires both the "shrewdness of serpents and the innocence of doves." To shrink from the moral duty to protect peace by not using force when needed is to be innocent as a serpent and shrewd as a dove.

That is not innocence — it is naiveté.

Saint John Capistrano led an army against the Moors in 1456 to protect Belgrade. In 1601, Saint Lawrence of Brindisi did the same in defense of Hungary. As Franciscans, they carried no sword and charged on horseback into battle carrying a crucifix. They inspired the shrewd generals and soldiers, whom they had assembled through artful diplomacy, with their brave innocence.

This is not obscure trivia: Were it not for Charles Martel at Tours in 732 and Jan Sobieski at the gates of Vienna in 1683 — and most certainly had Pope Saint Pius V not enlisted Andrea Doria and Don Juan at Lepanto in 1571 — we would not be here now.  No Western nations as we know them — no universities, no modern science, no human rights — would exist.

In the ninth century, the long line of martyrs of Cordoba told the Spanish Umayyad Caliph Abd Ar-Rahman II that his denial of Christ was infernal, and that they would rather die than surrender. Saint Juan de Ribera (d. 1611) and St. Alfonsus Liguori (d. 1787) repeated the admonition that the concept of peace in Islam requires not co-existence but submission.

The dormancy of Islam until recent times, however, has obscured the threat that this poses — especially to a Western civilization that has grown flaccid in virtue and ignorant of its own moral foundations.

The shortcut to handling the crisis is to deny that it exists.

On the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, there were over 60 speeches, and yet not one of them mentioned ISIS.

Vice has destroyed countless individual souls, but in the decline of civilizations, weakness has done more harm than vice. "Peace for our time" is as empty now as it was when Chamberlain went to Munich and honor was bartered in Vichy.

Hilaire Belloc, who knew Normandy and all of Europe well, said in 1929: "We shall almost certainly have to reckon with Islam in the near future. Perhaps, if we lose our faith, it will rise. For after this subjugation of the Islamic culture by the nominally Christian had already been achieved, the political conquerors of that culture began to notice two disquieting features about it. The first was that its spiritual foundation proved immovable; the second, that its area of occupation did not recede, but on the contrary slowly expanded."

The priest in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvrary in Normandy, France, was not the first to die at the altar — and he will not be the last.

In his old age, the priest embodied a civilization that has been betrayed by a generation whose hymn was John Lennon's "Imagine" — that there was neither heaven nor hell but "above us only sky" and "all the people living for today." When reality intrudes, they can only leave teddy bears and balloons at the site of a carnage they call "inexplicable."

Fr. George William Rutler is a Catholic priest and the pastor of the Church of St. Michael in Manhattan.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Father Rutler: Ordinary Time

Father George Rutler

The city during summer has a different tone, with many people away but also with all sorts of tourists. In these weeks we are deep into “Ordinary Time” and unless the liturgical meaning of that is understood, it does not seem very interesting. Crowds do not gather to see something that is advertised as perfectly ordinary. But Ordinary Time means that the weeks are numbered. The English word “order” comes from the Latin word for numbers in a series, ordinalis. The fact that there is any order at all in the world is a splendid mystery, but if you don’t believe that a Creator ordered it, the astonishing mystery is only a bewildering puzzle.

Creation is logical, and Ordinary Time is a celebration of the truth that the source of that logic, the “Logos” became a human being and dwelt among us. The ordinariness of Jesus confused those in his hometown: “Where then did this man get all these things?” (Mathew 13:56) In religions invented by ordinary people, the gods and wonderworkers are exotic. In defiance of that naïve convention, Jesus was deceptively ordinary precisely because he created the universal order. That structure was broken by the first sin, which is behind all other sins: the illusion that human egos can replace God. That is why the Perfect Man seemed odd, but it was rather like thinking that someone who is healthy is the odd man out: “He must be out of his mind” (Mark 3:21).

Ancient cultures held that history is cyclical: the “Wheel of Time” eventually repeats itself, with creatures tethered to an inescapable fate. But God has revealed a different picture: history is progressive, and the Bible, which begins in an earthly Garden, ends in a heavenly City. We have a free will to determine the steps we take in that progression. In As You Like It, Shakespeare might give the impression that biography is a fatal cycle, for on the world’s stage “all the men and women merely players” start as infants “mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms” and end life frail again in “second childishness, and mere oblivion...” But that apparent oblivion is not the end, nor do the players reincarnate or linger as dust on some Wheel of Time. The voice of the Logos calls to each soul as to Lazarus: “Come forth.”

The whole mystery is so wonderfully ordered that it hardly seems wonderful at all. George Eliot wrote: “If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.” That is just another way of saying that the most extraordinary thing about the world is that it is so ordinary. 

Pozieres: Three Australian Soldiers Buried in Northern France on Centenary of Battle

The three soldiers were laid to rest alongside their mates.

Three unknown Australian soldiers who have been missing since 1916 have been buried on the centenary of the Battle of Pozieres.

The remains were discovered around the tiny French town of Pozieres over the past few years and, during a solemn military funeral at a Commonwealth cemetery, they were finally laid to rest alongside their mates.

"They deserve no less," Bob Taylor, a firefighter and military enthusiast from Manchester who found one of the men while walking through the old battlefields," said.

Read more at ABC News >>

Friday, July 22, 2016

Pat Buchanan: Ted Cruz and the Trump Takeover

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The self-righteousness and smugness of Ted Cruz in refusing to endorse Donald Trump, then walking off stage in Cleveland, smirking amidst the boos, takes the mind back in time.

At the Cow Palace in San Francisco in July of 1964, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, having been defeated by Barry Goldwater, took the podium to introduce a platform plank denouncing “extremism.”

Implication: Goldwater’s campaign is saturated with extremists.

Purpose: Advertise Rocky’s superior morality.

Smug and self-righteous, Rocky brayed at the curses and insults, “It’s a free country, ladies and gentlemen.”

Rocky was finished. He would never win the nomination.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Catacombs Pact

The Church’s constant teaching regarding the duty of faithful Catholics to resist legitimate authority in times of crisis is rooted in Scripture. “But when Cephas was come to Antioch,” writes St. Paul in Galatians 2:11, “I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”

Scripture’s most adamant exhortation in this regard also comes from Galatians: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.”

As a Catholic who came of age during the turbulent post-concilar era, it was clear to me even as a child that popes can fail and cause great harm to the Church. But I always considered this potential to be a matter of human ignorance or weakness, rather than outright malice.

Peter himself sets the precedent. Before laying down his life for Christ, our first pope would deny Him three times and go well above and beyond the call of duty in proving that popes are indeed subject to human weakness. But did Peter wish to destroy the Church? Most definitely he did not. Did Liberius? Honorius? Alexander VI? Again, it would seem not. 

Read more at The Remnant >>

Thursday, July 14, 2016

White House Watch: Trump 44%, Clinton 37%

Just days before the Republican National Convention is expected to formally nominate him to run for president, Donald Trump has taken his largest lead yet over Hillary Clinton.

The latest Rasmussen Reports weekly White House Watch survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds Trump with 44% support to Clinton’s 37%. Thirteen percent (13%) favor some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Read more at Rasmussen Reports >>